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May 24, 2017

SCT Logo6 reasons to explore Michigan State University's campus this summer

With fewer students walking around on campus and more open parking spaces, now's the perfect time to explore Michigan State University. The best part? You don't have to be a student. Check out this list to help you get started.

Enjoy theater that's a bit edgy? How about theater that's free?

MSU Summer Circle Theatre is an offshoot of the university's Department of Theatre. The group will present five shows, including musicals and family fare, throughout the month of June.

For its 57th season, folks can travel across America without traveling outside East Lansing with shows like "The Amazing America Road Trip."

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May 10, 2017

Courtney Holbrook Headshot On call curtain call

Supporters of MSU’s Department of Theatre can get a sneak peek at one of its newest projects Wednesday evening. The department will unveil the Musical Theatre Touring Company at its “A Bite of Broadway” fundraising gala.

Under the direction of MSU theater faculty Brad Willcuts, Alisa Hauser and Dave Wendelberger, the Musical Theatre Touring Company comprises a select group of musical theater students who will present Broadway-style performances on campus and in the community.

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April 25, 2017


The Michigan State University Department of Theatre's new Musical Theatre Touring Company will have their premiere at the Friends of Theatre "A Bite of Broadway" gala on May 10 at Wharton Center.

The Musical Theatre Touring Company is under the direction of Brad Willcuts and Alisa Hauser with musical direction by Dave Wendelberger. It features students Anna Birmingham, Emma Callis, Jacob Covert, Sarah Davis, Katelyn Hodge, Lukas Jacob, Melanie Vandenberg and Max Sanders with Taylor Mcphail as swing.

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April 25, 2017


The Friends of Theatre at Michigan State University will host a fundraising gala, "A Bite of Broadway," on May 10 to support the newly created "Friends of Theatre Endowment" for MSU’s Department of Theatre.

Guests will gather on the Cobb Great Hall stage of Wharton Center, converted for the evening into the streets of New York, to enjoy a strolling dinner of heavy hors d'oeuvres and wine. Entertainment will be provided by the newly created Musical Theatre Touring Company featuring a special guest artist from Broadway.

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April 24, 2017

Brad Willcuts AT&T AwardFaculty Receive AT&T Awards of Excellence for Use of Technology

Brad Willcuts’ DAN 352 class teaches a kinesthetic approach to multiple forms of dance. Students are assessed by their growth in the class, retention of choreographic styles, and ability to expand artistically.

Course instruction was supplemented by live-streaming dance classes with top professional dancers from the TV show So You Think You Can Dance and CLI Studios. With the use of live-streaming classes, question and answer Skype sessions, and D2L written communication between professional dancers and students, students experienced the high standards of professional dance expectations while learning from famous dancers and connecting to future professional careers.

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April 3, 2017

Linton Hall Photo2017 Alumni Board Faculty & Student Awards

In recognition of their outstanding achievements in leadership, teaching, innovation, and community engagement, five deserving individuals were presented with CAL Alumni Board Awards at the annual CAL Alumni Board Faculty & Student Awards Reception hosted by the College of Arts & Letters on April 1.


Alumni Award for Innovation and Leadership in Teaching and Learning: Deric McNish

Deric McNish CAL AwardMcNish is an Assistant Professor of Acting, Voice, and Speech in the Department of Theatre. He performs audiobook narration and acts in the theatre, on television, and in film. Additionally, he has won the Best Director Pulsar for his 2015 production of HAIR and directed the Thespie Award-winning production of Off With Her Head. His research explores inclusive approaches to actor training, training actors with disabilities, and utilizing theatre techniques to improve language skills for non-native speakers. “Not only has his leadership enhanced my life, but the lives of my colleagues, our students, and the broader community we all serve,” said Department of Theatre Chair Kirk Domer, who nominated McNish for the award. “His imaginative leadership style has created connections that have forged new and exciting pathways for the department’s continued growth.”

