Blog: Our Reality Show

Choose a Category

Currently showing posts tagged MYT

  • MYT Performs 'columbinus'

    Last night, in a small, sweltering room on the 18th anniversary of the mass shooting at Columbine High School, I shot production photos for Metropolitan Youth Theater’s production of “columbinus,” a provocative and troubling play that that focuses on “the dark recesses of American adolescence.”

    Suggested by the April 1999 Columbine shooting, with a script that includes excerpts from discussions with parents, survivors and community leaders in Littleton, Colo., the play was created by the United States Theatre project and performed Off-Broadway in 2006. It runs at 8:30 p.m. today and 7 p.m. Saturday in the Black Box Theatre at Metropolitan School of the Arts.

    The cast of eight opens the show as teenage archetypes, without names but labels (Loner, Freak, AP (Advanced Placement), Rebel, Faith, Perfect, Prep, and Jock). Freak and Loner are bullied by their classmates and morph into Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold at the start of Act 2. The rest of the show, which takes its script from the journals and videos of Klebold and Harris, shows what happens in the days approaching Columbine and their subsequent suicides. An epilogue features survivors, parents, and townspeople reflecting on the events.

    Warning: Given the subject matter and language, this is not a play for young or impressionable children. It is, however, a courageous step forward for Metropolitan Youth Theatre, which was founded in 2014 by three high school students who wanted area youth to perform in shows with adult themes. Past productions, all musicals put on entirely by high school and college students, have included “Rent” and “Spring Awakening.”

    “columbinus,” is directed by Chad Vann, a Hayfield High School senior who is one of the group’s co-founders. Vann also is one of the eight cast members (Jock). The rest of the cast includes Brian Perry (Loner/Dylan Klebold), Danny Waldman (Freak/Eric Harris), AP (Joshua Mutterpearl), Rebel (Bridgette Saverine), Faith (Erin Claeys), Perfect (Hallie Friedman), and Prep (Jackson Miller). Madison Hite is the understudy for Faith.

    Alyssa Denton is producing the show, with Hailey Parker-Combes serving as the costume designer and Delaney Claussen as the sound designer.

    A limited number of tickets are available at the box office for the shows. MSA is located at 5775 Barclay Drive, Suite 4 in Alexandria, Va., 22315.

    To see more photos from the production, go to my Facebook page here.

  • 'The Music of Hair'

    Metropolitan Youth Theatre concluded its second year with a sold-out winter concert, “Let the Sunshine In: The Music of Hair,” Friday at MSA’s Alexandria studio. The show, directed by MYT co-founder Chad Vann, featured the work of 12 area high school and college students and a three-piece band led by MYT co-founder James Woods.

    MYT was founded in 2015 by high school students Vann, Woods and Sam Cornbrooks (now in college in Manhattan) to give area youth the opportunity to create and perform in shows while learning all aspects of theater. The group, which has drawn student performers from both Northern Virginia and Maryland, has already done “The Last 5 Years,” “Rent,” “Songs for a New World,” and “Spring Awakening” in its brief existence.

    Two more shows, including a production of the Tony Award-winning musical “Chicago,” are planned in 2017. For more information, visit www.metroyoutharts.org or follow the group on Twitter @metroyoutharts.

    For more photos from the concert, visit my Facebook page here.

  • MYT's 'Spring Awakening' Debuts

    The Metropolitan Youth Theatre, a company run completely by high school and college students, will present the Tony Award-winning musical "Spring Awakening" this weekend at 1st Stage Tysons in McLean, Va.  The musical is the fourth presented by the company since it was founded by three then-high school students (Sam Cornbrooks, Chad Vann, and James Woods).

    All of these photos were shot live during the final dress rehearsal on Thursday. No set ups and no retakes. 

    It has been a pleasure to serve as the company's photographer for all four shows, all of which have been interesting, contemporary, and challenging fare. "Spring Awakening" is suitable for mature audiences only.

    For more photos, go to my “Performances” page or see the full Facebook album here.

  • Cabaret of Talent

    The cast of Metropolitan Youth Theatre's upcoming production of "Spring Awakening" performed in a fundraising cabaret and pot luck dinner Saturday in Alexandria. The cast showcased several group numbers from the Tony Award-winning show and several performed solo pop numbers.

    The event, held at Metropolitan School of the Arts' studio in Alexandria, was a showcase for an incredibly talented ensemble of high school and college students ranging in age from 15 to 20.

