Here on campus, we have a variety of excellent performing groups to sample. Some, like the University of Utah Singers, have been around for years, while others are just beginning to get off the ground.

This year marks the opening season for the Musical Theatre Ensemble (MTE), a new performing group organized through the Department of Theatre.

Annealea Flynn, the president of the Musical Theatre Ensemble and senior in the Musical Theatre Program (MTP), began developing the idea for the MTE this summer. She started working with peers Amanda Wright and Caitlin Campbell, then reached out to David Schmidt, a faculty member in the theatre department.

“We were looking to find ways to provide additional performing opportunities for musical theatre majors,” she said. Even with two musicals each year, many students are also looking for additional venues and opportunities to develop the skills they learn in the MTP. The Musical Theatre Ensemble helps provide some of those opportunities.

For its inaugural year, there are 23 musical theatre students involved in MTE, ranging from freshmen to seniors.

“It has been great to get to know and develop relationships with musical theatre majors who are not my year in school,” Flynn said. By collaborating with a variety of students from different years and backgrounds, the group creates a sense of community within the department.

As a student group, the MTE is not without its challenges. Unsurprisingly, financial difficulties are a big part of that.

For Flynn, “The processes of applying for a [Fine Arts Fees] Grant has been the most challenging and educational,” she said. The Fine Arts Fees Grants help aid students in funding arts projects, like the MTE program. These projects can include anything from new play readings to musical groups like the MTE.

“We had to defend our project, come up with a budget, and answer questions in front of the FAF Grant Committee,” she said. However, the successes of the group make it worth the effort.

“It is extremely rewarding to be working with such a talented and hardworking group of performers,” Flynn explained. “Musical theatre tells such amazing stories through music, and it is great to be sharing these stories with audiences.”

Even though the semester is quickly coming to a close, the MTE is just gaining speed. Earlier in the semester they performed at Utah athletic events singing the national anthem and this week they will take the stage at the University Holiday Faculty Party.

Flynn went on to add that Spring semester has even more in store. “We will be doing outreach to high schools, as well as more performances in the Salt Lake community,” she said.

If you’re looking for a fun and entertaining evening, keep an eye out for performances with the MTE.

c.heiner@dailyutahchronicle.com

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