From our recent past...

ESU Theatre at KCACTF Region V
In January, ESU students, faculty and alums participated in Festival 46 for Region V of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.  Held at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln the week of January 19, twenty-four students participated in workshops, performances and auditions.

 At the festival, 15 teams competed in the Tech Crew Showdown. A skills competition for tech theatre students in the region, the ESU team included Lexey Jost (BFA, 2013), Brandon Jensen (junior, Salina), Landon Noll (junior, Winchester), Ethan Crapser (freshman, Overland Park), Rochele Watson (junior, Oak Grove, MO) and Samantha Lambert (junior, Rantoul). Not only did ESU win the title, they also won the "Spirit Award" presented to the school with the best team support.  Other finalists in the competition were from the University of Nebraska-Kearney, Bismarck State College (ND) and Augustana College (SD).

Three ESU people were awarded Certificates of Commendation for their production work during the 2013 calendar year: Su J Mai, Costume design for Dancing at Lughnasa, Aubrey Near, Stage Management for Brownstone and Lexey Jost, Set design for reasons to be pretty. 

350 students in the region (Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri) were nominated for the prestigious Irene Ryan acting auditions.  64 students were selected as semi-finalists including Junior Kylie Geiman (Louisburg) and Colter Lemmon (junior, Crawford, NE).  They performed with their partners Evan Eisenbarth, junior from Cassoday and John Lloyd Stafford III (junior, Independence).

Several ESU theatre students were selected to perform in the 10-minute play event at the festival.  Sophomore Elliot Brest was cast in Any Rock, Any Stone by Emily Nelson from the University of Missouri.  Lauren Smith, a student at the University of Central Missouri who was a member of the 2013 ESU Summer Theatre Company was also cast.  

Miranda Nation, a sophomore from Winfield was cast in Man's Best Friend by Joshua R. Johnson from Southwest Minnesota State University.  Senior Ryan Scully was selected to direct Eyes Up High by Wesley Beckemeyer from the University of Missouri.  The plays were presented January 24 in the Johnny Carson Theatre in the Lied Center at the University of Nebraska.  

As the festival drew to a close, Lexey Jost was awarded an honorable mention for her craft project…a prop rooster that she made for the ESU Theatre production of Dancing at Lughnasa.  She was one of three students cited for her outstanding work in this category.  Next year, Festival 47 will be held in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.

Five ESU Theatre students were awarded degrees at Commencement exercises in December 2013.  Congratulations to Roseanne Rosenbrook, Merriam (BFA); Jeannie Harper, Cherryvale (BFA); Lexey Jost, Hutchinson (BFA); Garrett Bowman, Iola (BFA); and Kelly Roberts, Hutchinson (BSE).

With pride, we wish a hearty congratulations and farewall to our May grads.  Accepting their diplomas at spring commencement in May were Cara Lohkamp, Noah Mefford, Danielle Roberts, Kangwon Song, Trinity Standridge and Andrew Walker

Once again, ESU Theatre has been honored by several accolades from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival during the past year.  Costumes from our production of THE LADIES MAN (designed by Su J Mai) were featured in the regional costume parade.  Seniors Noah Mefford and Cara Lohkamp presented a scene from our spring production of Doubt (directed by Jim Ryan) at the showcase of invited scenes.  Seven students participated in the Irene Ryan Scholarship auditions.  Of the 326 students entered in our region, 3 ESU students survived into the semifinal round of 64.  They were Noah Mefford, Andrew Walker and Jamarious WickerWalker and his partner Kangwon Song made it to the final round of 16.  Song was also awarded the second prize for his poster design for Doubt.  The Tech Crew Showdown team was in the final 4, besting 11 of the 15 teams entered in this years festival. Commendations from the Kennedy Center were presented to Su J Mai (costumes), Ross Rundell (set design), Cara Lohkamp (scene painting), Marah Melvin (performance), Jim Bartruff (directing), Noah Mefford (lighting design) and Amanda Dura (costumes). This year's festival was hosted by the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

With joy (and a little sadness) we celebrate the accomplishments of our Winter 2012 graduates.  Congratulations to Elise Blann, Newton (BFA), Jessica Gaddis, Ulysses (BFA) and Yui Watanabe, Chiba, Japan (BA).

ESU THEATRE Honors Its 2012 grads
At commencement ceremonies on May 12, several ESU Theatre students received their undergraduate degrees.  We congratulate Nancy Boyce, Laura Dossett, Lindsey Jarvis, Casey McCabe, Chris Peterson, Ross Rundell and Josh Taylor.

