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ESU Theatre Presents ‘Pippin’ as Homecoming Musical

September 27, 2018

Emporia State University Theatre presents “Pippin” with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (of “Wicked” and “Godspell” fame) and book by Roger O. Hirson. First produced on Broadway in 1972, it recently completed a successful national tour after a celebrated and award-winning New York revival in 2013.

“Pippin” presents a timely and powerful message about finding your place in a confusing world that is filled with possibilities. The story follows young prince Pippin (the son of Charlemagne) who is on a quest for an extraordinary life but is wrapped up in politics, war, family squabbles and love. “Pippin” also feature a mysterious and enchanting troupe of performers who help to tell the story. Led by a mysterious Leading Player, they sing, dance, perform acrobatics and magic tricks as they advance the action of the musical.

Jim Bartruff is directing “Pippin,” his 12th ESU Homecoming musical. Co-directing is Lindy Bartruff, who is also the choreographer.

“It’s kind of a bucket list show because both Lindy and I have very fond memories of the original production staged by Bob Fosse. Although we saw the show a couple of years apart, for both of us it was one of the first shows that we saw in New York,” said Jim Bartruff.  “There is a lot of personal connection to the show. Many years ago, Lindy and I did a community theatre production that Lindy choreographed and where I played the role of Charlemagne. 

“This is a musical about doing a musical. At this stage in my career it seemed we could look back on and reflect over everything we’ve done together,” he said. “And when you get an opportunity to do a show with great music, with a strong story to tell and that is about something you love doing, you have to take it on.”

The show will feature the scenic and lighting designs of Nancy Pontius with costumes designed by Susan Williams. It is under the technical direction of Chris Lohkamp with Amanda Dura as the costume shop manager. Penelope Speedie returns as the music director with Stephen Holbert as her assistant music director. The production pianist is Melinda Groves. 

Student members of the production team include Stage Manager Miranda Kimble (Mullinville) with Hannah Lingard (Topeka) as the assistant stage manager. Mollie McClanahan (Topeka) and Madison Simmons (Emporia) are assistants to the costume designer and Cameron Webb (Shawnee) is the propmaster.

The cast of “Pippin” features Matthew Mahr (Overland Park) in the title role alongside Hewleek McKoy (Olathe), Justin Scheck (Gardner), Tyler Lang (Wichita), Ellen Welander (Olathe), Olivia Nunnelley (Goddard), Rachel Muirhead (Hays) and Drew Keller (Ellis). The ensemble includes Jasmine Hall (Independence), Jaimala Hughes (Dodge City), Lance Moore (Emporia), Andrew Ralston (Topeka), Zulema Renteria (Emporia), Jacob Schaefer (Pratt), Haley Wells (Wichita) and Ryan Wollum (De Soto). 

The technical crew for “Pippin” is Mason Nicks (Leavenworth), Jared Steele (Garden City), Greyson Waltmire (Topeka), Taylor Wingert-Ashlock (Topeka), Quin Birmingham (Overland Park), Hannah Maxwell (Goddard), Alyxx Zinn (Olathe), Brenna Welch (Derby), Natasha Witt (Wichita), Lucas Coble (Olpe), Hannah Hendricks (Wichita), Kara McCormick (Gardner), Jonny Oliver (Overland Park), Megan Shipman (Topeka), Semaj Smith (Salina), Dayne Sabatos (Burlington), McKenzi Crossman (Liberal), Elizabeth Higbee (Tonganoxie), Torin Horvik (Fargo, ND), Heidi Lantz (Lawrence), Samantha LeMay (Emporia), Zoe Maxwell (Andale) and Mariah Trible (Valley Center).

The front of house staff feature Dustin Bittel (Ellis) as the house manager with Paige Lundin (Wichita), Squid Monteith (Silver Lake) and Corrine Payton (Emporia) in the box office.

