Missouri State University
Theatre and Dance Blog

Musical theatre makes national list of top programs

College Xpress has named Missouri State among its list of “Colleges with Excellent Musical Theater Programs.” According to the site, the 46 schools listed “are known for their excellent musical theatre programs or provide an equally strong combination of music, theater/acting, and/or dance programs.”

Theatre and dance interim department head, Chris Herr, said he is not surprised by the designation.

“Our graduates’ successes remain all of our programs’ best advertisements.”

About College Xpress

College Xpress is a free college and scholarship resource for students, their families, and guidance counselors, and is the companion website for Carnegie Communications’ magazines. The site offers college and scholarship search tools, 800 unique college-related lists, tons of expert advice, and a summer program search tool.

 

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Students prepare for ‘City of Angels’ Oct. 23 debut

City of AngelsBy the sounds coming from Craig Hall’s Coger Theatre, something big is coming. About 80 theatre and dance students are gearing up to debut the Tony Award-winning musical (1990), “City of Angels,” and it is no small feat.

Transporting MSU back to the 1940s

Set in Hollywood in the 1940s, “City of Angels” weaves together two plot lines: the “real” world of Stine, a young crime novelist, with the “reel” world of P.I. Stone, his hard-boiled, fictional hero. The play will take place in more than 20 locations, spanning across two sets—one in 1940s Hollywood and the other a black-and-white film noir fiction. Chris Herr, theatre and dance’s interim department head, said this presents a great learning opportunity for students.

“It’s a design challenge and a huge challenge for our students and staff to build on budget,” he said. “It’s a strong, funny script, with a great jazz-influenced score and some truly challenging roles for student actor/singers, many of whom play different roles in each of the worlds created in the play.

The play will bring together students and faculty from the departments of theatre and dance and music, as well as the musical theatre program, to combine a clever plot and creative staging with witty lyrics and seductive jazz, while conveying both an homage to and a spoof of the film noir genre.

Event details

Dates: Oct. 23-25, 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 26, 2:30 p.m.
Location: Craig Hall Coger Theatre
Tickets: $18 Adults; $16 Students/Seniors; $12 in advance with MSU ID

About the play

Writer Stine has been commissioned to adapt his latest detective story into a screenplay, but soon finds that the movie biz is far from glamorous. The film’s egomaniacal producer/director, Buddy Fidler, demands endless rewrites, with which Stine complies. Then, in addition to compromising his artistic integrity, Stine risks his marriage by becoming involved with Fidler’s secretary.

The plot thickens when Stine’s own creation grows frustrated with his creator’s lack of integrity and challenges him. In classic Hollywood happy-ending style, gumshoe Stone helps author Stine to win back his wife and his self-respect, while also solving the murder case in his own story-within-the-story.

 

 

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‘Columbinus’ fosters dialogue about tragedy

JRS_9275The September production of “columbinus” was a great success for the theatre and dance department. All 11 performances were essentially sold out, making it the biggest box office take for any show in the Balcony Theatre. It not only generated nearly $2,600 for the department, the production also served as an opportunity to discuss poignant issues of our time.

Evidence reveals events

The play examines the 1999 school shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, which left 12 students and one teacher dead. The shooters—Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold—also killed themselves.

Facets of the event were explored by recounting courtroom testimony by survivors and witnesses; police evidence; interviews with students, parents, teachers and community members; and, most chilling of all, excerpts from the personal journals, emails and home videos of the shooters themselves.

Post-play sessions and survey

After each Sunday matinee, talkback sessions were held to discuss the issues raised by the play and professor Mike Foster surveyed his Theatre 101 class about their overall experience of the venue, acting and design.

Dr. Chris Herr, theatre and dance’s interim department head, said both post-play activities have shown the production resonated with the campus and Springfield communities.

