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

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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Members of the Actors’ Equity join Tent Theatre for 54th season

We’re just days away from the opening of Tent Theatre’s 54th season, featuring “All Shook Up” (June 8-11 & 13-18), “Unnecessary Farce” (June 23-27 & July 1) and “My Fair Lady (July 6-9 & 11-17). Get your tickets online or in the box office before they’re all sold out.

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For more information about this season, visit Tent Theatre’s website.

Actors’ Equity Company Members

Here are the Actors’ Equity company members joining us this season, and a preview of their credits (information provided by the actors).

Matthew Alford

matt-alford-250x279Matthew Alford is excited to be spending time in the Tent for the first time. He is the resident director of Equalogy, inc., a theatre-for-social-change company that uses theatre to combat sexual violence on college campuses.

He is a graduate of Pace University, and has participated in several projects with Judith Shakespeare Co., The Actor’s Studio. and La MaMa ETC.

NYC credits

  • “To Whom It May Concern” (Arclight Theatre)
  • “Wilde Tales” (TNC)
  • “The Return” (APT)
  • “11 (A River Apart)” (The Kraine)

Touring credits

  • “Endurance” (Split Knuckle Theatre Co.)
  • “One Night” (Equalogy)

Traci Bair

traci-bair-250x300Traci Bair is thrilled to return to the city of her birth, Springfield, Missouri, to play the iconic role, Eliza Doolittle.

National tours

  • Grace Farrell, “Annie” (NETworks)
  • Principal vocalist, “Cirque Dreams” (Cirque Productions)

Favorite regional theatre

  • Winifred Banks, “Mary Poppins” (Arts Center Coastal Carolina)
  • Fantine, “Les Miserables” (Riverside Theatre)
  • Katherina Cavalieri, “Amadeus” (Maltz Jupiter Theatre)
  • Vi Moore, “Footloose” (Ivoryton Playhouse)
  • Mary Bailey, “It’s A Wonderful Life” (Lyric Theatre)
  • “Sweeney Todd” (Barrington Stage)
  • “Pandora’s Box” (NYMF)

Peter Boyer

Peter-Boyer-250x300Peter Boyer is making his Tent Theatre debut this summer. Based in Washington, D.C., he most recently appeared as Charles Dickens in the east coast premiere of “The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord,” by Scott Carter at the Washington Stage Guild.

Credits

  • Ebenezer Scrooge, “A Broadway Christmas Carol” (Metro Stage)
  • Groucho Marx, “Groucho: A Life in Revue” (Wayside Theatre)
  • “Uprising” (Metro Stage)
  • “1776” (Ford’s Theatre and Olney Theatre)
  • “Parade” (Ford’s Theatre)
  • “Shenandoah” (Ford’s Theatre)
  • “Way of the World” (Shakespeare Theatre)
  • “Sound of Music, 1776” (Olney Theatre)
  • “The Fantasticks” (Rep Stage)
  • “Sleeping Beauty” (Imagination Stage)
  • “Heidi” (Imagination Stage)
  • “Beyond Therapy” (Bay Theatre)
  • “Sylvia” (Bay Theatre)
  • “Table Manners” (Bay Theatre)
  • “The Comedy of Errors” (Baltimore Shakespeare Festival)
  • “Scapin!” (Baltimore Shakespeare Festival)
  • “The Taming of the Shrew” (Baltimore Shakespeare Festival)
  • “Private Lives” (Wayside Theatre)
  • “Moonlight and Magnolias” (Wayside Theatre)
  • “The Killer Angels” (Wayside Theatre)
  • “Private Eyes” (Firehouse Theatre)
  • “Fuddy Meers” (Firehouse Theatre)
  • “Tecumseh!” (Scioto Society)
  • “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Scioto Society)
  • “Much Ado About Nothing” (Southern Festival Theatre)
  • “The Taming of the Shrew” (Southern Festival Theatre)

Kevin Casey

Kevin-Casey-250x300Kevin Casey, a production stage manager, is thrilled to be here at Tent Theatre to celebrate his 40th year in the professional theatre and his 30th as a member of Actors’ Equity Association. He is a former member of the Executive Board of the National Stage Managers’ Association (2013-2015).

Favorite shows

  • “A Chorus Line”
  • “1776” (performed on July 4, 1976)
  • “Sweeney Todd”
  • “CATS”
  • “South Pacific”
  • “The Foreigner”
  • “Hairspray”
  • “Forever Plaid”
  • “Emergency Room”
  • “Menopause, The Musical”
  • “The Fantasticks” (five productions)
  • “Tuck Everlasting”
  • “Amadeus”
  • “Antigone”
  • “Angels In America”
  • “The Smell of the Kill”
  • “A Year with Frog & Toad”
  • “Bridge to Terabithia”
  • “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”
  • “Holiday Memories”
  • “A Christmas Carol”
  • “Broadway Bound”
  • “Gifts of the Magi”
  • “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown”

Jerry Gallagher

Jerry-Gallagher-250x316Jerry Gallagher has performed around the country and worked at Goodspeed Opera House, Paper Mill Playhouse, St. Louis MUNY, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera and many others. He created the role of Rushmore in the Off-Broadway production of “Little Ham: A Harlem Jazzical.”

