Missouri State University
Theatre and Dance Blog

Fall season tackles women, war and the whimsical

Theatre and dance has rolled out its production schedule and this fall’s line-up packs a powerful punch—from the comedic look at what happens when nine women come together, to a musical about unexpected romance in the face of the Vietnam War, to the magic of fairies in a celebrated Shakespeare play.

Tickets go on sale Aug. 17 and are available at campus box offices or through Missouri State TIX.

Season15_16_CUCUMBERSSmall-town living on menu in ‘Cucumbers’

Eavesdrop on a conversation that turns sweet, salty, sour, spicy, succulent and side-splitting. Written by MSU theatre and dance alumnus Le Wilhelm and set in the Ozarks in 1979, this slice of life comedy is a dilly!

Synopsis

After receiving an unexpected windfall of cucumbers, nine women gather for an old-fashioned “pickle party” — and the cucumbers aren’t the only things getting pickled! As the women prepare their recipes, gossip and wild stories flow, old rivalries and betrayals surface, and the women reflect on love, mortality and the simple joys of living.

Directed by Telory D. Arendell, PhD. Written by Le Wilhelm with Steven Barrett.

Schedule

Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 17-18, 21-25 & 28; 2:30 p.m. Sept. 20 & 27
Location: Craig Hall Balcony Theatre (please note: there is no late seating for performances in the Balcony Theatre)
Tickets: $14 Adults; $12 Students/Seniors; $8 in advance with MSU ID

Season15_16_DOGFIGHT‘Dogfight’ reveals turbulence of love, war in early 1960s

What do you get when you mix energetic dance numbers with an awkward affair and soldiers heading to war? Winner of the 2013 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical, “Dogfight” captures the violence and innocence of an era.

Synopsis

It’s 1963 and, on the eve of their deployment to Vietnam, a group of tough-talking Marines spend a last rowdy night on the town in San Francisco. On the agenda: drinking, debauchery and a cruel game called “Dogfight,” in which the players each bet $50 to see who can bring the ugliest date to their party. PFC Eddie Birdlace asks Rose, a shy waitress who is an aspiring folk singer and budding pacifist. When Rose discovers the true purpose of their date, she is crushed and humiliated. But when she sees that Birdlace is genuinely remorseful, she gives him a second chance and an awkward romance unfolds.

Directed by Jessica Ryan. Music and lyrics by Benj Pasek & Justin Paul. Book by Peter Duchan. Musical adaptation of Nancy Savoca’s 1991 film, “Dogfight.” 

Schedule

Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8-10; 2:30 p.m. Oct. 11
Location: Craig Hall Coger Theatre
Tickets: $18 Adults; $16 Students/Seniors; $12 in advance with MSU ID

Season15_16_DREAMMagic, comedy of love illustrated in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

Who doesn’t enjoy a love story involving supernatural beings? After more than 400 years, William Shakespeare’s tale has proven enduring.

Synopsis

In one of his most whimsical and lighthearted comedies, Shakespeare celebrates the confusing, chaotic, magical, irrational, irresistible nature of romantic love! In a moonlit forest on the eve of a royal wedding, several sets of characters converge: a group of young lovers, a troupe of amateur actors and a band of fairies. Through cleverly interconnected plotlines — including a play within the play — A Midsummer Night’s Dream encompasses forbidden love, unrequited love, a lover’s quarrel, enchanted love, tragic love (though comically portrayed) and, finally, true love that restores balance and harmony.

Directed by Sarah J. Wiggin. Written by William Shakespeare.

Schedule

Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12-14; 2:30 p.m. Nov. 15
Location: Craig Hall Coger Theatre
Tickets: $14 Adults; $12 Students/Seniors; $8 in advance with MSU ID
The 2015 High School Theatre Workshop will be held in conjunction with the Nov. 12 performance.

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‘Nashville’ alum to give convocation speech

Kyle Dean MasseyKyle Dean Massey, a theatre and dance alumnus and actor on ABC’s country music drama “Nashville,” will be this fall’s speaker at the New Student Convocation on Aug. 16. The convocation will be at 2 p.m. at JQH Arena.

After the convocation, Massey will have a Q&A session during theatre and dance’s Student Meet and Greet event at 7:30 p.m. in Coger Theatre. On Monday evening, he will participate in a master class for musical theatre students.

From MSU to Broadway to TV

Massey, 33, graduated from MSU’s musical theatre program in 2004. Earlier this year, he joined the cast of “Nashville” in the recurring role of Kevin Bicks, an openly gay Nashville singer-songwriter.

He has performed in more than 60 productions and just finished a run on Broadway in the title role of “Pippin.” His TV credits include “The Good Wife,” “Inside Amy Schumer” and “Hart Of Dixie.”

