The MYPT Program
The Methuen Young People’s Theatre seeks to provide an excellent summertime educational and cultural experience in musical theater to the youth of our area communities. Each summer, children of ages from those about to enter grade 4 through high school learn and rehearse a full-scale Gilbert & Sullivan operetta, which they perform for the public in a fully costumed production at summer’s end in early September.
All roles in the MYPT productions are performed by the children in the program, giving them the opportunity to develop their talents and to participate in a first-rate musical production. The summer program starts in mid-June and runs all summer long, continuing up to the September performances.
Why Gilbert & Sullivan? We find that the kids in the cast enjoy the Gilbert & Sullivan shows, which offer an experience different from Broadway shows and feature interesting and challenging music. In the G&S operettas, the chorus itself is always an important part of the production, and often is on stage more than some of the main characters. This gives an opportunity to all of the children to enjoy being in the chorus and having an important part in the show, even if not playing one of the principal roles. These operettas provide an exceptional educational experience in musical theater for every child in the show.
Auditions are held in early June, but are only required for children who wish to be considered for principal roles. Any child who wishes to participate in the chorus is welcome to do so, without need to audition. Rehearsals are held on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings throughout the summer. Occasional absences for vacation or the like are permitted. The performances take place the weekend following Labor Day. To help cover expenses of operating the program, there is a participation fee of $100 for one child and $150 for two or more children from the same immediate family.
We have been able to keep the cost low in part through help from parent volunteers, and so would very much appreciate parents’ being willing to lend a hand with things like measuring and sewing costumes, painting scenery, putting together the program book for the show, etc.
While we do hope to produce a fine show in the fall, this in itself is not the main focus of MYPT. We hope to provide a worthwhile educational experience in music and theater to the children, to expose them to a type of material which is challenging and which may be new to many of them, and to provide this in a positive social context. Many of our kids have been with MYPT year after year and have made good friends through it. One of our fondest rewards is to have our cast members ask at the end of the last show in September, “What are we doing next year?”