EMPORIA STATE UNIVERSITY excels at KCACTF, Region V at Iowa State University
Once again, ESU Theatre has demonstrated the strength of its theatre program at the annual meeting of Region V of the Kennedy Center American Theatre Festival (KCACTF V). The gathering was hosted by Iowa State University, January 15-­‐21. Nearly 1600 students and faculty from over fifty colleges and universities from Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, North and South Dakota participated. ESU had many successes at the 2012 festival. Commendations were awarded at the opening ceremonies to 2011 grad Brianne Simon (set design), Senior Ross Rundell (Salina) was cited for his Sound Design for last spring’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Amanda Dura, Costume Shop Manager, received commendations for two of her designs Barefoot in the Park and Eurydice.

ESU Theatre had 9 students represented in the Irene Ryan Scholarship auditions. 299 students from the region participated this year...each was nominated for their outstanding work in productions during the 2011 calendar year. ESU students Noah Mefford (junior, Burlington); Lindsay Ward (alum, Gardner); Kangwon Song (senior, Pusan, South Korea); Casey McCabe (senior, Gardner); Annie Rosenbrook (junior, Merriam); Trinity Standridge (junior, Olathe); Marah Melvin (junior, Iola); Elise Blann (senior, Newton) and Andrew Walker (junior, Wichita) all participated in the preliminary round. Selected for the semifinals was Kangwon Song who participated in the second round with his partner Daniel Reardon (sophomore, Overland Park). Only 64 of the original 299 were selected for the second round. The students selected for the Kennedy Center in April represented Wichita State University and Winona State University (Minnesota).  Kangwon Song also received a regional award for poster design. His poster for the ESU Theatre production of Eurydice was selected as the best in the region in ceremonies on Thursday evening. Brianne Simon’s set design for Barefoot in the Park was presented a second place award in the region. Also representing ESU in the design competitions at the festival were senior Yui Watanabe (Chiba, Japan) in costume design, senior Josh Taylor (Salina) in lighting design, and senior Chris Peterson (Rose Hill). Peterson and Ross Rundell also presented their portfolios at the festival. Rundell’s portfolio and presentation received first place at the festival.

One of the highlights of the festival was the Wednesday night ceremony where Jim Bartruff, Director of Theatre at ESU, was presented the 2012 KCACTF Golden Medallion. The award is presented to those “who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the values and goals of KCACTF and to excellence in educational theatre.” It is the most prestigious award presented by KCACTF. Brad Buffum from the University of Nebraska also received the award. A member of the regional selection team for Region V, Bartruff was selected to direct a concert reading of The Book of Adam by Matt Fotis. The play, a national award-­‐winning comedy was the featured performance of the festival on Monday night. ESU senior Casey McCabe (Gardner) was one of the cast members for that production.

Natalie King (junior, Wichita) and Lindsay Ward (2011 alum) also performed at the festival when cast in roles for the Faculty Directing Showcase.  Seniors Gabe Moyer (Olathe) and Laura Dossett (Jenks. Oklahoma) participated in the SDC competition for outstanding student directors in the region. Although neither was selected to advance, both represented ESU with distinction.  Twenty ESU theatre students attended the conference and all of them rooted on the ESU team in the Stage Crew Showdown. A competition between tech crews, the Hornets were in the finals, one of the top 4 schools of the 15 participating. Their classmates cheered on team members Cara Lohkamp (junior, Maize), Noah Mefford, Aubrey Near (sophomore, Independence), Ross Rundell, and Josh Taylor. The team demonstrated their skills in knot tying, stage lighting, prop setting and costume quick-­‐changes.

Region V is one of eight regions in the U.S. and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is the site (and sponsor) of the national festival held each April in Washington, D.C.

Bartruff Awarded KCACTF Golden Medallion
Director of Theatre, Jim Bartruff was awarded the Kennedy Center Golden Medallion in ceremonies at Festival 44 of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Ames.  The award was presented on the stage of the Ames Community Auditorium in downtown Ames, Iowa on January 18.  While a student at Ames High School from 1968-1970, Bartruff acted on the same stage.  Bartruff's acceptance speech focused on the connection between him and the theatre in Ames.  The Golden Medallion is the highest award presented by KCACTF and recognizes years of excellence in teaching and in service.

