Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Only a few weeks into the Fall 2017 Semester, Graduate Director Donald Hart is preparing to open the Studio Season's first show, Why torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them by Christopher Durang in the Andreas Theatre. 

What about the Minnesota State University Department of Theatre and Dance convinced you to pursue your Masters in Directing? One of the biggest reasons I looked at Minnesota State for a Directing MFA is because I was taught by three professors who attended this program years ago. From there I learned that this was a well-respected and accomplished department. There are not many programs in the Midwest (or the country) that offer everything MSU has to offer.

How did you get involved in this production?I chose the show, because of current events in this country. Xenophobia, Islamophobia and Arabophobia have had a strong presence in America since 9/11. More recently though, extreme conservative groups such as Nationalists and White Supremacists have felt revitalized. National News Networks have shown in the last year crowds of people demanding that Muslims, Arabs, Mexicans, etc. be deported. This play is a commentary on these irrational fears that some Americans have.

What’s challenging about bringing this script to life?  The most challenging part of this script might be its style. Christopher Durang wrote this in his typical improvisational way and created a play that has elements of satire, dark comedy, absurdism and comedy of menace all mixed together. It is both fun and challenging. 



Is there a character in the show that you feel you can personally relate to?  Felicity is the character that I relate to the most and the one that I would hope most people relate to. She is the rational one who tries to understand why people do the crazy and horrible things they do.

What type of person will love this show?  I would like to hope that everyone would love this show! Though people who would enjoy this the most would likely be those who enjoy satires like The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, South Park and American Dad.

Show Dates & Times: Sept. 13 - 16 @ 7:30pm
Tickets: $10 regular, $9 discounted (over 65, under 16 and groups of 15 or more) and $8 for current Minnesota Stage Mankato Students. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Spotlight On: Abby Okoneski

This week's Student Spotlight features one of our dancers! Abby Okoneski has been dancing with the Minnesota State University, Mankato Dance Department since she got here three years ago. Most recently, you may have seen her onstage as an Exotic Dancer and Nubian ensemble member in AIDA. She'll be dancing in the Spring Dance Concert this weekend on Friday, April 28th at 7:30 PM, and Saturday, April 29th at 2:00. Let's get to know her!


Name: Abby Okoneski
Hometown: Eagan, Minnesota
Year/Major: Junior/BFA Dance
Current Role: Dancing in the Spring Dance Concert

How did you get your start in dance? I started dancing when I was three years old at a local studio called, Monique School of Dance. My mom signed me up for dance class with one of her friend’s daughters and I haven’t stopped since. I don’t remember much from being the little three year old that I was, but I do remember loving every minute of dance class. Many kids in my class would cry or mess around, but I remember always being very happy and focused during class. I never fought with my mom about going to class because I was the one always asking when it was time to go to dance.




What's your favorite thing about dance? This question is hard to answer, because I have so many favorite things about dance. To begin, I love performing on stage. The vulnerability that comes with performing is something I love for. It sounds crazy, but the idea of putting myself out there for others to think about and look at what I am doing is so intriguing to me. I find it so interesting that I can tell an audience a story through the movement of my body and get a reaction out of them. Performing as a whole is where I can give it my all and really commit to a moment, which is something I love. Since I can’t pick one favorite thing about dance, I also really enjoy the rehearsal and class process as a dancer. I like being able to push past my own boundaries and figure out what I can do and what I need to work on. I find it very humbling that there is something I can always get better at. The discipline that comes with dance has taught me so many things and I am truly thankful for that.




Favorite MSU Dance memory? I have so many MSU dance memories, but if I had to choose one it would be the duet that I did with Ian Lah. Rachel Dreist choreographed a duet for the both of us called, Stage Four. This dance had many chapters and always kept evolving. This dance allowed me to really connect with myself as a performer. I was pushed past my comfort zone in so many ways, and I found that so enjoyable. The final product of this dance was performed in the Fall Dance Concert, as well as at ACDA. It was very rewarding to be able to perform this dance so many times, but I also really enjoyed the process we took to get there. Getting to know Ian Lah throughout this process was something else. We would always goof off in rehearsals and we became closer that way, which I think showed in our performance. I will forever be very thankful to both Ian and Rachel for this dance, and I will never forget it.


