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2018 in review: Matthew McGee, freeFall Theatre

Bill DeYoung

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Matthew McGee, right, onstage last June in "The Musical of Musicals" at freeFall. Thee Photo Ninja.

Sometimes it seems as if Matthew McGee is as ubiquitous as palm trees in the bay area, at least in the performing arts arena; he’s an actor, singer, comedian, drag performer and always in demand as an emcee because he’s exceptionally personable, and funny, and engaging. He’s the kind of person you want at your party.

That said, McGee has a day job, and he takes it quite seriously. He’s the Director of Community Outreach and Marketing for freeFall Theatre, which has been putting both cutting-edge and well-loved dramas, comedies and musicals onstage since 2008.

 

St. Pete Catalyst: What were your company’s biggest accomplishments in 2018?

McGee: White Fang (now titled Wolf’s Blood) opened in London to rave reviews after making its World Premiere at freeFall in the fall of 2017. This show was a co-production between freeFall Theatre Company and Jethro Compton Productions;

White Fang director/writer/set designer Jethro Compton won Best Set Design in Creative Loafing‘s Best of The Bay Issue;

We won a Theatre Tampa Bay Award for Best Production of a Musical, for Daddy Long Legs;

Re-opened our black box space after a record-breaking fund drive that helped us make repairs, after catastrophic damage sustained by Hurricane Irma.

 

St. Pete Catalyst: What was a challenge the company faced in 2018, and what did you learn from it?

McGee: The construction delays from Hurricane Irma damage were very stressful and slow-going. We used an alternate space for our first two shows of the season, and then had delays getting back into our space in January 2018 for our critically-acclaimed production of The Glass Menagerie. Some of the repairs were just finished as we began the 2018 hurricane season.

 

St. Pete Catalyst: What are freeFall’ss goals in 2019?

McGee: We have hired two new staff members in Development and Patron Services, and are hoping to grow our staff in the coming year.

 

St. Pete Catalyst: What business insight (advice or a tip) can you share with readers?

McGee: I think I’ve learned about how important programming is from our Artistic Director Eric Davis. His seasons always offer a lot of variety. You can have your heart broken watching Glass Menagerie, fall in love all over again after watching Daddy Long Legs, and laugh yourself silly during The Musical of Musicals. He has an uncanny ability to present daring and exciting shows that are also accessible and able to entertain.

 

 

St. Pete Catalyst: What was your favorite book, and/or movie in 2018?

McGee: Book: Somebody to Love: The Life, Death and Legacy of Freddie Mercury; Movie: Hereditary.

 

 

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