top of page

Tomorrow's Downtown Bennington, Today!

I had the honor of being on the panel for the supremely talented teenagers at MAU who spent several days auditioning for Mamma Mia! The drama club led by Lynn Songdahl Sweet will be presenting this ambitious production in a mere two months. With her team of co-director, Enrique Segura and choreographer, Kristi Segura, this is a challenge that will be met with what is already shaping up to be an incredible production.

What does this have to do with downtown Bennington? Everything.

These kids are our future. Some will go on to have careers in the arts. Some will go on to be lawyers, contractors, etc. Some will go on to be small business owners. Perhaps Trinity will take over Madisons and 421 or Cameron will take over The Village Chocolate Shop and join the Bennington Community Theater who have a home at Bennington Performing Arts Center (BPAC.) Either way, both left the auditions to head over to their jobs downtown and I got to greet them in person at their jobs.

What MAU offers these young thespians is a home away from home like every high school theatre department. These kids filled my heart with their hearts. They moved me to step away from using Facebook to promote downtown to write about them after the first day of rehearsals.

"Looking forward to day two of auditions for Mamma Mia! at MAU today. Wonderful talent but what impressed me the most was the support these kids show each other. From holding hands to cheering on their “competition.” Lynn Songdahl Sweet has created such a warm and loving environment for these young thespians. They are so lucky to have her! This is going to be tough to cast but I see that every one of them would be able to put aside their own disappointment to celebrate the ones who land the roles. As Kristi Segura said, the ensemble is the star. All are winners, not because of trying to be equitable in praise, but because the show will need every single one of them to succeed. And succeed it will. Honored to be a part of it."

We see sports celebrated in every issue of every newspaper so I am seizing this moment to celebrate the artists. The actors, musicians (this includes singers), and dancers of MAU deserve just as much attention and praise. They work hard at their craft and Mrs. Sweet is an incredible force for these kids. Her love and respect for them is palpable.

It was also a treat to see many of them perform this past weekend at the MAU Pops Concert. This town has some extremely talented kids! Next on the agenda is to get them out to perform at Mayfest this year. If you missed them at MAU, hopefully you will get to see them in Merchants Park on the Thomson Family Stage.

I spent my entire life running right back to the familiarity of the black box with lights, seats, a stage and the ghost light. Thank you to Lynn and her "kids" from letting me come into their home for a few days and reminding me that it's still my home too. I hope to remind them that Downtown is theirs.


bottom of page