Abby Okoneski and Ian Lah in Stage Four

Tell us about your involvement in AIDA. Was that your first experience in a musical? This is actually my first official theatre show that I have ever done. Back in high school we had a variety show through our theatre department called, ENCORE and I was involved in the show for three years. I never acted or sang in the show, but I danced and really enjoyed it. I remember I would always tell myself to audition for one of the musicals, but the whole singing thing really threw me for a loop so I never auditioned. Since Aida is my first musical ever, I am very proud of myself. I overcame a fear of singing in front of people and I am very glad I did. I have had a great experience with the show and I love the different dynamic a musical brings versus a dance concert.

Abby Okoneski and the cast of AIDA

What are your plans for after graduation? You know, this question always frustrates me because I really don’t know the answer. I know I will be going to grad school to complete my other major, but I do plan on performing either right after I graduate from Mankato, or after grad school. I really want to visit New York or LA and audition for a few dance roles there, but I am not really sure what will happen. I know that I am looking forward to graduating and being out in the real world, as well as seeing what happens in the future.



Any advice for aspiring performers? Advice can be hard because I believe everyone succeeds in their own way, but I would say that anyone aspiring to become a performer should keep trying. It sounds cliché I know, but it is the truth. Spend as much time as you can in the studio trying new things and perfecting old things, the stronger background and technique that you have will really help in the long run. One last piece of advice that I have for performers is to always be humble no matter what. There are times where things do not go your way, or you feel unchallenged in certain areas, but you always have to tell yourself that you can always be better. Being humble can get you so far in life, and it is something that many people forget to do. Keeping a positive mind and energy is all you can do, and trust me it makes a difference.





Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Library Opens Tonight!


We're nearing the final weeks of the school year, but we still have a couple more shows for you! Scott Z. Burns' The Library opens tonight at 7:30 in the Andreas Theatre! The play tells the story of Caitlin Gabriel, a young woman who survives a deadly shooting at her high school. She struggles to tell her story to her parents, the authorities, and anyone who will listen, but there are other narratives that draw attention in the media and paint her in a different light. 

The cast features Isabella Barberena, Jaclyn Britz, Riley LinDell, Martha Caceres, Maureen O'Malley, Derek Tomlinson, Braden Hanafee-Major and Alexandra Blesi. 

Riley LinDell (Nolan Gabriel), Isabella Barberena (Caitlin Gabriel)

The show is being directed by Second Year MFA Acting Candidate, Doni Marinos. This is the second show he's directed this year at MSU. Last semester he directed the Kiddie Tour. This time he's going in a different direction. "I chose the play because it focuses on a story that our world tends to forget and ignore. Rather than focusing on the tragedy itself, it focuses on the aftermath and how the people involved with it attempt to continue their lives. Also, because it makes a big comment on the role that media has in our lives and how it has the power to change them."


Isabella Barberena (Caitlin Gabriel)

Doni has been busy, but his talented cast and production team have made the whole process worth it. "The process has been great! The cast members and designers have been working around the clock to create a dynamic show. Myself and everyone involved are very excited for people to come and see it. We're ready to share a story that needs to be told and get the audience to consider the world we all live in and their roles in it."


Martha Caceres (Dawn Sheridan), Isabella Barberena (Caitlin Gabriel)


The Library is playing tonight through Saturday, April 22nd at 7:30 in the Andreas Theatre! Don't miss our final studio show of the year! Get your tickets a MSUTheatre.com or call the box office at 507-389-6661 anytime between 4-6 PM Monday through Friday. We'll see you at the theatre!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Spotlight On: Michaela Shapiro

Meet Michaela Shapiro! She's a senior BFA in Musical Theatre this year and we know you will recognize her from some of the roles she's played in her four years at MSU. It's quite the list, but here are just a few: Sue Snell in Carrie: The Musical,  Nina in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Gertrude McFuzz in Seussical: The Musical, Madeleine Astor in Titanic: The Musical and JC in Comic Potential. Let's get to know her!


