KU News Release

Feb. 4, 2011
Contact: Charla Jenkins, University Theatre, 785-864-2684

Theatre students to direct black box productions

More Information

LAWRENCE — Four theatre students at the University of Kansas have been selected to direct one-act productions for the Black Box Undergraduate Projects being presented by the University Theatre in February.

“Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” and “Signs of Shel Silverstein” will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10, 12 and 14. “Todos somos Marcos” and “Slave Narratives” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11 and 15 and at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 13. All performances are in the Inge Theatre in Murphy Hall.

The four pieces in the series were selected by a committee of theatre faculty and staff from proposals submitted by undergraduate theatre students.

“The goal of the Black Box Undergraduate Projects is to showcase the work of emerging directors,” said Mechele Leon, associate professor of theatre and artistic director of the University Theatre. “We looked for cutting edge ideas that would allow aspiring directors to focus on story and performance.”

The production values of the Undergraduate Projects are designed to mirror the theater practices and material realities of many emerging artists and fringe theater companies across the United States, Leon said.

“Our goal is to arm students with the skill sets they need to produce their own work in order to be competitive in the entertainment industry,” Leon said.

“Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” a musical by Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, is directed by Janet Summerfelt, a senior from Seattle, Wash., with musical direction by Jakob Wozniak, a senior from Kansas City, Mo. A 2008 musical tragicomedy miniseries in three acts produced exclusively for Internet distribution, the show tells the story of Dr. Horrible, an aspiring super villain; Captain Hammer, his nemesis; and Penny, their mutual love interest. It is a witty, snark-filled and fanciful world, pulling its audience through an incredible spectrum of emotions and ideas, Summerfelt said.

“Signs of Shel Silverstein” includes three short comedy pieces: “One Tennis Shoe,” “No Skronking” and “Smile.” Directed by Matthew Gieschen, a senior from Overland Park, the three works will be interspersed throughout the performance.

“Todos somos Marcos” (“We Are All Marcos”) by Vicente Leñero is directed by Jacquelyn Koester, a senior from Hoisington, who also translated the script from its original Spanish into English. Koester received a spring 2011 Undergraduate Research Award for her work on the first English translation of the play. The action centers on the sociopolitical Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas, Mexico.

“Slave Narratives,” an original work created and directed by Isaac Dean, a senior from Kansas City, Kan., is a retelling of plantation life by former slaves and comes from the “American Slave Anthology,” published by writers and journalists who worked with the Works Progress Administration during the 1930s.

General admission tickets for the Undergraduate Projects are on sale in the KU ticket offices: University Theatre, 864-3982, and Lied Center, 864-ARTS, and online at kutheatre.com. Tickets are $15 for the public, $10 for students and $14 for senior citizens and KU faculty and staff. Patrons purchasing tickets for one performance can receive vouchers for free tickets to the second performance. All major credit cards are accepted for phone and online orders.

Members of the cast for the KU production are listed below by hometown, level in school, major, parents’ names, high school, role(s) and production(s).

From Hoisington 67544
Jacquelyn Koester, senior; theatre and Spanish; Richard and Pamela Koester; Hoisington High School; translator and director, “Todos somos Marcos.”

From Leawood 66209
Samantha Oppenheimer, sophomore; theatre; Scott and Carla Oppenheimer; Blue Valley North High School; Jimbo in “Smile” and Bertha in “No Skronking.”

From Olathe 66061
Collin Stephens, sophomore; theatre; Dan and Jenet Stephens; St. Thomas Aquinas High School; Arnold in “No Skronking” and Snooky in “Smile.”

From Overland Park 66213
Kyle Crane, freshman; film and media studies; Brian and Michelle Crane; Olathe East High School; Raúl, “Todos somos Marcos.”

From Overland Park 66214
Shaun Dwyer, senior; theatre; Jackie Dwyer and Steve Thompson; Parsons High School; Miguel, “Todos somos Marcos.”

From Overland Park 66221
Cody Haynes, sophomore; anthropology and classical languages; Martin Haynes and Patricia Thomas; Blue Valley Northwest High School; Gibby, “Smile.”

From Overland Park 66223
Matthew Gieschen, senior; theatre; Greg and Jennifer Gieschen; Blue Valley West High School; director, “Signs of Shel Silverstein.”

From Shawnee 66216
Andrew Shaw, freshman; music education; Greg and Pam Shaw; Shawnee Mission Northwest High School; Dr. Horrible, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.”

From Lansing 66043
Jenny Curatola, sophomore; theatre and English; John and Deb Curatola; Lansing High School; Laura, “Todos somos Marcos.”

From Hutchinson 67502
Julie Miller, junior; theatre; Mr. and Mrs. Don Miller; Hutchinson High School; Bender in “Smile” and Sylvia in “One Tennis Shoe.”

From Salina 67401
Marilyn Haines, senior; theatre; Bob and Linda German and Jeff Haines; Bennington High School; Penny, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.”

From Topeka 66614
Thom Browne, sophomore; English; Richard and Debbie Meador and Thomas Browne, Jr.; Topeka High School; Captain Hammer in “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” and Harvey in “One Tennis Shoe.”

Charlie Stock, junior; theatre; Mark Stock and Sally Fox; Washburn Rural High School; Ensemble, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.”

Nora Woolpert, senior; music education; Stacey Ziegler and Bruce Woolpert; Washburn Rural High School; Ensemble, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.”

From Kansas City 66103
Danielle Therese Cooper, junior; theatre; Brandon and Shelley Cooper; Bishop Miege High School; Mary Reynolds, “Slave Narratives.”

From Kansas City 66106
Isaac Dean, senior; theatre; Turner High School; creator and director, “Slave Narratives.”

From Kansas City 64114
Jakob Wozniak, senior; theatre; John Wozniak and Cheryl Atkinson; Shawnee Mission North High School, Overland Park, Kan.; musical director, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.”

From Bryan 77803
Roderick W. Harris Jr., senior; theatre; Ynenia Goosby; Bryan High School; Richard Tolher, “Slave Narratives.”

From Seattle 98115
Janet Summerfelt, senior; theatre and business; Todd and Jane Summerfelt; Mercer Island High School; director, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.”

From Morgantown 26505
Joe Carr, senior; voice and music education; Tim and Margaret Carr; Lawrence (Kan.) Free State High School; Ensemble, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.”

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