Mt. Vernon Community Theatre, a regional community theatre founded and centered in Mt. Vernon, has announced its fifth season in 2017.
“We started after The Music Man ended in 2012,” recalls MVCT president Matt Teel. “Mt. Vernon had just bought the MARC, and it opened up a lot of exciting possibilities. We got a group of us together—you wouldn’t believe how much theatrical talent there is in our area.
“We gathered a board of directors from Mt. Vernon and Miller,” Teel said. “That was about as ‘regional’ as we got at first. Boy, did that change fast.”
The first show that MVCT performed was Fiddler on the Roof. Music Director Sheila Buus and several cast members were from Greenfield, the choreographer, Zach Pettit, was from Webb City, and two important supporting roles were played by John and Barbara Conn of Aurora, but the majority of the cast were still from Mt. Vernon and Miller.
“And it was great,” Teel says. “If we only ever cast all our shows from those four communities, we’d still have amazing shows.”
But over the course of the next five years, that changed. Performers from all over the region auditioned and were cast, until recent shows have boasted more participants from outside of Mt. Vernon and Miller than inside them. They even had to redesign the scholarship program to allow for graduating seniors from other communities.
“We have two board members from Monett and one from Aurora,” David Kloppenborg, MVCT vice-president, says. “We’ve had a director from Carthage, a director from Branson, and a director from Springfield. Many of our actors and musicians have been from Joplin, Springfield, Republic, Nixa, Carthage, Marionville, Ash Grove and so many more. We had a couple of music directors who work in Nevada, and they worked with us all summer, even though they were driving an hour and a half sometimes to get here.”
Season five will include a summer musical—Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, by Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice. In keeping with the idea that MVCT is a regional theatre, performances of this show will be not only in Mt. Vernon, but also at the Monett Performing Arts Center.
“We first did that last summer when we did a variety show called Duets,” Teel explained. “We performed one show in Mt. Vernon, one in Monett and one in Aurora. We really enjoyed bringing our shows to other communities. We’re going to try it again on a much bigger scale with Joseph.”
Season five also includes a fall play, Tribute by Bernard Slade, and there will be another Christmas variety show—weather permitting.
“It’s been a lot of hard work,” Kloppenborg says. “We started it from the ground up, from nothing, and I think we’ve built up a pretty good program. We’re excited to see what the next five years brings!”
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