Muny partners with Webster Conservatory

Sean Sandefur/The Journal – A bright sign welcomes visitors into The Muny in Forest Park, one of the nations oldest and largest outdoor theaters. Webster University and The Muny are partnering up, a first for both institutions, to train staff and students to help promote performing arts in St. Louis.

Webster’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts has maintained its longterm partnerships with The Rep and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and has just added a third partnership to its list. The Muny and Conservatory are teaming up to enhance the opportunities and experiences for both organizations.
According to Webster Today, through the collaboration of both the Muny and Webster’s Conservatory, students will have the opportunity to audition for Muny productions, intern at the Muny and take classes offered by the Muny’s choreographers and directors. Students will also help with developing processes for the Muny’s future.
“I am thrilled,” Audrey McHale, senior musical theater major, said. “I think there will be an exciting influx of Webster students auditioning and being seen from now on. I am excited to see where these relations will go in the future.”
Students can now audition and perform in Muny shows, and the 2013 Muny season will reserve two positions in at least one musical for both a male and female. For many native St. Louis Conservatory students, performing at the Muny is a desirable goal. Jordan Parente, a junior musical theater major feels no different. Parente grew up in St. Louis and performed on the Muny stage as a Muny Teen.
“When we found out, everyone was so excited — even kids who had never been to the Muny,” Parente said. “It means a lot, especially from growing up in St. Louis and doing Muny.”
Lara Teeter, head of Webster’s musical theater department, is no stranger to performing at the Muny.
Teeter said when a student performs on the Muny stage, they receive their Equity card. This is a labor union that represents thousands of performers in the United States.
“To graduate and already have an Equity card is a big deal,” Teeter said.
Along with a chance to perform, there will be several kinds of internships offered to Conservatory production students. Starting in January, those selected will help prepare for the Muny’s 2012 season. Webster Today cited  those who are selected are able to help with the Muny season planning and casting process, scenic and costume design, and other parts of production.
“To know that we will be able to share the Muny stage with students is great,” Teeter said. “Our students could be involved in the process of an evolving show.”
Teeter said Mike Isaacson, the Muny’s new executive producer,
is the driving force behind this partnership.
“The Muny experience has always involved Broadway professionals working with inspiring newcomers,” Isaacson said. “It’s exciting and rewarding, and terrific energy to have around. The students from Webster will be bringing their talents and skills to assist the Muny with all aspects of the 2012 production process. But, along with their skills, they’re sharing who they are.”
As part of the partnership,
Isaacson will also attend Conser
vatory auditions and portfolio reviews to further assist in
According to Isaacson, through their experiences and learned skills, Conservatory students will have some of the most advanced job portfolios for musical theater students in the country when they graduate.
While the Muny is the largest and oldest outdoor musical theatre in the nation, Isaacson says Webster is the only
school that has ever had this kind of partnership with The Muny.
“The Muny has always had deep civic roots; the ability to serve and work with our community is one of the reasons we exist,” Isaacson said. “My hope is that through this partnership, the Webster program increases in reputation and caliber of
Auditions for Muny productions will be held in February The Loretto-Hilton Center.

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