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Mecklenburg trustees reschedule for July 31 to talk contract extension for Thornton

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Prizery alum makes it to Broadway

South Boston News
Tyler McKenzie
SoVaNow.com / June 30, 2014
Now in its fifth year, Summer Theatre at The Prizery can point to its first alumnus making it to the big stage and bright lights of Broadway.

Tyler McKenzie, one of the young professionals who joined the Summer Theatre repertory company in its first season, will make his Broadway debut Monday in “Mamma Mia!”, the long-running musical at the Broadhurst Theatre in mid-town Manhattan. McKenzie joined the Broadway cast as a replacement after appearing in the nation touring production this year.

“Our first Broadway Baby — we were his first pro job,” said Prizery artistic director Chris Jones. “It’s exciting.”

At The Prizery, McKenzie appeared as an ensemble performer in “Dames At Sea,” “All Nite Strut” and “Annie.” A graduate of Western Carolina University, he recalls his time in town fondly.

“It was my first professional gig actually and I had such a good time,” said McKenzie, adding that getting to Broadway is “awesome.”

“My Mamma Mia adventure started on the non-equity tour which started my first fall being out of college. We toured for about nine months,” he said. Recently, “I received a call from the Broadway company during a performance in Chicago asking me to join the Broadway company for the summer as a vacation swing. Meaning, I learn and perform the tracks of actors that will be going on their vacations, either for other jobs or simply a break from the show.

“Of course I said yes — and I will be making my Broadway debut on Monday!”

In the show, based on the music of Swedish pop group ABBA, McKenzie is the understudy to actors playing two roles, Eddie and Pepper. He is also a member of the ensemble, which involves a lot of singing and dancing. The work is “a blast,” he says.

Joining the Broadway cast also means a step up from the non-union touring production: “I will also be joining Actors Equity because of this job. Things are happening pretty quickly and I am so happy about it.”

He concludes: “Hoping for more work lined up in the fall after I return from doing Mamma Mia! in Bogota, Columbia for three weeks in August. We shall see!”

Meantime, 2014 Summer Theatre at The Prizery features a company of 29 professionals — many young actors honing their craft in college, and starring in the local productions of “Hairspray!,” now in the final week of its local run, and “Les Miserables,” which debuts July 11. For tickets, contact The Prizery at 572-8339 or visit the website, http://www.prizery.com.

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