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COAL Homecoming: Master class series brings alumni back to campus to share their crafts

The College of Arts and Letters will be hosting a series of master classes Oct. 16 and 17 as part of its Homecoming event schedule. These classes, presented by COAL alumni in music, art and design, theatre and dance, and media, journalism and film, are open to the public. The schedule is as follows:

Susan LaBarr

Living the Dream – Composing and Publishing Music

Presented by COAL alumna Susan LaBarr, composer (BM 2004; MM 2007)

Susan LaBarr is an active, published composer, with works in print through Santa Barbara Music Company and Morningstar Music. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Music in and a Master of Music in Music Theory in at Missouri State University. In 2011, Susan won the Opus Award for her compositions Two Songs of Love Lost: Forever Gone and At Dawn of Day. This award is selected by members of the Missouri Choral Directors Association. In 2012, Susan served as composer-in-residence for the Chattanooga Girls Choir (TN). More recently, Susan served as the Missouri Composer Laureate, 2012 and 2013, a position selected by the organization Verses and Voices, and chaired by Missouri First Lady, Georganne Nixon. She also works as editor of Walton Music.

Event details

Date: Oct. 16, 4 – 5 p.m.

Location: Plaster Student Union Theater

Matt_RaithelVideo Game Development 

Presented by COAL alumnus Matt Raithel, studio director (Electronic Arts, 2004)

Matt Raithel, studio director at Graphite Lab in St. Louis, helped produced the mobile game app, My Little Pony Party of One, which reached No. 1 ranking in 73 countries by selling over one million downloads in one week (August 3-10). The game was animated primarily by another MSU alum, Matt Stevens (BFA Animation ‘09), under Raithel’s direction. After graduating from Missouri State with a bachelor’s degree in electronic arts, Raithel joined Black Lantern Studios in Springfield, where he served as an art director, director of art and design, vice president of operations and studio president.

Immediately following the class, Raithel will be presenting in the COAL alumni panel, Preparing for that First Professional Job or How I Survived the Biggest Professional Mistake I ever Made!, Friday, Oct. 17 from 1:50 – 2:50 p.m. at Plaster Student Union Theater.

Event details

Date: Oct. 17, 12:20 – 1:40 p.m.

Location: Plaster Student Union Theater

hyche1Contemporary Dance

Presented by COAL alumnus Darrell Hyche II, dancer (BFA, 2013)

In his first year with the St. Louis company Modern American Dance Company, under company director Stacy West, Darrell Hyche II, received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance performance and Bachelor of Science in psychology from Missouri State in 2013 and was a member of the University’s Inertia Dance Company under the direction of Ruth Barnes and Darryl Clark. Hyche has performed with the Springfield Ballet and the Ashleyliane Dance Company. As a scholarship student at the American Dance Festival, he worked with Brenda Daniels, Elizabeth Corbett, Sherone Price and T. Lang. He has also been in repertory works by William Forsythe, Nicholas Leichter and Merce Cunningham. In 2007, MADCO was invited to become the Professional Dance Company in Residence at the prestigious Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on the campus of University of Missouri St. Louis.

Immediately following the class, Hyche will be presenting in the COAL alumni panel, Preparing for that First Professional Job or How I Survived the Biggest Professional Mistake I ever Made!, Friday, Oct. 17 from 1:50 – 2:50 p.m. at Plaster Student Union Theater.

Event details

Date: Oct. 17, 12:20 – 1:40 p.m.

Location: Art Annex, Room #5, 1045 E Grand Street

coleclosserGraphic Novels and Modern Storytelling

Presented by COAL alumnus Cole Closser, artist, author and illustrator (BFA, 2011)

Cole Closser, a Missouri cartoonist and illustrator of comics and graphic novels, will discuss the creation and publication of his graphic novel “Little Tommy Lost” which was featured in Juxtapoz magazine (August 2013) and named one of the 10 best graphic novels of 2013 by A.V. Club (the Onion). He is a graduate of the Bachelor of Fine Arts in art printmaking and drawing programs at Missouri State University and a Master of Fine Arts from The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont.

Closser also be attending the COAL Wine and Cheese Alumni Reception later Friday evening, from 5 to 6 p.m., at the Student Exhibition Center where his work is on display.

Event details

Date: Oct. 17, 3 – 4 p.m.

