When it comes to great nonprofits, I believe Music Theatre of Wichita sets the gold standard. Here is my experience. I was finishing graduate studies in arts administration, pondering the gloomy arts outlook, when a friend suggested I come to Wichita to check out MTW and meet Wayne Bryan. It was just the boost I needed. Bryan became a mentor and showed me possibilities. I met a man with great charisma and passion for the arts, an artistic director who possessed the rare combination of creative vision mixed with business and marketing savvy. I met the core Music Theatre of Wichita staff -- Nancy, Vickie, Mary Sue, Bethany -- all delightful, talented, and equally committed to building the MTW dream. I met Board Members with diverse backgrounds and expertise. I sat in on rehearsals and marveled at the range of talent. Broadway veterans mixed freely with interns, all collaborating with a sense of joy and pride in what they were creating. At the evening’s performance, I witnessed Bryan come out upon the stage to affectionate cheers followed by hushed, rapt attention as he introduced the evening’s tale to an audience hungry for escape. The performance did not disappoint; it was accomplished on all levels. After, Bryan took his position in the lobby, thanking and interacting with audience members as they exited into the night carrying some of the magic with them. Something very special is going on at Century II! My interaction with Wayne Bryan and Music Theatre of Wichita took me from a low ebb to a place of hope for the future of live performance. MTWichita is making a difference. That is why I wanted to include my voice in these reviews. For when it comes to great nonprofits, I believe Music Theatre of Wichita sets the gold standard and provides a golden opportunity for patrons, foundations, corporate sponsors, individual donors -- all who want to ally with a successful and deserving arts organization. Which reminds me … time to pull out my own checkbook …
I have performed in four shows for MTW, and each time has been a splendid experience! The production quality is of Broadway caliber, and the people who run the company are the best! (Wayne Bryan once came to see me in a show at another theatre, and after that cast met and talked with him, they all said "Now, THAT'S what an Artistic Director should be!") Performers often give up longer-running "gigs" in order to work for MTW, because they know that they will be part of a production they can be proud of and look back on with joy for a lifetime.
MTW is the best! I live in Kansas City where we do have summer theatre (Starlight) and there is also Muny in St. Louis. I drive down to Wichita and see the great shows and have done this now for 10 seasons. Lots of great talent at MTW. Wayne Bryan, the producing director, his associates Mark Madama, Nancy Reeves, Josh Larson and Roger Castellano are the best! Music Theatre of Wichita reminds me of what Starlight Theatre, here in Kansas City, use to be before that venue started booking national tours. Music Theatre of Wichita produces all of their own shows. And it's a great starting place for musical theatre students who want a career in professional theatre.Love my MTW!
We love the shows. Our children have been coming since they were so small they brought pillows with them to sit on! Now, one of our daughters is old enough to be in the Target Teen Choir that performs before the shows and she has gained so much confidence from the encouragement and positive energy of the MTW Staff. They are great, positive people providing superb shows and great energy in the community!!
Music Theatre does amazing large scale production in a very short period of time. The quality of work and spectacle that they put on stage is truely amazing. The people who work there are very talented and pleasant to be around.
I have worked for MTW several times, and it is always a wonderful experience. Their productions are top notch, and their educational programs for students are inspiring. What a blessing for this community to have MTW.
My wife and I have had season tickets to MTWichita productions since 1976 and have only missed one production in all this time. We go to dinner with about 12 others before each performance and always look forward to each production with great anticipation. We have been able to attend musical theatre performances on Broadway, West End in London, and venues in Kansas City, Las Vegas, and other locations. MTWichita prductions are at least as good and in most cases better than any of these. Their productions are definitely Broadway quality or better. Our city is fortunate to have Wayne Brysn and his capable staff who continue to develop and make available this excellent entertainment as well as the educational opportunity for the young musical theatre students that make up the summer company and teen choir.
I have been attending MTW productions for many years and the Quality is worthy of a Broadway production. By using some local performers along with the national talent it not only gives the young people expierience with top professionals it encourages the local arts. The production of Les Miserables two seasons ago was fantastic. The use of Faith Northcutt as young Cosette and Gavin Meyer of Wichita was a great opportunity to see a couple very talented young people.
MTWichita has been a great experience for me over the pass 25 years. They produce "Broadway Quality Shows" that are extremely professional and entertaining. We look forward to every new season. A great way to spend a summer night in Wichita.
Music Theatre of Wichita is exceptional! We are truly blessed to have such a great summer theater experience here in Wichita. My husband Jerry has been involved with MTW for years as their photographer, so he is well aware of what goes into each production. The quality of the performances is amazing and some of the most talented performers in the country have not only appeared on the MTW stage, but have gone on to make their careers on Broadway, on film and television. Both of us are also involved as Jester Awards judges, a program which promotes local high school productions and talent. MTW very actively supports and encourages young people throughout the area who are interested in theatre. Music Theatre of Wichita is without a doubt one of THE best things that has ever happened to Wichita!
Music Theatre of Wichita, Inc. is one of our city's treasures. MTW gives so many people opportunities of the finest quality and also attracts well known artists. Wayne Bryan is loved by everyone and has grown this fantastic musical theatre into one of the best outside of NYC. We can hardly wait each year for the season to begin. My husband is president of Wichita State University and it is always a joy for us to attend and acquaint new people to Music Theatre of Wichita.
