For several years I worked with Conservatory Theatre at the University of Central Florida in a partnership with Seaside Music Theater. Until it closed in late 2008, Seaside Music Theater brought professional theater of a rare caliber to Central Florida. I was present for the final few years of this company’s 26-year run for productions of Nine, South Pacific, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, White Christmas, and Peter Pan. I also conducted the company’s last major venture, a benefit concert performance of Les Miserables. A recent segment on “The Arts Connection” summarizes Seaside Music Theatre’s remarkable history, its visionary founder and benefactor Tippen Davidson, and its final year of operation including footage from the benefit concert. The video can be seen here.
The Conservatory Theatre at the University of Central Florida maintained a partnership with Seaside Music Theater, affording its MFA candidates professional experience through apprenticeship, rehearsals, masterclasses and productions. The university also shared the two world-class performance spaces at the News-Journal Center in Daytona Beach, where I music directed productions of Romance, Romance and Starting Here, Starting Now and commissioned new musical by composer Richard Pearson Thomas.
When Seaside Music Theater closed its doors in 2008 and the partnership was dissolved, I remained with University of Central Florida on their Orlando campus to music direct productions of West Side Story, The Last Five Years, and It’s Today! An Evening of Jerry Herman.