Location: Plaster Student Union Theater

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Library exhibit to revisit MSU’s controversial production of ‘The Normal Heart’

The exhibit, “The Normal Heart—A Look Back to 1989,” opened yesterday, Oct. 13, to showcase the archival materials preserved by special collections after the controversial production of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, that has since won a Tony Award for its Broadway revival as well as a 2014 Emmy Award for the HBO film adaptation starring Mark Ruffalo and Julia Roberts. The exhibit, located in the special collections department, will be available until Dec. 19, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours on Tuesday evenings until 9 p.m. when classes are in session.

Play’s history at Missouri State

Missouri State’s theatre and dance department has been pushing the boundaries of social commentary throughout its history on campus, its most controversial moment coming from this production 25 years ago. The play’s focus on the early years of the AIDS epidemic drew ire from local representatives and advocacy groups. Soon the community was embroiled in a battle over academic freedom, community values and what constitutes appropriate activities at a public institution. The library will display items such as photographs, media coverage, petitions and many of the hundreds of letters—both for and against—sent to then SMSU President Marshall Gordon.

MSU president to join local panel about the play

Missouri State President Clif Smart will also join former MSU president Marshall Gordon, as well as myriad alumni and others involved with the original MSU production of The Normal Heart, in a panel series hosted by Springfield Contemporary Theatre, exploring the controversy behind the 1989 production and the intervening years to this anniversary production. The panels will take place Oct. 20 and 27, to run during SCT’s production of the play, Oct. 17-Nov. 2.

 

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COAL Homecoming: Alumni will visit campus to give professional advice

In a panel titled, Preparing for that First Professional Job or How I Survived the Biggest Professional Mistake I ever Made!, COAL alumni Matt Raithel, Darrell Hyche II and Monte Kuklinski will offer anecdotes and advice on their respective professions Friday, Oct. 17, 1:50 – 2:50 p.m. at Plaster Student Union Theater.

DarrellDarrell Hyche II

Dancer, Modern American Dance Company (BFA, BS 2013)

Darrell Hyche II is in his first year with the St. Louis company MADCO, under company director Stacy West. H received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance performance and Bachelor of Science in psychology from Missouri State in 2013 and was a member of the University’s Inertia Dance Company under the direction of Ruth Barnes and Darryl Clark. Hyche has performed with the Springfield Ballet and the Ashleyliane Dance Company. As a scholarship student at the American Dance Festival, he worked with Brenda Daniels, Elizabeth Corbett, Sherone Price and T. Lang. He has also been in repertory works by William Forsythe, Nicholas Leichter and Merce Cunningham. In 2007, MADCO was invited to become the Professional Dance Company in Residence at the prestigious Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on the campus of University of Missouri St. Louis.

Immediately preceding the panel, Hyche will be presenting a master class from 12:20 – 1:40 p.m. in the Art Annex, room 5, on contemporary dance.

 

Monte_2161resizedMonte Kuklinsk

Senior vice president of facilities and construction, Fox Networks Engineering and Operations (BFA, 1975)

Now a Los Angeles resident, Monte Kuklenski came up during the storied era of Missouri State theatre, sharing the stage with friends John Goodman, Jack Laufer, Tess Harper and Kathleen Turner. After earning a bachelor’s degree in theatre from Missouri State in 1975, he went on to study directing and production at Southern Methodist University, graduating with a master’s degree in 1980 and beginning his career at Fox in 1988.

Later Friday night, Kuklenski will be recognized among the 2014 Bears of Distinction at the Alumni Association awards banquet at the University Plaza Convention Center.

 

 

Matt_RaithelMatt Raithel

Studio director, Graphite Lab (EA, 2004)

Matt Raithel, studio director at Graphite Lab in St. Louis, helped produced the mobile game app, My Little Pony Party of One, which reached No. 1 ranking in 73 countries by selling over one million downloads in one week (Aug. 3-10). The game was animated primarily by another MSU alum, Matt Stevens (BFA Animation ‘09), under Raithel’s direction. After graduating from Missouri State with a bachelor’s degree in electronic arts, Raithel joined Black Lantern Studios in Springfield, where he served as an art director, director of art and design, vice president of operations and studio president.

Immediately preceding the panel, Raithel will be presenting a master class in the PSU Theater, from 12:20 – 1:40 p.m. on video game development.

