Matthew S Rumsey

Matthew Rumsey

Matthew’s active involvement in theatre began at 8 years of age with starring roles in the productions of The Secret Garden and The Will Rogers Follies at MTW.  He continued with a variety of roles during his high school years at Sunrise Christian Academy and followed with his passion in New York City where he studied at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.

In NYC, Matthew had the honor of working with Broadway performer and director Virginia Sandifur, he also enjoyed the opportunity to flourish under the instruction of Stephanie Scott to the improvement of his directing and management skills.

Recognizing the need to spread his enthusiasm for theatre beyond where it already thrives, Matthew returned to complete his education and enter the business world. While continuing his education, he simultaneously worked full-time for a half dozen restaurants as Director of Operations—having already garnered experience at the world renowned David Burke and Donatella.

Though restaurant management had the possibility to turn into a full-time career, Matthew stayed focused on his goal of furthering the arts. Friends University became the medium through which Matthew continued his education with an emphasis in directing. At Friends he directed and/or produced/co-produced several shows including: Parade, The Boyfriend, Into the Woods, Little Women, and multiple music theatre reviews.

The theatre continued to beckon, and Music Theatre for Young People (MTYP) contacted Matthew to direct Thoroughly Modern Millie.  With Matthew’s experience in both directing and management MTYP realized they had found a dynamic skill set wrapped up in one man. Beginning in 2009 as Executive Producing Director at the Music Theatre for Young People, Matthew brought to life RENT, The Pajama Game, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Children of Eden and All Shook Upjust to name a few.  Both performers and parents were effusive in their praise of how he worked; continually challenging, encouraging, and affirming the young actors—all the while teaching them how to be their creative best in the world of theatre.

Later in the same year, Matthew was approached by Newman University to restart their music theatre program. He taught classes in theatre development and the other an acting course. This trial program performed The Shape of Things at the end of the semester and generated enough interest to make a theatre degree newly available. The program Matthew began is designed “to provide students with a solid foundation in the discipline, and includes many opportunities for students to learn through performance.”–Newman University.

Matthew’s current endeavor began because the new investors of the Crown Uptown Theatre knew him not only for his involvement in the arts but also as a burgeoning businessman in the community. The threat to the arts was almost palpable at the time; programs were losing funding left and right. Matthew is known in the Arts Commision as an advocate for arts funding. He became involved with City Council meetings and used television and radio as a medium to educate the public about the importance of arts in the community.

Through the revival of the Crown Uptown Theatre both Matthew and the investors envisioned a new lifeline for theatre in the community. Within two weeks of their offer to become Executive Artistic Director, Matthew had accepted the position and it was full steam ahead. Within two months of accepting, Matthew had cast five shows from auditions in three states and begun rehearsals for the revived Crown’s first show, White Christmas.

Matthew’s position at the Crown Uptown Theatre affords the opportunity to show Wichita and the greater community that a year-round live theatre in a midwest town can produce Broadway style musicals at a fraction of the cost of a Broadway show. Matthew’s contagious love of theatre is so apparent that it’s difficult to not feel the wildfire spread of his passion throughout the community.

Jesse Warkentin, Assistant Musical Director at MTW and Musical Director at Crown Uptown Theatre encapsulates Matthew’s attitude concisely saying “…quite simply, not a day goes by when I don’t hear his infectious laughter from somewhere in the theatre…reminding us all that it’s the joy of the art that keeps us coming back.”