Broadway Talents Shine at Texas Musical Theatre Workshop

The University of Texas at Austin, in collaboration with Texas State University-San Marcos, is offering the inaugural Texas Musical Theatre Workshop, a pre-collegiate summer intensive for high school students exploring a potential career in musical theater June 10-30. This unique program brings New York's Broadway talent to Texas, providing students the best in musical theater training by industry professionals.

The workshop was founded by University of Texas at Austin faculty member Lyn Koenning and Texas State University faculty members Kaitlin Hopkins and Jim Price. As a collective, these artistic directors bring more than 75 years of industry experience to the workshop. Head of the Texas State University playwriting program, Price is a veteran Broadway performer (Les Misérables, The Civil War). Hopkins, a Broadway performer and director, heads the nationally renowned musical theater program at Texas State University. Koenning is an award-winning music director, vocal arranger and voice and acting coach whose students have appeared on Broadway, regional theater, television and film.

The roster of teaching artists includes Mark Hollman, Tony Award-winning composer (Urinetown); Matt Lenz, Broadway director (Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can); musical director Greg Bolin; and Broadway performers Joyce Chittick (Anything Goes, Jersey Boys), Rocker Verastique (Chicago, Miss Saigon), Danny Herman (Leader of the Pack), Natasha Davison (Beauty and the Beast), and Darren Gibson (On the Town, Fosse).

The workshop is also an incubator for the development of new musicals by professional artists. The creative team of Giant Steps: An Urbean Musical has been invited to include their new musical as part of the workshop this year. With music and lyrics by newcomer Michael Dexter and book by Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Award-nominated Eric H. Weinberger, Giant Steps is a contemporary twist on the classic fairy tale "Jack and the Beanstalk" that will delight young and old, alike.

Directed by Broadway star Billy Porter, the Giant Steps cast is composed of university students, alumni and community artists. A staged reading of the musical will be presented at the Department of Theatre and Dance's B. Iden Payne Theatre on June 29.

"Texas Musical Theatre Workshop is another expression of the partnerships developed by our department." said Brant Pope, chairman of the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas at Austin. "Over the last two years we have crafted working relationships with ZACH, Teatro Vívo, Austin Lyric Opera, and an extraordinary new link with the famed Seattle Children's Theatre. These partnerships will be evident in the 2012-13 season, and all of them communicate our desire to be a vital member of the arts community."

For more information on the Texas Musical Theatre Workshop, please visit

For more information on Giant Steps: An Urbean Musical, please visit


JUNE 29, 2012 The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance presents a staged reading of Giant Steps: An Urbean Musical at the B. Iden Payne Theatre (300 E. 23rd St.), located in the F. Loren Winship Drama Building. A map of the campus:

The June 29 staged reading of Giant Steps is at 7 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.