Taylor Productions goes out in ‘Neon’ style
After 22 years of presenting live musical concerts by local youth, Taylor Productions is ready for its final curtain call.
The performance, called "The Neon Highlights," will be presented at the Park City Library’s Jim Santy Auditorium on Wednesday, May 4, at 7 p.m.
Admission is $5 and proceeds will benefit the Hope Alliance, a nonprofit that empowers people in Third World countries to create positive change.
"We will highlight the last 22 years and it will be from the kids’ perspectives, because I asked past and present kids what dances and songs they remember and enjoyed the most," said Tanya Taylor, founder and president of Taylor Productions. "I asked a lot of my older students about the pieces that stuck out, and they remembered ‘Hoedown Throwdown,’ ‘Ain’t Nothing Wrong with That’ and things like that."
"The Neon Highlights" will feature 12 pieces.
"The opening number is a collage of between 10- to 30-second excerpts from 50 of my past and present students’ favorite songs," Taylor said.
The production will also feature full-length works such as "These Boots Were Made for Walking" by Nancy Sinatra, "I Wish" by Stevie Wonder and "Black and White" by Michael Jackson.
"We’re also performing a ‘Parent’s ‘Footloose’ Dance’ in old ’80s prom attire," according to Taylor.
While the production will be a celebration, it will also feature a tribute to one of Taylor’s dancers, 8-year-old MacKenzie Coyne, who passed away from an unexpected illness in February.
"She left us during our fifth week of rehearsal, and she was such an angel," Taylor said. "That was a tough thing for us and we really needed to do a piece for her."
The finale will also be an emotional piece and feature current and past production members.
"We will do Michael Jackson’s ‘Man in the Mirror’ and we’ll have 80 of us on stage," Taylor explained. "Forty-five of them will be those who were in the past performances who are going to come and support the 35 new performers this year."
Singer and pianist Jarrett Burns will also perform.
"He and I will sing ‘Purple Rain’ by Prince and Jarrett will also perform after the show as well while people mingle and enjoy some refreshments," Taylor said.
To celebrate the more than two decades of dance, song and art, the entrance and stage of the Jim Santy Auditorium will be lined with photographs of all the performers who added their own little biographical details, according to Taylor.
"It’s all so bittersweet, but I told myself even back when I started this all that I would do it until I was almost 40," she said. "I am now on that cusp and it seems like it panned out the way it was supposed to be."
The past two decades have surpassed Taylor’s expectations and that is driven home when she hears from past students who tell her she made a difference in their lives.
"The most common advice I give my students [is] ‘Do a little bit of good where you are, it’s those little bits of good, put together, that overwhelm the world,’ which was said by Desmond Tutu," she said. "The one thing I want them all to know is that we need to stop asking ourselves how much fun we had at the end of each day, but ask of ourselves and each other how much did we learn, or grow, or give, or discover, or love. Those are the skills we want to invest and acknowledge in each other."
In turn, her students have taught her many things.
"The biggest thing I learned from my students is how to let go and just love," she said. "I wanted to be an authentic teacher and I wanted to invest myself where it counted, and when you see that many people that you positively affected, it is a rewarding experience."
Taylor hasn’t felt the full impact of her decision to end Taylor Productions.
"I think it will come afterwards," she said. "I’m so busy right now trying to maintain my job, and haven’t had time to process those emotions, yet."
The idea to turn off the Taylor Production lights came earlier this year, when Taylor decided to go back to school.
"I stopped teaching at Park City Day School after nine years and took a gig at Strayer University as an online professor and advisor, and decided to work on getting a Jack Welch Executive MBA," Taylor said. "With all of that and the kids, I just couldn’t keep up with it all."
Still, she has no regrets and is ready for a new adventure.
"I don’t think I will ever go back to Taylor Productions," Taylor said. "This is a nice ending."
Taylor Productions will wrap up a 22-year run with "Neon Highlights" at the Park City Library’s Jim Santy Auditorium, 1255 Park Ave., on Wednesday, May 4, at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit ww.facebook.com/events/632366240246164.
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Park City High School sophomore Emily Bronstein founded the Seraphine Project that helps at-risk teens in Zimbabwe and Zambia.