Missouri State University
Theatre and Dance Blog

Chekhov classic revamped for modern stage premieres Feb. 18

Anton Chekhov’s existential comedy, originally published in 1897, is resonating with contemporary audiences, thanks to this fresh new translation in everyday English. The department of theatre and dance will bring the classic to the Balcony Theatre Feb. 18-28.

UncleVanyaSynopsis

Vanya and his niece Sonya have devoted their lives to managing the family’s country farm estate, including the support of Sonya’s self-absorbed father, Professor Serebryakov who returns to the estate with his beautiful, much-younger second wife, Yelena. All must face their regrets and unfulfilled dreams when both Vanya and his friend Astrov, the village doctor, fall under the spell of the sensuous Yelena, while Sonya confesses her unreciprocated love for Astrov. “Uncle Vanya” plumbs the depths of the human psyche with insight, wit and compassion.

Schedule

Showtimes: 7:30 p.m., Feb. 18-19, 22-26 & 29; 2:30 p.m., Feb. 21 & 28
Location: Craig Hall Balcony Theatre
Tickets: $14 Adults; $12 Students/Seniors; $8 in advance with MSU ID

Spring 2016 productions

Visit the theatre and dance website for this season’s production schedule.

Buy your tickets

Tickets for are now on sale at campus box offices or through Missouri State TIX.

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Award-winning actor to lead MSU’s musical theatre program

RobertWestenbergMissouri State’s College of Arts and Letters announced today that Robert Westenberg will join its faculty in the fall 2016 semester as musical theatre coordinator and associate professor in the theatre and dance department.

MSU’s dedication to arts, student success attracts new coordinator

Westenberg, a Tony Award-nominated actor, comes to Missouri State from Drury University, where he was chair of the theatre program, assistant chair for the department of fine and performing arts and associate professor.

Westenberg said the University’s dedication to the performing arts, along with the college’s enthusiastic faculty, staff and student body attracted him to Missouri State as he was looking for an opportunity to transition from teaching in a Bachelor of Arts to a Bachelor of Fine Arts program.

“The level of professionalism and commitment to excellence is inspiring,” he said. “The students are focused, talented and serious about their futures as theatre professionals. It will be a privilege to be a part of their growth.”

College of Arts and Letters Dean Dr. Gloria Galanes and Theatre and Dance Department Head Dr. Christopher Herr said Westenberg’s credentials will strengthen the department and musical theatre program.

“We are thrilled to have Mr. Westenberg join our faculty,” Galanes said. “It is rare to find someone with outstanding academic and professional experience, and he has both.”

Westenberg has 25 years of success on and off Broadway

Before coming into teaching in 2005, Westenberg enjoyed a 25-year commercial career with work on Broadway and Off-Broadway, national tours, regional theatres, television and film.

His Tony nomination — and Drama Desk Award — came in 1988 for the role as Wolf and Prince in the original Broadway cast of “Into the Woods.”

Other Broadway credits include his award-winning performance as Niko in “Zorba” and the titular role in “Sunday in the Park with George,” where he replaced Mandy Patinkin.

Academic and professional success to benefit program

Westenberg is a graduate of California State University-Fresno and holds a master’s degree from Denver’s National Theatre Conservatory. He also studied at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.

He said he hopes to bring the benefits of a broad theatrical professional experience as an actor, director, teacher and administrator to the program.

“I want to provide our students a level of professional training that is second-to-none in the country, and then at the end of their student life, to serve as a liaison between their academic and professional worlds.”

For more information about Westenberg or the musical theatre program, contact the department of theatre and dance at 417-836-4400.

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Catch episodes of ‘Suits’ and ‘Grease: Live’ to see our alumni in action

We often hear stories about the great things our former students have been up to. Here are a few places you can watch our alums at work:

Alumnus revs it up with ‘Grease: Live’

Musical theatre alumnus Andrew Call will appear on Fox’s “Grease: Live” on Jan. 31.

Call plays Sonny in the live television production. He joins notable performers Julianne Hough (Sandy), Mario Lopez (Vince Fontaine), Vanessa Hudgens (Rizzo) and Carly Rae Jepsen (Frenchy) in the cast.

Andrew Call as Sonny in GREASE: LIVE

Catch the show

Date: Jan. 31
Time: 6 p.m. (CST)
Network: Fox

 

Alumna lands multiple episodes on USA’s ‘Suits’

suzannemckenney-suitsTheatre and dance alumna Suzanne McKenney has been offered a reoccurring role as Judge Ralls on the USA Network series “Suits.”

McKenney attended Missouri State in the late 1980s. She has since made numerous television appearances. Her early TV career began with work in the Burt Reynolds series, “B.L. Stryker.” In addition to acting, she is a professional musician and singer.

Catch the show

“Suits” airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. (CST).

