MIS Student is Set to Hit a High Note

Mark Hancock was 4 years old when he traveled to New York with his family. When he heard a man playing a saxophone on a bench for passersby, he started dancing.

“A huge crowd formed around [Mark] and the man ended up splitting the money with him,” said Mark’s mother, Belinda Hancock.

Mark has always taken to music, dancing and performing. Now 11, he will play a supporting role in the world premiere of four-time winning Tony director Terrence McNally’s new opera Great Scott. The Dallas Opera production will run Oct. 30 through Nov. 15.

The opera is about a successful performer, Arden Scott (Joyce DiDonato), who decides to come home and save her local opera house. Mark plays Tommy Taylor, who is cast in the opera the house is performing.

While this is not Mark’s first production, it is his first opera. He said the hardest part of the role is learning how to pronounce the Italian words his character.

In addition to acting, Mark also attends McCulloch Middle School, and takes gymnastics, tap dancing, ballet, and voice lessons. Gymnastics and tap dancing are his favorite.

“He amazes us, how he takes something on and excels at it really quickly,” Belinda said. Mark has skipped ahead to Level 6 in gymnastics after taking classes for a little more than three months, and now he is competing.

His passion for theater developed watching Phantom of the Opera as a kid.

“It really inspired me,” Mark said. He would listen to several musicals, including Oklahoma, over and over again and dress up like the characters.

He auditioned for his first show when he was 5 at the Dallas Theater Center. He was cast as Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol there for two years.

“He has never done children’s theater,” Belinda said. “He just moved straight up to professional paid roles, even when he was 5.”

Great Scott was composed by Jake Heggie and written by McNally (Kiss of the Spider Woman). It’s their first collaboration since Dead Man Walking in 2000, and will be the Dallas Opera’s season opener.

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