Pasadena Musical Theatre Program Celebrates 20th Anniversary this Summer
This summer the Pasadena Musical Theatre Program (formerly the GATE Summer Musical Program) celebrates twenty years as one of the premiere musical theatre education programs in the Los Angeles area with "Two Decades of Amazing," a performance event on Sunday, July 20, from 3 to 9 p.m. at Pasadena Playhouse's Carrie Hamilton Theatre. The PMTP20 Celebration will not only serve as a reunion but will also showcase performances from former students who have gone on to become everything from opera singers to lawyers. Highlights will include performances by Artistic Director Ryan Scott Oliver, hailed by Entertainment Weekly as "a major new voice in musical theater," as well as Junior Company Director Emily Clark and many surprise guests.
From 3 to 6 p.m., performances will focus on the years 1995 through 2003, while performances between 7 and 9 p.m. will showcase 2004 to 2013. Between performances, there will be a dinner break from 6 to 7 p.m. featuring local food trucks. In addition to the performances, there will be sing-alongs to the music from the shows presented over the years, a display of playbills and archival footage. Admission will include a souvenir dog tag necklace with a special PMTP20 logo. Tickets for the entire day (not including dinner) are $20 and will be available at the door. Reservations can also be made online at pasadenamusicaltheatre.org.
Founded twenty years ago as the GATE Summer Musical Program by Sierra Madre educator Gayle Blumel, the program originally started as a family project, an opportunity to make sure her own children had a meaningful and nurturing summer program which was free and open to all GATE students in the Pasadena School District. Since then PMTP has served thousands of Pasadena elementary, middle and high school students, teaching them "to put on a show, in the very literal sense of the word," according to Emily Clark, junior company director, PMTP alumna and Blumel's daughter. "Our students not only learn to how to act, sing and dance, but are instrumental in creating the shows they put on - building sets, putting together costumes, creating props, assisting our directors, and oftentimes, developing entirely new work." The professional experience is something that makes the award-winning program unique, in its staging of original musicals written for the company, including "Jasper in Deadland" which recently had its off-Broadway premiere.
PMTP prides itself in making theatre accessible to all students, those with leanings towards a professional career and those who simply love to perform. Ryan Scott Oliver, alumnus and Senior Company director adds, "PMTP is a chance to use performing arts to create professional young adults. Some will go on to fulfill big Broadway dreams; others will use their stage time to inspire great careers in other areas-- but all will learn what it takes to be expressive, engaging and responsible." Blumel also cites the "friendships and alliances that have lasted all these years" as another benefit of the "long legacy" of the program.
In addition to the PMTP 20th Anniversary, the program is presenting two shows this summer, the Junior Company show "The Pirates of Penzance" July17-19 and the Senior Company show "The Many Selves of Mia Scott" July 24-27 -- an original musical about a 13-year old girl who clones herself when the demands of her life become too much, with hilarious and harrowing results.
What will the next twenty years bring? Not one to rest on his laurels, Ryan Scott Oliver says it all with the word 'more': "More original musicals, more outreach, more drama!"