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Tent Theatre begins auditions for 54th season

Missouri State’s Tent Theatre will be hosting auditions across the U.S. in February and March for its three summer performances: “All Shook Up,” “Unnecessary Farce” and “My Fair Lady.”

TentTheatre-2015-1

Audition schedule

The audition schedule is as follows:

February 6-9
Memphis, Tennessee
Playhouse on the Square
Unified Professional Theatre Auditions (UPTA)

February 13-14
Springfield, Missouri
Missouri State Univeristy
Local open call

March 2-3
New York, NY
Ripley-Grier Studios
Actor’s Equity Association—Equity Principal Audition

Find character breakdowns, applications and sign ups online.

*At this time, Tent Theatre does not accept video auditions.

Technical positions

Several technical positions are also available, and Tent Theatre is hiring for an Equity stage manager. Visit the website for more information. Work begins May 16 – July 22.

More about the 54th season

All Shook Up

Dates: 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

Dates: 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

Dates: 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.

TENTlogo

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Alumnus returns to help with spring dance concert

Alumnus Mark Santillano is on campus this week teaching dance classes while assisting with choreography for the dance program’s spring dance concert, “Images in Motion.”

Alumnus Mark Santillano

Santillano teaches dance at Mercyhurst

Santillano is an assistant professor of dance at Mercyhurst Univeristy in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he teaches modern, tap, jazz, musical theatre dance and choreography. He has performed in national theatre tours and has choreographed works for numerous dance companies. He is also founder and co-director of SoMar Dance Works.

danceconcert Spring concert a study of motion

This year’s spring dance concert, “Images in Motion,” features new faculty-choreographed works that explore the fleeting nature of human activities in space and time. Each moment frames a never-to-be-repeated, multi-dimensional composition of form, light, color, texture, sound and feeling.

The concert is inspired by photographer Eadweard Muybridge’s ground-breaking studies in motion during the late 1800s — particularly his study of a ballet dancer that captured the seamless, fluid motion and presented a frame-by-frame deconstruction.

Schedule

Showtimes: 7:30 p.m., April 28-30; 2:30 p.m., May 1
Location: Craig Hall Coger Theatre
Tickets: $14 Adults; $12 Students/Seniors; $8 in advance with MSU ID

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Spring season to feature Chekhov classic, hippie subculture and perception of movement

What does love entanglement, luscious locks and the study of motion have in common? The spring 2016 theatre and dance production lineup, of course! The season begins Feb. 18 with Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya,” directed by Assistant Professor Melanie Dreyer-Lude.

Tickets for “Uncle Vanya,” “Hair” and the “Images in Motion: Spring Dance Concert” are now on sale at campus box offices or through Missouri State TIX.

Chekhov classic revamped for modern stageUncleVanya

Chekhov’s classic existential comedy, originally published in 1897, is resonating with contemporary audiences, thanks to this fresh new translation in everyday English.

Synopsis

Vanya and his niece Sonya have devoted their lives to managing the family’s country farm estate, including the support of Sonya’s self-absorbed father, Professor Serebryakov who returns to the estate with his beautiful, much-younger second wife, Yelena. All must face their regrets and unfulfilled dreams when both Vanya and his friend Astrov, the village doctor, fall under the spell of the sensuous Yelena, while Sonya confesses her unreciprocated love for Astrov. “Uncle Vanya” plumbs the depths of the human psyche with insight, wit and compassion.

Schedule

Showtimes: 7:30 p.m., Feb. 18-19, 22-26 & 29; 2:30 p.m., Feb. 21 & 28
Location: Craig Hall Balcony Theatre
Tickets: $14 Adults; $12 Students/Seniors; $8 in advance with MSU ID

Musical explores themes central to 1960s culture

HAIR

“Hair” captures the hippie counterculture ethos of the 1960s and reflects the kaleidoscope of social change movements: civil rights, peace, black power, free speech, women’s liberation, gay rights, the sexual revolution, environmentalism, New Age spirituality and human potential.

Synopsis

In this musical, Claude falls in with a tribe of young political activists and free spirits living in New York City in the midst of the Vietnam War. The group explores free love and consciousness-expanding drugs, but soon Claude is summoned by the local draft board for military service in Vietnam. Ultimately, he must decide whether to submit to the expectations of his conservative parents and society — thus sacrificing his pacifist values and possibly his life — or burn his draft card in unity with the tribe.

Schedule

Showtimes: 7:30 p.m., April 7-9; 2:30 p.m., April 10
Location: Craig Hall Coger Theatre
Tickets: $18 Adults; $16 Students/Seniors; $12 in advance with MSU ID

Spring concert deconstructs motion of dance

danceconcert

This year’s spring dance concert, “Images in Motion,” features new faculty-choreographed works that explore the fleeting nature of human activities in space and time. Each moment frames a never-to-be-repeated, multi-dimensional composition of form, light, color, texture, sound and feeling.