The Homecoming musical is the first show of the season and institutes ESU Theatre’s new ticketing policy. The new policy centers around advance ticket sales. Tickets purchased in advance will offer a substantial savings over tickets purchased at the door. Advance sale tickets for the homecoming musical will be $15 for Premium seats (center section), $12 for second tier seats (side sections) and $8 for student tickets (side sections). Tickets purchased at the door will increase to $20 for premium seats, $15 for second tier seats and $12 for student tickets in the second tier.

Tickets for all ESU Theatre productions can be purchased online at tickets.emporia.edu. Tickets are also available in person from the University Ticket Office in the Memorial Union or by calling 620-341-6378. 

“Pippin” will play in the Karl C. Bruder Theatre in King Hall (1301 Market Street) at 7:30 PM Oct. 18-20, 2018 with a matinee performance at 2 p.m. Oct. 21.

Theatre Travels to South Dakota for Annual Festival

December 18, 2018

ESU Theatre will travel South Dakota to participate in the 51st meeting of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. KCACTF is a national theatre program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide. This year, Region V — representing Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota — meets from Jan. 20 to 26 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Escape Room Raises Funds for United Way

December 18, 2018

Can you escape from Professor Umbridge’s office in 45 minutes? Or will the Dementors take you to Azkaban?

Theatre Presents 'A Christmas Carol'

December 3, 2018

Emporia State University Theatre’s third annual radio drama performance of “A Christmas Carol,” the timeless classic by Charles Dickens, will be December 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Karl C. Bruder Theatre. The performance will be streamed online, but it can also be watched live in the theatre. A suggested donation of $5 or a contribution of stable food items can be made at the door for the live performance. Cash donations will go toward theatre scholarships. Food items will be contributed to Corky’s Cupboard.

Theatre Presents ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’

November 19, 2018

Emporia State University Theatre is presenting “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” by Jethro Compton. The play premiered in 2014 at the Park Theatre in London and is based on the 1953 short story of the same name by Dorothy M. Johnson, a longtime educator at the University of Montana in Missoula. A celebrated writer of Western fiction, Johnson’s other titles include “A Man Called Horse” and “The Hanging Tree.” “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” will play in the Ronald Q. Frederickson Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 28 through 30, with a matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Dec. 1.

ESU International Students Share Their Cultures

November 13, 2018

It’s International Education Week at Emporia State University and our students want to share their cultures with the campus and Emporia community.

‘Heartland’ Author Sarah Smarsh to Keynote 2019 Tallgrass Workshop

October 23, 2018

Sarah Smarsh, author of “Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth,” will be the keynote speaker at the 2019 Tallgrass Writing Workshop, the Center for Great Plains Studies at Emporia State announced.

The Center for Great Plains Studies Receives Humanities Kansas Grant to Focus on ‘Average Janes’

October 10, 2018

Humanities Kansas recently awarded $3,050 to the Center for Great Plains Studies at Emporia State University in support of “Average Jane: Talking to Women Who Work in Kansas,” a podcast series. The project brings together researchers, interviewers, and scholars to amplify the voices of average working women in Kansas.

Theatre Ticket Pricing Encourages Advance Sales

September 14, 2018

Under the new policy, ESU Theatre will continue to offer in-person sales and phone sales through the University Ticket Office in the Memorial Union. However, persons who buy their tickets at the performance will pay a surcharge. So patrons who buy their tickets in advance will receive a substantial savings.

Highly Acclaimed Spire Chamber Ensemble to Perform

September 11, 2018

2018 Annual Gala Benefit Concert to be held September 15, 2018, at Emporia State University

ESU Theatre presents 2018-2019 Season

August 29, 2018

The Emporia State University Theatre Department presents its 2018-19 season of plays. The productions explore a journey for self-discovery, the struggle between good and evil, the bonds of friendship and the tragedy of forbidden love. The lineup includes “Pippin” with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Roger O. Hirson; “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” by Jethro Compton; “Steel Magnolias” by Robert Harling and “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare.

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