Alum Katie Amanda Keane presents annual Pflaum Lecture
The 2011-12 Pflaum Lecture sponsored by The Department of Communication and Theatre with funding support from the Performing Arts Board was presented on Tuesday, September 6. Katie Amanda Keane, a 1996 BFA and Topeka native spoke on her journey as a working actor. The Emporia Gazette website has posted her appearance on their website. You can see and hear Katie's presentation at

ESU Theatre honors its 2011 grads
Twelve theatre majors accept their baccalaureate degrees in ceremonies on May 14. Honored at our annual Curtain Call on Sunday May 8, we congratulate Al Daugherty, Desiree Dye, Brenna Fulton, Megan Henson, Levi Howe, Dylan Lewis, Gabe Moyer, Cim Roesner, Brianne Simon, Christina Thomas, Brock Tucker and Emily Warren. (May 2011)

Summer Theatre Season 57 - June 8 through July 23 (Download a copy of the season release)
The 57th season of summer theatre opene Wednesday June 8 with an original musical I Love to Tell the Story by Jim Bartruff. The family comedy Daddy's Dyin' Who's Got the Will? by Del Shores under the direction of Dr. Jim Ryan ran June 22-25. Theresa Mitchell helmed Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park July 6-9 and our annual children's show was The Monster Under the Bed which opened July 20 and closed with a matinee on July 23. Ticket sales were up over the last several seasons. Audiences seemed to really enjoy the variety of offerings and responded in almost record numbers. (May 2011/Updated August 2011)

ESU Theatre honors its 2011 grads
Twelve theatre majors accept their baccalaureate degrees in ceremonies on May 14. Honored at our annual Curtain Call on Sunday May 8, we congratulate Al Daugherty, Desiree Dye, Brenna Fulton, Megan Henson, Levi Howe, Dylan Lewis, Gabe Moyer, Cim Roesner, Brianne Simon, Christina Thomas, Brock Tucker and Emily Warren. (May 2011)

Summer Theatre Season 57 - June 8 through July 23 (Download a copy of the season release)
The 57th season of summer theatre opene Wednesday June 8 with an original musical I Love to Tell the Story by Jim Bartruff. The family comedy Daddy's Dyin' Who's Got the Will? by Del Shores under the direction of Dr. Jim Ryan ran June 22-25. Theresa Mitchell helmed Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park July 6-9 and our annual children's show was The Monster Under the Bed which opened July 20 and closed with a matinee on July 23. Ticket sales were up over the last several seasons. Audiences seemed to really enjoy the variety of offerings and responded in almost record numbers. (May 2011/Updated August 2011)

More success at KCACTF (Read more about it.)
Junior theatre major Lindsay Ward was one of three student playwrights in Region V of the American College Theatre festival to be invited to the regional festival at Iowa State University in January. Lindsay entered her play into the one-act play competition and blind readers selected her play, A Beautifil Lie from 30 entries. The play was given a concert reading in Ames. Other accomplishments at this year's festival: Gabe Moyer was a semi-finalist in the Irene Ryan Scholarship auditions. Josh Taylor and Yui Watanabe earned regional awards in Set Design and Costume Design. Faculty designer Nancy Pontius received a commendation for her set design for The Diviners. (January 2010)

Season 2010-2011 (Download a copy of the season release.)
The upcoming season for ESU Theatre begins with the annual homecoming musical. This year's selection is The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. In December we present the American Classic You Can't Take It With You. The winter production is a student-directed presentation of David Ive's All in the Timing. The season closes in April with Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. (August 2010)

Season 56 of Summer Theatre
A musical, a romantic comedy, a new farce and a children's theatre production were featured in season 56 of ESU Summer Theatre. The season opened on June 9 with Are We There Yet? followed by the romantic comedy Almost, Maine. Unnecessary Farce played July 7-10 and On Froggy Mountain, a new children's theatre show ran the final week of July. Its final performance on June 24 was a 2:00 family matinee. (August 2010)

ESU Theatre honors its 2010 grads
Eight theatre majors accepted their baccalaureate degrees in ceremonies on May 15. They all were able to attend Curtain Call on Sunday May 9 to reminisce about their time at ESU. We congratulate Paul Clements, Kelsey Fredricks, Bob Hart, Naoko Ishizuka, Chris Lohkamp, Lindsay Roland, Scott Swezey and Ben Williams. (May 2010)

Ben Pilat (MFA, 2005) to be honored by USITT as its 6th Rising Star
ESU Theatre alum Ben Pilat will be honored as the 6th recipient of the USITT Rising Star Award at USITT's 50th annual conference in Kansas City in April. A freelance lighting designer, Ben earned his MFA from Boston University and his BFA from ESU in 2005. He studied with noted designer Ken Billington and worked with him on the Broadway production of High Fidelity. He and his wife, Maggie (also an ESU alum), live in New York. (January 2010)

