The Lexington Theatre Company is bringing a bit of Broadway to Central Kentucky, and through its educational experiences, could eventually send some of Lexington’s stars to Broadway.
“At the Lexington Theatre Company, we have a twofold mission,” says Lyndy Franklin Smith, artistic director. “The first is to create first-rate, professional, locally produced theater for Central Kentucky. The second part of our mission is to serve as a training ground and performance platform for up-and-coming talent.”
Lyndy says that she and production director Jeromy Smith were inspired to create “The Lex” based on their own experiences as young artists in summer theater programs.
“It was a really neat way for us to make connections and train,” she says. “Then when we moved to New York, we had this incredible résumé and connections to people in the industry, so it made moving to the city not so scary. After we had our time in New York – we were there about eight years, working on Broadway ourselves – we moved back here to Kentucky. A big part of what Jeromy and I want to do is to pay it forward, to be able to open doors and give opportunities to the next generation of young artists.”
“There are several factors that go into us deciding a show,” says Jeromy. “We want to choose titles that are going to excite the community. We want people to come and see the work that we’re doing. Another thing that factors in is that we are not set up right now to build sets and costumes, so we rent those things from other theaters that have built them for the shows that they’ve done.”
The productions include collegiate performers alongside Equity actors. The student performers get to learn from experienced, professional stage actors, and the cast members enjoy the experience.
“Even though it’s hard days, and it’s rigorous schedules, and it can feel like a lot of pressure, if we’re not having fun doing it, we might as well not be doing it,” says Lyndy. “We finished Mary Poppins and [the actors] didn’t want to leave! We had a little closing night party and they went off to an ice cream shop afterwards and were doing the choreography in the parking lot because they didn’t want it to be over yet. We feel the same way.
“That’s a huge part of what we’re about,” Lyndy continues. “You can be excellent while at the same time being a great positive fun place to work where everybody is in it for the right reasons. We want the experience that people have when they come to see our shows or when they come to work with us to be exceptional, but we also want to be lasting, and so we make decisions very carefully and very methodically to ensure that we are going to be here for a long time.”