SAAC welcomes a new name on the marquee this summer with the addition of Melissa (Lisa) Newton of Texarkana as the visiting director for the 2018 summer musical, “Singin’ in the Rain.” An award-winning director with 17 years’ experience in community and high-school theatre, Newton brings a practiced eye and Hollywood-inspired aesthetic to the stage production of this Tinseltown tale, which is sponsored by Murphy USA and scheduled for July 12-22.

To stage “Singin’ in the Rain,” Newton will turn to her own childhood memories of staying up late with a big bowl of popcorn watching midnight movie classics to inspire the show’s sense of magic and glamour. “With its glamour and glitz, and its iconic dance numbers and songs, ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ is easily my favorite old Hollywood musical,” she said. “On stage, I want to capture the essence of that genre and that time period with a bold, bright paintbrush and bring it to life.”

Newton’s vision for the production is a true return to old-Hollywood, from the Technicolor costumes to the energetic ensemble dance numbers. The music is splashy, the dances are flashy, and everything is larger than life. “I can’t wait to bring the magic that this boy-meets-girl film evokes to life on stage!” she said.

A seasoned director, Newton currently serves as the theatre director for the Tiger Theatre Company at Texas High School in Texarkana. Previously, she directed for 14 years in Alabama, where she served as theatre director for Thomasville High School and the Chapter Director of the Alabama Educational Theatre Association. There, she organized and oversaw the Alabama Thespian Festival, while also working in community theatre and honing her skills in lighting design and stage management. A results-driven leader, Newton is thrilled to bring her experienced combination of creative moxie and chaos management to the SAAC program, where she will have a wealth of new talent to work with.