Community Partner Award: Dionne O'Dell

Dionne O'Dell CAL AwardO’Dell, an Academic Specialist and Associate Director of the Arts and Cultural Management program, is this year’s recipient of the Community Partner Award for her involvement with the Spartan Public Outreach Team (SPOT). For four years, O’Dell has mentored MSU students in running theatrical workshops for students with autism and other special needs. She works closely with 4th Wall Theatre Company, a theatre program that encourages individuals with special needs to break through the fourth wall to sing, dance, and act onstage. She also teams with the Autism Alliance of Michigan, which encourages engagement and collaboration in students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) within the Greater Lansing area, Flint, and beyond. “I am continuously amazed by the great work that Ms. O’Dell produces with regard to outreach and engagement,” said Department of Theatre Chair Kirk Domer. “SPOT, under her mentorship, is a prime example of MSU’s outreach and engagement mission in connecting knowledge to serve society.”

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March 31, 2017


Ann Folino White, MSU associate professor of theatre studies and directing, was selected as one of three Michigan Association of State Universities Professors of the Year.

The committee selected Folino White based on her sustained commitment to undergraduate instruction through the following categories:

  • Impact on and involvement with undergraduate students
  • Individualized and experiential learning
  • Scholarship and innovation in teaching and learning
  • Contributions to undergraduate education at the institution, in the community and in the profession/discipline

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March 27, 2017

1984 Williamston Theatre CollaborationTheatre Production Showcases Interdisciplinary Work

Much work from College of Arts & Letters students, faculty, and alumni has gone into the Williamston Theatre’s current production – Michael Gene Sullivan’s adaptation of 1984 by George Orwell.

Kirk Domer, Chair of the Department of Theatre, was the set designer for the play. Several other Department of Theatre faculty, students, and alumni also are associated with the production as part of the department’s professional partnership with the Williamston Theatre.

In addition to the play, theatregoers also have the opportunity to learn more about Orwell and 1984 through the work of one Department of English class that is now on display in the theatre’s two main lobbies.

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Concert across americaLansing among 350 U.S. venues for gun violence awareness concert

Cast and crew from MSU's upcoming production of Punk Rock, a visceral drama that deals with gun violence, will sing in Lansing's Concert Across America on Sunday, September 25, 2016 at Unitarian Universalist Church, 5509 S. Pennsylvania Ave. Current State’s Kevin Lavery spoke with several people involved with the concert including Punk Rock director Rob Roznowski and actors Janette Angelini, Evan Houdek and Grant Cleaveland.

Listen to the story from NPR here. http://cpa.ds.npr.org/wkar/audio

Read more about the Concert Across America here. http://wkar.org/post/lansing-gun-awareness


Producing Work Abroad Through Fulbright Fellowship

Rob Greece Header

With the Ionian Sea and snow-capped mountains of southern Greece as a backdrop, a Department of Theatre professor used an entire university campus as his stage for a unique project he conceived involving a large cast of students.  

Rob Greece BalloonsAssociate Professor Rob Roznowski, on a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship at the University of Patras in Greece, planned to take Arthur Miller’s American classic, A View from the Bridge, which has a small cast, and do the play in Greece. But when he arrived in Patras, he found much interest from students to be part of the production.

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June 4, 2016

MSU's Summer Circle Theatre touts magical line-up

SCT PressBy Bridgette Redman, for the Lansing State Journal

EAST LANSING - It’s summer. Descending on us are hot weather, flowers, trips to the beach, barbecues and – this year – more than a touch of magic.

Where you can find that magic?

Head to East Lansing’s Michigan State University campus from Wednesdays through Sundays, June 8-25 and experience magic performed by the Department of Theater.

It’s the 56th annual Summer Circle Theatre, and it is ready to take audiences on a journey, though the magic takes more than the wave of a wand or the flashing of a cape. Instead, it takes more than 30 people working and sweating and practicing, teaming up to create five diverse worlds such as a Rogers and Hammerstein musical, a junior high for gods and goddesses, a Long Island garage and several others.

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February 26, 2016

Learning to Act, but Hungry for Roles to Practice

A piece from The New York Times featuring Kirsten Greenidge and the Big Ten Playwriting Initiative! An interesting follow up after MSU THR just produced Baltimore in September of 2016.

Baltimore NY Times

By Laura Collins-Hughes 

BOSTON — The playwright Kirsten Greenidge was in high demand. Over in the South End, her Obie-winning drama, “Milk Like Sugar,” was in previews at the Huntington Theater Company. A couple of miles west, at Boston University, her new play, “Baltimore,” was edging toward opening. In both places, there was work she needed to do.

On that Saturday afternoon in January, though, she kept her attention on “Baltimore.” Bundled against the chill of a drafty rehearsal room overlooking Commonwealth Avenue, she listened closely as actors spoke new lines she’d given them only the night before.

