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Arts & Letters Expressions
An online publication for the alumni and friends of the College of Arts and Letters

The Standard’s new editor-in-chief expects to shake things up this year

The printing presses for Missouri State’s The Standard will be back in action soon as the student-run newspaper heads into the fall semester with incoming Editor-in-Chief Nicole Roberts at the helm.

Nicole Roberts edits her first issue as The Standard's new editor-in-chief.
Nicole Roberts edits her first issue as The Standard’s new editor-in-chief.

Roberts hopes her experience will guide positive change

Roberts, a senior print and Internet journalism major, is from Rolla, Missouri. She graduated high school from nearby Vienna, Missouri.

After an extensive application process last April, Roberts was appointed to the editor-in-chief position by MSU’s Advisory Board for Student Publications.

She has been on staff at The Standard since May 2014, first as a reporter and then as a news editor. She says she’ll use that experience to make a few changes to the paper this year.

In this Q&A, Roberts talks about those changes, what she looks forward to as editor-in-chief, or EIC, and more.

What are you most excited for as EIC this year?

I’m really excited to watch everyone on staff develop their skills and go out of their comfort zones. I always feel proud when someone on staff learns something new, whether it be an unique way to write an article, a different way to shoot photos, or a cool way to design a page for the newspaper.

Has anyone given you advice yet for how to do the job?

I received advice from Jack Dimond (The Standard’s faculty advisor), editors at The Standard, professors, friends and my parents. I guess the best advice was from my mom … She told me to act like how I would want an editor-in-chief to act. This advice forces me to ask myself, “If I were a reporter or content editor, would I want my editor-in-chief to do this?”

Are you planning any changes to the paper this year?

There are two things I really want to focus on this year.

The first thing is improving interaction with students, faculty, staff and The Standard’s readers in general.

I don’t want people to view The Standard as this mystical paper that suddenly appears on Tuesdays and that’s it. I want readers to see that people at The Standard are working throughout the week — not just Monday nights — to create a good paper.

These interactions will also help The Standard staff hear more from students, faculty and staff on their thoughts about things going on around campus and Springfield.

The second thing is I’m putting an emphasis on multimedia this year. The editors have been throwing around ideas on how to improve our social media presence and how to incorporate other media into The Standard articles.

We live in a world of media, so why not take advantage of that?

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Why should the campus community care about The Standard?

The Standard is a great way for the Missouri State community to learn about what’s going on around campus. I know that is a pretty stereotypical answer, but it really is true.

There are four sections in the newspaper: news, life, sports and opinion. That means there is a lot of information in all four of those sections that students might be interested in or benefit from.

The Standard is also a great way to build connections with other people at Missouri State.

For example, last semester, I wrote an article about a new radio station that may be coming to campus. Afterward, I had someone ask me for the contact information of the four students I talked to in the article because she wanted to figure out a way to join the radio station they were working on.

That connection might not have happened if I hadn’t pursued that story.

Nicole-Roberts-TheStandard-620x620What do you want to do after graduation?

That’s the million-­dollar question. Like almost all college students, I’m not 100 percent sure, honestly.

Part of me wants to write about psychology or world news since I’m very interested in those two things. The other part of me wants to do something where I write articles while traveling abroad.

Part of me wants to write for a magazine. Another part of me wants to write for a newspaper.

I guess the best answer I can give is that I would really like to write for a news magazine like The Week, but I know that the chances of doing something like that right out of college are slim, so I’ll probably try to write for a local newspaper and work my way up the ladder.

There are so many options, and I want to try almost all of them.

What advice do you have for students interested in working for The Standard?

I would say to throw away any of their fears about joining The Standard and just do it.

I had never written for a newspaper or even taken a journalism class until I joined The Standard, and to be honest, I was absolutely terrified when I first started working here because I had very little experience. I thought for sure that I had gotten myself into something that was way over my head. Now, two years later, I’m so glad that little freshman Nicole decided to take a leap of faith and join The Standard. 

If students want to join The Standard, they can contact Jack Dimond, the advisor for The Standard. When students join, they will go through this training process where they will learn how to write articles, interview people, use correct AP style, and so on. Once they get done with the training, they become part of The Standard staff and will start writing articles for the newspaper on a weekly basis.

*Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length or clarity.

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Political discussions can be civil, says professor

As a young child, Dr. Elizabeth Dudash-Buskirk learned about politics handing out fliers for family members running for office or joining her father at political rallies. Now an associate professor of socio-political communication at Missouri State University, she teaches about political messages, commentary, debates and so much more. She’s shares about the shifts in the […]

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Summer breeze: Enjoy classical music the best way possible

Jane A. Meyer Carillon Series returns to Missouri State July 10

The Jane A. Meyer Carillon Series, an outdoor concert on the lawn of Duane G. Meyer Library, will resume July 10 with the second concert of the 2016 season.

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More about the concerts

The free concerts, which begin at 7 p.m., are held the second Sunday of each month from June to September. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs.

Free ice cream will be served, courtesy Hiland Dairy, and carillon tours are offered after every concert.

