Program and Alumni News
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The latest production on the Texas Woman’s University stage doesn’t come from a script. It borrows from the real life of directors Noah Lelek and Ilana Morgan, a TWU theater class and the actors performing the play.
Lelek said the play has worked like a collaboration. The cast shows up for rehearsals ready for the unexpected and primed to solve problems that can arise when you’re creating a story each day. It pushes students out of the comfort zone of preparation. They can’t memorize lines before each rehearsal because the dialogue changes. They can’t map out every move because Morgan is leading them in building dance and movement for each rehearsal.
The Texas Woman’s University Theatre Program continues its 2019-2020 season with the world premiere of “The Architecture of Loss” Nov. 20-24. The production will integrate elements theatre, dance and music to explore and express feelings of loss, grief and healing in the aftermath of death.
The Texas Woman’s University Theatre Program opens its 2019-2020 season with William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” Directed by associate professor Steven Young, “Macbeth” tells the tragic tale of a warrior who receives a prophecy that he will become the king of Scotland.
Jill Wheeler, an undergraduate theatre student at Texas Woman’s University and owner of Curtain Call Productions, is rewriting the script for children’s musical theatre. Rather than borrowing pages from musical theatre standbys like Matilda or You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, Wheeler creates original musicals for her students, allowing for more focus on each individual and their unique talents.
The Texas Woman’s University Theatre Program will conclude its 2018-2019 season with the Tony Award-winning musical Cabaret, written by Joe Masteroff, John Kander and Fred Ebb. The show will run April 4-7 and 11-13.
The Texas Woman’s University School of the Arts invites area residents to join students, faculty and staff for ArtsWalk: Learning the Land. Event participants will interact with works by artist and designer Molly Sherman and explore sites on TWU’s Denton campus and surrounding areas. This free, all-ages event will be held from 5:15 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 4.
Each year, the Girl Scouts of Central Texas honor women who have shown themselves to be outstanding members of their community. This year, five women, including TWU Theatre alumna Angela Brooks, were honored at a banquet on Thursday, March 7, 2019.
Brooks is the owner of San Angelo Broadway Academy, a choreographer and the director for various programs in the Concho Valley. She created the first youth performing arts program in San Angelo featuring all three aspects of theater: acting, dance and vocal performance. Brooks developed the first competitive dance team in San Angelo, which has won three national titles. In ten years, Brooks’ theater program has grown to impact over 4,200 students per year, including in-house students and those attending school day and educational programming.
The Texas Woman’s University Theatre Program opens the Spring 2019 semester with Emilie: La Marquise de Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight, written by America’s most produced contemporary playwright, Lauren Gunderson.
TWU associate professor of theatre Rhonda Gorman has been named the winner of the Irma P. Hall Black Theatre Award for Best Scenic Design for a Musical. Her award-winning design was for A Motown Christmas at Jubilee Theatre in Fort Worth. She was also nominated for Best Costume Design for a Musical for the same show.
The winner for the Best Scenic Design for a Play award was Amy Poe, who will be joining the TWU Theatre Program faculty as an adjunct instructor of lighting design and guest designer in Spring 2019.
Abigail Tilton, dean of the TWU College of Arts and Sciences, Noah Lelek, theatre faculty member, and two recent theatre program alumni took part in a presentation about reporting student sexual assault during the closing plenary session of the 2018 annual meeting of the Council of Colleges of Arts & Sciences in Chicago. The interactive presentation was about faculty roles and responsibilities in reporting cases of student sexual assault.
The Texas Woman’s University Theatre Program continues its 2018-2019 Season with Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children, directed by associate professor Steven Young. Performances will take place Nov. 14-18 in the Redbud Theater Complex. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. The Saturday matinee will be a pay-what-you-can performance.
The Texas Woman’s University Theatre Program opens its 2018-2019 Season with The Birds. Written by Conor McPherson, The Birds was adapted for the stage from Daphne du Maurier’s novelette published in 1952 – the same novella that inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s legendary film.
The Texas Woman’s University Theatre Program’s 2018-2019 season will feature a stage version of a classic thriller, an epic drama lambasting the contradictions of war, a passionate examination of love and science, and a raucous Broadway masterpiece. All performances will take place in TWU’s Redbud Theatre Complex, located on the northwest side of historic Hubbard Hall on the university’s Denton campus. Tickets for all shows are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors.
The Texas Woman’s University Theatre Program concludes its 2017-2018 theatre season with the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder. TWU Theatre program director Patrick Bynane, Ph.D., will direct. The production runs April 18-22, 2018.
TWU Theatre alumnus Shane Strawbridge (MA '14) has been named one of four national finalists for The Institute for Theatre Journalism and Advocacy Scholarship at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. The institute aims to improve and build theater criticism in American media. From the four advocates selected, one writer will go on to work with Chris Jones, theater critic at the Chicago Tribune, at the National Critics Institute in July at the O'Neill Theatre Center during its national playwriting conference.
