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Marin Summer Theater Announces Lineup: 'Gypsy,' 'Almost, Maine' and 'Les Miserables'

Fifth season for young performers to include scholarship opportunities and extended runs of two shows.

Novato-based Marin Summer Theater, a nonprofit comprised of performing artists ages 13 to 23, has announced its 2013 season lineup along with an expanded performance schedule for the summer.

MST's fifth season will include: 

  • Gypsy on July 5, 6, 7, 12, 13
  • Almost, Maine on July 18, 19, 20, 21
  • Les Misérables on July 25, 26, 27, 28, Aug. 2, 3, 4.

In addition to three demanding shows, MST is expanding its performance schedule at San Marin High School by presenting Gypsy and Les Misérables for two weekends each. The need for more performances became apparent during the 2012 season, said co-founder and artistic director Patrick Nims.

"The shows were so well received in 2012 that we could have run each of them for a month and still had an audience," he said. "We've decided to add performances to both musicals in 2013 so we can build our audience and more people can see them. It will be very demanding, but our kids can do it.”

Gypsy, one of the greatest musicals ever written, is a story about the ultimate stage mother and her daughters. It is a musical based on the real-life story of burlesque queen Gypsy Rose Lee. The rhinestone splendors of vaudeville are brought to life to the accompaniment of Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim's zesty songs as Madam Rose drags her daughters June and Louise from one second-rate theatre to another.

A play by John Cariani, Almost, Maine has been warming hearts and charming audiences since it was first produced at the Portland Stage Company in 2004.  Since then, Almost, Maine has traveled to Broadway, all over the United States and around the world. On a cold, clear, moonless night in the middle of winter, all is not quite as quiet as it seems in the mythical town of Almost, Maine. As the northern lights hover in the star-filled sky above, Almost's residents find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and often hilarious ways. 

Les Misérables is an international smash-hit — enjoying a big-screen run right now — that may be the most popular musical in the world. In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean is released from 19 years of unjust imprisonment, but finds nothing in store for him but mistrust and mistreatment. He breaks his parole in hopes of starting a new life, initiating a life-long struggle for redemption as he is relentlessly pursued by police inspector Javert, who refuses to believe Valjean can change his ways.

MST is also extending its scholarship program by offering cash grants to deserving college-age company members.

"We've given out over 40 tuition scholarships in the past four years and are thrilled to be able to offer grants to help our college-aged members defray their costs,” Nims said.

For the past four years MST has provide a place for young aspiring actors, actresses, designers, musicians and technicians a place to build professional experience. The arts is an area where educators are not afraid to cut funding, therefore many students are not given the arts education that they need. MST is the place to provide students with that.

American Conservatory Theater Company member and associate artist Anthony Fusco said MST is making a big contribution to the arts in Marin County. He said the students at MST work hard to meet high expectations and the shows are demanding, worthwhile and entertaining.

“Being a professional actor for almost 30 years, I know first-hand the valuable lessons in literature, history, team effort and hard work rewarded that the theater can teach," he said. "Having been a Marin County young person myself, I remember how drama gave me a sense of purpose, a peer group, and the chance to follow my dreams. Marin Summer Theater is an outstanding organization that has given scores of young people a start, a chance to shine, and an artistic home.”

Participation in MST is subject to application and audition. MST is free for musicians, technicians and designers. For on-stage performers, there is a tuition fee of $350. Scholarships are available.

Auditions will be on March 16 and 23 at San Marin High School and are by appointment only. Performers unable to attend auditions may submit a DVD recording. Students may apply for one, two or all three shows. For performers, the tuition fee remains the same regardless of the number of shows they are cast in.

All applications and audition request forms can be found on the MST website.

Marin Summer Theater is a 501(c)3 nonprofit comprised of students of performing arts. MST's mission is twofold: To enrich the community by presenting exciting, professional quality live theater; to provide a venue for theater arts students to apply and expand their skills regardless of financial means.

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