July 10 concert features Jeremy Chesman

Dr. Jeremy Chesman, Missouri State carillonneur and interim department head in theatre and dance, will perform the July 10 concert, featuring music from American composers. .

Highlights include an arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin and the Stars and Stripes forever. He will also perform folk songs from Appalachia and jazz standards.

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Carillon series schedule

July 10, 7 p.m.
Jeremy Chesman

Aug. 14, 7 p.m.
Joey Brink

Sept. 11, 7 p.m.
Jeremy Chesman

Visit the carillon series website for concert programs and schedule.

Name that tune

Is there a song you’d like to hear played on the carillon? Message your requests online.

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Volunteers needed for 2016 Ozarks Celebration Festival

Organizers say exciting changes are on the way for the 2016 Ozarks Celebration Festival. They will unveil those changes and solicit volunteers at the Volunteer Information Luncheon on July 8 at the PSU Union Club.

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Lunch attendees will learn important festival information such as the vendor and performer line-up and available volunteer positions, including:

  • Information booth attendants
  • Load-in helpers
  • Ice cream scoopers at the Ice Cream Social
  • Golf cart drivers
  • And many more jobs to choose from!

To RSVP, contact OCF Director Barb Jones by email or at 417-836-6605.

OCF Volunteer Information Luncheon

OCF-volunteers-lemonade-320x207Date: July 8
Time: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: Union Club, Plaster Student Union Robert W. Room 400
Admission: Free

Festival details

Date: Sept. 9-11
Location: Missouri State campus
More info: Visit the website for the full schedule
Contact: Barb Jones by email or at 417-836-6605

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Tent opens ‘Unnecessary Farce’ on June 23

“All Shook Up” was a great success to kick off the 54th season of Tent Theatre. The summer stock company is now looking forward to the next show on the line-up, “Unnecessary Farce.”

Rookie cops and would-be socialite coming to Tent this summer

This rookie cop comedy is a great addition to this season, themed “the Great Escape,” said Managing Director Mark Templeton.

“The production of ‘Unnecessary Farce’ is a fast paced comedic free-for-all which will have the audience in stitches. This will be a regional premiere of the show,” he said.

The last show of the season will be “My Fair Lady.”

Unnecessary Farce

June 23-July 1

Get ready for non-stop plot twists and side-splitting dialog as this award-winning comedy takes you on a police stakeout at an economy motel. Two rookie cops set out to nab the mayor for embezzlement, but it doesn’t take long for the operation to go hilariously awry.

My Fair Lady

July 6-9, 11-17

Since its 1956 debut, this award-winning musical has delighted audiences with its witty heroine, Cockney street vendor Eliza Doolittle. Her dreams of a life more prosperous than that of a flowerseller make her a great test subject for a phonetics professor who sets out to prove that manner of speaking —not wealth — is what truly sets apart the British social classes.

Ticket information

All performances begin at 8 p.m. on the tent pad behind Craig Hall. Tickets are $16 or $24 for adults, $14 or $22 for seniors, students and children and $12 or $21 for Missouri State faculty, staff and students. Season tickets are $40 or $66 for adults, and $35 or $61 for seniors, students, children, Missouri State faculty, staff and students. Special group rates are available.

To order tickets, call the Missouri State box office at (417) 836-7678 or toll-free at 1 (888) 476-7849. Tickets may also be purchased online.

Pre-show picnics

Show-themed picnic dinners are served from 7-7:45 p.m. for $12 each on the south patio of Craig Hall. Proceeds support the Tent Theatre scholarship fund. These lunches must be ordered at least 24 hours in advance online or by calling (417) 836-7678.

For more information, contact Templeton at (417) 836-4644.

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First musical theatre graduate brings cherished children’s book to Broadway

At 11 years old, musical theatre alumnus Nathan Tysen, ’99, fell in love with a coming-of-age story about eternal life, love and morality.

“‘Tuck Everlasting’ had a profound effect on me,” Tysen said. “When you’re connecting to a character who is the same age as you are and also dealing with universal questions (of mortality and the afterlife) — this book really helped me deal with that.”

Now, nearly 30 years later, the spark that ignited his love of reading has taken him all the way to Broadway.

Photo by Cecilia Traff

Photo by Cecilia Traff

A dream project

Tysen, an award-winning writer and lyricist, was the first student to graduate from Missouri State’s musical theatre program.

Throughout college, the story of young Winnie Foster — who comes to love and protect the Tucks, a family who cannot die after they drink from a spring in the Foster family’s woods —stuck with him.

The idea of a musical adaptation began to fall into place when Tysen met his writing partner Chris Miller in New York University’s graduate musical theatre writing program.

And when they compared their lists of dream projects, “Tuck Everlasting” was at the top for each of them. Tysen said they took that as a sign to seek out the theatrical rights.

Unfortunately, they weren’t the only ones interested. The Walt Disney Company had just bought the cinematic rights for a movie, which would premiere in 2002.

It would be nine years before their vision would be fully realized, and as “Tuck” author Natalie Babbitt writes, “Things can come together in strange ways.”