I have been a season ticket holder of Music Theatre of Wichita (KS) since its inception in 1972, and have been a member of the Board of Directors since 1978. Words don't do justice to the pleasure and joy MTWichita has been to myself and my family. I have not only attended the productions, but have been involved with their audition process and their Jester program designed to recognize high school music theatre programs and individuals. My life would have been considerably poorer without my relationship with MTWichita. Additionally, for nearly 40 years they have produced five musical theatre shows of the highest quality that can be seen anywhere.
I've enjoyed an ongoing association with Music Theatre of Wichita for well over fifteen years. Some of my appreciation has grown from viewing their work from afar and following the extraordinary but ongoing quality of production they manifest, season after season. I've admired at closer range their audition and preproduction processes when they've spent their annual working visits to New York City. And on three occasions, I've been privileged to serve on-site there in Kansas, helping to promote and publicize two productions of THE WIZARD OF OZ and another of MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS. In my own four decades (plus) of sporadic professional musical theater employment, I've never known a finer aggregation than that assembled, onstage and off, by Wayne Bryan and his compatriots. They never fail to meet (and they generally surpass) their stated goals of offering exemplary entertainment, managing their facility as an intelligent business concession, and providing compassionate and first-class training for those in their orbit.
Music Theatre of Wichita is a wonderful way to get into the arts. I am a beginner and have really grown to appreciate the musicality and talent these actors, dancers, and singers bring to our community. The staff has outdone themselves by bringing such enjoyable musicals to Wichita. Thanks and keep up the excellent work!
Music Theatre of Wichita is one of those "hidden gems" that the majority of the people who live here don't even understand. MTW's performances are on par with, and often exceed ANYTHING I have seen on Broadway. And there's a good reason for that. Many of MTW's alumi are on Broadway at any given time. Wayne Bryan has an eye for picking (and training) talent that has the potential to be on Broadway. In fact, many Broadway producers say when they see "Music Theatre of Wichita" on someone's resume they are more likely to give that person an interview! We have truly been blessed with Wayne Bryan's talents and abilities! And because he's so amazing the majority of stars on Broadway he's mentored come back to appear in MTW performances every year. So when you attend a MTW performance, you're not only seeing the stars of tomorrow, you are getting a chance to see the Broadway stars of TODAY at a much better ticket price!
My husband and I have been season ticket holders at MTWichita since the mid-seventies. During that time we have seen the theatre's productions go from sometimes awkward renderings with less capable leads to the tryly accomplished and polished productions that we look forward to each summer. While we have yet to make it to NY we have seen "Broadway" musical theatre productions in London and other locales and MTWichita need take no backseat by comparison. In fact they equal or surpass anything we've seen anywhere! For sometime it has been my privilege to serve on the Board of Directors and be privy to the day-to-day workings of this fabulous organization. In addition to presenting top flight musical theatre entertainment, its support and encouragement of up and coming local and midwestern talent is a model which all regional theatres would do well to examine. As the anticipation of the summer season begins to mount, I'm like a child at Christmas waiting to see what wonderful gifts will unfold on stage. The only sad aspect of the whole process is that the season is over all too quickly and leaving us wanting more!
I have had the good fortune of working as an actress for Music Theatre Of Wichita several summers. Music Theatre of Wichita has been the highlight of my musical theatre career. Once you've worked there, you are considered a member of the family for life. I've also had the pleasure of seeing shows at Music Theatre of Wichita when I'm not in the cast, so can say that the productions are of the highest quality. I travel to New York and don't even go to shows there because I know they won't compare to Music Theatre of Wichita! The professionalism is top notch, from Wayne Bryan, the Producing Artistic Director, all the way thru the staff and volunteers. AMAZING group of people who all work towards bringing the arts to the people in the best way possible. I'm HONORED to know them all.
There are not enough superlatives to heap upon this fabulous organization. When I met director Wayne Bryan, I was so impressed with him that I flew from California to Wichita to see his production of Camelot. The production values were first-rate, comparable to what I've seen in New York and San Francisco. While shopping and dining in Wichita, I met salespeople, waiters, and production staff members who all raved about Wayne and the shows he creates. One woman called him "The Treasure of Wichita." The entire organization is suffused with enthusiasm and esprit de corps, which is apparent on stage.
In the last 20 years Music Theatre of Wichita has not only entertained its audience. They have not only brought the highest quality of Musical Theatre to this community,but has involved each and every school in the area in so many ways. Their teen choir has not only entertained but has served as a training ground in musical theater. Their Jester awards brings an interest in music theatre to the same heights that a good football team brings to a school. They have enhanced the quality of life in Wichita as has no other arts organization. As a former board member I realize they put on more and better shows on a low budget and small staff than probably any theatre in the country. It is the most noteworthy of arts organizations to support.
I've worked in the paint shop at Music Theatre for 6 years and really feel that I've grown up as an artist there. I've advanced within the company and feel that my work there has defined the artist I've become. Though the schedule is demanding, I know that the pressure has forced me to expand my knowledge and technique to match the high level of quality we all expect form the company.