Find out more about Myrona:
pronounced like Madonna with an R or Piranha with an M
I hail from the Midwest - Ohio to be specific. I am a classically trained pianist and attended Ohio University on a piano scholarship. I switched majors many times during those 5 years, from music education to journalism to composition, finally graduating (before my parents gave up on me) with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Vocal Performance.
Myrona with her daughter, Emma, at Rockefeller Center
in New York
I began my professional career as a music theatre actor in Chicago, where I had the opportunity to work on two original shows and became enthralled with the creative spirit and collaborative process that music theatre is all about.
My first summer stock experiences were at Enchanted Hills Playhouse, a barn theatre in Syracuse, Indiana, where I played Laurie, Julie, Luisa, Nancy, Golda, Nellie and Mrs. Paroo over the course of two summers of theatre.
In my free time I was director of the VU Show Revue at Valparaiso University, a small Lutheran college just south of the Illinois border.
By the end of that second summer of stock, it was time to cut the apron strings and move to New York. So with $1000 in my checkbook, off to Manhattan I went.
What was I thinking! After two days of hunting for an apartment I ended up in Jackson Heights – broke and without employment. I guess I should have packed more than my tap shoes!
Myrona with Broadway actors and UCI alums, Jenn Colella (left)
and Jenn Foote (right)
It wasn’t all bad though. The auditions were plentiful, even if the local employment was not. Imagine the 42nd Street of 1982 – not a pretty sight and definitely scary to a naïve country girl like me.
But my love of the theatre won out. I worked Off-Broadway, did Jersey dinner theatre, and took shows in Florida and Toronto. I did a 6-month stint in Nashville at the now extinct Opryland theme park, dancing and singing with an 18-piece orchestra 5 or 6 hour-long shows a day.
I returned to Orlando where I did a year at Disney World in the role of Dolly Drew in the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue, still running today!
|Myrona with alum, Ashley Moniz|
Next stop – California! New challenges arose in LA. I tried the film/television route half-heartedly, but my real love was music theatre. I did shows at CLO’s and dinner theatres. I sang in an acapella quartet for 4 years. I cruises the world on Royal Viking Cruise Lines as lead singer and cabaret performer for over a year.
Upon my return I began my graduate work at UC Irvine, where I played Phyllis in Follies and The Witch in Into the Woods, two of Sondheim’s most brilliant works. In those three years I also did two productions of Side by Side by Sondheim and played Celeste I in a beautiful production of Sunday in the Park with George at South Coast Repertory.
I completed my doctoral studies in Education and Leadership in 2009. My research interests are Gifted Education and Creativity Development. I am currently the Education Assessment Advisor for UCI Drama.
Finally, my interests and experiences lead me into directing. I am currently in production for the emo-rock musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, having completed summer productions of The Fantasticks at The New Swan Shakespeare Festival and Fiddler on the Roof for Saddleback Civic Light Opera. My directing credits at UCI include Little Women, Falsettos, Seussical, Urinetown, and Blood Brothers.
As you can see from this writing, my career has not gone in a straight line, but it has moved in the same direction. I love music theatre. I love teaching and directing. The theatre is a safe place for me. A place to explore, to learn about the world and our place in it, a laboratory to test new ideas and give dynamic shape to old ones. The theatre lets passions come to life!
|Myrona (director), Gary (musical director) and the all undergrad cast of Seussical|
My students say I’m tough. That I am demanding and direct. They also say that as a director I am“all about the pictures.” Perhaps… Sometimes the picture can focus the audience, enhance the emotion or the insight intended by the spoken word or the sung lyric. As a director, I feel it is my job to not only guide the actor through the journey of discovery, but also to frame that actor with colors and shapes that help tell her or his story. As an actor, that’s what I want from my directors as well. I want to trust and be trusted. Collaborating with a team of artists to render a rich and heart-felt authenticity to our story – that is the experience for which I am always thankful!