Name: Michaela Shapiro
Hometown: St. Louis Park, Minnesota
Year/Major: Senior/Musical Theatre
Current Role: Ensemble in AIDA

How did you get your start in theatre? I began by taking ballet classes with a local company and that eventually led me to Lundstrum Center for the Performing Arts in Minneapolis. The people there really nurtured my love for musical theatre.

What's your favorite thing about theatre? I love how it promotes compassion. I also adore the community!



Michaela Shapiro as Nina in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike


What's your favorite MSU Theatre memory? Show-wise, my favorite memories here are probably being a part of Titanic: The Musical, Seussical & Carrie: The Musical. The music in Titanic is magical; I played one of my dream roles in Seussical and I sang songs with my best friends in Carrie. Pretty much everything about those three experiences was phenomenal.


Michaela Shapiro (Sue) and Daniel Lane (Tommy) in Carrie: The Musical

Mikhayla Clauson (Margaret), Michaela Shapiro (Sue) and Amanda Mai (Carrie) in Carrie: The Musical

Any advice for aspiring performers? You are always capable of more than you believe yourself to be.

Plans after graduation? I'll be in three of the shows here for Highland Summer Theatre and then leaving on a tour with National Theatre for Children in the fall with one of my very best friends, Daniel Lane!!! After that (and in between all of it), I'm going to continue auditioning and see where it takes me. Hopefully there will be lots of travel involved. And ice cream.


Michaela Shapiro (Gertrude) and Amanda Mai (Mayzie LaBird) in Seussical

Thanks for letting us get to know you Michaela! We wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors! We will miss you here, but we know you will do amazing things wherever you go!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

It's "Written in the Stars"...go see AIDA tonight!

Our final Mainstage production of the year opens tonight! You won't want to miss this epic love story. AIDA, with music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice, is a beautiful love story about a Nubian princess, Aida, who finds herself falling in love with Radames, an Egyptian soldier who is betrothed to the Pharaoh's daughter, Amneris. As their forbidden love blossoms, Aida is forced to weight her heart against the responsibility that she faces as leader of her people.


Jessica Staples as Aida, Delanie Wiedrich as Amneris
Costumes: David McCarl
Set Design: John Paul
Lighting Design: Steve Smith

Playing the role of Aida is no easy task, and we could think of no one better than our very own Jessica Staples. She's a Junior BFA this year, and was thrilled to get to step into this challenging role. "AIDA has been an unbelievable experience in every way possible. This beautiful story is something we need now more than ever. I've learned a plethora of things from working with two extremely talented people as principle characters [Gabe Sell and Delanie Wiedrich]. Learning to abandon vocal perfection and just be present is something that I will carry with me through every show."

Understudying Jessica in this role is MSU Theatre newcomer, Anastasia Ellis. She's a Music Major, and was thrilled to be a part of this production. Anastasia will be going on as Aida this Sunday, April 9th, and Thursday, April 13th.


Jessica Staples as Aida, Delanie Wiedrich as Amneris, and Gabe Sell as Radames

AIDA is one of our biggest casts this year, and we're excited for you to see many new faces up on the stage! Directed by Melissa Rosenberger, with Music Direction by Nick Wayne, the cast and crew have worked extremely hard on a show they're all very proud to present. You won't want to miss this production. The show runs April 6-9 and 13-15 in the Ted Paul Theatre. As usual, you can purchase your tickets online at msutheatre.com, or call/visit us at the Box Office at 507-389-6661 Mon-Fri from 4-6 PM. We look forward to seeing you at the theatre!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

AND BABY MAKES SEVEN Opens Tonight!

It's time to open yet another show at MSU! We're winding down, but you won't want to miss our next studio show, Paula Vogel's And Baby Makes Seven! The cast size may be small, but the characters you'll meet are many. In this hilarious play, Anna, Ruth and Peter await the arrival of their newborn baby, but first they must rid the apartment of their three imaginary children.

