CSU, Chico News

Musical Theatre’s Off-Broadways Tour in Bay Area

Date: 10-23-2008

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Mike Mazur
Department of Theatre

On Friday, Oct. 10, California State University, Chico’s “Off-Broadways” Musical Theatre Touring Ensemble traveled to the Bay Area for their Fall Concert Tour. This year’s tour included performances in Berkeley and San Francisco.

In Berkeley, the group performed for the Youth Musical Theatre Company (YMTC). The show featured classic and contemporary Broadway songs from musicals based on great literature. “The audience of high school aged theatre students and their families loved the show,” said Mike Mazur, Department of Theatre faculty member and director of the Off-Broadways. After the show, the singers had a question-and-answer session with the young performers in the audience, followed by a performance from their upcoming production.

Carla Kassler, a YMTC board member, commented: “I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and talent of the Off Broadways. The troupe blew us away! Their rendition of ‘Purple Summer’ from ‘Spring Awakening’ was even better than that of the Broadway cast! The Q and A after the performance was wonderfully interactive and really inspired the younger students watching the performance to set a higher bar for their own acting endeavors. They were great ambassadors for CSU, Chico. Thank you to the troupe for being such an incredible role model for younger actors.”

On Saturday, the singers performed for the California Pacific Hospital Children’s Hospital. Mazur said, “This show was special because our singers saw how they can use their talents for a much more important reason than simply getting applause.” They sang in a common area, and then went singing “room to room” for patients who could not attend the formal presentation.

After the hospital concert, the group attended a performance of the Tony-winning musical “Spring Awakening.” Seeing the musical, which is based on a German play from the late 1800s, was especially interesting to the singers because they are performing selections from “Spring Awakening” in their current show.

The Off-Broadways have a dual mission of training the students for the rigors of the professional entertainment industry and providing exciting and educational programs for their audiences. “This concert tour, just two days after the group performed at Chico State’s Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching Conference, proved that these college students meet and exceed their mission,” said Mazur.