ESU concludes another successful showing at KCACTF-Region V
Two ESU representatives were selected to attend the national festival of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in April. The festival is hosted by the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. 32 ESU students and 6 faculty attended the regional meeting hosted by Johnson County Community College January 17-23. Senior Ben Williams was selected the winner of the Barbizon Award in Set Design for his design for our fall production of Lone Star/Laundry and Bourbon. Ben was also the regional runner-up for the Region V prize for his design for Into the Woods. Joining Ben in Washington will be Director of Theatre Jim Bartruff who was selected as a National Directing Fellow representing Region V at the national festival. Receiving commendations at the festival were alums Cassie Hoppas and Trish Stogsdill for Costume and Make-up Design. Craig Moxon received a commendation for lighting design and Emily Warren for Hair and Makeup Design. Amanda Dura's costume designs for The Rocky Horror Show were featured in the costume parade. Theresa Mitchell was selected as the outstanding director in the Faculty Directing Showcase at the Festival. Three students were semifinalists in the Irene Ryan Scholarship auditions: Kelsey Fredricks, Thomas Govert and Ryan Scully. Former Director of Theatre, Harry Parker was also at the festival in his role as national chair for KCACTF. For a complete run-down of ESU's successes at the festival, download our press release. (January 2010)

Winter 2009 Grads
At Winter Commencement ceremonies held Saturday December 19 at White Auditorium, BSE degrees were awarded to Katie Murphy and Emily Thomas. Emily was hired to fill an open position in the Silver Lake School District. (January 2010)

Alumni Continue to Excel
Our students and alums continue to excel. In January, Grant Geis (BSE, 2008) was one of 31 Kansas educators receiving the Horizon Award for outstanding teaching. Katie Keane, a BFA grad from Topeka starred in the ABC Family Network series “Ruby and the Rockits” which premiered in July. Kyle Land, BFA grad and former TD, is a member of the Red Tape Theatre Company in Chicago. Aaron Kennedy and Jamie Urban returned to campus this summer as members of the summer theatre company. Anna Ryan appeared as a guest artist in our summer theatre production of SUDS. And you've probably seen Aaron Walters (BA '00) on television as Jimmy Football the taligating spokesperson for Bud Light. (Sept 09)

55 Years of Summer Theatre
Our 55th season of summer theatre opened June 10 with the romantic comedy Beau Jest. Present at the Friday evening performance were almost 80 ESU Theatre alums gathered together for a reunion. Former professor Charlie Hill was a featured guest. Alumni organizers Pat Dennis and Lance Brockman helped to raise $1300 in scholarship dollars at a silent auction held during the reunion. The current season also includes Suds, Luv and Leading Ladies. (June 09)

Class of 2009 receives degrees May 16
Eight ESU Theatre students received their degrees at commencement ceremonies at Welch Field on Saturday May 16. On a cool and blustery day, we celebrated the accomplishments of ESU Theatre grads Kaitlyn Davis, Drew Donahoo, T.J. Erickson, Nick Guffey, Cassie Kay Hoppas, Benjamin Howard, Katie Murphy, Susan Samuelson, Katie Schultz, Jule Soroko and Tricia Stogsdill. Julie Soroko was the featured soloist at the ceremonies. We wish them well as they move on to the next phase of their lives. (June 09)

Senior Susan Samuelson wins Barbizon Design Competition at Region V, KCACTF
Senior Susan Samuelson (Burlington) was selected to attend the national meeting of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival when she won the Barbizon Design Competition at Festival 41 - Region V at Kansas University in Lawrence, January 19-24. ESU's production of RABBIT HOLE was presented to two-full houses on the festivals final day. For additional details, download the press release. (Jan 2009)

Congratulations to our Winter semester grads...
At Winter Commencement ceremonies held Saturday December 20 at White Auditorium, BFA degrees were awarded to Emily Young (Parsons) and Camille Schmeirer (Leavenworth). We are also proud to recognize and congratulate three BSE grads: Derek Jensen (Dodge City), Lesli Taylor (Scott City) and Kelly Thompson (Maple Hill). Kelly has already signed a contract to teach theatre at the middle school level. (Dec 2008)

Rabbit Hole selected for Region V-KCACTF
The December production of RABBIT HOLE has been selected for the January 2009 festival for Region V of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. If selected from the region, the production will be presented at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in April. A scene from the play, directed by Jim Bartruff, was invited to be showcased at the region V festival at Kansas University. The production features a cast of five ESU Theatre students and featured costumes designed by Senior Susan Samuelson. The play was designed by Ron Fowlkes with lighting design by Nancy Pontius. Craig Moxon designed the sound.