Samantha Fairchild, Alyssa Johnson and Felipe Escudero

Samantha Fairchild, Felipe Escudero and Alyssa Johnson


The two women in the cast each play more than one character in the play. Alyssa Johnson plays Anna (one of the female adults) and Cecil (a 9-year-old genius child). Samantha Fairchild plays Ruth (one of the female adults) as well as Orphan (a 6-year-old child raised by wild dogs) and Henri (a 7-year-old boy from France). Finally, Felipe Escudero plays Peter, the only male in this trio.


Samantha Fairchild and Felipe Escudero

Samantha Fairchild


The play is being directed by Kristin Fox, a 2nd Year MFA Directing Candidate. "I chose this play because it is a story that is close to my heart. A story about three young adults learning about what it truly means to be a “grown-up”. For these characters, they believe that growing up process means having to kill their inner child, however, throughout the course of this play we learn that it is rather the opposite and the hanging on to a piece of our inner child is what truly allows us to grow and learn the most about ourselves."


Alyssa Johnson and Samantha Fairchild


Samantha Fairchild

Set in 1984, the play has many themes relevant in today's culture. One of the most prominent is the growth of LGBTQA rights and awareness over the past 3 decades. Fox is very grateful to have such a wonderful group of people to help share this story. "This has been a fantastic process. I have been very fortunate to have such a talented cast and design team for this production.  Everyone has been on board with the playfulness of this show from the very beginning. Between going back to the ‘80s for the styles of the clothing and the “interesting” interior decorating choices of the time period, there has been ample opportunity for fun and play within the design elements. Also the dedication of the actors to play so many characters, often simultaneously, has been so fantastic to work with on this project."


Samantha Fairchild and Alyssa Johnson

And Baby Makes Seven opens TONIGHT in the Andreas Theatre at 7:30 PM, and plays through Saturday, April 1st. You won't want to miss this one! Buy your tickets at msutheatre.com or call the box office at 507-389-6661. We look forward to seeing you at the theatre!

Spotlight On: Mitchell Evans

This week we get to meet Mitchell Evans! He's just about to finish his second year as a Musical Theatre BFA, and by the end of this year he will have been involved in 11 productions at MSU! You may recognize him in roles such as Neleus in Mary Poppins, Noah "Horse" T. Simmons in The Full Monty, Simon Bright in The Game's Afoot or a Wickersham brother in Seussical. You may have also seen him dancing in the MSU Dance Concerts. Mitchell does it all!


Name: Mitchell Douglas Evans
Hometown: Litchfield, Minnesota
Year/Major: Sophomore/Musical Theatre
Current Role: Mereb in AIDA and Spring Dance Concert


How did you get your start in theatre? Growing up I’d always been a choir boy and didn’t do my first show until 8th grade when our choir director told us we were doing The Wizard of Oz and they needed a bunch of short kids to play munchkins. So I tried out and was a Lollipop Guild munchkin amongst other ensemble roles and I loved every second of it.

Mitchell in The Wizard of Oz

What's your favorite thing about theatre? The reason I did theatre in high school was because I loved performing and the social aspect that it brought to my life. Now as a young artist I do it to express myself in a way that I couldn’t on the streets of Mankato. I not only continue theatre because I only love to perform but it’s also so rewarding to be able to tell someone’s story and to hopefully reach out and touch someone’s heart and open their eyes to something they might not have before. There's also nothing like the adrenalin rush you get just before a curtain opens or light comes up that I live for. 

What's your favorite MSU Theatre memory? My favorite MSU theatre memories honestly are my days off. Not because I don't love rehearsing or performing, but because of the little memories I've created with everyone and it's so fun getting to know everyone off stage. Doing things like apple picking, sleepovers, jumping in freezing lakes, kayaking, baking and exploring the area. It's just refreshing to remember life outside of theatre making it that much more rewarding going back to it. Since coming to school I’ve also taken a knack for dancing way more than I’d anticipated, last semester I participated in my first dance concerts where I performed in two pieces and debuted as a choreographer in our student showcase. I also participated in my first ACDA contest last week in Duluth as a box technician for one of MSU, Mankato’s dances that performed and made it into the gala concert. 



