The show must go on: Teenage Musicals Inc. celebrates 60 years – Midland Daily News

For decades, local teenagers in the Midland area have devoted their summer vacations to staging musicals with Teenage Musicals Inc. (TMI). In many cases, their experiences have inspired them long after the final curtain has dropped.

TMI is marking 6 decades of providing musical theater encounters to students ages 13-23.

For the love of theater

TMI began in 1962, when college students of Midland voice and music teacher Betty Hath asked her to create a summer musical. At the time, children plus teenagers had very few opportunities to perform in plays.

Betty and her husband, Gerald, answered the kids’ wishes plus went in order to work on their first show, “I’ll Never Let You Go, ” performing at the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library Auditorium. About 30 students were involved that first year, either working backstage or carrying out. The group grew to eventually accommodate over 100 learners.

Through TMI, teenagers and young adults are included in nearly every aspect associated with putting on a musical.

In the summer time of 1999, former Midlander Micah Young landed the role in TMI’s production of “Babes in Arms. ” He enjoyed learning different skills, participating within fundraisers plus hanging out with fellow TMI members after rehearsals and performances.

“That community environment is so important when you’re a teenager, ” Young stated.

In 2002, Young was given the chance to conduct a rehearsal for “The Wizard of Oz” under Jim Hohmeyer, which Young described as a “formidable moment. ” Young went on to conduct several other TMI shows and has been student president on the board.

“That experience prepared me with regard to a lot, ” Younger said. “Conducting is one of those things you learn by doing. ”

TMI left Youthful feeling empowered about pursuing a career in the executing arts. He has since worked in 11 Broadway displays; he just began as the substitute pianist with the Broadway manufacturing of “The Music Man, ” the particular same display that TMI is performing this year.

“Midland offers a lot of resources, ” he said. “To have TMI, these are tried and true people performing the arts for the living. It opens your mind to ‘I can do this. ’”

Growing up in Bay City, Claudia Marsh experienced no summer season theater possibilities. She planned to study theatre in college but was lacking confidence within her acting abilities. Within 2008, the girl sister heard TMI had been hosting auditions for “Oklahoma! ” and encouraged Marsh to try out. Although hesitant, Marsh decided on a whim in order to audition plus landed the role within the ensemble.

“It was the best decision I could’ve made, ” she said.

She credits team users Billy Anderson, Adam Gardner-Northrop and Kelli Jolly regarding helping her realize the girl talent and build her confidence. Marsh continued to perform in TMI shows including “Beauty and the Beast, ” “Cats” plus “Kiss Me Kate. ” In addition to carrying out on stage, Marsh was a student representative upon the TMI board.

Marsh, who now resides within Midland, continued to study musical movie theater performance with a concentration in performing and directing at Central Michigan University. She teaches middle school drama classes, directs high school productions in Bay City and continues to audition intended for area displays. She also serves as a board chair at Midland Center for the Arts.

“I think each student can have their own experience, ” Marsh said. “Mine was having people notice that I could be a leader and fostering me. ”

Building friendships 1 summer in a time

A small team of adults assists teenagers in the particular weeks leading up in order to TMI shows.

Former Midlander Pennye Padgett served on the TMI board and as choreographer to get 16 displays, spanning from “Bye Birdie” in 1973 to “The Little Mermaid” in 2018.

“The biggest star within the world to me was Betty Hath, ” Padgett stated. “She was lovely in real life and on stage. It was such a thrill for me and both of my girls to perform pertaining to Betty and Gerry Hath. ”

After helping with a couple shows in the 1970s, Padgett moved out of state for a while. In 1993, director Kay Collison invited the girl back in order to Midland to choreograph “Carousel. ” Upon seeing the particular smiling faces of the kids gathered within the theater, Padgett has been fully committed.

“It’s a family. The older kids took care of the younger children, ” Padgett said. “They helped them and taught them the dances. ”

Padgett appreciated how hard the particular students worked well for displays, saying that in the end they trained the grown ups more than the adults can teach all of them. She has received notes through former TMI members saying how much the particular program provides meant in order to them plus inspired them over the years.

“It’s the most rewarding thing to me, ” she mentioned. “We’re passing it on every single summer. ”

Peter Conarty, of Midland, taught speech and drama for Midland Public Schools in the 1970s. It was through his connection with Gerald Hath that this individual became involved with TMI.

“I became a TMI board member and before I knew it, I was directing shows, ” Conarty said. “It was right in the field. ”

Conarty directed seven TMI shows, but one of his favorites had been “Guys and Dolls” within 1975. Not only was it their first period directing TMI, but he or she also has fond memories associated with building the particular sets with the students. This individual explained how the program brought out his enthusiasm and energy for theatre.

Conarty observed how TMI provided an opportunity for students to not only showcase their talents, but also meet other people from around the region. To this day, Conarty keeps in contact along with former TMI members, receiving the occasional email and Christmas card.

“It’s nice in order to be remembered after all these years, ” Conarty said. “In all the many years I focused, the college students were wonderful. They really put themselves out for the shows. ”

The particular legacy lives on

Students have continued to benefit from TMI even after the particular summertime has concluded. As early as the particular 1970s, TMI awarded movie theater scholarships – funded by the shows’ profits – in order to Midland college students who wished to further their particular studies in the performing artistry. United Steelworkers Local 12075 currently provides an annual scholarship worth $500 to a TMI college student who exhibits commitment to community.

Betty Hath died in 2016 and Gerald Hath passed away in 2018, but their legacy lives upon within the life they touched.

For Marsh, TMI has impacted her life within multiple ways, and she still fosters friendships made during her time using the program. She can’t imagine how her existence would be without her encounter with TMI.

“I’m very thankful that I got in order to meet Gerry and Betty Hath, ” Marsh said. “They were amazing people who made a difference in kids’ lives 60 years later. ”

Padgett explained exactly how TMI instills valuable lessons in younger generations, including the value of hard work, public speaking, relationships and following the rules.

“I hope the community keeps supporting TMI, ” Padgett mentioned. “There’s so much to be gained in the arts. ”