Professor Noah Lelek uses theatre for sexual assault therapy and education
A recent Denton Record-Chronicle article, "Rape response: Denton police look to improve investigations into city's most notable violent crime", features TWU Theatre Program professor Noah Lelek, Ph.D.
Lelek's troupe acts out a scenario in which a freshman student is sexually assaulted at a party on campus. The character's friends partially blame her for the encounter, and after the performance, audience members ask the actors questions about their characters' decisions. They discuss what could have been done differently to better understand the nuances of sexual assault.
"It's an interesting opportunity for students to develop empathy and to figure out what they'd do in that situation, because it's not really cut and dry. It's sometimes hard for students to think about," he said. Lelek, whose 12-person troupe usually performs for audiences under 100 people, said performances help create an emotional response that allows audience members to better empathize with the issue.
The Texas Woman’s University Theatre Program kicks off its spring semester with The Long Christmas Ride Home, written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel and directed by Noah Lelek, Ph.D., assistant professor of theatre at TWU. Set during an emotionally tumultuous journey, this production daringly mixes the Western theatrical tradition with Japanese bunraku-style puppetry. The production runs Feb. 21-25.
Fort Worth's Amphibian Stage Productions has promoted Linsey Retcofsky, who has served as associate producer since 2013, to managing director. She holds a master of arts degree in theatre from Texas Woman’s University.
The Texas Woman’s University Theatre Program continues its 2017-2018 season with Jean-Baptiste Racine’s Phaedra. TWU welcomes guest director Lydia Mackay, an esteemed actor and director who has worked in a number of Dallas-Fort Worth theaters and playhouses, including Dallas Theatre Center, Shakespeare Dallas, Theatre Three and Amphibian Stage Productions. The production runs Nov. 15-19.
The Texas Woman’s University Theatre Program will open its 2017-2018 season with The Wal*Mart-ians, an original play written and directed by Steven Young, associate professor of theatre at TWU. The Wal*Mart-ians was originally produced in Chicago, where it won the 2003 Chicago Arts and Entertainment award for best comedy of the year. The production runs Oct. 11-15, 2017.
The Texas Woman’s University Drama Program and the Department of Music and Drama have received approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to change their official titles to the Theatre Program and the Department of Music and Theatre.
This summer, the Texas Woman’s University Theatre Program performed the original play Gun Show at Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, U.K. “The Fringe” is the largest arts festival in the world, running throughout the month of August and featuring performances from hundreds of theatre companies from around the globe.
TWU alumna Christina Garcia leads students to UIL State Championship
Christina Garcia, graduate of the TWU Theatre M.A. program and director of theatre at Zapata High School, led her students to victory at last week's 4A UIL One-Act State Championship. The play, titled Las Soldadera: The Female Warriors of the Mexican Revolution, also received recognition for its All-Star Cast and Honorable Mention All-Star Cast.
"This continues a tradition of TWU grads excelling in the UIL One-Act competition. Needless to say, we are thrilled with Christina's big success," said Patrick Bynane, Ph.D., Director of the TWU Theatre Program.
Theatre senior Riley Payne, who is a member of the inaugural TWU musical theatre certificate class, performed Saturday, October 8, in a masterclass taught by Lindsay Mendez.
Lindsay Mendez made her Broadway debut playing Jan in Grease. The big-belting singer went on to The Marvelous Wonderettes before landing a role in Sherie Rene Scott’s Everyday Rapture, which she performed both off and on Broadway. After a featured part in the 2011 revival of Godspell, Mendez made her leading lady debut in off-Broadway’s Dogfight. Soon, she will take over the starring role of Elphaba in Broadway's Wicked.
Kelley Poché-Rodriguez, TWU Assistant Visiting Professor of Music, accompanied on piano. The masterclass, was held at Oh Look Performing Arts in Grapevine, TX.
Linsey Retcofsky joined the staff of Amphibian Stage Productions in May 2013 after graduating with her Master of Arts in Theatre from Texas Woman’s University. She was awarded participation in the Kennedy Center’s inaugural Summer Playwriting Intensive and was the stage manager for Erik Ehn’s world premiere production of Diamond Dick: The Tulsa Race Riots of 1921 which began in Dallas and traveled to La Mama ETC in New York City as part of Soulographie, a festival of Ehn’s genocide plays.
While at TWU, she stage managed the world premiere of The Panther’s Scream and other Texas Tales which traveled to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and received rave reviews from The Herald and The Scotsman. In Dallas-Fort Worth, she has worked with WaterTower Theatre, Shakespeare Dallas, Project X, and Jubilee Theatre.
Linsey leads Amphibian’s arts outreach programming at Tarrant County Green Bay Facility in the unit that serves military veterans, serves on the board of The Welman Project, a nonprofit organization that distributes surplus materials from local companies for creative reuse in the classroom at no cost to schools or educators and in Spring 2018 she joins us in the Theatre department to teach Theatre Management. Linsey is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and Christians in Theatre Arts.
Page last updated 3:44 PM, November 21, 2019