Missouri State University
Theatre and Dance Blog

Theatre students help MSU earn Presidential Honor Roll award

17896_5627The service-learning efforts of students in music and theatre and dance have helped Missouri State earn a spot on the 2014 Presidential Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in the General Community Service category.

Robberson Community School project

Over 60 students in opera and theatre, as well as math, Spanish, reading, criminology and the sciences,  joined the citizen and service-learning office in the 2012-2013 school year to provide educational opportunities to more than 300 students at Robberson Community School, where many families fall below the poverty line.

Other projects submitted

During the 2012-2013 academic year, a total 6,854 Missouri State Springfield students and student volunteers contributed 386,508 hours of service to communities — locally, nationally and globally. Along with the Robberson outreach program, the University submitted two additional service-learning projects to be considered for the Honor Roll. Those included the Diversity Pep Talk program, led by Dr. Adena D. Jones with a team of psychology service-learning students, and spring immersion trips to New Orleans, Dallas and Chicago, where volunteer students worked to address problems in those communities.

About the 2014 Presidential Honor Roll

The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognizes institutions of higher education that support exemplary community service programs and raise the visibility of effective practices in campus community partnerships.

Posted in Announcement | Leave a comment

Our Town

November 20-23, 2014

Coger Theatre


Scenic Design — Deborah Baxter

Costume Design — Leslie Branyon

Lighting Design — Josh Russell

Sound Design — Mark Putman

Music Director- Emma Rathe

Technical Director — Chris DePriest

Stage Manager — Dallas Leeper

Marketing Director — Mark Templeton

Assistant Director- Amanda Murphy

Directed by — Melanie Dreyer-Lude


Stage Manager- Kaleb Norman

George Gibbs- Michael Reiser

Emily Webb- Rachel Schmeling

Rebecca Gibbs- Emma Rathe

Dr. Gibbs- Zach Malott

Mrs. Julia Gibbs- Mia Craigmile

Mr. Webb- Nick Oswalt

Mrs. Webb- Sarah Rebottaro

Wally Webb- Kristian Jett

Professor Willard/Woman Among the Dead- Kate McAllister

Woman in Balcony/Woman Among the Dead- Melanie Humphrey

Lady in a Box/Woman Among the Dead- Hannah Ferguson

Joe Crowell/Si Crowell- Sean Simpson

Simon Stimson- Cody Tinsley

Constable Warren- Kendrick Hooks

Mrs. Soames- Ellie LeMer

Sam Craig- Hannah Finger

Joe Stoddard- Jose Avendano

Howie Newsome- Dalton Reeves

Baseball Player/Belligerent Man/Mr. Carter/ Townsperson/ Ensemble- Alex Tolar

Baseball Player/Townsperson/ Ensemble- Katie Higdon

Baseball Player/Townsperson/Ensemble- Caroline Nagel



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘Our Town’ to open Nov. 20 at Coger Theatre

Our Town screen grabMissouri State students and faculty will bring “Our Town” to life on the Coger Theatre stage this week, Nov. 20-23. Directed by theatre and dance professor Melanie Dreyer-Lude, the award-winning play is set between 1901 and 1913 in the fictional village of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire.

About ‘Our Town’

The play weaves together stories of the seemingly inconsequential routines of small-town life over a 12-year timeframe. Performed with a minimal set, scenery and props, this modern classic engages our imaginations and reinforces the metaphysical reality that underlies our day-to-day experiences. Since its premiere in 1938, this Pulitzer Prize-winning drama has been recognized for its universal theme.

Performance Schedule

Purchase tickets online or at the Craig Hall box office: $14 Adults; $12 Students/Seniors; $8 in advance with MSU ID.

Nov. 20, 21, 22: 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 23: 2:30 p.m.

Any Given ChildAny Given Child program

In conjunction with the Nov. 20 performance, area 8th grade students from Westport, Jarrett, Pipkin, Study/AIMS, Pershing and Reed will be on campus for “Our Town”-related workshops and performance. This yearly opportunity is provided by the Kennedy Center’s “Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child” initiative , led locally by the theatre and dance departmentSpringfield Public Schools and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. Teachers will be given a study guide with suggested pre- and post-performance questions and activities that can be incorporated into their lesson plans.

Posted in Announcement, Production | Leave a comment

Dance students, faculty seeks donations for conference costs, uses MSU Crowdfunding

17001_5614The dance program is seeking donations through a Missouri State University Foundation-sponsored crowdfunding campaign to send 10 students and two faculty members to the American College Dance Association (ACDA) 2015 Central Region conference at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau. The donations would pay for registration, fees, transportation and lodging costs.

Funding Goal

The program’s goal is to raise a total of $5,000, with donations as small as $1 accepted. When sharing the project URL on social media, use with the hashtag #bearcrowd.

ACDA Conference

The regional conference offers students and faculty the opportunity to present research and choreography, teach and take dance classes, and engage in networking opportunities. This invaluable experience allows choreographers to receive feedback on their work from three nationally recognized dance artists. Students can take what they’ve learned in the classroom and apply it to real-world experience and forge relationships through a shared passion for dance.

About MSU Crowdfunding

MSU Crowdfunding is a pilot initiative led by the Missouri State University Foundation in partnership with CrowdIt, to provide an online crowdfunding platform for Missouri State students, faculty and staff to raise money and generate support their ideas.