Andrew Keenan Bolger (center) played the role of Jesse Tuck. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Andrew Keenan Bolger (center) played the role of Jesse Tuck. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Serendipity strikes

Tysen and Miller have gained acclaim in the theatre industry with musicals such as “The Burnt Part Boys” and “Fugitive Songs,” and work for the television series “Sesame Street” and “The Electric Company.”

Tysen, 39, was awarded the Edward Kleban Prize for most promising lyricist and the Fred Ebb Award for excellence in musical theatre songwriting in 2014.

“It took us 16 years to be labeled overnight sensations,” Tysen said.

In 2006, they decided to give “Tuck Everlasting: The Musical” one last shot, pitching the idea to Beth Williams, a producer at Broadway Across America.

“The serendipitous moment of all of this is that night, after a meeting with us, Beth met with another producer, Barry Brown. He slides a book across the table to her and says, ‘So I just got the rights to this book called ‘Tuck Everlasting, and I’m looking for a partner.’”

Part of Broadway history

“Tuck Everlasting: The Musical” made its Broadway debut in April 2016 at the Broadhurst Theatre.

Tysen, the lyricist, wrote all the words for songs, and Miller composed all the music.

TuckEverlastingLogo-620x620“There’s this magical moment when you start adding in all of the technical elements — lights, costumes, set —it’s like you’re letting your baby be raised by a family of the best artists in the world,” Tysen said.

That “family” included director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw (“Something Rotten!,” “Aladdin” and “Book of Mormon”), as well as book writers Claudia Shear and Tim Federle.

Critical reviews called the adaptation “rapturous” (The New York Times) and “wonderfully crafted” (Associated Press).

But the best review, Tysen said, came from the book’s author, Babbitt, who collaborated on the musical, too.

“She was happy that we were loyal to her material, but understood we had to take some liberties in order to make it a viable musical. After seeing the Broadway production, she said, ‘You cracked part of the ending in a way I never could have.’ That was awesome!”

The show, which has now closed, ran for 67 performances and his dream, 15 years in the making, will now be forever immortalized in Broadway history.

The wheels keep moving for Tysen, who is enjoying life as a new father to baby Lucy with his wife, theatre writer Kait Kerrigan.

As for his work, he’ll continue doing what he’s been doing all along: “Following my heart, finding what makes my happy and doing my hardest to making a living at it.”

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Tent Theatre begins June 8 with ‘All Shook Up’

Tent Theatre will rock Craig Hall starting June 8, kicking off the 54th season with “All Shook Up.”

Rock ‘n’ roll rebellion, rookie cop comedy and would-be socialite on tap for 2016 Tent Theatre

Audience members of all ages will enjoy Tent Theatre’s 2016 line up, said Managing Director Mark Templeton. This season’s theme is the “Great Escape.”

“We have been talking about doing ‘All Shook Up’ for several years, and this just seemed to be the right year to do it,” he said. “The production of ‘Unnecessary Farce’ is a fast paced comedic free-for-all which will have the audience in stitches. This will be a regional premiere of the show. ‘My Fair Lady’ is a one of the greatest musicals of all time, and one that has been on our musical theatre director’s bucket list.”

All Shook Up

June 8-11, 13-18

In this jukebox musical, Elvis Presley meets Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” as a guitar-playing, motorcycle-riding roustabout leads residents of a buttoned-up Midwestern town in a rock ’n’ roll rebel. The performance will be bursting with more than two dozen 1950s-era hits, from “Love Me Tender” to “Blue Suede Shoes” and, of course, “All Shook Up!”

Unnecessary Farce

June 23-July 1

Get ready for non-stop plot twists and side-splitting dialog as this award-winning comedy takes you on a police stakeout at an economy motel. Two rookie cops set out to nab the mayor for embezzlement, but it doesn’t take long for the operation to go hilariously awry.

My Fair Lady

July 6-9, 11-17

Since its 1956 debut, this award-winning musical has delighted audiences with its witty heroine, Cockney street vendor Eliza Doolittle. Her dreams of a life more prosperous than that of a flowerseller make her a great test subject for a phonetics professor who sets out to prove that manner of speaking —not wealth — is what truly sets apart the British social classes.

Ticket information


All performances begin at 8 p.m. on the tent pad behind Craig Hall. Tickets are $16 or $24 for adults, $14 or $22 for seniors, students and children and $12 or $21 for Missouri State faculty, staff and students. Season tickets are $40 or $66 for adults, and $35 or $61 for seniors, students, children, Missouri State faculty, staff and students. Special group rates are available.

To order tickets, call the Missouri State box office at (417) 836-7678 or toll-free at 1 (888) 476-7849. Tickets may also be purchased online.

Pre-show picnics

Show-themed picnic dinners are served from 7-7:45 p.m. for $12 each on the south patio of Craig Hall. Proceeds support the Tent Theatre scholarship fund. These lunches must be ordered at least 24 hours in advance online or by calling (417) 836-7678.

For more information, contact Templeton at (417) 836-4644.

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