By Nathan Straus
Lon Morris College’s Theatre Arts Department will have its student population more than triple this coming school year. As a result, the department and its students will enjoy a more packed and challenging schedule.
Russ Brown, department chair, said he has seen an increase from a dozen students to around 40-50.
“We’re going to have 40 majors this year and 50 on scholarship,” Brown said. “I am very excited about it.”
There will be more activities during the year, Brown claimed, and more students to take part in them.
The theatre season will kick off with the musical “Oklahoma!” throughout October. November will feature a comedy “called Stud Ducks and Horny Toads”, a comedy created by Brown.
“It’s actually won some awards from the Kennedy Center,” he stated.
While it hasn’t been published yet, Brown noted he looks forward to seeing his creation published now that he is satisfied with it.
Packed full of activities and auditions, the fall school semester promises to bring young performers to the stage, and to bring the stage to potential actors. There will be events for high school seniors during the semester to show them what the department can offer.
“I want to re-establish the reputation of Lon Morris theatre as a force to be reckoned with,” Brown said.
Toni Wright, head of design for the department, said the increase in students is simply fabulous.
“My excitement is beyond display,” Wright stated. “The new size is going to be so much better for the students themselves; it will challenge the students to be better.”
Wright is in charge of designing the costumes for the department’s various plays. In the past, due to the lower number of actors, students have had to perform dual roles. This proved very difficult for the young performers to master.
“They could master one role, but not the second,” she said.
With the additional numbers in the department, students will no longer need to play double roles. The costume designer’s work load will essentially remain the same.
Brown said this jumping-off point is what was envisioned for theater at Lon Morris.
“They (the students) need the class time and stage time,” he noted. “This will be a lot closer to a real world experience.”
Lon Morris is the only two-year school to offer an Associate of Fine Arts degree in Texas. The degree entails double the amount of training and major education hours as an Associate of Arts degree.
In addition, the school has a certified weapons trainer on staff who can teach students to perform safely with any of eight different weapon forms.
Several famous alumni owe their fame to the Lon Morris Theatre Arts Department. Included among these are Sandy Duncan, Margo Martindale and Tommy Tune.
Theatre department prepares for student influx
By Nathan Straus
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