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‘Moon Over Buffalo’ at McPherson College Features Current Students, MC Alumni

posted Sep 19, 2013 in CAMPUS EVENTS

When “Moon Over Buffalo” comes to the stage at McPherson College this year, it will bring attention to both the past and the future of MC Theatre. Current students take the stage on Sept. 27 and 28, then an all-alumni cast have their turn during homecoming weekend, Oct. 4 and 5.

The play by Ken Ludwig first came to McPherson College - and had its Kansas premiere - during MC’s 1997-1998 season as the senior project of Jd. Bowman. He is now associate professor of theatre at McPherson College.

“I remember picking it as a student because it was a smart, fast script with a ton of punchlines,” Bowman said. “Now, revisiting it with current students, it’s neat to hear them break down into laughs during rehearsal because it tells me the comedy is still just as potent – 15 years later!”

For the cast of current students, the lead roles are played by Zach Winkle, senior, Goddard, Kan., and Haleigh Orand, sophomore, Wichita, Kan. This is Winkle’s senior show.
Winkle and Orand are a couple of four years in real life, and play a married couple on the stage.

They have been enjoying working together, and while they’re careful to leave their characters back in the theatre, the actual chemistry between them makes their work easier.

Also, they get to fence each other.
“We’re a team when it comes to our relationship,” Orand said. “So we’re a team when we’re on the stage, too.”

In the all-alumni cast on Homecoming weekend, Bowman will move from directing Winkle in the role of George Hay, to taking on the role of George. It will reprise his senior show from when “Moon Over Buffalo” premiered in Kansas.

Alumni performances are planned at MC about every five to six years, and they are a marathon for cast and crew - three-a-day rehearsals for three hours at a time the whole week before the performances.

It means many opportunities for the students, as they can attend workshops with the alumni (who work both in and out of the theatre industry), and can also help alumni as they prepare.

“This is such a unique opportunity for students, and not one I’ve seen at any other schools in the area,” Bowman said. “Alumni come back and perform the same show one week after our students, and the students learn so much by watching how someone else interprets the same role.”

The comedy features two aging actors desperate to land any lead roles they can, but who are called upon by their grown daughter to take on the role of parent instead. So Winkle and Orand are young people, playing older people, who are trying to act like young people. The action is fast-paced and challenging to get just right.

“I fall down stairs. I jump into the pit. I trip a lot,” Winkle said. “We’re pretty serious with our farces because they’re not funny if you don’t have down the timing, the blocking, the lines and the characters.”
Winkle looks forward to interacting with experienced theatre alumni.

“It’s neat to work on something that you know important alumni will take the time to come back and work on as well,” he said. “I’m excited about our production because the script is fun to work on, but I’m also excited to see what the alumni do with the show.”

The alumni cast features: Bowman; Karlene Tyler ’75, associate academic dean; Dr. Paul Ullom-Minnich ’89; Alex Tyler ’07; Jen Taylor Pollard ’00, recent house manager at the Globe Theatre in London; Katie Sue Nicklos ’02, owner and founder of Naked Sports Gear and business manager of the Timberlake Studios Costume House in New York City; and Aaron Ellsworth ’00, owner and founder of The Public House Theatre and writer for its improv show “Bye Bye Liver” in Chicago. Mary Hughes ’07 will direct the alumni show.

The student cast includes Winkle; Orand; Addie Johnson, sophomore, McPherson, Kan.; Whitney Jefferson, sophomore, Katy, Texas; and Laurina Hannan, junior, Wamego, Kan. New to the MC stage will be Sam Williams, junior, Storm Lake, Iowa; Chris Rakowski, sophomore, Cape Canaveral, Fla.; and Nick Foglietta, Dallas, Texas.

Crew includes:

Dr. Rick Tyler, professor of speech and theatre- technical director; Josh Hall, sophomore, Kansas City, Kan. - stage manager; Ethan Quinn, senior, McPherson, Kan. - set design; E.H. Petropulos, senior, Larkspur, Colo. - light design; Bowman - sound design; Dr. Tyler - costume design; and Anna Clark, freshman, Lindsborg, Kan. - props manager.

All shows start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to all shows cost $5 for adults and $3.50 for children ages high school and younger as well as seniors. Reservations may be made by contacting the theatre box office at 620-242-0444 or at theatre@mcpherson.edu.


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