UCF student clinches prestigious theater internship
The Maine State Music Theatre in Brunswick, Maine, announced on Monday that Kyle Laing, a sophomore in UCF’s musical theater program, will be performing in three of its musicals over the summer as part of a theater internship.
“Everyone I’ve talked to has told me that the weather is going to be the most beautiful I’ve ever experienced,” said Laing, who has never been to Maine.
The opportunity came from a series of auditions at this year’s 67th annual Southeastern Theatre Conference in Greensboro, North Carolina. Sixty-six theater companies from across the country, including those located in Ohio, California and New York City, attended the conference to scout talent.
“At the conference, you have 90 seconds to perform a monologue and song for all the companies, and I didn’t even initially get a callback for Maine State, but I got callbacks to dance for other companies,” Laing said. “After the dance, [Maine State] called me back and were interested in hiring me after seeing me dance.”
Laing expressed grateful surprise that his dancing skills have come so far so quickly.
“I really haven’t been dancing that long,” he said. “I didn’t have a formal dance class until last fall at UCF, so it’s just crazy.”
Laing said he has Judi Siegfried and Mayme Paul, both dance professors at UCF, to thank for his success.
“They are constantly pushing me harder,” Laing said. “There’s a bar that I [set] for myself, and they don’t let me settle for any less.”
Laing described the hectic process of callback auditions, where he auditioned and interviewed one-on-one for seven different theater companies after the initial 90-second performance.
“It got really stressful because it was [about] 9 p.m., and I had to run around this massive hotel from door to door scheduling callbacks all night long,” he said. “I had three hours to schedule and go to seven callbacks, so I’m running around like a madman in this massive hotel trying to get from place to place and look presentable and calm during the actual interviews and [auditions]. By the end of the night, I was beyond exhausted.”
The Maine State Music Theatre, founded as the Brunswick Summer Playhouse in 1959, presents four musicals each summer, along with children’s shows and other special events, according to its website. Several performance interns from the program have gone on to appear on Broadway, including Lindsay Chambers, who worked as an understudy in Hairspray for seven years and starred in Lysistrata Jones, and Robyn Hurder, who played Jeannie Muldoon in Nice Work If You Can Get It.
According to a news release from the theater, Laing will be performing in productions of Evita, Fiddler on the Roof and Mamma Mia!, as well as two special events.
“Beyond performing on stage, he and the other performance interns will perform a repertoire of songs at local area restaurants [and other locations] as part of outreach in our community, and work with the stage crew during strike when one show comes down and another goes up,” said Katie White, outreach manager for Maine State Music Theatre.
The three musicals Laing will be a part of run for 24 performances each, meaning he could be in for a whopping 72 performances over the course of just two months.
“The training that I’ve received here [at UCF] has definitely prepared me for where I am right now,” Laing said. “The professors are constantly there to help you and push you to be the best you can be. I’m so excited for the next two years and what’ll come from two more years of training.”
Alex Storer is the Entertainment Editor for the Central Florida Future.