He grew up in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and is now living in New York City.

New Student Convocation details

Date: Aug. 16
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: JQH Arena
Admission: Free and open to the public

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Student gets chance to act with famous alumni

MattMurphyTheatre and dance student Matt Murphy will soon get the chance to exercise his acting chops with several Missouri State alumni, including notable television and film actors Tess Harper and Jack Laufer.

Auditioning for the role of Spike

Murphy, a sophomore from Monett, Missouri, is slated to play Spike in Springfield Contemporary Theatre’s upcoming “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” a Christopher Durang comedy that won the 2013 Tony Award for best play.

The SCT production is co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Letters and theatre and dance department.

Murphy is a transfer student majoring in theatre with an acting emphasis. He has previously acted in stage productions and student films.

Murphy said Missouri State Assistant Professor Maggie Marlin-Hess encouraged him to audition for the role.

VanyaSoniaMashaSpike

“When I saw the play on Broadway, Spike was the character I could relate to, and I hoped I would have the chance to see what I could do with that role myself. Then Maggie told me Springfield Contemporary Theatre was doing the play and that I should audition.”

Show is culmination of 40 years of friendship

Murphy will join Laufer, Harper and MSU faculty and alumna Julie Bloodworth, who play the roles of siblings Vanya, Sonia and Masha. Alumnus Terry Bloodworth will direct the play, and alumna Teresa Ayers will be designing the costumes.

“We all have maintained close friendships over the past 40-plus years. When Jack saw an L.A. production of the show, he wrote me a note and asked if I would like to direct him, along with Tess and my wife, in an SCT production of the show. I jumped at the chance, of course,” Terry Bloodworth said.

Local thespians Whitney Russell-Ice, part-time MSU faculty, and Helen Groves will round out the comedy’s cast as Nina and Cassandra, respectively.

jacklauferMurphy hopes to learn from stellar cast, crew

Laufer, who graduated in 1976, will be wrapping his third season in the Showtime series “Masters of Sex” in September. He is also known for his roles in “Star Trek Into Darkness,” “Mad Men” and “And the Band Played On.”

Harper graduated in 1972. She recently had reoccurring roles in “Breaking Bad” and “Crash.” She has won awards for her acting in movies such as “No Country for Old Men” and “Tender Mercies.”

Murphy said he’s excited to work with the caliber of acting and directing this show will bring.

Tess_Harper“It’s going to really help to see their process. I’m not going to be crazy with questions, because I don’t think they want that, but I’m definitely going to try to learn as much as possible from them,” he said.

About the show

Middle-aged siblings Vanya and Sonia share a home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where they bicker and complain about the circumstances of their lives. Suddenly, their movie-star sister, Masha, swoops in with her new boy toy, Spike. Old resentments flare up, eventually leading to threats to sell the house.

Dates: Sept. 11-13, 17-20, 24-27
Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m.
Location: Springfield Contemporary Theatre, 431 S. Jefferson Ave #136
Admission: Tickets go on sale Aug. 11, 2015

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Alumna plays lead role in award-winning movie

LaurenSweetser
www.imdb.com

Theatre and dance alumna Lauren Sweetser’s latest film “Get Happy!” won best romantic comedy at the 2015 Manhattan Film Festival in June.

Sweetser, who graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, emphasis in acting, played a leading role in the film. She’s also had roles in “Winter’s Bone,” “Paradise, FL,” and the upcoming movies “ADDicted” and “Pali Road.”

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Few tickets left for Tent Theatre’s final show ‘Hairspray’

Tent 53TentTheatre‘s final show “Hairspray” begins July 8 and is nearly sold out. With a few seats left across the 11 remaining performances, the 53rd season is finishing up strong. The show, about a girl who achieves her dream of performing on a TV dance show in 1960s Baltimore and works to integrate the show in the process, will run July 8-11 and 13-19.

LeapofFaith

Sherlock

Tent’s 53rd season

Tent’s previous shows this season included “Leap of Faith” and “Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure.” They were also hugely successful at the box office as were the picnics before the show.

Picnic tickets are separate

Guests can participate in a picnic prior to the show by making reservations at least 24 hours in advance, no show tickets required. Picnic and show tickets can can be purchased by calling the box office 417-836-7678.

Visit the Tent Theatre website for more ticketing and production information. And don’t forget to join the online conversation during the performance by posting to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag: #MoonlitMiracles.

Photos courtesy Tent Theatre’s Facebook page.

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Tent Theatre’s ‘Sherlock’ begins June 25

Tent_2015_show_logos_CMYK_HThe 53rd season of Tent Theatre begins its second show tonight, June 25, at 8 p.m. with “Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure.”

