Colton Berry, a committed, enthusiastic and accomplished theater guru, is everything a new theater company would want in an artistic director.
An American Idol semifinalist in 2008 (a.k.a. the show's seventh season), Berry, 23, heads the new Bayou City Theatrics, Houston's newest musical theater company that offers youth education and presents shows -- Little Shop of Horrors and Xanadu are on the schedule.
Additionally, the former resident company member, writer, director and designer at the Music Box Theater is also the resident host of The Sensations, a new live music performance that takes place weekly at F Bar on Tuam Street.
What he does: He acts, sings, directs and can do everything theater-related (costume, set, props, hair, lighting, makeup, puppet, sound and graphic design/construction). "I also teach pop/rock, healthy belt and musical theater voice, privately, in between rehearsals and performances," says Berry.
Why he likes it: He loves what he does to the core.
"I believe live performance is the best way to stay connected with humanity. Whether it's studying the inner-workings of a tribe of Serengeti-dwelling Africans, diving into a current political issue, reaching to understand a plaguing mental illness, researching the little-known facts of a monumental historical moment, or just being in touch with yourself and your audience," explains Berry, "being a live performer and creator of live performance keeps me constantly engaged in and intrigued by the world around me and the people inhabiting it."
What inspires him: The opportunity to teach his students live performance, a trade that Berry says will be immortal (as long as it's passed to future generations). "This keeps me always pushing forward, making daring choices and taking risks with my performances because who knows what I might contribute to the future of live art?"
If not this, then what: This is it, says Berry, who began working in theater and performance at age 8.
"I figure, if I've consistently been able to perform or be involved with performance in one way or another for over 14 years, no one can stop me now! Though, I have always found alpaca farming to be interesting. Do alpaca farmers get dental benefits?"
If not here, then where: Berry, who hails from the "gorgeous" Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, is pretty set on H-town.
"I definitely call Houston my home and home to my business and art," he says. "However, if I were forced to be somewhere else, I wouldn't be too picky. After all, as long as I have an audience of one, I can still do what I love!"
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What's next: The continuation of Bayou City Theatrics' inaugural season, which "is and continues to be such an incredible thing," says Berry.
Also, The Sensations at F Bar will present shows that Berry is ecstatic about. "[The show] features some of the most incredible vocalists in Houston and it is always an honor to perform beside them every Thursday night.
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