RSU Theater to Celebrate 10th Year with Showcase of Original Productions

RSU Theatre actorsRogers State University Theatre continues to raise the bar as the program enters its 10th year on campus. Part of the year-long celebration includes the presentation of “Original Recipe,” a collection of eight short plays directed and/or written by RSU students, faculty and staff from the past nine years.

RSU offers a co-curricular program in theatre, which allows communications majors and budding thespians to participate in a variety of productions each year. Students serve as playwrights, actors, and directors.

RSU Theatre actually has its roots in the RSU Student Theatre Organization that launched during the 2004-2005 academic year. RSU Theatre officially started the following fall.

The RSU Theatre program has grown significantly since then. “We started off with three 10′ canvas flats (scenery). We now have a fully functional scene shop,” said RSU Associate Professor and Theatre Director David Blakely. “The support we’ve received over the years has been amazing but none of this would happen without the dedication of our students.”

Dr. Blakely estimates that more than 800 students have been a part of RSU Theatre since its inception.

One of those students, 2013 graduate Cristen Burdell, is on track to be an Equity (theater union) actress. Josh Buehler, a 2009 graduate, was a “stand in” for Benedict Cumberbatch in 2013’s “August: Osage County.” Buehler also appeared in 2011’s “Full Speed or Nothing.” Jennifer Keller, a 2007 graduate, ran a theater troupe in San Francisco. Keller is now doing theater in London.

RSU students Josh Gammon and David Prock wrote “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” which later became a RSU Theatre production. A scene from it was presented at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF). RSU student Jordan Wong took home three awards from the KCACTF for scenery design.

The KCACTF has also honored RSU Theatre Director Dr. David Blakely with the Kennedy Center Medallion. Recipients have demonstrated a strong commitment to the values and goals of KCACTF and to excellence in educational theatre. It is the most prestigious regional award given by KCACTF and is considered one of the great honors in theatre education.

RSU student S. Patrick Mills wrote “Queerly Educated” and had every night in the original run sell out. It was also presented at the KCACTF.

The first of several productions highlighting year 10 of RSU Theatre includes “Original Recipe,” a collection of eight short plays opening later this month.

The compilation includes “Dave and Marsha” by Edison Preparatory School graduate Will Hedgecock, “Closing Time” and “Unrequited to the Nth Degree” by RSU English Professor Dr. Mary Mackie, “Eighteen” by author Kirsa Rein, “Verticals and Horizontals” by playwright and author Gary Garrison, “Beowulf Redux” by former RSU Associate Professor Dr. William Hart, “Next Blue Moon” by RSU Associate Professor and Theatre Director David Blakely, “Gemstones” by Dr. Blakely and his son, Knox.

“Original Recipe” will be performed September 17, 18 and19 at 7:07 p.m. and September 20 at 2:07 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling 918-343-6882.

The mission of RSU Theatre is to present new plays in new ways. Acclaimed instructors educate students to become critical and creative thinkers and help students learn through experience. Students are also encouraged to become advocates of the arts and to participate in the cultural life of RSU, Claremore, and the greater Northeastern Oklahoma region.

For more information about RSU Theatre, contact Dr. Blakely at [email protected] or 918-343-7521.