Archive for Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Theatre in the Park head brings varied baackground to job

January 3, 2008

Melissa Wyckoff might be the new executive producer for Theatre in the Park, but she is no stranger to its stage.

Wyckoff played Amaryllis in "The Music Man" in the Theatre in the Park's first production in Antioch Park. She was in sixth grade and her own music teacher was cast in the show as her music teacher, Marian Paroo. Her older sister also was in the chorus and her younger brother was one of the town kids.

"I just remembered that was such a fun experience because we were all in it and it was such a fun show," she said.

Wyckoff's experience on the stage of "The Music Man" is just one piece of her musical and theatrical background.

She was a company dancer for The Kansas City Ballet, she earned her degree from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri Kansas City, she has been an adjunct dance professor, a marketing and public relations specialist for a theater and symphony in Florida and the executive director and CEO of two arts organizations.

Wyckoff said her varied experiences with the arts will help her in her new position.

"When a performer comes up to me with an issue, I can think I've performed outside I know what it's like to do that, but then I've also been on the board member's side," she said. "And then I've been the worker that tries to make do and make things happen with a small budget."

Theater in the Park is part of the Johnson County Park and Recreation District, so Wyckoff also will oversee the arts programs and classes offered by the district.

Jill Geller, superintendent of recreation for JCPRD, said the interview panel felt good about Wyckoff from the beginning.

"She's got some great experience in all aspects of the arts," she said.

Wyckoff's hiring followed the resignation of the theater's previous executive producer, Mike Musick.

The 2008 shows already have been chosen, but Wyckoff still has a lot of work to do as the season approaches, having just started on the job last week.

"I'm excited about getting in there and seeing who's applying to be director," she said.

Wyckoff said she has a lot of ideas for Theatre in the Park, but she wanted to speak with the theater council about them first.

"It's a team effort," she said.

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