Bayou City Concert Musicals will present the 2016 Kim Hupp Award to Kenn McLaughlin, artistic director of Stages Repertory Theatre. The award will be presented as part of BCCM’s annual fundraising concert, which this year will honor BCCM’s tenth anniversary. The Kim Hupp Award Concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 19, 2016, at the Cullen Performance Hall at the University of St. Thomas, 4001 Mt. Vernon.
The Kim Hupp Award was established by BCCM to commemorate the life of Kim Hupp, who served as BCCM’s first musical director when Bayou City Concert Musicals was still a fundraising arm of the Center for AIDS. Kim Hupp died in 2002. The Hupp Award is presented annually to individuals who have made significant contributions to musical theatre in Houston.
This year’s honoree, Kenn McLaughlin, has been a leader in Houston theatre for fifteen years, first as Managing Director and for the past ten years as Artistic Director of Stages Repertory Theatre. During his tenure, McLaughlin has produced more than 100 productions, including record-breaking hits like The Marvelous Wonderettes and Late Nite Catechism series;The Great American Trailer Park Musical and revivals of the theatre’s landmark musicalAlways…Patsy Cline; as well as pivotal world and U.S. premieres such as Black Pearl Sings, An American Brat, Elizabeth Rex, eight original Panto-style musicals and The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical. He has directed over 25 shows for Stages and has written or co-written three, and he recently returned to the stage as a performer, making his Stages acting debut in Wittenberg.
McLaughlin says he came late to a love of musical theatre. “I became a fan when I was mentored by Bill Rudman, well-known for his series on XM radio. Bill opened a passion in me for musical storytelling. I had been a snob about it all – ‘why do they sing?’ and all that nonsense. Now, when I direct a drama I think – ‘why aren’t they singing right now?’ –this is where the song goes; This is the emotional core of this scene!’ Directing musicals has made me a stronger artist on every level and I love them so very much.”
His passion for musicals has been reflected in Stages programming. He is particularly proud of Road Show and Mack and Mabel, two shows that, McLaughlin says, “have been rejected by and large by the mainstream. But they are part of a canon of work of some of the greatest theatre artists in history. I’m fascinated by that disconnect. They are not popularmusicals but I believe them both to be masterpieces, so the risk of doing the work was also a bit thrilling.”
McLaughlin says his relationship with Bill Rudman also gave him a passion to mentor young theatre professionals like Mitchell Greco. “Being a part of his growth and providing him the platform to create and explore means a lot to me and to Stages,” says McLaughlin. “I believe Mitchell is one of the most talented directors in Houston today.” (BCCM certainly agrees. Greco has also been a part of BCCM since he was in college and has co-directed the last four BCCM concert musicals.)
“The Houston theatre scene is considered one of the most vibrant in the country and Kenn McLaughlin is one reason why,” says BCCM Artistic Director Paul Hope. “It is very fitting that we honor him, especially this year as BCCM celebrates its tenth anniversary and Kenn celebrates his tenth year as Stages Artistic Director.”
The Kim Hupp Award will be presented as part of The Kim Hupp Memorial Concert benefiting Bayou City Concert Musicals, 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 19, 2016, at the Cullen Performance Hall of The University of St. Thomas, 4001 Mt. Vernon. The musical evening will feature the songs from the past ten years of BCCM shows. Tickets are $50 (performance only) and $100 (includes a post-performance reception honoring Kenn McLaughlin and the show’s performers).