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February 24, 2016

Who was the best Mr Darcy of 'Pride and Prejudice?'

Pride and prejudice

By Katie Cook

Listen to story on WKAR

EAST LANSING - The MSU Department of Theatre has brought one of literature’s most timeless tales, Pride and Prejudice, to the stage. We take the occasion to revisit what makes the novel so beloved, and find out what kind of contemporary twist MSU is bringing to the classic story.

Current State producer Katie Cook has only recently discovered a love for the novel and its screen adaptations herself, and she’s been analyzing the story’s appeal.

Her newfound passion came just in time for the MSU Department of Theatre's staged production of Pride and Prejudice at MSU's Fairchild Theatre, and she couldn’t resist the urge to investigate.


February 10, 2016

Alumni Page for the MSU Department of Theatre

Robinson Alum Page

MSU Department of Theatre Alums are encouraged to post on this page https://www.facebook.com/msuthralumnipage/, both to celebrate career achievements and to network with fellow alumni and current students. Please do not hesitate to share project details, reviews, rewards, details about upcoming work, or to inquire with fellow Spartans about collaboration on current projects, casting calls, etc. Current students are encouraged to ask questions and to seek connections in the cities they might be curious about living in after graduation.

Please don't be shy - this is a place to share your professional work so that the Department of Theatre, current, and future students can stay up-to-date on the impact of the MSU THR education in the professional world!

Here is one of the first posts from alumni Christopher Robinson:
Hey everyone! 

Graduated from the theatre department with the BFA class of 2012. Moved to Florida and began performing at Walt Disney World and universal studios in Orlando. Incredibly lucky to say that the entirety of my income comes from performing. I Have had a lot of amazing opportunities since moving to Orlando to perform in a lot of different shows and as a lot of different characters in both parks! If you have any questions about Disney entertainment or auditions don't hesitate to send me a message! Hope everyone is doing well!!


February 3, 2015

stART and THR Apparel 

The student organization in the Department of Theatre known as S.P.A.M. (Society for Performers and Arts Managers) has changed its name to stART (Spartan Theatrical Artist Resource Team). The focus of this inclusive 'club' is to provide fundraising opportunities in order to award grants to students to assist in career-building expenses. Most students use grant money to assist with travel and registration fees for auditions and conferences!

The Department of Theatre finally has its own apparel! Follow the link to find ORDER FORMS! And keep and eye out - stART board officials will be walking around showing off their items soon! We have some t-shirts on hand and available so be one of the first people to sport some new apparel.

Download Order Form and return to THR Main Office (113 Auditorium)


July 29, 2015

MSU PRESENTS: (313) Choices

313 Choices Show Poster

Traverse City Film Festival: Old Town Playhouse

Screenwriter: C J Valle 

Directed By: Tyler Clifton, Brock Lewandowski, Sarah Matthews, Sam Rector, Austin Schuld and Keenan Wetzel

Produced By: Carly Belsito, Anna Dood, Stuart Heinlein, Lauren Lahrman, Brock Lewandowski, Sarah Matthews and Andrea Raby

From the minds of our great state’s next generation of aspiring filmmakers, “(313) Choices” is a contemporary human drama of interwoven stories set in and around Detroit (aka “The 313”). A landmark collaboration between Michigan State University’s Theatre Department and Media Sandbox, the first MSU-produced feature film started as an original student play, and was adapted for the screen with the talents of over 100 passionate and enthusiastic students serving as actors, directors, composers, cinematographers, art directors, and more.

More Information



July 15, 2015

2014-2015 Pulsar Award Winners

City Pulse Pulsars Awards Photo 2015

By Ty Forquer 

EAST LANSING - Pulsars XI - MSU and Peppermint Creek win big at City Pulse 2015 Theater Awards.

The Greater Lansing theater community gathered Monday night as City Pulse honored the best in local theater with its annual Pulsar awards. WMMQ morning show co-host Deb Hart emceed the evening, and City Pulse’s theater judges and staff were on hand to hand out trophies to the winners MSU’s Department of Theatre was the big winner of the evening. The group took home 16 awards, largely on the strength of its productions of ‘60s rock musical “Hair” and the salacious drama “Les Liaisons Dangereuses.” Dan Smith, assistant professor of theater studies, provided some comic relief, accepting nearly a dozen of the awards on behalf of colleagues and students who were unable to attend the ceremony. (Smith did get some hardware of his own, snagging the Best Director award for “Les Liaisons Dangereuses.”)

