Do Your Best.
Respect The Work.
We are all working together to tell a story.
What We Do
Opening Act Theatre Company publishes and produces brand new musicals for young actors and offers performing arts education in and around Van Buren County, Michigan. Our focus is on telling a good story.
Stories help us to develop community, to connect with other human beings by sharing who we are. When we listen to other's stories and share our own stories in return, we grow to understand each other a bit better. In a world where it is easy to see what divides us, story helps us to see the things that unite us.
The performing arts offer unique opportunities for expressing who we are and for learning from others. Hearing another person's perspective or engaging our imaginations to pretend to be someone else for a while opens our eyes to who they are and teaches us about ourselves. Words are a powerful communication tool, but sometimes only music or movement will do. Sometimes you need to do them all at once!
Opening Act empowers people to tell stories through acting, music, and dance.
When performing arts educators Angela and Jonathan Talmadge moved from Santa Ana, CA to Lawton, MI in July of 2012, they noticed that many of the experiences readily available to kids in Southern California were harder to come by in their little corner of Southwest Michigan. They wished for their own son, then a first grader, and students like him to be able to sing and dance and act - to explore their own creativity and develop the skills to express it. That led to their first musical with students from Mattawan Early and Later Elementary schools and the creation of Opening Act Theatre Company.
With the decision to put on that first musical came the next challenge, finding the perfect production. They needed a script that: told a good story, was appropriate for children, had flexible casting, could be done on a limited budget, and would be engaging for the audience. They simply couldn't find it, so they decided to write it. That first show was A Little Bit of Kindness, a children's musical based on Aesop's fable, The Lion and the Mouse.
Since then, Opening Act has produced 13 original musicals in addition to established musicals, plays, cabarets, and concert performances. Three of those original musicals (A Little Bit of Kindness, Arlyn & Bellamy , and The Weavers) are available now for licensing. You can take these fun, fresh, engaging musicals and produce them with your theatre group! More of those 13 original musicals will be available soon as Opening Act continues to work to expand performing arts opportunities in their community and beyond.
Meet the Directors
Angela is a veteran teacher and performer who has spent over 25 years teaching kids to love performing arts. Before moving to Lawton, MI she taught Musical Theater, Voice, Jazz, Ballet, and Tap for South Coast Performing Arts, Focus Dance Center for the Performing Arts, and the world renowned Crystal Cathedral. She designed an after-school theatre program for Nohl Canyon Elementary, ran musical theatre camps for the College for Kids program at Santiago Canyon College, taught Play and Music classes for Gymboree, and toured with the Young Americans. Here in Southwest Michigan, she taught at Momentum Dance Center and is the permanent guest teacher at Mattawan Later Elementary. Angela has a BA in Musical Theater from California State University, Fullerton and also studied voice with Eric Futterer in Orange County, California and Tony winner Victoria Clark in New York City. Angela currently teaches private voice lessons, dance, and musical theatre for Opening Act.
Jonathan is an accomplished director, performer, teacher, composer, and playwright. He has taught Acting and Musical Theatre for San Clemente Dance, Focus Dance Center for the Performing Arts, and Insurgo Academy as well as music classes for Gymboree Play and Music. Favorite directing credits include: Much Ado About Nothing - Paw Paw Days Uncorks The Arts, All In The Timing - OATC, Richard III – Insurgo Theater Movement, and The Sound of Music. – The Warehouse Theatre. Jonathan has performed all over the United States. Acting credits include Man Of La Mancha - Cervantes/ Quixote, Falsettos – Marvin, Much Ado About Nothing – Benedick, and the title role in Cyrano DeBergerac. Most recently, he played Johnny Cantone in 1940's Radio Hour at The Kalamazoo Civic. His album, A Father's Prayer, is available on Spotify and iTunes. He holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from CSU Fullerton. In addition to directing and teaching for Opening Act, Mr. Talmadge writes and composes our original musicals.
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What Parents Say
My daughter (and our whole family) LOVE the Opening Act Theatre Company! Our kids have been in over 10 plays and they have grown so much.
- Katie B.