The concert is inspired by photographer Eadweard Muybridge’s ground-breaking studies in motion during the late 1800s — particularly his study of a ballet dancer that captured the seamless, fluid motion and presented a frame-by-frame deconstruction.

Schedule

Showtimes: 7:30 p.m., April 28-30; 2:30 p.m., May 1
Location: Craig Hall Coger Theatre
Tickets: $14 Adults; $12 Students/Seniors; $8 in advance with MSU ID

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Popular theatre blog names MSU best theatre college in Missouri

OnStage, a blog that offers commentary about the nation’s theatre scene, has named Missouri State as Missouri’s best theatre college.

Missouri State University Department of Theatre and Dance's production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Sarah J. Wiggin, ran from November 12-15, 2015 in Coger Theater.
Missouri State University Department of Theatre and Dance’s production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” directed by Sarah J. Wiggin, ran from November 12-15, 2015 in Coger Theater.

Criteria considered includes performing opportunities, career support

In a recent post, the Connecticut-based online journal compiled a list of the Best Theatre Colleges in Every State. According to the post, their findings were based on criteria such as tuition, facilities, academic rigorousness, performing opportunities, career support and location.

Tent TheatreTent Theatre named as asset that sets MSU apart

The writer, Chris Peterson, pointed to MSU’s Tent Theatre as a leading factor for the designation. He writes: “It is the only company in the area that houses an Equity Membership Candidate Program. As a student, you will have the opportunity to build equity candidacy points. You will work with performers who have been recruited throughout the nation to participate in this professional experience.”

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Alumnus known for ‘The Killing’ returns for acting workshop

brent sextonMissouri State alumnus Brent Sexton will offer a scene study workshop and question-and-answer session from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 8 in the Craig Hall’s Balcony Theatre.

Workshop open to all students

The workshop is free and open to all majors. Students are asked not to arrive late or depart early for the workshop.

Students who are working scenes with Sexton will be notified prior to the session. All others are highly encouraged to attend and participate in the Q&A.

More about Sexton

Sexton studied theatre at Missouri State in the late 1980s. Among Sexton’s 75 IMDB performer credits are recent projects such as “CSI,” “Justified” and the award-winning series “The Killing” where he played Stan Larsen for two seasons.

Event details

Date: Dec. 8
Time: 6-9 p.m.
Location: Craig Hall’s Balcony Theatre
Admission: Free and open to all majors

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

November 12-15, 2015

Coger Theatre

Credits

Costume Design — Jay Hensley

Scenic Design — Robert Little

Lighting Design — Blaine O’Donnell

Sound Design — Mark Putman

Technical Director — Chris DePriest

Violence/Movement Coach — Kurt Gerard Heinlein

Mechanicals Dance Choreographer — Melanie Dreyer-Lude

Marketing Director — Mark Templeton

Stage Manager — Abigail Teel

Composer —Michael Murray

Direction & Musical Staging By — Sarah Wiggin

Cast

Theseus – Alex Stompoly

Hippolyta – Helen George

Philostrate – Dejuan Boyd

Egeus – Christopher Corey Parker

Hermia – Emma Rathe

Lysander – Alec Brown

Demetrius – Michael Watterson

Helena – Taryn Haley

Peter Quince – Hannah Ferguson

Nick Bottom – Chance Nichols

Francis Flute – Darian Bengston

Starveling – Kate McAllister

Tom Snout – Colton Williams

Snug –Jose Avendano

Puck — Annie Lewis Lay

Peaseblossom/A Fairy — Kate Pennington

Oberon — Tyler Coleman

Titania — Ellie LeMer

Moth — Leah Hawkins

Cobweb — Morgan Tate

Mustardseed — Zoe Zelonky

 

Notes

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Dogfight

October 8-11, 2015

Coger Theatre

Credits

Costume Design — Leslie Branyon

Scenic Design — Robert Little

Lighting Design — Shelbi Arndt

Sound Design — Mark Putman

Technical Director — Chris DePriest

Video Design — Harrison Witt, TJ Pederson

Projection Design — Blaine O’Donnell

Marketing Director — Mark Templeton

Stage Manager — Jantzen Bates

Music Supervision By — Heather Luellen

Music Direction By — Alex Huff

Direction & Musical Staging By — Jessica Ryan

Cast

Eddie Birdlace – Andrew Gordon

Rose Fenny – Carly Hayes

Bernstein – Jordan Woods

Boland – Alex Baylard

Marcy – Natalie Gorman

Fector – Travis Holt

Stevens/Waiter – Noah Jermain

Gibbs – Corey Todd

Mama/Female Hippie – Hannah Green

Ruth Two Bears/Librarian – Tori Citro

Lounge Singer/Pete/Sergeant/Big Tony/Woman in Church – Nick Driscoll

Chippy – Paula Landry

Peggy/Female Hippie – Leah Koclanes

Suzette/Female Hippie – Samantha Hayes

 

 

Notes

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