Read the Full Article


July 1, 2015 




By City Pulse

EAST LANSING - The votes have been tabulated, and City Pulse has announced its 2014-15 Pulsar Award nominees.

This year’s installment of the awards, created to recognize the best in local theater, will be handed out at a July 13 award ceremony.

MSU Department of Theatre also had a big year, earning 23 nominations, largely on the strength of the salacious drama “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” and ‘60s rock musical “Hair.”

Read the Full Article


June 25, 2015



By Bridgette Redman

EAST LANSING - The relationship between mother and daughter can be a treacherous one.

Indeed, any relationship soaked with love can be a treacherous one, as Richard Greenberg so compellingly shows us in “The American Plan.” Michigan State University’s Summer Circle closes out its summer season with this 1990 drama, set in 1960.

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June 18, 2015



By Bridgette Redman

EAST LANSING - Put the writings of David and Amy Sedaris together and you know you’re going to get something special. Or at least quirky and funny.

“The Book of Liz” is playing at Michigan State University’s Summer Circle Theater this week, a play directed by Ann Folino White and written by David Sedaris and Amy Sedaris.

Liz is the central character, a member of an exclusive religious community known as The Squeamish.

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June 14, 2015



By Bridgette Redman

EAST LANSING - Those who read his children’s poetry always suspected that Shel Silverstein had a delightfully twisted mind.

His works always had dark undertones in which children were eaten by cannibals and garbage stacked up to suffocate the whole world.

Turn that mind to adult topics and it makes for a late-night comedy that is darkly amusing and filled with uproarious laughter.

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June 14, 2015



By Bridgette Redman

EAST LANSING - Rob Roznowski followed two great traditions with his new play for young audiences, both with long ears and a white fluffy tail.

“The Tail of Peter Rabbit” adapts the tale of Beatrix Potter while giving an equal nod to Bugs Bunny. The story is from Potter, the style is pure Looney Tunes. As family theater it makes sure it has something for both kids and parents alike.

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June 11, 2015



By Bridgette Redman

EAST LANSING - "Mr Burns" mixes "The Simpsons" with classic theatre

How many years without an electronic memory would it take before ”The Simpsons” became Shakespeare?

That’s the unusual question that Anne Washburn’s “Mr. Burns, a post-electric play” asks at Michigan State University’s Summer Circle. All right, it poses many other questions as well and perhaps comparisons to Simpsons and Greek tragedy are more apt than to the Bard.

Read the Full Article


June 11, 2015


SCT state news video.jpg

By Jessica Steeley

EAST LANSING - VIDEO: New Outdoor Stage to feature Summer Circle Theatre Performances

The Summer Circle Theatre, a group who performs summer shows on campus, is celebrating their 55th year with a new location to showcase their performances this season.

“The last couple years have been right on the river, and we’ve had to make the stage every year,” recent MSU alumna and group actor Sarah Goeke said. “We [now] have this great new area, this new space … for all different art forms.”

The old location had been inaccessible to audiences, associate professor of theatre Rob Roznowski said, but a new, permanent space was able to be built because of the donations from the Friends of Theatre at MSU.

June 10, 2015



By Ken Glickman


Deborah Kinney, a landscape architect for the university, designed a lovely space with flowing lines and a circular stage. All the electrical lines are underground with four access points for lights and sound which will support wireless mics for the actors.

Although the previous theater had audiences of about 3000 during the summer (a seven-week season), the theater department has been struggling to find a better, more comfortable space.

Read the Full Article


April 3, 2015



By Paul Wozniak

EAST LANSING - MSU's 'Bug' is a mind-bending journey.

Did you hear that? It sounds like the smoke detector. Or maybe it's a hive of bugs hiding in your walls. MSU Department of Theatre's production of Tracy Letts' "Bug" never answers the question, but it does toy with your brain for two intense hours.

To be clear, the performances alone -- from outgoing master's students Jacqueline Wheeler and Zev Steinberg -- make this show worth seeing. Add Letts' kaleidoscopically mesmerizing script and Rob Roznowski's superb direction and you get drama that's arguably better than Big Ten basketball. Read the Full Article

February 3, 2015



By Scott Pohl, WKAR Current State

EAST LANSING - The Michigan State University Department of Theatre has launched an ambitious project involving students, faculty and several other departments on campus. A student-led production in being staged on campus through this weekend, and later, the same story will become a movie.