Stage credits

  • “Guys & Dolls”
  • “Crazy for You”
  • “Big River”
  • “City of Angels”
  • “Annie Get Your Gun”

Television appearances

  • CBS’s “Guiding Light”
  • Showtime’s “The Big C”
  • PBS’s “Great Performances”

Jannie Jones

JannieJannieJones-250x300 Jones has toured nationally and internationally to more than 23 countries. She is happy to return to the Tent Theatre after having been a part of last season’s “Hairspray,” as Motormouth, and “Leap of Faith” as Ida Mae.

She was last seen in “Black Stars of the Great White Way,” with Tony Award-winners Norm Lewis and Andre DeShields, Emmy Award-winning Obba Babatunde and 227’s Jackee Harry, at the NC Black Theatre Festival.

You will be able to catch her episode of “The Get Down” on Netflix this summer, playing a possible recurring role as Jamaican Mom.

Critically acclaimed credits

  • B.J., “Smokey Joe’s Café” (Capital Repertory Theatre)
  • Pearl, “Black Pearl Sings” (Virginia Stage Co., Capital Rep. Theatre & San Jose Rep. Co.)  — Bay Area Theatre Critics Award, Best Actress
  • “August Wilson’s Women” (Juneteenth Legacy Theatre) — Audelco Award

Broadway/Off-Broadway/National Broadway tours

  • Georgie, understudy, “The Full Monty” Sylvia, “All Shook Up”
  • Sister Carrie, “Mama I Want to Sing”
  • Traci, “Faith’s Journey”

Other credits

  • Dionne, “Hair”
  • Motormouth, “Hairspray” (N.C. Theatre)
  • Mahalia Jackson, “Mahalia” (N.C. Blk Rep.)
  • “Motown Cabaret, by Gershwin”
  • “Too Darn Hot”
  • “Steppin’ Out”
  • “Ain’t Nothing but the Blues” (Florida Studio Theatre)
  • Velma and Wanda, “Crowns” (Cincinnati Playhouse, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis & Asolo Thea.)
  • Armelia, “Ain’t Misbehavin’” (Riverside Theatre)
  • Tina Turner, “Beehive” (Arkansas Rep.)

One-woman shows

  • “My Castle’s Rockin,’ The Alberta Hunter Story”
  • “Ethel Waters: His Eye is on the Sparrow,” (Written by Larry Parr, premiered at the Florida Studio Theatre)

Television appearances

  • “All My Children”
  • “The Guiding Light”
  • “Martin”
  • Commercials and print ads

Concerts

  • Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert version of “Kiss Me Kate” (Hattie)
  • Raphael’s concerts at Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden and Carnegie Hall

Other musical appearances

  • Teddy Pendergrass, “Say It” single
  • Barry White, “Practice What You Preach” album

TJ Lancaster

TJ-Lancaster-250x300TJ Lancaster is thrilled to return to Tent Theatre where he appeared in 2014’s “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Regional credits

  • “Sunday in the Park with George” (Kansas City Repertory Theatre)
  • “The Fantasticks” (Western Playhouse, Great Plains Theatre and Spinning Tree Theatre)
  • “Damn Yankees” (Great Plains Theatre)
  • “Tuna Does Vegas” (Great Plains Theatre)
  • “The Normal Heart” (Relevance Productions)
  • Andrew Lippa’s “I Am Harvey Milk” (Heartland Men’s Chorus)
  • “Fiddler on the Roof” (Spinning Tree Theatre)
  • “Make Me a Song” (Spinning Tree Theatre)
  • “Master Class” (Spinning Tree Theatre)
  • “Flat Stanley” (Starlight Theatre)
  • “Narnia” (Starlight Theatre)
  • “Peter Cottontail III” (Starlight Theatre)
  • “The Music Man” (Musical Theater Heritage)
  • “Evita” (Musical Theater Heritage)
  • “Kiss Me, Kate” (Musical Theater Heritage)

Mark Bradley Miller

Mark-Bradley-Miller-250x309Mark Bradley Miller is excited to tackle the dream role of Higgins, here at his Tent Theatre debut. Later this summer, he returns for a third season at the Sacramento Music Circus, to play Duke Mahoney in “Nice Work If You Can Get It.” Miller is also a professional photographer and interior designer.

National tours

  • “South Pacific”
  • “Broadway Celebrates America”

European tours

  • “Beauty and the Beast”
  • “The Best of Andrew Lloyd Webber”

New York credits

  • Prince/Wolf, “Into the Woods
  • Tony, “West Side Story”
  • NYMF, “The Woman Upstairs”
  • David, “Warsaw”
  • “Pippin”
  • “The Secret Garden”

Regional credits

  • Billy, “Carousel”
  • Fred/Petruchio, “Kiss Me, Kate”
  • Nick, “Funny Girl”
  • Mr. Hart, “9 to 5”
  • Phantom, “Phantom”
  • Nick, “Baby”
  • Man 1, “Closer Than Ever”
  • El Gallo, “The Fantasticks”

Summer stock

  • Pitsburgh CLO, 15 productions
  • Weathervane Theater, 10 productions
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