ESU Stage Management featured in new textbook
ESU Theatre was asked to provide a photo essay for a new theatre appreciation textbook. Written by Sally Shedd of Virginia Wesleyan University and Leslie Durham of Boise State University, the book will feature a photo essay of the homecoming musical SOMETHING'S AFOOT. The photos feature senior Katie Schultz, the stage manager and members of the production team including Theresa Mitchell, Nancy Pontius, Ron Fowlkes, Susan Mai, Amanda Dura and Craig Moxon. The book will be published by Kendall-Hunt in early 2009. The photos were taken by Dick Garvey.

Class of 2008 receives degrees May 17
Eight ESU Theatre students received their degrees at commencement ceremonies at Welch Field on Saturday May 17. On a warm and sunny day, we celebrated the accomplishments of ESU Theatre grads Nichole Horan, Pat Janssen, Eric Luchen, Jamie McCabe, Kevin Nardi, April Richards, Robyn Verner and Michael Wilke. BSE Grant Geis also received his degree. We wish them well as they move on to the next phase of their lives. Several will spend one more summer at ESU with summer theatre 2008. (May 08)

Recording Artist Jon Troast Featured in Spring Dance Show
"Mary Jane - An Indie Rock Romance!" was presented for two performances (7 and 9 p.m.) on Friday May 9 in the Ronald Q. Frededrickson Theatre. The show, written, directed and choreographed by Lindy Bartruff, featured the music of guest artist Jon Troast who travelled from his home in Wisconsin to participate. Songs from his album Second Story were featured in the show. EHS Theatre alum Elizabeth Sullivan was featured in the cast as well as students in Dance I and Dance III. On Saturday night, June 10, Troast presented a concert at the Emma Chase Cafe in Cottonwood Falls. (May 08)

R.Q. Frederickson returns to direct in HIS Theatre
Retired ESU Theatre professor, Ron Frederickson returned to Emporia in January to direct our Winter production of NICKEL AND DIMED in the theatre that bears his name. While here, Ron was the guest of honor at the inaugural meeting of the Lyon County Alumni Group. He also presented the annual Pflaum Lecture. The final performance was a mini-family reunion for Ron, his extended family and his many friends. A reception hosted by Mary Sue Wade and the Theatre Guild was a highlight of the afternoon. The greatest beneficiaries of RQ's visit were the students who got to work with him in rehearsal and performance. (Jan 08)

Congratulations to our KCACTF Award-winners
Thirty ESU students and faculty attended the Region V meeting of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Omaha, January 20-26. Five students entered design work into the Design/Tech Expo and eight ESU Theatre students participated in the Irene Ryan Scholarship auditions. (There were 343 in the competition.) In ceremonies at the festival, Costume Shop Manager Amanda Dura received a commendation for her costume designs for ALL MY SONS. Seniors Michael Wilke and Trish Stogsdill also received awards. Michael was one of 5 students selected for the Thayer Lighting Competitioin. In a separate competition, he was awarded runner-up in the Barbizon Lighting Design competition for his design for TROJAN WOMEN. Trish was awarded a prize for her makeup design for MACBETH. (Jan 08)

Our 2007 grads
In ceremonies at Welch Field on Saturday May 12, we celebrated the accomplishments of our 2007 grads. The following received their degrees: Stephanie Braniff, Josh Christoffersen, Cara Cusano, Marisa Fritzemeier, Barbara Handy, Aaron Kennedy, Samantha Kennedy, Kimberly Lockwood, Dana McCoy, Mychal Moore, Robin Murphy, Carmen Patterson, Erin Schmidt, Courtney Slater, Maria Stukey and Amber Subelka. Several recent grads will be in graduate school in the fall: Aaron Kennedy to continue his studies in scenic design at the University of Wisconsin; Amber Subelka at Brandeis University; Gabe Templin at the University of Arkansas; and, Jamie Urban at Boston University. (May 2007)

Year End Events
We are proud to announce our annual ESU Theatre Guild Drive for 2007-2008. Support ESU Theatre and get a great entertainment value. Click here for more information. Don't miss our spring dance event--London Rocks--on Friday May 4 in the Frederickson Theatre. The show will feature numbers from "The Rocky Horror Show," "Cats," and "Phantom of the Opera." The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Our annual year end celebration--Curtain Call--will be on the Bruder Stage on Sunday May 6. At that event, we'll announce 2007-8 scholarship recipients and honor our graduating seniors. (May 2007)

ESU Grads on Broadway
ESU Theatre is well represented on Broadway. Two ESU Theatre alums are working across the street from one another on the "Great White Way." Lois Griffing (BSE, 1975) is the Production Stage Manager of HAIRSPRAY (Best Musical Tony Award 2003) at the Neil Simon Theatre on West 52nd Street. Across the street, in the August Wilson Theatre is JERSEY BOYS (Best Musical Tony Award 2006). Rob Young (BFA, 1985) is Assistant Stage Manager for that production. Earlier this season, Ben Pilat (BFA, 2005) was on the lighting team for the Broadway musical HIGH FIDELITY. (March 2007)