More Information

For more information, contact theatre and dance by email or at 417-836-4400, or the MSU Foundation by email or at 417-836-4143.

Posted in Announcement | Leave a comment

MSU invites local 8th graders for ‘Our Town’ workshops, performance

Missouri State’s theatre and dance department will bring 8th grade students from Westport, Jarrett, Pipkin, Study/AIMS, Pershing and Reed to campus Nov. 20 from 2-5 p.m. for workshops and a performance of the campus production, “Our Town.”

Any Given ChildAny Given Child program

The department works with Springfield Public Schools and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks to offer this yearly opportunity as part of the Kennedy Center’s “Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child” initiative that strives to provide a live fine arts experience for all children in grades K-8. Teachers will be given a study guide with suggested pre- and post-performance questions and activities that can be incorporated into their lesson plans.

Our Town screen grabAbout ‘Our Town’

Written by Thornton Wilder and directed by Missouri State’s Melanie Dreyer-Lude, “Our Town” is set between 1901 and 1913 in the fictional village of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire. The play weaves together stories of the seemingly inconsequential routines of small-town life over a 12-year timeframe. Performed with a minimal set, scenery and props, this modern classic engages our imaginations and reinforces the metaphysical reality that underlies our day-to-day experiences. Since its premiere in 1938, this Pulitzer Prize-winning drama has been recognized for its universal theme.

Performance Schedule

Tickets are available to the public for the Nov. 20- 22 performances at 7:30 p.m. and the matinee on Nov. 23 at 2:30 p.m.

Posted in Announcement, Production | Tagged | Leave a comment

Free dance concert to showcase student choreography

ContigencyMissouri State students will deliver a free dance concert series Nov. 12–16 in Craig Hall’s Balcony Theatre, showcasing seven pieces choreographed by junior and senior students of the department of theatre and danceContingency: 2014 Fall Dance Concert will feature student dancers Travis Burbee, Juli Curran, Alexandria Grossman, Sabrina Harris, Caitlyn Price, Emily Rankin and Edyn Tarkany.


  • Evenings: Nov. 12–15, 7:30 p.m.
  • Matinees: Nov. 15–16, 2:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Ruth Barnes by email or visit the concert website.

Posted in Production | Leave a comment

City of Angels

October 23-26, 2014

Coger Theatre


Scenic Design — Robert Little

Costume Design — Cynthia Winstead

Lighting Design — Shelbi Ardnt

Sound Design — Graham Howatt

Technical Director — Chris DePriest

Stage Manager — Jantzen Bates

Marketing Director — Mark Templeton

Musical Director-  Heather Chittenden-Luellen

Directed by — Michael Casey


Movie Cast 

Stone- Mitch Brauer

Orderly #1- Zachary Russell

Orderly #2- Corey Todd

Oolie- Taryn Haley

Alaura Kingsley- Kassandra Wright

Radio Announcer- Chance Nichols (Voiceover)

Angel City Tenor- Corey Todd

Angel City Bass- Zachary Russell

Angel City Soprano- Ellen Spann

Angel City Alto- Samantha Hayes

Jimmy Powers- Alex Baylard

Sonny- Corey Hollander

Big Six- Chance Nichols

Manny Munoz- Travis Holt

Officer Pasco- Zachary Russell

Blue Note Announcer- Jordan Woods (Voiceover)

Bobbi- Kayleigh Greenwood

Irwin S. Irving- Jalen Lee

Man in Phone Booth- Alec Brown

Peter Kingsley- Travis Burbee

Margaret, Kingsley Maid- Carly Hayes

Dr. Mandril- Alex Stompoly

Luther Kingsley- Ashley Wells-Thulin

Kingsley Butler- Jordan Woods

Mallory Kingsley- Alana St. John

Man with Flash Camera- Corey Todd

Coroner, Harlan Yomato- Alec Brown

Mahoney- Tori Citro

Commissioner Gaines- Chance Nichols

L.A. County Jail Guard- Chance Nichols

Brothel Girl- Christi McCarthy

Bootsie- Courtney Bollig

Margie- Kelly Johnston


Hollywood Cast

Stine- Nicholas Dricoll

Buddy Fidler- Jalen Lee

Shoeshine Boy- Chance Nichols

Gabby- Kayleigh Greenwood

Barber, Gilbert- Alex Stompoly

Donna- Taryn Haley

Masseuse, Anna- Kelly Johnston

Recording Studio Engeneer- Jordan Woods

Carla Fidler- Kassandra Wright

Piano Player- Corey Todd

Buddy’s Maid- Carly Hayes

Buddy’s Butler- Jordan Woods

Del Dacosta- Zachary Russell

Pancho Varges- Travis Holt

Avril Raines- Alana St. John

Gerald Peirce- Travis Burbee

Werner Krieger- Ashely Wells- Thulin

Stand-In- Carly Hayes

Hair Dresser- Kelly Johnston

Cinematographer, Jack- Alec Brown

Jean- Tori Citro

Buddy’s Nephew- Jordan Woods

Studio Prop Man- Corey Todd

Studio Sound Man- Zachary Russell

Studio Clapper Boy- Samantha Hayes

Studio Cop- Corey Hollander



Posted in Past Productions, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.


Posted in Announcement | Comments Off

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.



Posted in Production | Comments Off

‘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.

Posted in Past Productions | Comments Off