On Wednesday and Thursday evening Muse Machine, the nationally recognized educational arts group, will kick-off its 30th year with music from one of the most popular musicals of all time: West Side Story. The local organization has gathered together over 200 local students, alumni and guest artists to present TONIGHT: The Songs of West Side Story & More at 8:00 p.m. on the stage at the Victoria Theatre.
“The whirlwind, high-energy numbers will thrill you; the soulful melodies will move you; you can’t help but feel the joy of the show!”
-Kylen Franz, concertmaster
The local arts organization has a mission of changing the lives of kids through the arts. They accomplish this through professional performances both in and out of schools, arts integration training for teachers and student performance opportunities. Over the years, Muse Machine has developed two primary performance programs, including the popular productions of a musical (winter months) and a concert (summer). These productions showcase the most talented student singers, dancers, and musicians in the Greater Dayton region, under the direction of professional directors, conductors, choreographers and designers .
“We all work so hard together to make this a great show and the energy & love in rehearsals is incredible.”
-Rachel Snyder, singer/dancer
As their 2011 concert presentation, Muse Machine (along with support from MeadWestvaco) will present Tonight: The Songs of West Side Story & More on August 10 and 11 at the Victoria Theatre. Tonight features new concepts and arrangements of many favorite songs from the classic Leonard Bernstein score, including “Maria,” “America,” “Somewhere” and many others. The show will fill the stage with nearly 200 student performers, who will also share the spotlight with alumni from previous Muse Machine productions.
“I love to be on stage and hear the audience clapping. It makes me feel good to know they are having a good time. And, it’s fun!”
– Ben Harshbarger, young ensemble (4th grade)
A highlight of the concert will be a huge student orchestra performance of “Rhapsody in Blue” featuring internationally-renowned pianist Leon Bates. Acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, Bates performs with symphonies around the world and the chance to see him bring to life Gershwin’s masterpiece with an orchestra of talented, passionate young musicians should not be missed. The evening also features guest appearances by talented, local gospel singers from the GSJ Youth Choir as well as nationally-acclaimed Stivers Jazz Orchestra and other special guests, including many alumni of Muse Machine productions.
“West Side Story was the first Muse musical, so it’s a way to glance back while also looking forward by bringing new sounds and choreography to this great music. We’ll be joined by exciting guests and we’ll also explore a few ‘related surprises,’ throughout the evening.” -Douglas Merk, producer
What is the best part of being in a Muse Machine concert or show?
“The feeling of being so welcome and wanted…(and) Rhapsody In Blue because I LOVE THAT PIECE OF MUSIC!!!” – Noah Berry, singer/dancer
“Meeting new friends and seeing old friends.” – Ben Harschbarger, young ensemble (4th grade)
“The close family connection of the entire cast/ensemble. We all work so hard together to make this a great show and the energy & love in rehearsals is incredible.” – Rachel Snyder, singer/dancer
“Seeing or hearing the work come to fruition and eliciting the response from the audience.” – Kylen Franz, concertmaster
-SA/Muse Machine Press Release
– Muse Machine Photos by David Sherman
We encourage local theatre companies to submit calendar items HERE, and official press releases to onStageDayton@gmail.com.
Tickets & Performance Information:
at the VICTORIA THEATRE – 138 N. Main St.– map
Tickets for Tonight are available exclusively through Ticket Center Stage, 937/228-3630, online at www.ticketcenterstage.com or at the Ticket Center Stage box office in the Schuster Center in downtown Dayton.
About the Muse Machine:
The Muse Machine is a nationally recognized arts education organization, providing creative experiences and resources for young people of the Miami Valley. Since 1982, they’ve produced 27 annual musicals and 14 concerts for the community and engaged thousands of students through academic-relevant lessons, workshops and in-school projects. For more information, visit www.musemachine.com.