Titanic: The Musical

Plans after graduation? I can say with a smile that I hate the question, because this industry is so unpredictable. I’m hoping to attend the UPDAs audition my senior year and to get my first job from that. Otherwise, I hope to go out to Seattle or Chicago and perform for a few years until who knows, maybe graduate school or something. Eventually I’d like to create a program for young artist within the foster care system, to help them be able to become the artists they want to be. 

2016 Spring Dance Concert


Any advice for aspiring performers? The best advice I could give an aspiring performer would be to just give it a try, good or bad, just get your butt to that audition or rehearsal and see where it takes you! It’s taken me places as a performer and person that I never thought I’d go! 

Achievements: This January I got to participate in the KCACTF Irene Ryan competition as a partner to Jessica Staples, where we made it as one of the 16 finalists. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spotlight On: Claire Clauson

This week's student spotlight features Claire Clauson! You may recognize her from her work as Aggie Wheeler in The Games Afoot, Mrs. Corry in Mary Poppins, Chris Gorman in Rumors and Maryjo Kincaid in A Piece of My Heart. Claire is no stranger to the MSU Stage. 
Let's get to know her!


Name: Claire Clauson
Hometown: South St. Paul, Minnesota
Year/Major: Senior/Musical Theatre
Current Role: AIDA

How did you get your start in theatre? My family is a big supporter of the arts, my dad had season tickets to the Ordway when I was young so he would always be singing Les Mis and Fiddler songs around the house. My mom used to bring me to shows at the Children's Theatre in Minneapolis and we would always recreate our favorite scenes of movies. I didn't audition for a show until I was in 9th grade, I had a lot free time and my parents wanted me to choose another extra curricular. Our high school was doing Grease, which attracted a lot of people and I ended up making it in! I still remember looking at the cast list and just crying tears of joy.

What's your favorite thing about theatre? I love theatre because it tells stories of people in all walks of life. Sometimes the stories can change people's lives and sometimes they just make them smile! I also just love text analysis and trying to apply the analysis to the work on stage. And just children's theatre in general. The smile on a kid's face who is having fun on stage is absolutely priceless!

Aggie Wheeler in The Game's Afoot

What's your favorite MSU Theatre memory? Probably touring with the kids of Kiddie Tour! You'll never forget a tour, for better or worse, and I definitely remember all our fun times for the better. Oh, and going to New York with them was pretty great, too.


Chris Gorman in Rumors
Plans after graduation? After I graduate, I'm headed to Memphis where I will be a performance intern with Playhouse on the Square from July 2017 to May 2018 (YAY, steady employment)! After that, I plan to seek professional performance experience for a few years and then return to grad school so I can be a professor. I love teaching and theatre, so why not do both, right?

Any advice for aspiring performers? Learn to love pushing your boundaries. I always try to leave my fear at the door when I enter a theatre and it brings a new life to performances. Also, just have fun. When going to an audition, choose a piece you love to perform and just have fun sharing it with the people in the room!


Mrs. Corry in Mary Poppins

Achievements: 2017 KCACTF Region V Open Jar - First Place, Irene Ryan Partner

After receiving first place at the 2017 KCACTF Region V Open Jar competition this year, Claire's going to Washington DC in April to perform on the Kennedy Center Stage. We're super proud of her. Break a leg, Claire! Thanks for chatting with us!


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Spotlight On: Jayme Beerling

Our student spotlights are back! We have an overwhelming amount of talented performers, directors, stage managers, designers and technicians here at MSU Theatre and Dance. We think it's about time you get to know some of them more intimately.

First up, Jayme Beerling! You might not recognize her onstage, but her work behind the scenes is extraordinary. Jayme is one of our senior Stage Managers, and believe us when we say, the show could not go on without her!

