Missouri State University
Theatre and Dance Blog

Theatre ‘family’ gets student back on her feet after devastating accident

Two months before Missouri State’s 2015 acting showcase in Los Angeles, Alicia Douglas was in her hometown of St. Louis for a cattle call audition — an opportunity to be seen by many casting professionals from across the U.S. hiring for theatre, television and film.

Alicia Douglas performs at a 2016 New York musical theatre showcase
Alicia Douglas performs at a 2016 New York musical theatre showcase event. Photo by Nick Coleman.

Douglas, now a musical theatre alumna, was excited when she was invited to a callback, but knew a February ice storm would hit soon.

“I thought, ‘I can beat this. I can be ahead of the storm.’ So I did the callback, said ‘Hi’ to my dad and then I left. I was fine up until about halfway to Rolla.”

AliciaMarieDouglas-mugLearning to walk again

A few hours later, Douglas was in the hospital unable to walk after a car accident left her with two pelvis fractures.

“I basically T-boned a truck. And I honestly, to this day don’t know how I got out of the accident.”

Doctors were able to stabilize her bones without surgery, but warned that recovery would be long and painful as she was learning to walk again.

“I grew up as a dancer. I’ve been dancing since I was five … I didn’t know how I was going to make it. You think, ‘how am I going to do this career if I can’t walk?'”

Reaching the mountaintop

Driven by her desire to make it to LA with her class, Douglas surprised them all when she was on crutches by spring break and back in class to prepare for the showcase. She even made the dean’s list that year.

“The showcase is kind of like the mountaintop at the end of the program. … I told my physical therapist, ‘I need to be walking by April, get me there. Oh, and I need to be walking in high heels, too.’”

Seniors relax on the beach between showcase events in Los Angeles (April 2015).
Seniors relax on the beach between showcase events in Los Angeles (April 2015).

Douglas,who graduated in December 2015, partly credits her theatre friends and faculty for her recovery, who supported her when her family — who live in St. Louis — couldn’t be here.

“It was the worst thing I’ve ever been through in my life. There was a time where I thought I probably wouldn’t be able to do this career. … The seniors and I had our own group message, and they said a lot of encouraging things. They kept me alive, I would have to say.”

Embracing the next challenge

Douglas recently returned from the 2016 musical theatre showcase in New York. Despite already graduating, the theatre and dance department invited her to participate in the week’s events: “That was really rewarding to be there with my BFA family.”

The accident, recovery and performing in both showcases has prepared her for the next stage in her journey, she said — be it traveling, graduate school or jumping into her career. She knows she can face any challenge.

“My senior year taught me determination and confidence in myself. I’m stronger than what I thought, you know. You don’t know how strong you are until you’re faced with difficult situations and the only thing you can do is just get through it, no matter how hard or painful it is.”

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Spring Dance Concert: Images in Motion

April 28-May 1, 2016

Coger Theatre


Choreographers- Sara Brummel, Ruth Barnes, Chris Brown, Darryl Kent Clark

Guest Choreographer – Mark Santillano

Costume Designers – Leslie Branyon, Jennifer Lippert

Lighting Designers – Michael Foster, Seth Brown, Victoria Williams

Sound Designer – Mark Putman

Stage Manager – Abigail Teel

Concert Coordinator- Sara Brummel



If it’s Good Enough for George – Alexandria Grossman, Melanie Sikyta, Lauren Smith, Olivia Wilson

Musings – Molly Haslag, Emily Poorman, Nadia Stine   *   **

This is for Remembrance – Lyric Arvizu (Thursday and Saturday), Alison McClean (Friday and Sunday)

September Canons – Jazzmon Craig, Austin Grigg, Molly Haslag, Allison Meier, Emily Mae Rankin, Nadia Stine

Five…or, maybe four… – Kadey Copeland, Sarah Fiedler, Katie Griffiths   *

Echoes – Alexandria Grossman, Emily Mae Rankin, Caitlin Shukwit

Back to You – Terra Ashe, Khira Auerbach, Traidell Bradford, Kadey Copeland, Scott Corn, Reagan Drake, John Emery, Abrillia Hamilton, Leigh Loureiro, Patricia Price, Logan Schoessel, Yu Wang

Prism – Emily Mae Rankin

Queen for a Day –  Sarah Gericke, Katie Griffiths, Molly Haslag, Emily Hughey, Allison Meier, Hannah Romano, Caitlin Shukwit, Lauren Smith, Nadia Stine (Note: Emily Hughey, Thursday and Saturday, Sarah Gericke, Friday and Sunday)


*Music: Kyle Aho

**Musicians: Kyle Aho and Ian Erickson




Note: Production Photos

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Spring concert a study of motion inspired by famed photographer

danceconcertThis year’s spring dance concert, “Images in Motion,” will feature 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.