Emily Vieweg invited to participate in Writer's Workshop
"Atomic Lounge," a short play by Junior Emily Vieweg has earned Emily a trip to the Great Plains Theatre Conference. She was selected to participate in a Writer’s Workshop that will run throughout the eleven day event beginning on Saturday, May 26th. The Conference will include playwriting master classes led by Edward Albee, Will Eno, Arthur Kopit, Romulus Linney and David Crespy. Congratulations to Emily on being one of a select few that will participate in this prestigious event. (March 2007)

ESU THEATRE has outstanding showing at Region V, KCACTF
Maria Stukey wins Irene Ryan scholarship
Luchen and Kennedy win scene design honors
(February 2007)

ESU ALUM works on Broadway, published in Stage Directions
Ben Pilat (BFA, 2005) recently worked on the Broadway production of HIGH FIDELITY with Lighting Designer Ken Billington. Ben's experiences were featured in a January 07 article in Stage Directions magazine. To read Ben's blogabout his experience, go to and follow the links to Ben's article "High on Tech." (January 2007)

Theresa Mitchell, Nancy Pontius receive KCACTF honors
Nine ESU Theatre students will participate in the Irene Ryan Scholarship competition at the regional meeting of KCACTF at Iowa State University. In addition, several design-tech students have entered work into the tech exposition. Two ESU faculty members will receive special recognition at the festival. Theresa Mitchell, director of "Five Women" has been selected as the KCACTF National Festival Fellow in Directing. She will mentor student directors and work with festival directors at the Kennedy Center in April. Nancy Pontius was selected to represent our region for the KCACTF Summer Design Intensive at the Kennedy Center. She is one of eight designers across the nation to be selected as a finalist for this award. (December 2006)

Five Women Wearing the Same Dress
ESU Theatre's November 2006 production of Alan Ball's Five Women Wearing the Same Dress has been selected for region V of the American College Theatre Festival. If selected from the regional festival, the play will be invited to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. in April. (December 2006)

Annie Get Your Gun
In October, ESU Theatre and Music presented Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun in Albert Taylor Hall. Our 34th annual Homecoming Scholarship musical, Annie featured a cast of 22, an orchestra of 18 and over 30 staff and crew members. Sadly, a theft resulted in an unexpected expense. Several costumes were stolen from the dressing room prior to our third performance. As a result, our scholarship proceeds were reduced by $3000. These monies were charged by the rental company to replace the stolen costumes. (Fall 2006)

Summer Theatre 2006
Summer Theatre 2006, our 52nd season, opened on Wednesday June 7 with our production of AMERICA'S SONGBOOK under the direction of Jim Bartruff. Choreographed by Lindy Bartruff, with music direction by Penny Speedie, it proved to be popular with our audiences. Prior to opening night, Emporia State Bank presented ESU Theatre a gift of $1500 in support of department scholarships. The season continued with a hilarious production of NOISES OFF, directed by Theresa Mitchell; a provocative and dramatic production of THE LION IN WINTER, directed by Dr. Jim Ryan; and, the family favorite, SNOOPY!!!, directed by Anna Ryan and choreographed by Heather Knight. Penny Speedie was back as music director. The season ended on Saturday July 22. It was a memorable finish to the season as a power outage forced the cancellation of the Thursday night performance of SNOOPY!!! and the last-minute addition of a Saturday matinee. (July 2006)

Congratulations to our 2006 grads
In ceremonies at Welch Field on Saturday May 13, we celebrated the accomplishments of our 2006 grads. Dru Rutledge, picked up a degree in Music and Theatre. She was also the featured soloist at the ceremonies where she performed both the national anthem and the alma mater. The following received their degrees: Megan Hill (BA), Ryan Hamilton (BFA), Larry Mitchell (BFA), Amanda Jo Mooren (BFA), Emily Osborne (BFA), Drew Shirley (BFA), Mick Simons (BFA), Elizabeth Sullivan (BFA), Gabe Templin (BFA). Erin Burden and Derek Kolluri were awarded Bachelor of Integrated Studies degrees. Honorary major Joe Thomas received his bachelors degree. Five of the grads will be in graduate school in the fall: Dru Rutledge to continue her music studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo; Drew Shirley at the University of Illinois; and Derek Kolluri, Emily Osborne and Mick Simons at the University of Arkansas.