Audiences will arrive to a steampunk set and enjoy watching as the world’s greatest detective solve yet another intriguing case. The show runs until July 3, and then the final performance “Hairspray” will begin July 8.

sherlockJoin us for a picnic!

Guests can participate in a picnic prior to the show by making reservations at least 24 hours in advance, no show tickets required. Picnic and show tickets can can be purchased by calling the box office 417-836-7678. 

Visit the Tent Theatre website for more ticketing and production information. And don’t forget to join the online conversation during the performance by posting to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag: #MoonlitMiracles.

TENTlogo

53rd Tent season

Catch the last two Tent productions of the summer. All showings begin at 8 p.m.

Tent_2015_show_logos_CMYK_H

Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure

The world’s greatest detective has seemingly reached the end of his remarkable career when a case presents itself that is too tempting to ignore.

 

Tent_2015_show_logos_CMYK_H

Hairspray

A girl achieves her dream of performing on a TV dance show in 1960s Baltimore and works to integrate the show in the process.

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Alumnus talks about work on Tony-winning musical

Alumnus Stephen Milosevich is celebrating this week with his fellow crew and cast of the Broadway musical “Fun Home.” The production took home five Tony Awards June 7, including best musical. Milosevich graduated in 2011 with a BFA in theatre for design, technology and stage management.

Photo provided by Stephen Milosevich
Photo provided by Stephen Milosevich

Milosevich started out as a production assistant during rehearsals. Since opening night, he has been the sub stage manager. He talked to Missouri State about his job on the production and his time as an MSU student.

Describe your job on “Fun Home.”

A sub stage manager fills in for a full-time stage manager who calls out sick, takes a personal day or goes on vacation. The sub will run the backstage deck track during the show.

What has been your favorite aspect of working on “Fun Home”?

My favorite aspect of working on this show is being a part of something that’s so one-of-a-kind on Broadway. It’s a coming-of-age story based on Alison Bechdel’s life. You will laugh; you will cry; you will think; and you will remember this special show.

What are the unique challenges that come with managing an “in-the-round” stage?

One of the most challenging parts of doing a show in the round is not having a large backstage area. Since the backstage isn’t big enough to store large scenery pieces, we have a total of six traps in the deck. These traps open up on the deck and a lift will bring up furniture pieces onto the stage level. These lifts are used often to execute transitions smoothly. As stage managers, it is our responsibility to make sure the actors are safe on stage while the traps are open and to make sure furniture is in the correct spike/position. There is a small margin of error which adds to the excitement.

milsovech web

How did Missouri State help you prepare for that job?

Missouri State quickly introduced me to the professional environment of stage management. We were given wonderful opportunities to stage manage high-caliber shows that helped prepare me for where I am today.

Is this your first time on an award-winning production?

I’ve worked on shows that won Obie’s, Lortel’s and Drama Desk awards, but this is the first show I’ve worked on that won a Tony Award for best musical.

When the awards were announced, what was your reaction? 

I felt very blessed and so unbelievably happy for every single deserving member on the team!

What advice would you have for MSU’s design, tech and stage management students?

Put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to try something that you may feel you’re not qualified or prepared to do.

FunHome logoAbout the musical

“Fun Home” is a Broadway musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s bestselling, award-winning 2006 graphic novel “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.” It follows Alison, a 43-year-old graphic artist, as she looks back at various stages in her life trying to recreate moments between her and her dysfunctional family, especially her closeted father, as she reflects on her own journey as a lesbian.

“Fun Home” received a total of 12 total nominations at the 69th Annual Tony Awards on June 7 with five wins, including best musical, best performance by an actor in leading role in a musical, best direction of a musical, best book of a musical and best original score written for the theatre.

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Alumni working on recent Tony winner ‘Fun Home’

milsovech webnicole van giesenThe groundbreaking Broadway musical “Fun Home” was awarded five Tony awards Sunday night, including best musical, with two theatre and dance alumni on its cast and crew.

Nicole Van Giesen is an understudy for the muscial’s roles of Alison and her mother Helen. She graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre.

Stephen Milosevich, the show’s sub stage manager, graduated in 2011 with a BFA in theatre for design, technology and stage management.

FunHome logoAbout the musical

“Fun Home” is a Broadway musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s bestselling, award-winning 2006 graphic novel “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.”

It follows the memories of Alison, a 43-year-old graphic artist, as she looks back at various stages in her life trying to recreate moments between her and her dysfunctional family, especially her closeted father, as she reflects on her own journey as a lesbian.

For its public theatre run, it won Obie and Lucille Lortel awards for best musical. The graphic novel was a Pulitzer finalist for drama in 2014. Bechdel is also a McArthur genius grant recipient.