Alumnus helps bring vision to stage

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.

Alumnus Mark Santillano also helped choreograph the concert while he was here in January.

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.

Any Given Child program to bring eighth graders to the concert

Any Given Child

Eighth graders from Springfield Public Schools will have the opportunity to watch the concert for free as part of the local Any Given Child program. There will be two special performances on April 29 — at 9:30 a.m. and then again at 12:30 p.m.

Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child is sponsored by The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In 2010, Springfield was the second city in the U.S., after Sacramento, Calif., be selected for the program. Any Given Child is also part of Arts in Action, an effort funded by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and the Springfield Regional Arts Council.

Want to go to the concert?

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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April 7-10, 2016

Coger Theatre


Costume Design — Leslie Branyon

Scenic Design — Chris DePriest

Lighting Design — Blaine O’Donnell

Sound Design — Mark Putman

Technical Director — Chris DePriest

Marketing Director — Mark Templeton

Stage Manager — Adelynn Hubbard

Music Direction By — Alex Huff

Choreography By — Darryl Kent Clark

Directed By — Rick Dines


Claude – Noah Jermain

Berger – Jordan Woods

Sheila – Olivia Jones

Woof – Alec Brown

Hud – Deon Shotwell

Jeanie – Haley Rolland

Dionne – Camille Clossum

Crissy – Grace Minnis

Margaret Mead – Corey Blake Todd

Hubert – Joe Guccione

Mom – Kristin Farr

Dad – Shawn Teague

Tribe – Darian Bengston, Brock Birkner, Josh Cotham, Erika Flowers, Molly Fowler, Natalie Gorman,                                      Nora Hennessy, Molly Higgins, Kendrick Hooks, Mason Kelso, Paula Landry, Emma Rathe, Lindy Jones



Note: Production Shots


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MSU treats staff to free Tent Theatre performance of ‘All Shook Up’

The tent is up and Staff Appreciation Night has been set for the 54th season of Tent Theatre. Missouri State is offering a free performance of “All Shook Up” on June 7 for all staff.


Staff Appreciation Night is sponsored by the College of Arts and Letters.


Get get your tickets for the rock ’n’ roll rebellion

Staff are allowed two tickets each for the June 7 showing of “All Shook Up.” Each come with vouchers for one popcorn, one beverage and one Andy’s Frozen Custard treat. To reserve your staff appreciation tickets, contact Barb Jones by email or at 417-836-6605.

Staff Appreciation Night

June 7, 8 p.m.
Craig Hall Plaza
Free for staff with reserved ticket


Rookie cop comedy and rising would-be socialite on tap for other Tent shows

In addition to “All Shook Up,” Tent Theatre will present “Unnecessary Farce” and “My Fair Lady.” Tickets go on sale May 9.

Managing Director Mark Templeton said this year’s theme is the “Great Escape,” and audiences of all ages will enjoy the line up.

“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.

Tickets for all other showings

Purchase tickets online, at any Missouri State box office or by calling 417-836-7678. Visit the website for more ticketing information.

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Inertia’s free dance concert celebrates students’ grit

Missouri State’s student group Inertia Dance Company will use dance to help illustrate the resilience of fellow students at the free event “Undeniable Victories.”


Bringing students’ triumphs to life

This deeply personal, poignant dance routine was choreographed based entirely on the challenges facing several first-generation college students from MSU-West Plains’ group TRiO.

A soldier with PTSD, a student in a motorized wheelchair and a girl who aspired to live in a safe neighborhood are among those whose inspirational stories will be portrayed.

Jennifer Moore, theatre and events coordinator for MSU-West Plains, said the emotion from this project is palpable.

“Five local students with incredible stories of grit and determination spoke with the Inertia dancers over a series of internet video sessions. As they told their stories, there wasn’t a dry eye on either side of that video connection. Their courage is truly inspiring.”

Inertia will perform the routine on the Springfield campus at 12:20 p.m. on April 15 in McDonald Arena, and then at 7 p.m. on April 16 at West Plains’ Civic Center Theatre.

Want to see the performance?

Springfield Campus

April 15, 12:20 p.m.
McDonald Arena

West Plains Campus

April 16, 7 p.m.
Civic Center Theatre

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Musical explores themes central to 1960s culture

The Age of Aquarius has come to Missouri State! Several ’70s-related events are in progress for the event series, The ’70s Experience: Always Being Now, including our musical “Hair.”

Tickets can be purchased online or at University box office locations.


Musical lets the sunshine of social change in

Hair-whos-who-250x340Directed by Rick Dines, the production captures the hippie counterculture ethos of the 1960s and reflects the kaleidoscope of social change movements, including civil rights, peace, black power women’s liberation and more.


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.


Visit theatre and dance’s Facebook page to find out who will be starring in “Hair.”