Emporia State University Theatre attended the Region V Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival in Moorhead, Minnesota, January 22-27, 2006. 30 students participated in several events and distinguished themselves. 12 ESU Theatre students were among the 290 students nominated for the Irene Ryan Scholarship audition. Four ESU students made it to the semifnal round: Dru Rutledge, Ryan Hamilton, Emily Osborne and Ben Fleer. Emily Osborne and Ben Fleer made it to the final round of 16. Derek Kolluri was selected as outstanding Ryan partner in the semifinal round and received a cash award. Two tech students were adjudicated the best in the region. Josh Christoffersen was best undergraduate costume designer for his designs for TARTUFFE. Aaron Kennedy was best undergraduate scenic designer for his production of HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA. Drew Shirley directed the winning 10-minute play at the festival and Erin Schmidt was selected to appear in another ten-minute play. Shirley also won a Kennedy Center Citation of Excellence for his sound design for his December production of MARCUS IS WALKING. Cara Cusano's costume designs for the same production were also cited for excellence. SuJ Mai's costume designs for THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST were featured in the Festival Costume Parade. She and Nancy Pontius presented workshops at the Festival. Director Jim Bartruff was presented a citation for his direction of THE COCOANUTS. Festival 39 will be held at Iowa State University in January 2007. (January 2006)

NY Theatre Tour During Spring Break
The second annual ESU Theatre tour to New York City was held March 20-26. Tour members stayed at the Hotel Wellingon and attended four productions as a group: The Color Purple, Jersey Boys, Doubt and Dirty Rotten Scounderls. After the production of Jersey Boys, we got a backstage tour and met the cast. (In June, Jersey Boys was awarded four Tony Awards, including Best Musical.) The weeklong tour was led by Jim and Lindy Bartruff.

The Cocoanuts" is our 33rd Annual Homecoming Musical, New Box office in the works
ESU Theatre opens its 2005-6 season with an old-fashioned musical by legends of the American Theatre. The Cocoanuts was written by Irving Berlin and George S. Kaufman as a vehicle for The Marx Brothers in 1925. It became their first movie in 1929. With this production, the ESU Theatre box office enters the electronic age. We are currently putting the final touches on an agreement with the ESU Memorial Union to sell tickets at the MU ID Center. Return to this site for additional information--soon! (August 2005)

Summer Theatre 2005
Summer Theatre 2005, our 51st season, opened on Wednesday June 8 with our production of Neil Simon's RUMORS under the direction of Dr. Jim Ryan. Prior to opening night, Emporia State Bank presented ESU Theatre a gift of $1500 in support of department scholarships. The season continued with Larry Shue's THE FOREIGNER and BUS STOP by William Inge. The season concluded with I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE. (July 2005)

Congratulations to our 2005 graduates
Fourteen ESU Theatre students graduated in ceremonies held in Welch Stadium in May. Many are headed to graduate study. Others have already begun their career's in the theatre. ESU Theatre's class of 2005: Paul Arnold, Maggie Bieberly, David Bryant, Kelley Davis, Mary Gaetz, Tiffany Garrison-Schweigert, Kelsey Glasener, Melissa Loper, Nathan Magee, Chelsea McKee, Ben Pilat, Mika Satake, Ben Thomas and Jamie Urban. (May 2005)

Old friends return
During the run of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, several old friends returned to campus to receive long overdue thanks. Dr. Charles (Charlie) Hill returned to present the first Charlie Hill scholarship to incoming student Michael Wilke. The same weekend saw the formal dedication of the Ronald Q. Frederickson Theatre with "RQ" in attendance. At the same ceremony, the family of Inez P. Friesen was present for the dedication of the classroom/studio in Roosevelt Hall named in her honor. (April 2005)

Emporia State University Theatre attended the week long Region V Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival in St. Louis, Missouri, January 16-22
. Twenty-eight students participated in the Irene Ryan Scholarship Auditions, William Inge Theatre Festival Scholarship Scene Auditions, and Regional Design Work Exposition. Selected for the William Inge Theatre Festival Showcase was a scene by Tina Howe directed by Senior Mary Gaetz. The cast featured Josh Christoffersen, Marisa Fritzemeier, Nate Magee and Kimberly Lockwood. Dana McCoy directed Ryan Hamilton and Elizabeth Sullivan in a scene by William Gibson. She was presented an award by Festival Guest artist Jeff Calhoun (director of Broadway’s Brooklyn) as runner-up for the SSDC Student Directing Fellowship. (January 2005)

New Faces in King Hall (August 2004)
ESU Theatre is happy to welcome two new members to its staff. Jim Bartruff joins ESU Theatre following 14 years at Minnesota State University Moorhead where he served as Director of Theatre. Previously he directed the Montana Repertory Theatre at the University of Montana and the Carroll College Theatre in Helena, Montana. He has degrees from the Universities of Nebraska-Kearney, Oregon and Montana. Jim and his wife, Lindy, make their home in Emporia. Kyle Land is a new and an old face. He joins the program fulltime as scene shop manager. A graduate of ESU, Kyle has already proven a valuable and indispensable member of our team.