The stage production of “Theatre2Film” opened last weekend and there are six more performances starting Wednesday night.
Current State’s Scott Pohl spent some time at a rehearsal last week to get a feel for how these MSU Theatre students are using the project to get writing, acting and filmmaking credits.



January 14, 2015



By Rob Roznowski, MSUToday

EAST LANSING - In November 2013, representatives from the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives met with members of the Department of Theatre and me to discuss what contribution we might be able to make to a new campus-wide initiative. The aim of their initiative, Project 60/50, was to spark conversations surrounding two watershed moments in national civil rights history... READ FULL ARTICLE


January 11, 2015



Lansing State Journal Obituary

EAST LANSING - Gretel earned her Master of Fine Arts from Michigan State University. She then went on to become a respected professor in the Theatre Department at MSU for 30+ years. She was a true artist, and when she wasn't working, enjoyed fiber arts, print making and silk painting... READ MORE


December 25, 2014



By Will Kangas, Lansing State Journal


On Broadway, Greg Reuter played Billy Flynn in "Chicago," a French guard in the original cast of "Monty Python's Spamalot," a gnome and a skeleton and pied piper in the original cast of "Shrek: The Musical" and other roles besides... READ MORE



November 19, 2014


Les_Liasons_Rehearsal05.jpgA review of 'Les Liaisons Dangereuses'.

Dangerous Intentions by Mary Cusack - CityPulse


November 17, 2014



Film and stage actor Julian Sands worked with MSU Department of Theatre students after his recent performance at Wharton Center.

The rehearsal studio in room 12 was transformed into a master class workshop once again. Students of the MSU Department of Theatre were given a rare, one-on-one opportunity to work with the seasoned professional, Julian Sands.

The Department of Theatre strives to expose their students to opportunities like this each semester through their Guest Artist Series, with recent names such as Joe Barros, Charlie Beal and Anna Deveare Smith. These opportunities become less rare and more commonplace as the department continues to bring in these industry professionals.Sands_02.jpg

Senior BFA Actor, Katie Maggart (right) works on a piece with Sands and receives coaching in front of onlooking students and faculty.

Maggart says, "It was extremely helpful for a dramatic actor (Sands) to critique a comedic monologue. I was able to get to the core of the monologue with his direction, enabling me to layer on the funny later." 

The workshop was beneficial for everyone who attended, even if just observing, as Maggart shares, "He was very kind with all of his critique, and made sure it applied to the masses rather than just me."

Sands_03.jpgAndrew Buck, Senior BFA Actor, was also able to work with Sands and said it was "unique and eye opening" (left). Theatre students are first exposed to multiple techniques, and then required to determine what works best in their own process. Buck explains, "There are endless way to get to the truth, to express the emotions and to create the connections you desire. Every artist has a different opinion...and having the ability to experience Mr. Sands' interpretation of acting was really one-of-a-kind. I am honored I was given the opportunity to work along side such an accomplished artist."

The Department of Theatre looks forward to the next Guest Artist in its series.


November 17, 2014


Plowed Under Book Cover

Dr. Ann Folino White's New Book Plowed Under now available at Amazon.com

During the Great Depression, with thousands on bread lines, farmers were instructed by the New Deal Agricultural Adjustment Act to produce less food in order to stabilize food prices and restore the market economy. Fruit was left to rot on trees, crops were plowed under, and millions of piglets and sows were slaughtered and discarded. Many Americans saw the government action as a senseless waste of food that left the hungry to starve, initiating public protests against food and farm policy. White approaches these events as performances where competing notions of morality and citizenship were acted out, often along lines marked by class, race, and gender. The actions range from the "Milk War" that pitted National Guardsmen against dairymen, who were dumping milk, to the meat boycott staged by Polish-American women in Michigan, and from the black sharecroppers’ protest to restore agricultural jobs in Missouri to the protest theater of the Federal Theater Project. White provides a riveting account of the theatrical strategies used by consumers, farmers, agricultural laborers, and the federal government to negotiate competing rights to food and the moral contradictions of capitalist society in times of economic crisis.