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columbinus

September 18-19,21-26, 28, 2014

The Balcony Theatre

Credits

Scenic Design — Graham Howatt

Costume Design — Jay Hensley

Lighting Design — Blaine O’Donnell

Sound Design — Elim Allee

Assistant Director- John O’Neil

Technical Director — Chris DePriest

Stage Manager — Kimberly Blakes

Fight Choreographer- Kurt Heinlein

Marketing Director — Mark Templeton

Directed by — Sarah Wiggin

Cast

Dejuan Boyd

Michael Cassidy Flynn

Andrew Gordon

Natalie Gorman

Adam Grimes

Ben Heustess

Jill Kamler

Annie Lay

Notes

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COAL alumnus to be honored at Homecoming event

Monte_2161resizedCollege of Arts and Letters alumnus Monte Kuklenski will be recognized among the 2014 Bears of Distinction at the Alumni Association awards banquet during Homecoming. Kuklenski graduate from the University in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree from the department of theatre and dance.

About Kuklenski

Now a Los Angeles resident and senior vice president of facilities and construction for Fox Networks Engineering and Operations, Kuklenski came up during the storied era of Missouri State theatre, sharing the stage with friends John Goodman, Jack Laufer, Tess Harper and Kathleen Turner. He went on to study directing and production at Southwest Methodist University, graduating with a master’s degree in 1980 and began his career at Fox in 1988.

Kuklenski’s parents, both MSU grads, met in the MSU band, His late dad, Dr. Joe E. Kuklenski Jr., was superintendent of Springfield Public Schools from 1970-81, and won the Distinguished Bears award in 1983. Monte’s sisters, Jill Scruggs, and Julie Peck are also grads.

About the Distinguished Bears Dinner and Awards Ceremony

Missouri State University alumni and friends are invited to pay tribute to an exemplary group of Bears for their notable successes. Alumni and former faculty will be honored for their dedication, professional achievements and loyalty to Missouri State. The evening will include a social hour, dinner and entertainment by Missouri State musicians and performers. For further information please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 417-836-5654.

Date: Friday, Oct. 17, 2014

Time: Social time at 6 p.m.; Dinner at 6:45 p.m.

Location: University Plaza Convention Center, 333 S. John Q. Hammons Pkwy.

Cost: $30 per person. Reservations requested.

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COAL alumna to be honored at Homecoming event

Deidre Goodwin Headshot no borderCollege of Arts and Letters alumna Deidre Goodwin will be recognized among the 2014 Bears of Distinction at the Alumni Association awards banquet during Homecoming. Goodwin has bachelor’s degrees from the departments of theatre and dance and media, journalism and film.

About Goodwin

Since graduating from Missouri State in 1992, the New York City resident has worked in television, film and on Broadway. She has taught dance and musical theater workshops across the country and is among the musical theatre conservatory faculty at the New York Film Academy. In partnership with voice teacher Kim Stern, she created The Broadway Warm-Up, a completely synchronized vocal and dance warm-up for professional performers, and produced a soon-to-be-released accompanying video.

About the Distinguished Bears Dinner and Awards Ceremony

Missouri State University alumni and friends are invited to pay tribute to an exemplary group of Bears for their notable successes. Alumni and former faculty will be honored for their dedication, professional achievements and loyalty to Missouri State. The evening will include a social hour, dinner and entertainment by Missouri State musicians and performers. For further information please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 417-836-5654.

Date: Friday, Oct. 17, 2014

Time: Social time at 6 p.m.; Dinner at 6:45 p.m.

Location: University Plaza Convention Center, 333 S. John Q. Hammons Pkwy.

Cost: $30 per person. Reservations requested.

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Talkback Sessions

Are you interested in having a conversation about issues such as school shootings, mental health, and bullying with experts in counseling, psychology, and conflict management as well as some of the cast of columbinus? If so, we would love to see you in Craig Hall, room 206 after our 2:30pm performances on both September 21st & 28th.

Two experts will be in attendance at both sessions: Dr. Joseph Hulgus, who has a PhD in Psychology focused in family therapy and mental health, and William Holtmeyer, Jr., who is a certified counselor specializing in mental health and post traumatic stress counseling.

We are confident this discussion will lead to a better understanding of some difficult topics and look forward to bringing the community together to increase knowledge, raise awareness, and encourage communication.

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