ESU Theatre celebrates 50 summers (August 2004)
The 50th annual ESU Summer Theatre celebrated its past, present and future by returning to some old favorites (OUR TOWN, THE ODD COUPLE and THE FANTASTICKS). Our fourth production, TO GILLIAN ON HER 37TH BIRTHDAY rounded out our celebratory season. Stay tuned for Season 51 in the summer of '05.

KCACTF 2004 (January 2004)
ESU Theatre attended the week long Region V Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival in Denver, Colorado, January 18-24
. Ben Pilat was a finalist in the Thayer Lighting Design Competition, and won 1st Place in the Undergraduate Lighting Design. ESU’s production of A Fool and His Fortune was among the seven productions selected to perform at the Regional Festival. The play was directed by ESU Associate Professor, Dr. Jim Ryan with scenery designed by Assistant Professor Ron Fowlkes, lighting design by Associate Professor, Nancy Pontius, and costumes designed by ESU senior theatre major Cori Kelland. The sound coordinator was ESU senior theatre major Michael Swickard. At the Kennedy Center in April, the production was cited by the national selection team for excellence. Special commendations were awarded to the playwright, Sarah Pottorf, Director Jim Ryan and Designer Ron Fowlkes.

Meet Jay Cranford, Director of "The Music Man" (September 2003)
Jerry Jay Cranford marks his seventh association with THE MUSIC MAN, having played Harold twice, Marcellus once, Jacey in the quartet once, dance ensemble once(with the original Broadway dance captain) and choreographer once before. After losing 100 pounds and graduating from the University of Oklahoma with a BFA in Music, Mr. Cranford left his hometown of Tecumseh, Oklahoma and hit the road starring in tours of SINGING IN THE RAIN and ANYTHING GOES. He was featured dancer with the European company of EVITA and was a soloist with the Frankfurt Symphony for the International Arts Council closing ceremonies, Frankfurt Opera House, Germany. Regionally, some favorite roles are Curly in OKLAHOMA, Kenickie in GREASE, Mike/Don/Zach in A CHORUS LINE, Hanna/Jean-Michel in LA CAGE, Maximillian in CANDIDE, Lewis in PIPPIN and the young fool in Kansas City Starlight's BIG RIVER. He spent two seasons in Branson dancing and singing with the Stars of Lawrence Welk and was on the PBS Special LAWRENCE WELK-THEN AND NOW. In June, Jerry Jay finished an eight year association with the Broadway and touring companies of LES MISERABLES where he performed Jean Prouvaire and Enjolras and was co-director of benefits raising over $500,000 for Broadwy Cares/Equity Fights Aids. He worked with Broadway legends Colm Wilkinson, Andrea McArdle, Lea Salonga, the late Laurie Beechman and soap star Catherine Hickland. Mr. Cranford directed an Equity benefit production of THE FANTASTIKS for the Canadian Pediatric Diabetes Foundation in Vancouver, BC and has choreographed THE WIZARD OF OZ, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, SINGING IN THE RAIN, LA CAGE, ANNIE, PHANTOM and in 1993, ESU's produtions of ONCE UPON A MATTRESS and JOSEPH. He would like to say thanks to Dr. Harry Parker for this wonderful opportunity to return to ESU and to Dana for allowing him to leave home for six weeks.

ESU Director of Theatre Harry Parker announced on April 29 that he has accepted a position as the Chair of the Department of Theatre at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, beginning in the fall of 2003. He and his family will remain in Emporia for Summer Theatre 2003 before moving to Texas. Harry released this statement: "It has been an extremely difficult decision for my family and me to decide to leave ESU. We have had a wonderful eleven years here, and have enjoyed being a part of Emporia and ESU Theatre more than we can say. This is an extraordinary theatre program, and a marvelous university and community. However, the opportunity to return to TCU, which is my undergraduate alma mater, to serve as their Chair of the Theatre Department, is a special opportunity that we feel we cannot pass up. We leave with deeply mixed emotions; it is difficult to say goodbye to a place we love, but we are looking forward to an exciting new challenge at TCU. We are grateful to all of the students, faculty, and community members who have made our time in Emporia so wonderful, and we know that only greater things are ahead for ESU Theatre."