The thrill of performing in front of an audience, the applause and receiving standing ovations with being a theater major – that’s what the Miami Theatre Players are all about.
The Miami Theatre Players are a student-run organization whose goal is to bring together individuals with a love for theatre and provide a fun community theatre experience for everyone to enjoy.
The group was founded 11 years ago by students who were not theater majors, but wanted to perform in shows without the time commitment and demand of the theater program. The E-board consists of seven positions that are cleared and re-elected each semester, allowing fresh talent for every show.
“It’s an interesting club because most clubs have yearly E-boards, but instead of doing it by year we do it by show with a new board and new people creating the show,” Kevin Burns, second-year public relations major and director of the club, said. “It has its ups and its downs, but it gives more people opportunities to do things.”
As a freshman, Burns auditioned for all of the a cappella groups on campus and the Glee club but did not get in. He decided to audition for the Miami Theatre Players and if he didn’t get in, he wasn’t going to perform that semester. The show for that semester was All Shook Up, and he was cast as the lead for his first semester.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Burns said.
Emma Mont, second-year political science major with a concentration in American government and president and producer of the Miami Theatre Players, also went out for all of the different performance groups as a freshman, including the a cappella groups, the Glee club and the Miami Theatre Players, but did not get in.
With a background in stage management, and the club and E-board allowing anyone to join, Mont applied for the position of stage manager and was elected for her first semester.
“They didn’t have anyone who was particularly interested in the position and I said, ‘None of you know me, I’ve never been in this club before, but I’m good at this and think I’d be a good fit,’ and they elected me for that spring semester,” Mont said. “They liked me enough that I got re-elected that fall semester and now I’m the president and they can never get rid of me!”
Before the end of the semester, the club votes on the musical they will perform the following season. They ask the public for recommendations and the E-board narrows it down to three or four productions that are within their budget.
The club was between The Addams Family, Pippin and Heathers: The Musical. They originally chose Heathers. To get ahead of schedule, they started making the set and choreographing during winter break, but found out the week of auditions that the rights company had denied them.
“[The rights company] said that it was illegal to do it in the state and other companies shouldn’t have been doing this,” Burns said. “I think we were somehow misinformed. Then we had an emergency board meeting. We did some pros and cons with some other options. We couldn’t just default to the last option.”
Mont explained they would have defaulted to their second choice, Pippin, but it wasn’t similar enough to Heathers and didn’t have enough time to adjust.
“We’re still kind of triggered by the mention of Heathers or the songs from the show,” Mont said.
Instead, the club is performing Spring Awakening, a rock musical that opened off-Broadway in 2006. It’s based on the German play Spring Awakening (1891) by Frank Wedekind. The musical tells the story of teenagers discovering their inner and outer troubles of teenage sexuality.
“Spring Awakening is going really, really well,” Burns said. “I’m happy that we’re doing it. Everything happens for a reason; it was kind of a blessing in disguise. It’s a really important show right now, it talks a lot about adolescence and educating yourself and there’s some really serious topics in it, so I think it’s a hard show to do, but it’s going to be really rewarding in the end.”
Spring Awakening will be performed Wednesday, April 26, Thursday, April 27 and Friday, April 28 at 8 p.m. in the Student Union Building Multi Purpose Room. Tickets are $3 for students.