Showtimes: 7:30 p.m., April 7-9; 2:30 p.m., April 10
70s-experience-blog-150x150Location: Craig Hall Coger Theatre
Tickets: $18 Adults; $16 Students/Seniors; $12 in advance with MSU ID

Come to the cast party

After the April 8 show, the cast will head down to the Brick City parking lot for the 70s Experience Hippie Block Party. This event is also part of the ’70s event series. Find out more on the website.

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MSU a cappella groups head to regional competition April 2

Missouri State’s a cappella groups the Beartones and Hibernotes will be competing in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Midwest Semifinals at Washington University in St. Louis on April 2.

MSU's Hibernotes perform at quarterfinals in February.

MSU’s Hibernotes won first place in February Midwest quarterfinals.

MSU groups take first, second place in quarterfinals

The two groups qualified for the a cappella competition after stellar, award-winning performances at the ICCA Midwest Quarterfinals held in St. Louis on Feb. 6 where the Hibernotes won first place, and at Missouri State on Feb. 27, where the Beartones won second place.

They will compete against seven other top groups in the Midwest. The winner of this event will advance to the finals at The Beacon Theatre in New York City.

MSU's Beartones won second place at MSU's Midwest quarterfinals.

MSU’s Beartones won second place at MSU’s Midwest quarterfinals.

MSU’s awards from regional quarterfinals

A Cub Bella's Timolyn Hardy

A Cub Bella’s Timolyn Hardy

St. Louis competition

1st place overall
The Hibernotes

Outstanding Vocal Percussion
Daniel Hebert, The Hibernotes

Outstanding Arrangement
Nick Driscoll, The Hibernotes

MSU competition

2nd place overall
The Beartones

Outstanding Soloist
Timolyn Hardy, A Cub Bella

Outstanding Vocal Percussion
Nathan Valis, The Beartones

Outstanding Choreography
Travis Holt, The Beartones

Get your tickets for St. Louis semifinals

Date: April 2
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: 560 Music Center, Washington University, St. Louis
Admission: Tickets can be purchased online.

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Moon City Press book on homeless teens making debut at diversity conference

On March 15 and 16, a series of events will celebrate the Moon City Press Book, “Throwaway Youth,” including a jazz performance, readings and a book signing.


Book tells stories of homeless teens in Springfield

The book offers real accounts of homeless teenagers who’ve used the services of Springfield’s Rare Breed Youth Services.

nancy-fairbank-throwaway-youth-490x326Its writer, Nancy Fairbank, was a Central High School student volunteering at the teen center at the time. She is now a student at University of Texas at Dallas.

Dr. James Baumlin, MSU English professor and Moon City Press editor, told KSMU he’d heard about Fairbank’s work through a colleague and he approached her about compiling the stories into a book.

Now, Fairbank said, those stories can help the public see the resilience of the area’s struggling teens and hopefully find a way to help them. This week’s events provide an avenue to contribute

Proceeds from events benefit The Kitchen, Inc.

The Center for Community Engagement is hosting two events this week to celebrate the book as part of the Statewide Collaborative Diversity Conference.

March 15

7 p.m.
Plaster Student Union Auditorium

Dr. James Baumlin, English professor and Moon City Press editor

Dr. James Baumlin, English professor and Moon City Press editor

Missouri State’s Jazz Ensemble will headline the event, followed by the Untamed Tongues student poetry collective and the Giving Voice student troupe who will perform readings from Fairbank’s book. The event is free and open to the public.

March 16

4:15 p.m.
Plaster Student Union Ballroom West

The authors, editors, book designers and underwriters of the book will be at this book-signing reception to raise money for The Kitchen, Inc.’s Rare Breed Youth Services. The silent auction and raffle will also benefit the Center for Community Engagement.

Underwriting partners include The Community Foundation of the Ozarks, The College of Arts and Letters, MSU Printing Services, The Corbett Law Firm Literacy Outreach and Moon City Press.

Local guitarist, singer and songwriter Mark Barger will provide entertainment. The event is free and open to the public.

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Uncle Vanya


Lighting Design —Shelbi Arndt

Scenic Design — Robert Little

Costume Design — Jay Hensley

Sound Design — Mark Putman

Technical Director — Chris DePriest

Marketing Director — Mark Templeton

Dramaturge — Ethan Ritschel

Stage Manager — Jantzen Bates

Directed by — Melanie Dreyer-Lude


Marina – Mel McCray

Mikhail Lvovich Astrov – Tyler Coleman

Vanya (Ivan Pretrovich) – Christopher Parker

Sonya – Hannah Finger

Yelena Andreyevna – Leah Hawkins

Professor (Alexander Serebriakov) – Alex Stompoly

Mrs. Voinitsky (Maria Vasilyevna) – Ellie LeMer

Ilya Ilych Telegin – Ricky Mehigh

Hired Man/Watchman – Sean Simpson




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