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Tyler McClain '09 Breaks Into L.A. Theater as an Ovation Fellow


Tyler McClain 09An old adage claims, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” Tyler McClain ’09, however, is taking that saying to a new level. As a L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Fellow, the English major is mingling his LMU education with the movers and shakers in the Los Angeles theater scene.

“I’m honored and feel very lucky to be an Ovation Fellow,” McClain said. “It’s exciting to be involved with a project that reaches all over the theater community in L.A.”

The Ovation Fellows program is designed to create relationships between L.A. college students and the theater community. After a competitive selection process, each fellow is paired with a mentor who works in theater. Together, they commit to attending at least six performances. After each performance, the mentor and fellow meet and network with artists ranging from writers and actors to designers and stage managers. The fellow then writes a blog about the experience that is posted on L.A. Stage Alliance’s Web site.

“[My hope is that] the program excites the next generation of theater artists about L.A. performing arts,” said Kelly Younger, founder of the program and LMU English professor. “[Also, I hope it] connects new artists with working, professional mentors in our city, and creates opportunities for future collaboration, careers and performing art events.”

McClain was paired with Dennis Smeal, a literary manager for the Arden Theatre Co. in Philadelphia. They attended a production of “God Save Gertrude” at the Boston Court Theater in Pasadena, Calif. McClain spoke with the playwright, Deborah Stein, about her start as a playwright, the inspiration for her play and tips on becoming a successful playwright.

“It felt like I was hogging Deborah’s time at first, but it was very beneficial to talk with her,” McClain said. “It’s important to meet with as many writers as possible and build a rapport with people in and around theater in L.A. in order to further my career.”

McClain said that his education at LMU, especially the advice he received from Younger, strongly influenced his decision to pursue writing as a profession.

“Dr. Younger convinced me I was a writer,” McClain said. “He taught me that you get out of life what you put into it and that I don’t have to sacrifice stability in order to become a professional playwright.”

McClain hopes to attend graduate school and pursue drama as a career. A selection of his work is already scheduled to be performed at the Brüka theater in Reno, NV, in Jan., 2010.

To read and follow McClain’s blog, click here.

For more information about L.A. Stage Alliance’s Ovation Fellows program, click here.