Opinion & Editorial

Creativity taking flight at playhouse

SPRINGFIELD –  On the corner of 4th and Main streets there is an elegant Pegasus proudly displayed by the front window. Her name is Stardust, and she is the mascot for Pegasus Playhouse: a non-profit theater company that aims to educate and empower young artists through “Empathy, Excellence and a Little Insanity.” 

Frazier-Maskiell in Pegasus’ new space

What began as a traveling troupe that performed in several spaces throughout Lane County now has their very own stage for the first time. This expansion will usher in a world of possibilities for the young theater company that, much like the mascot, is now ready to really take flight. 

With a feather in his hat and a shirt covered in birds, Scott Frazier-Maskiell spoke with great fervor about his beloved troupe. A man of many hats, he is not only the visionary behind this theater company but is also the main director, producer, playwright, songwriter and overall technical director. Organizing this company has been a labor of love but like most people in the theater community, this is a lifestyle he is thrilled to embrace. 

As I listened to Frazier-Maskiell gush about his program and the people in it, I couldn’t help but feel a little envious of the students who get to be part of this community of artists. In 7th grade I joined a youth production of “Seussical” with roughly 500 other kids. No instructor bothered to learn my name.  When I mentioned this to Frazier-Maskiell, he sighed and explained that he knows about those unfortunate experiences all too well. In fact, he pokes fun at this exact issue in one of his original songs that focuses on a lonesome background actor.

At Pegasus Playhouse, Frazier-Maskiell ensures the cast and crew sizes are small enough so he can really get to know each individual. “I want to really help people find their strengths and what makes them unique.” He states, describing his process when working with youth. He hopes that by putting an emphasis on education and creativity, he can continue to harbor a safe space for young theater kids to thrive both within their musical community and other facets of their lives. 

On Friday, Dec. 9, the theater’s grand opening will kick off with its own version of “A Christmas Carol” starring just five actors. I won’t spoil some of the fun details the company will include in its production but I will say this; Tiny Tim alone is sure to bring a smile to even the most stubborn of Scrooges. The show will take place each night at 7 p.m. from Dec. 9th-11th and the 15th -18th. 

Its season will also include an original retelling of Snow White that takes place in the 1930s called “Snow White in Lights,” and a spring production of the hit show “Fantasticks.” 

In addition to putting on shows, this new location has made it possible for the program to also teach daily musical theater classes that are divided by age groups. 

Pegasus Playhouse will also be running musical theater summer camps with help from members of the theater department at Lane Community College. 

Frazier-Maskiell glowed with pride when he talked about his company and what they were able to achieve together despite the many obstacles they’ve faced so far. “We’ve learned to embrace chaos because it breeds good art. We are able to go with the flow and still create magic,” he noted with a smile. I couldn’t agree with this method of madness more. If there is anything I’ve learned through my years working both in theater and film productions, I know that working within limitations helps lead to inspired, creative work. 

I began to share Frazier-Maskiell’s infectious enthusiasm for the program as he talked about what he hopes to accomplish in the future. He hopes he can hire more staff members, especially a dedicated music director, so Pegasus Playhouse can continue to expand its programs over time.

Frazier-Maskiell eventually wants to create an official board of members consisting of both adult and youth representatives to help him dream big for this organization that will only continue to evolve over time. He also mentioned wanting to incorporate classes to teach people about the technical side of theater. 

Frazier-Maskiell hopes that this program can team up with other troupes/schools throughout the county so that the theater community at large can all come together and learn from one another. 

It’s also his mission to continue original pieces of work that everyone in his production can help collaborate on. This freedom and emphasis on original programming not only allows for creative growth, but will also ensure that anyone who comes to a Pegasus Playhouse performance  will see something new – even if it is a story they think they know. 

It really does seem as though the sky’s the limit for Pegasus Playhouse – a place where Frazier-Maskiell strives to entertain and inspire people of all ages whether they’re on the stage or in the audience.  

As Frazier-Maskiell looked around the theater and described all the work that still has to be done to renovate the space, he noted that even though he’s a little nervous about this new chapter of its program he’s more excited than anything else. 

He knows that no matter what the future holds, the only thing that Pegasus Playhouse truly needs to soar is to maintain its sense of community that will, in turn “harness vulnerability, creativity and bravery.”

Sarah De Leon is a columnist for The Chronicle.



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