Name: Jayme Beerling
Hometown: Prior Lake, Minnesota
Year/Major: Senior, BFA Theatre Design & Technology
Current Show: AIDA

How did you get your start in theatre? Elementary school in the 1st grade production of something I don't remember! But I was always volunteering to get off stage and help with lights, sound and the set and I was always sad that I wasn’t ever picked. Its probably what made me not audition the most in high school because I wanted to do the backstage stuff. It just seemed like a lot more fun to me.

What's your favorite thing about theatre? I really love the “why”. When doing a production it's important to understand why the company is doing that production. Plus, being the Stage Manager makes me the first number one fan of any show I’m working on.

The cast of Frankenstein 1930 
Favorite MSU theatre memory? My dance concert lighting design or my scene designs are probably my most rewarding memory.  It was really great to watch the set come to life or help convey the story of the dance with the lighting.

What are your plans after graduation? I will be attending Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan for an MFA in Stage Management!

Any advice for aspiring Stage Managers? Ask questions! Take some psychology classes. Listen when people are talking to you, give them your full attention and then digest. Never be the “no” person, when a cast member or director wants something- you don’t get to say “no” it’s "I’ll ask." :)

Favorite past show? Titanic the Musical

Achievements: 

  • USITT Vice Chair 2015-2017
  • Achievement in Stage Management from KCACTF region 5 for Frankenstein 1930
  • Northern Boundary USITT Scholarship to National Conference for Scene Design of Oleanna
  • William Steil Technical Theatre and Dance Scholarship 2016-2017
  • Achievement in Stage Management from KCACTF region 5 for Titanic the Musical
  • Brianna Richmond- Cowles Theatre and Dance Scholarship 2015-2016
  • Loraine Larson Theatre and Dance Scholarship 2014-2015
Some MSU characters at USITT

Thanks for chatting with us, Jayme! We wish you the best of luck as you continue your education in Stage Management. We'll miss you here! Stay tuned to get to know more of our talented students.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

"The Game's Afoot" Opens Again Tonight!

The sounds of doors slamming, knifes stabbing and gun shots are once again coming from the Ted Paul Theatre tonight as Ken Ludwig's The Game's Afoot opens again to an excited audience.

If you missed it last weekend, here's a little synopsis. It is December 1936 and Broadway star William Gillette, admired by the world over his leading role in the play Sherlock Holmes, has invited his fellow cast-members to his castle in Connecticut for the weekend. But when one of his guests gets stabbed to death, the festivities in his house of tricks and mirrors quickly turn dangerous. Gillette assumes the persona of his beloved Holmes to track down the killer before the next victim appears. The danger and hilarity are non-stop in this whodunit murder mystery.

Daniel Lane, who plays the Sherlock Holmes character William Gillette, is no stranger to MSU theatre. A senior BFA in Musical Theatre, he's treasuring his last days on the Ted Paul stage. "I love working with the cast. We feed off of each other's energy really nicely. It was a fun experience setting up such a ridiculously fun mystery."

Daniel Lane as William Gillette
Photo credit: Amanda Dyslin
Daniel Lane and Delanie Wiedrich
Photo credit: Amanda Dyslin

Not only will audiences be impressed with the actors, but the set is phenomenal. It's designed by Jayme Beerling, a Senior BFA in Stage Management. Her remarkably intricate set design provides the perfect playing space for this comedy. Audiences are bound to be mesmerized.


Opening Night! Set Design and photo credit: Jayme Beerling

Also familiar with the Ted Paul stage is Sophomore BFA in Musical Theatre, Mitchell Evans. "This is actually the first play I've ever acted in and it's been a really fun process. It's a really small and intimate cast which allows us to play around a lot, both on and off stage. It's also been really fun learning about the time period."

Mikhayla Clausen, who plays Gillette's mother Martha, lives up to her reputation as a stunning comedic actress. "The cast is so talented and any Sherlock Holmes lover would enjoy this show! Plus, there is a dog, which is always a plus!"


