A new group, Musical Theatre for Kansas, is sending seven students from the University of Kansas around the state to sing and just maybe do a little recruiting for KU.

A new group, Musical Theatre for Kansas, is sending seven students from the University of Kansas around the state to sing and just maybe do a little recruiting for KU.

On Tuesday, the group performed their show, “Boy Meets Girl,” in the Pittsburg High School auditorium.

“It’s a great show, and all we had to do was get the stage ready for them,” said Greg Shaw, PHS theater instructor.

“This is our first year, and it’s a developing program,” said Hailey Lapin, KTK member, before the show. “This is our third performance.”

Joe Carr, another group member, said that the group had two performances last semester and has four planned this semester.

“We have a very busy spring,” Lapin said.

The program is similar to a group that John Staniunas, KU theater department chairman, participated in as a student at the University of Arizona. He wrote and directed “Boy Meets Girl.” Musical theater is a special interest of his, and he spearheaded a new KU program in that area.

“We do 24 songs in 35 minutes around the theme of boy meets girl,” said Staniunas, who accompanies the group on its travels.
It’s a subject that could easily be trite or cutsey, and a lot of sappy love songs have been written. The KU chairman said that he was determined to avoid every one of them.

“I didn’t want anything like that,” Staniunas said. “I tried to cover the gamut of musical theater from about the 1940s to the present time.”

The three young men and four young women in the group are all studying voice and theater.

“The idea was to get out and show the talents of our students around the state,” Staniunas said. “You don’t have to have to come to KU to see what our students are doing.”

“We have some group songs, four solos by the girls and some duets at the end,” said Gil Perez-Abraham. “Ryan McCall is our accompanist and did the musical arrangements.”

He added that the group also does just a bit of recruiting for KU, and members were available to chat with PHS theater students following the show.

It’s work for group members to juggle the show’s travels with studies and productions at KU. Lapin, for example,  is currently a crew member for the upcoming KU production of the comedy “The Foreigner,” which opens on Friday. Still, she believes it’s worth the effort to take KU musical theater on the road.

“We don’t get a lot of opportunities to visit and share what we love,” she said.