Notre Dame graduate Marty Strohmeyer has created quite a name for himself as a children’s musical director in the St. Louis area. From holding numerous teaching positions across the city to launching a non-profit children’s theatre company, he has offered much of his life to the stage without stepping foot in the spotlight.
Strohmeyer received his Bachelor’s of Science in Education with a specialization in speech and theatre from Southeast Missouri State University. In 1995, he went on to teach full-time at the private, all-boys Chaminade College Preparatory School in Creve Coeur. Here, he taught theatre for eight years.
During that time, Strohmeyer said he saw a lot of children’s theatre in the St. Louis area that didn’t focus on individual performers, and lacked in technical elements.
“They would pile a hundred kids onstage and not really spend much time working with them to make it a good quality,” Strohmeyer said. “And I just felt like there could be better alternatives.”
So, in 2002, he launched Shooting Star Productions, a non-profit theatre company for children ages 5-19. They have since hired a full, professional set of directors and designers, including a sound designer, a costume designer, and choreographers. Strohmeyer said they host two productions a year, and are now in their 18th year.
Strohmeyer said he enjoys seeing the talent that comes through his direction, and many kids come in well-trained.
“They have a goal of really making it in musical theatre,” Strohmeyer said. “And I’ve had kids that are now working all over New York and for national tours, and they’re very connected to the professional theatre world.”
In addition to his non-profit work, Strohmeyer has been teaching at the Visitation Academy of St. Louis, a private school for girls grades K-12 since 2003. Here, he’s involved not only with speech and theatre classes, but also directs the academy’s comprehensive theatre program.
Strohmeyer has received numerous accolades for his work over the years. In 2017, the Fabulous Fox Theatre, The Muny and the Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation launched the St. Louis High School Musical Theatre Awards. He has received the honor of ‘Outstanding Direction’ for both years the awards have been presented. Visitation Academy has also received five awards for “best musical” from the St. Louis youth theatre awards out of the nine years they have been presented.
As for donning his character shoes, Strohmeyer says he’s ‘definitely a director.’
“I’ve been onstage four times since college, and I just don’t like it anymore,” said Strohmeyer.
He moved to Notre Dame midway through his junior year, but was still an active member in music and theater. He was a tenor in concert choir, attended District Music Competition with solo and ensemble pieces, and performed for the ‘pop concert’ his senior year. He also starred as Cinderella’s prince in the 1991 production of Into The Woods.
Albeit short, Strohmeyer felt a true sense of belonging during his time at Notre Dame
“At the school I came from, I didn’t feel like I fit in very well. But at Notre Dame… I called my classmates my 52 angels,” Strohmeyer said. “They pulled me in, they accepted me, and loved me. My senior year was the best year of my life.”