Daniel Lane
Photo credit: Amanda Dyslin

Daniel Lane and Delanie Wiedrich
Photo credit: Amanda Dyslin

You won't want to miss this show, and you still have 5 more chances to see it! There are 7:30 PM performances tonight through Saturday, and two matinee performances at 2:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday. As always you can get your tickets at msutheatre.com or at the box office from 4-6 Monday through Friday. 507-389-6661. We hope to see you this weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Another Opening of Another Show!

One of Tennessee Williams' most famous works, The Glass Menagerie, opens in the Andreas Theatre tonight at 7:30 PM. Set in St. Louis in 1937, The Glass Menagerie is a four person memory play about a dysfunctional family living in poverty. Amanda Wingfield, played by MFA candidate Ashley Gunn, tries to give meaning and direction to her life and the lives of her two children, Tom, played by BFA Luke Steinborn and Laura, played by first year Samantha Buckley. At Amanda's request, Tom brings his friend Jim, played by Salvatore Frattallone, to dinner, as a potential suitor for his sister.

The play is directed by Melissa Rosenberger, who was thrilled to take it on. "I have always been intrigued by Tennessee Williams' work and at the same time hesitant to try as a director, but I have found that the same advice I give my actors is what I tell myself every night. Trust the language and trust the story, and when it's that good of a playwright that's all you have to do."


Samantha Buckley

Ashley Gunn

Luke Steinborn, Ashley Gunn, Samantha Buckley

Unlike most performances of The Glass Menagerie, MSU chose to present the reading edition of the play, rather than the acting edition. According to Rosenberger, the reading edition is more expressionistic and truer to what Williams' hoped would be passed down in his canon of work. Hardly anyone ever tries to make it work onstage, but Rosenberger was ready for the challenge. "I feel like everyone was intimidated by the work at the beginning. Sitting down and reading it starts to feel daunting. But I think everyone has been really patient with each other. You feel so much more dependent on each other in a small cast and it's nice to see them respond to that." 


Luke Steinborn

Samantha Buckley, Luke Steinborn, Ashley Gunn

Ashley Gunn

The show opens tonight at 7:30 PM and plays through February 5th. You can get your tickets by visiting or calling the Theatre and Dance Box Office at 507-389-6661 from 4:00-6:00 PM Monday through Friday. Or purchase your tickets online at msutheatre.com. You won't want to miss this famous piece of American Literature.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The curtain rises for our students at KCACTF on Monday!

Students from the Department of Theatre and Dance are about to depart for Des Moines, Iowa for the 49th Annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. The festival, more commonly known as KCACTF (it's a mouthful, we know), is a national theatre program designed for students to showcase their work and receive feedback from responders. Over 18,000 students from colleges and universities compete nationwide every year. 

This year 12 nominees and their partners will compete from MSU. Tuesday afternoon the students held their annual Irene Ryan Showcase where they performed their packages for faculty, staff and other students in the program. Their performances got rave reviews!


Jesse Beulke accompanies Amanda Mai and Andrew Anderson


Daniel Lane and Michaela Shapiro

Mikhayla Clausen and Alexis Vencill


Throughout the week-long festival, students participate in a variety of workshops, professional auditions, musical theatre intensives and of course, the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships. Two students are nominated for this award per show every calendar year. They are asked to pick a partner and put together a six-minute acting package. Out of the hundreds that compete, eight finalists are chosen (one from each region) to go to the Kennedy Center in DC. 

Maureen O'Malley and Matthew Sather

Claire Clauson and Alyssa Johnson

Claire Clauson and Emily Scinto

Cam Pederson and Billy Gleason


This year's Irene Ryan Nominees and their Partners
Andrew Andersen/Amanda Mai
Alex Blesi/Maureen O'Malley
Mikhayla Clausen/Alexis Vencill
Billy Gleason/Cam Pederson
Erin Horst/Amanda Mai
Alyssa Johnson/Claire Clauson
Daniel Lane/Michaela Shapiro
Doni Marinos/Jaclyn Britz
Matthew Sather/Maureen O'Malley
Emily Scinto/Claire Clauson
Gabe Sell/Michaela Shapiro
Jessica Staples/Mitchell Douglas

We wish them all many broken legs! Have a great week students!