MCT’s Next Step Prep Program: Becoming a Student of the Arts

By LEISA GREENE-NELSON

It takes time and work to become a student of Next Step Prep.  It may simply be by word of mouth from a friend. Often time’s kids first participate in a travel-to-their-hometown show with MCT’s Little Red Truck Tour.  The best of the best performers usually have a continued interest in theater and end up auditioning for PAC, also known as Performing Arts Camp.

Today MCT Camps are filled with young singing and dancing talent not just around the campfire on Flathead Lake.  In the MCT building on Broadway the Next Step Prep summer classes are mid-session.

A little over two months ago a young man came into Greg Boris’ office with his mother and their dog wondering what he needed to prepare for the first day of Next Step Prep. The young man seemed quite nervous about needing the required two songs and a monologue. Greg encouraged him saying “We have sheet music here, I can help you. We are doing this to get an idea of where you are. Bring in something you’ve done recently. This is a starting point so we know what you want and need to work on.”

The students attending Next Step Prep this year run 50% from Montana and the other 50% from Colorado, Ohio, California, Washington, Oregon, Saschatewan, Oklahoma, Utah, and New York City. It’s not only acting with the Little Red Truck Tour, but the students are recommended to audition and attend PAC, then they can audition for Next Step Prep in order to have a chance for additional training. Participating in Next Step Prep also requires a student and parent to come up with the $5000 tuition fee in order to attend the intense six weekprogram.

Before the Next Step Prep dream occurs most students attend MCT’s summer camps.  The first MCT camp consists of East Shore Camp at Camp Paxson outside of Seeley Lake for students entering 6-7th grade.   Performing Arts Camp (or PAC) is a two-week intense residency camp for students that include; North Shore PAC, also on Flathead Lake for students 8-10th grade, and South Shore PAC at Camp Marshal, North of Polson Montana for students entering junior and senior year of high school.

Movies Go Musical  is MCT’s yearly production featuring nearly 200 talented teenagers from across the U.S., Canada and overseas.   PAC is a two-week residency camp for grades 8-12, and the camp culminates in an exciting live musical theatre production at MCT, August16-18th.

Performances are Thursday, August 16 at 8 p.m.; Friday, August 17 at 5 and 8 p.m.; and Saturday, August 18 at 1, 4, and 8 p.m. For ticket information, call 728-7529 (PLAY), stop by MCT at 200 N Adams Street, or visit www.mctinc.org

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Read more of Leisa’s stories about the Missoula music, drama, and theater scene.

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Missoula writer Leisa Greene Nelson

Call her a big city girl at heart, finding and satiating that appetite in the city of Missoula. Born in Butte and raised in Missoula, she is fascinated by people and looks for interesting characters to write about.  Everyone has a story to tell, or not, but the people and places in Missoula are unique.

Moving fast in life (for that big city feel) Leisa’s passions bounce around music, theater, food, art, family, and  friends that’s supported by an IV line of dark roasted coffee. Single and a recent graduate from the University of Montana with a BA in Creative Writing, she learned what it was like to be a co-ed in her 40s.

She currently works as an Office Manager at Inter-State Studio and Publishing, working on school photos and yearbooks. Her personal life and nightlife is where she discovers and creates creative non-fiction stories. She has four supportive, loving children:  Dustin, Michael, Jalynn, and Mark (adopted through marriage to Dustin) who are all artistically creative in writing, theater, dance, and singing.  Leisa likes to think she moves faster than they do.