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Musical Musings: 525,600 Minutes with Kevin Wong

#KevintheIntern here, just over a year since I started my tenure as the Metcalf Foundation Intern Artistic Director here at The Musical Stage Company (then Acting Up Stage). Time flies!

Since I’ve started working at the company, I’ve had the opportunity to work on some incredible projects. I thought, to wrap up the end of my internship, I’d finish with some of my most favourite #InternMemories, plus a few ludicrous #InternFails for amusement.

#InternMemory: Make Me A Song

In my first week at The Musical Stage Company, Mitchell excitedly briefed me on a new initiative we were embarking on with Regent Park School of Music under the title Make Me A Song.

Over the course of the next few months, we engaged some incredible musical theatre writers to form the roster of the writing team, met the choir, and got to watch as the school’s junior and senior choirs excitedly learned eight songs created especially for them incorporating content that they themselves had helped to create.

In June 2017, I sat in the audience with the writers, the choir’s parents and friends, and watched the culmination of the project’s inaugural year as the choir performed these eight new songs with incredible spirit and heart. I was extremely moved, and if you know me, I’m hard to move (Mitchell was appalled when I said the score of Matilda did nothing for me)!


#InternFail: Getting four UnCovered performers lost at the Telus Centre

At our final performance of UnCovered, it was my job to escort four of our talented performers up to the third balcony for a Q&A with young students from Sheridan College’s Preparatory program, and I got us all lost in a back passage running back and forth. At one point, the thought did occur to me that Dark Matter fans were going to be extremely upset with me if Melissa O’Neil spent the entire next-season filming period wandering back and forth in the back halls of the Telus Centre.

Eventually I gave up, let us right back to where we were before, and poor Jahlen, Arinea, Robert, and Melissa had to make their way through that crazy crowd of loving show-goers after all.

They’ve forgiven me since though. I think.


#InternMemory: The Banks Prize Cabaret

I’d had the good fortune to know both of our 2016-17 Banks Prize winners before they walked into the audition room. It was a privilege to watch them both grow immensely through their year as Banks Prize winners and RBC Apprentices, helping to foster some training with industry professionals and watching them grow by leaps and bounds.

Jahlen and Arinea were a fantastic pair from the get go, diving fearlessly with Reza and Mitchell into the arrangement of their UnCovered song, Modern Love, which went over extremely well in the performance.

Jahlen and Arinea then went on to some fantastic successes in musical theatre roles, with Arinea earning a Dora nomination for her performance as Gertrude in YPT’s Seussical, and Jahlen receiving a Dora win for his performance as the Youth in our production of Passing Strange.

In April 2017, with the guidance of Music Director Adam White and RBC Apprentice Director Rob Kempson, Arinea and Jahlen put on their Banks Prize Cabaret, entitled …What Now?, a funny, charming, and heartfelt showcase of their immense talents and even more importantly, of them as extraordinary individuals.


#InternFail: Breaking a Chair at the 2017 Musical Stage Company Staff Retreat

As you know if you’ve read my other entries, I can be relied on to trip on things, break things, get lost (see above), etc.

No incident was a finer example of this than the Great Chair Breaking of 2017.

Following our first day of staff retreating (whereupon the Musical Stage staff plan the year ahead, long-term goals and strategies, and eat a lot of chips), we went to Executive Director of Development Erin Schachter’s place to read through the script of Fun Home, our Spring 2018 production in the Off-Mirvish season.

Not 5 minutes after finishing reading through this beautiful, moving piece, a loud CRACK could be heard as the plastic chair I was sitting on (and leaning backward on) snapped right at the base of the seat, and my entire upper body fell backward.

The next minute was a slow motion fall, the likes of which have never been seen, and will never be seen again. I sent a coffee table flying into the air, two glasses with water in them were shattered, and was lying there, bewildered, with my head and back on the floor but my legs and midsection still held aloft by what remained of the chair.

Mitchell laughed so hard he cried.


In Conclusion

And as I hang up my #KevintheIntern hat, I have just one thing to say:

I’m still here!

That’s right, I’m staying at The Musical Stage Company! #KevintheIntern has taken the next stage of his Pokemon evolution here at the company and become…uh…#KevintheAssociate? #KevintheEquallyClumsyButLessInternistic? Let’s go with #KevinNottheIntern.

I’m so excited to say that The Musical Stage Company is keeping me on staff in an ongoing capacity as Associate Artistic Director.

#KevintheIntern #KevinNottheIntern

(for those who are unfamiliar, the above are Pichu and Pikachu, two classic Pokemon. Pichu generally evolves into Pikachu, who… You know what, nevermind. I should have just chosen a musical theatre metaphor to begin with. Think like, uh…Little Alison into Middle Alison. That’s all I got.)

I’m so grateful to the Metcalf Foundation for this incredible internship opportunity, and to Mitchell and my coworkers here at The Musical Stage Company. It’s an incredible place to work, and I look forward to a number of new blog posts as #KevinNottheIntern delving into a number of different topics.

And finally, a huge welcome to Sabah Haque, who’s starting this month as our Metcalf Foundation Marketing & Development Intern!