Sunday, April 03, 2016


It was 3 a.m. on a day way back in 1984 when Jan Isaacson woke husband Steve and told him it was time to start a family. Not that kind. Rather, she told him they needed to start a theater company. Jan envisioned a company that would encompass all ages and feature only musical theater productions.

And so they did. The Davis Musical Theatre Company spent many years “homeless and wandering,” according to Jan, looking for a permanent location. It found that stability in 2005, when the company built the Jean Henderson Performing Arts Center, a 240-seat theater in Davis.

At 32 years of age, DMTC is now the state’s longest-running, year-round, nonprofessional musical theater company that includes a full orchestra and a young performer’s theater.

“We must be doing something right,” Jan says of the company’s longevity.

For its principal players, DMTC’s success is rooted in its homey vibe. “There’s a real sense of family about the group,” says DMTC actress Dannette Vassar, who joined in 1997. “There’s not the backstage drama that you sometimes find in other theater groups. It’s a very comfortable place to be.”

Over the years, the company has grown from a struggling community theater to a first-rate amateur theater.

After a recent performance of Man of La Mancha, Nancianne Pfister, a veteran of the Davis theater scene, was so impressed she wrote a letter to its directors. “Everything about [the show] was without flaw: music, acting, directing, set, costumes … the show was a true lift to my soul,” she wrote.

There are two shows left in DMTC’s current season: Brigadoon, which opens April 22, and The Music Man, which will open June 17.

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