About the awards

“Fun Home” received a total of 12 total nominations at the 69th Annual Tony Awards on June 7 with five wins, including best score where composer Jeanine Tesori and playwright Lisa Kron were the first all-female team to ever win in that category.

Its wins included:

  • Best Musical
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical (Michael Cerveris)
  • Best Direction of a Musical (Sam Gold)
  • Best Book of a Musical (Lisa Kron)
  • Best Original Score Written for the Theatre (Lisa Kron, Jeanine Tesori)
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Tent Theatre’s ‘Leap of Faith’ begins June 10

Tent_2015_show_logos_CMYK_HThe 53rd season of Tent Theatre begins tonight, June 10, at 8 p.m. with its first show “Leap of Faith.” Audiences will follow a con-artist reverend traveling with his ministry when romance alters his course. The show will run June 10-13 and 15-20.

Join us for a picnic

Guests can participate in a picnic prior to the show by making reservations at least 24 hours in advance, no show tickets required. Picnic and show tickets can can be purchased by calling the box office 417-836-7678. 

Visit the Tent Theatre website for more ticketing and production information. And don’t forget to join the online conversation during the performance by posting to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag: #MoonlitMiracles.

TENTlogo

Other Tent shows

Catch the other two Tent productions later this summer. All showings begin at 8 p.m.

Tent_2015_show_logos_CMYK_H

Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure

The world’s greatest detective has seemingly reached the end of his remarkable career when a case presents itself that is too tempting to ignore.

Tent_2015_show_logos_CMYK_H

Hairspray

A girl achieves her dream of performing on a TV dance show in 1960s Baltimore and works to integrate the show in the process.

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Spring Dance Concert Strutting and Fretting: a neo-vaudeville

April 30-May 3, 2015

Coger Theatre

Credits:

Choreographers- Ruth Barnes & Darryl Kent Clark

Guest Artists- Peter Collins (piano) & Ann Marie Wilcox-Daehn (mezzo-soprano)

Costume Designers- Leslie Branyon, Jay Hensley, & Cynthia Winstead

Lighting Design- Blaine O’Donnell

Stage Managers- Jantzen Bates & Blaine O’Donnell

Concert Coordinator- Ruth Barnes

Cast

Les Folies du Carnaval- Caitlin Shukwit, Jake Wobbe, Sarah Gericke, Austin Wayne Grigg, Jill Kamler, Madison McElwee, Chelsea Thomas *

Place Settings- Travis Burbee, Jazzmon Craig, Sarah Fiedler, Sarah Gericke, Austin Wayne Grigg, Caroline Lacina, Caitlyn Price, Caitlin Shukwit, Alyssa Turner, and Jake Wobbe * **

Morning Glories- Molly Haslag, Madison McElwee, Courtney Poppell, and Chelsea Thomas *

Just Like a Butterfly- Travis Burbee, Alexandria Grossman, Paula Landry, Molly Noe, Nicole Polston, Melanie Sikyta, Kaylee Trost, Alyssa Tuner, and Jake Wobbe* **

A Poem- Jill Kamler

Lida Rose- * ** ***

Los Campanillas- Sarah Fiedler, Paula Landry, Courtney Poppell, and Melanie Sikyta *

I Never Do Anything Twice- Caitlin Shukwit and Jake Wobbe * **

There Are Fairies at the Bottom of Our Garden- Brittaney Laleh Banaei, Alexandria Grossman, Paula Landry, Madison McElwee, Caitlyn Price, Chelsea Thomas, and Alyssa Turner * **

My Buddy- Travis Burbee, Austin Wayne and Jake Wobbe * ***

Graceful Ghost- Sarah Gericke, Caroline Lacina, Molly Noe, Caitlin Shukwit, and Melanie Sikyta *

I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now- Brittaney Laleh Banaei, Travis Burbee, Jazzmon Craig, Sarah Fiedler, Austin Wayne Grigg, Paula Landry, Madison McElwee, Courtney Poppell, Nicole Polston, Alyssa Turner, and Jake Wobbe * ** ***

Solace- Alexandria Grossman, Molly Haslag, Caitlyn Price, Chelsea Thomas, Kaylee Trost, and Jake Wobbe *

A Poem- Jill Kamler

Minstrels- Caitlyn Price and Caitlin Shukwit *

Moonbeams- Molly Haslag, Caroline Lacina, and Molly Noe * **

Dance Little Lady- Full Cast * **

 

*Peter Collins (piano)

** Ann Marie Wilcox-Daehn (mezzo-soprano)

*** Male Quartet: Darryl Kent Clark, Nick Driscoll, Ted Kelley, and Mason Kelso

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