Marilyn Izdebski (Owner, Producer, Director, Choreographer)
Marilyn started taking dance lessons at the age of three after seeing the film “The Red Shoes”. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she studied ballet, jazz and tap until she was fifteen years old when she was cast as a dancer in “Guys and Dolls” at the Bluth Brothers Theatre in Culver City. Then followed a series of shows in which she not only danced but also sang, acted, choreographed and directed.
Marilyn graduated Cum Laude from the Theatre Arts Department of U.C.L.A. in 1970. She took her M.A. and secondary teaching credential in 1972. Before completing her B.A. and M. A., she studied theatre and film in Sweden with the Education Abroad Program and travelled extensively throughout Eastern and Western Europe.
Marilyn moved to the Bay Area in 1973. She taught Dance, Acting and Musical-Theatre at City College of San Francisco for 6 1/2 years during which time she directed and choreographed numerous musical productions and dance concerts. During this time she performed professionally in San Francisco Broadway theatres and continued to study music, dance and acting whenever possible.
In 1978, Marilyn opened a dance and theatre studio in Marin County and entered the Ph.D. program in Theatre at U.C. Berkeley. While studying theatre and directing at Berkeley she also passed the Ph.D. language proficiency examinations in Swedish and French. In 1979, she studied acting with Jean Shelton in Berkeley. After two years of bridge hopping and no sleep, Marilyn left the Ph.D. program to concentrate on her teaching and directing in Marin.
In addition to her own studio work, she was taught at Ross School in Junior High Musical-Theatre program from 1980 to 2002.
In the Summer of 1979, Marilyn produced and directed “Oliver,” her first full scale children’s production. Since that time she has presented over 80 children’s productions involving more than 4,000 of Marin’s young people in which she was not only the Producer, Director and Choreographer; but also managed the set design and construction, lighting and sound design and operation, costume design and sewing, publicity, props, box office, etc. Marilyn always operates the lights for her shows. It is her way of being a part of the performance and keeping in direct contact with her kids while they’re on stage. Those who stick around after a performance can often see her cleaning up the theatre.
Marilyn has also directed, choreographed and performed in over 30 Marin County adult theatre productions for various theatre groups, including The Mountain Play Association, the Ross Valley Players and the Marin Theatre Company whose Adult and Children’s Theatre School she directed for a year.
These are most of the facts and figures describing what Marilyn Izdebski does, but there is much more that cannot be measured in this way. Marilyn develops a special relationship with her students. She treats them as young adults and teaches them responsibility for themselves as well as for their fellow cast members. She is an admitted compulsive perfectionist and leads her students to beyond what they can envision even themselves doing.
Marilyn believes that young people gain immeasurable mental and psychological benefits from the experience and process of being part of a fully staged theatrical production. Beginning with a prepared audition, working through a precise and demanding rehearsal schedule and, finally, depending upon each other on stage before a live audience, Marilyn’s kids learn not only the history and traditions of Musical Theatre but, by the time they exchange tears and hugs at the traditional closing night cast party, they have gained much. They have experienced teamwork in a creative and supportive environment, they have gained confidence and success that carries over to many other aspects of their lives and schooling, and they have gained first hand knowledge of musical theatre and its importance as a very special art form in our culture.