Musical Theater Center Appoints Susan Alexander Thompson Director of Opening Act

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Former Miss Maryland to Share Her Talents with Elite Children’s Musical Theater Ensemble; Michael Axler named Opening Act Musical Director

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“The Musical Theater Center attracts the best from the Maryland, Virginia and D.C. region, and I’m looking forward to using my experience to help teach children what it takes to compete and succeed on a national stage." said Susan Alexander Thompson

The Musical Theater Center today announced the appointment of former Miss Maryland Susan Alexander Thompson as Director of Opening Act, an elite children's musical theater ensemble.

“We are excited to have someone of Susan Alexander Thompson's talents and experience leading Opening Act,” said Diane Hamilton, Artistic Director of the Musical Theater Center (MTC). “Susan's ability and high standards are a perfect pairing for our select group of talented child performers.”

Thompson, an alumna of the Musical Theater Center, knows the standards of excellence the program instills, and is an example of the many performers who have gone on to compete on the national stage. Alumni have performed on Broadway in hit shows like Chicago, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and Mary Poppins. Thompson served as Miss Maryland and competed in the 1997 Miss America Pageant. In addition, Thompson toured with Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Programs, performed as a resident actor with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Theatre Program, and was the Washington Capitals national anthem singer for two seasons.

“It’s a honor to be named Director of Opening Act,” said Susan Alexander Thompson. “The Musical Theater Center attracts the best and the brightest from the Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. region, and I’m looking forward to using my experience to help teach children what it takes to compete and succeed on a national stage. I’m especially excited for the upcoming Opening Act auditions on June 13, 2011, and the chance to meet some of the region’s top musical theater talent from grades 3-6 as they audition to be a part of this elite group.”

Hamilton also announced the appointment of Michael Axler as Musical Director of Opening Act. Axler holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University at Albany, State University of New York, and received his BA in music from the University of Rochester where he studied vocal and piano performance at the Eastman School of Music. He has performed concert work at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, and served as musical director for numerous theater productions in New York. “Michael Axler is an incredible musical talent, and we are fortunate to have someone of his caliber as a director at the Musical Theater Center,” said Hamilton.

About Opening Act
Opening Act is an elite children's musical theater performance ensemble made up of the top talent from grades 3-6 in the Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. region.

About Musical Theater Center
MTC is one of the leading performing arts education organizations for young people in the metropolitan Washington area and is dedicated to providing school-age students the highest quality performing arts education with a focus on training in the musical theater disciplines of voice, dance and acting. There are three MTC musical performance ensembles, Singular Sensations (grades 9-12), Upbeat Unlimited (grades 6-9) and Opening Act (grades 3-6). For over twenty-five years, the Center’s unique performance-based programs have served students at all skill levels. MTC’s programs currently serve over 1,800 students annually. MTC is hosting auditions for Singular Sensations and Upbeat Unlimited on Saturday, June 4, 2011, from 9 am – Noon, and Opening Act on June 13, 2011, from 7 – 9 pm. Contact (301) 251-5766 or visit http://www.musicaltheatercenter.org to sign-up.

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Tom Whittum
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