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Stageworks Theatre

The Best Little Theater in Cypress

Article by Bethany Alexander

Photography by Provided by Stageworks Theatre

Originally published in Cypress Lifestyle

At first glance, Stageworks Theatre, formerly Houston Family Art Center, looks like any other storefront in just another shopping center in Cypress. On the contrary, the theatre has served as a safe haven and community center for its loyal patrons and local volunteers since 2005.

Named the “Best Gem of a Theatre” by the Houston Press, Stageworks Theatre produces eight different award-winning theatrical works each season. The Garza Mainstage auditorium boasts 150 seats and with the variety of dramas, musicals and comedies offered, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Just this past year, plays such as Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling, Cabaret by John Van Druten, and It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play by Joe Landry, took residency for four weekends each.

Stageworks Theatre does just as much for the actors on stage as it does for the audience members in the seats or volunteers backstage. Whether attending a show or performing on stage, theater arts contributes to education, literacy and the economy. Any given play or script may require cast members from different generations, cultures, religions and orientations. Behind the scenes, there are many working parts involved in putting on a show. From the green room to the concession stands, and every entity in between, there are so many responsibilities that require time and dedication from the volunteers who are passionate about the arts. Without the set designers and stage crew, there is no set. Without a story to be told, there is no show to put on. And as they say in show business, the show must always go on.

Board member and past president, Julie Montgomery, joined the Stageworks family in 2009 when her daughter first auditioned for a part in a children’s show. Montgomery believes the scripts she reads and the people who gather at the theater are what make her a better person and creates unity within our community. “The theatre is a place to learn about ourselves, whether as an audience member, student or theatre practitioner. It’s the community’s theater; it’s everybody’s,” says Montgomery.

“Theater is about capturing moments and creating experiences that move the audience. The world is hectic and sometimes life seems to get away from us. In the theater, time stands still, and we are able to forget about the worries outside of those four walls,” Montgomery elaborates. “The stage influences the way we look at ourselves, value our lives and view our behaviors.”

The Acting Academy

The Stageworks’ Acting Academy provides young people of all ages a place to develop confidence, responsibility and teamwork in a friendly, safe and supportive environment. Whether the student is looking for something fun to do or is serious about developing acting, singing or dancing skills for performance theater, the academy offers classes for every skill level. Scholarships to the academy are available through sponsorship opportunities, volunteers and donors.  

Stageworks is a steppingstone for many actors who go on to grander stages and screens. Alum Sadie Sink, who played Annie in a student production at the academy reprised the role on Broadway in New York, and recently played Maxine "Max" Mayfield on the Netflix® hit television show, Stranger Things. Her brother Mitchell Sink, who plays JoJo on the Garza Mainstage production of Seussical, went on to perform as Bruce on Broadway’s Matilda. Other notable alums include Paul Schoeller, who played the role of Ralphie in A Christmas Story on the Mainstage and appeared in national tours of Finding Neverland and The Sound of Music, and Jana Ellsworth, an actor who performed in Oliver!, Footloose, Into the Woods, and Beauty and the Beast at Stageworks is currently on the international tour of Phantom of the Opera performing the roles of Wild Woman/Spanish Lady and Carlotta to rave reviews.

The Stageworks Theatre is all-volunteer run and dependent on donations and ticket sales from the shows. With support from loyal patrons, season ticket holders and sponsors like the Shining Stars Guild, Texas Commission on the Arts, and Steeplechase Pediatric Center, Stageworks is able to keep their lights on while maintaining the quality of licensed work at the theater they are blessed to call home for nearly 15 years. Like most non-profits, they are always seeking donor and volunteer support. Between licensing, utility bills and quality set supplies, Stageworks is truly grateful for the contributions from local businesses and the community.

For adults with a flair for the dramatic, theater is a form of self-care and expressiveness. For students who may not be the star athlete or mathlete, the stage is a place for them to shine. And for all the behind the scenes volunteers from the sound booth to the concession stand, Stageworks is a place to find fulfillment. No matter the casting call, Stageworks Theatre has a role for everyone.

Ken Ludwig's Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery plays through Feb. 9 and She Loves Me by Joe Masteroff is showing Feb. 28 through March 22. If you are interested in auditioning, volunteering or donating, many opportunities are available for the 2020-2021 season.

StageWorksHouston.org

The Gift of Local Theater

Education & Literacy – Theatre connects the performers and audience members to literature from across generations.

Safe Place – Students develop confidence, communication and performance skills in a safe and supportive environment.

Creates Community – Stageworks gives back to the community by creating a community within itself.

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