    "Spring Awakening" is the fourth MYT production since the student-run company was founded in 2014. Performances will be July 29-31 at 1st Stage Tysons in McLean, Va. (Note: The show has mature language and themes that are not suited for young audiences.)

    Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $20 and available at www.metroyoutharts.com.

    Get your tickets. You won't regret it. For more photos, go to my Facebook album here.

  • Photos Promote MYT's 'Spring Awakening'

    Metropolitan Youth Theatre, a student-run nonprofit company formed two years ago in Northern Virginia, will present the Tony Award-winning musical “Spring Awakening” in July.

    Featuring a cast of 17 high school and college students, the show is the fourth MYT production since the company was founded in 2014 by Fairfax County students Sam Cornbrooks, Chad Vann, and James Woods. Students run all aspects of the productions, fulfilling the company’s mission of educating young actors and technicians about the challenges they soon will face in the professional theatre world.

    Cornbrooks, who graduated this month from Lee High School, is the producer and technical director of “Spring Awakening,” which won eight Tony Awards in its first run on Broadway and was nominated for Best Musical Revival this year. Vann, a rising senior at Hayfield Secondary School, is the show’s director. The music director is Woods, a rising senior at Metropolitan School of the Arts.

    Since the company started, I have served as MYT’s photographer, taking publicity photos to promote each show and then of the performances. Because the show’s themes focus on the sexual awakening of teens in 19th century Germany and the struggles they face with adults, we used the Lorton Workhouse as the setting for the promo photos. The gritty nature of the former prison — a place where I shoot frequently — served as a terrific backdrop for a series of mostly somber portraits of the cast.

    Performances will be July 29-31 at 1st Stage Tysons in McLean, Va. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $15 and available at www.metroyoutharts.com.

    To see more photos, go to my Facebook album here.

  • MYT Presents 'Rent'

    The student-run Metropolitan Youth Theatre presents its second production this weekend — the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical "Rent."

    Tickets are available at www.metroyoutharts.com for the show, which opened tonight and has three more performances — 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday — at 1st Stage, 1524 Spring Hill Road, Suite LL, in McLean.

    Jonathan Larson’s rock opera, which ran for 12 years on Broadway, is an ambitious undertaking for the student-run company, which was founded in 2014 by two Northern Virginia high school students. Its mission is to educate young actors and technicians about the challenges they will soon face in the professional world of theatre.

    Students, most in high school, run all aspects of the company’s productions. Hayfield student Chad Vann is the artistic director and Lee student Sam Cornbrooks is the company’s producer. James Woods, who attends Metropolitan School of the Arts, is the musical director.

    MYT is supported by Metropolitan School of the Arts and DC Metro Theater Arts. “Rent” is the second show produced by the group, which presented “The Last Five Years” in a sold-out run in late January.

    You also can follow the company on Twitter (@MetroArtsYouth).

    ••••••

    For more photos, see my album on Facebook.

  • MYT, MSA Promotional Photos

    This past weekend, I was tasked with taking promotional photos for the Metropolitan Youth Theatre Company’s upcoming production of “Rent,” which runs July 31 to August 2.

    Jonathan Larson’s rock opera, which ran for 12 years on Broadway and won both the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize, is an ambitious undertaking for the student-run company, which was founded in 2014 by two Northern Virginia high school students. Its mission is to educate young actors and technicians about the challenges they will soon face in the professional world of theatre. Students, most of them in high school, run all aspects of the company’s productions.

    Hayfield student Chad Vann is the artistic director and Lee student Sam Cornbrooks is the company’s producer. James Woods, who attends Metropolitan School of the Arts, is the musical director.

    MYT is supported by Metropolitan School of the Arts and DC Metro Theater Arts. “Rent” will be the second show produced by the group, which presented “The Last Five Years” in a sold-out run in late January.

    Tickets are available at www.metroyoutharts.com. You also can follow the company on Twitter (@MetroArtsYouth).

    Another set of promotional photos I shot recently are helping to promote this Sunday’s showcase by Academy students from Metropolitan School of the Arts.

    The special Mother’s Day performance of dance, music, and theatre pieces will reflect the progress the students have made in their arts studies at the Academy, which is concluding its second year.

    The performance will be held at 5 p.m. in the theatre at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. Tickets are $20. To purchase, visit www.metropolitanarts.org/tickets.