On today's edition of The Front Row, we have Justin Duncan in the KTTZ Studio, who is the executive director of Moonlight Musicals.
So tell us what are your responsibilities to begin with as executive director of Moonlight Musicals. What does that mean for Moonlight Musicals?
“In September last year, Mr. Dolter, who is the founding artistic director, and he was also working as the Chief Financial Officer at the time, he told the board of directors that he wanted to take a bit more of a back seat and focus on his health and focus on Texas Tech Opera. My name was brought forward, and I am now basically the managing director of the company. I am in charge of the three divisions, which is Production, the Moonlight Arts Academy, and then the new After Dark division, which is sort of an echo of the dinner theaters that were done five or six years ago. We’re reviving that this October with sort of a more mature date night option. But we’re still staying very focused on the family friendly programming. That’s sort of my responsibilities in a nut shell.”
“It’s a big company, has come a long way from just doing summer productions outside, and with the Fall and Spring offerings that we’re doing at the Civic Center, that was a huge addition on top of what’s done in the summer. Now with the introduction of the Moonlight Arts Academy, now we have this huge education element, there are after school offerings in the Fall and Spring, and we’re running our summer camps right now in the amphitheater, and also our July production of Aladdin Junior, that is a Moonlight Arts Academy class, but they’re going to be running that show in July. So it’s all kinds of opportunities for kids and on our end it’s a lot of work, but it’s a great work.”
Right, exactly. Well let’s get down to more specifics. You have a show that’s in production now just about to open, it’s Annie. Tell us about it!
“Well I think we have all at least heard of Annie. But Moonlight Musicals, I can’t remember the exact date, but it was done in the recent past about eight years ago. So It’s about time to renew that show, it’s one of the great American favorites. It’s a story of optimism and hope and thinking about tomorrow. We are going to open that next Thursday, June 13th. We have two fantastic female leads, young girls who are going to play Annie, Abi Mills and Kyra Gerhart. They’re just fantastic, and very talented, it’s a pleasure to work with them. We also have upwards of 45 children who are playing the orphans. When they do the Hard Knock Life song, it is a show stopper, and that’s right at the top of the show. So it’s a lot of crowd favorites, and just a great story to be told.”
“Now I will say that when the entire orchestra gets together, you get that Americana ragtime music and man that show comes alive, it’s so fantastic. And Moonlight Musicals, as you likely know, we always have live orchestra, and that is a huge element that cannot be replaced with can music, and to have live professional local musicians, that really makes Moonlight Musicals special.”
Annie will open June 13th, and will be showing throughout the month at the Moonlight Musicals Amphitheatre. Tickets can be purchased on their website at https://moonlightmusicals.com/show/annie/