Enjoy an evening of musical fantasy as University of Central Missouri (UCM) Theatre and Dance and UCM Music presents Douglas Carter Beane’s “Xanadu” at the James L. Highlander Theatre.

Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22-24 and matinees are planned for 2 p.m. Feb. 24-25.

“Xanadu” is a mystical mixture of Greek mythology and pop culture in a joyous celebration of love and inspiration set to the tunes of the Electric Light Orchestra. This musical comedy - based on the 1980s movie of the same name starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly - follows a Greek muse named Clio, who descends from Mount Olympus to Venice Beach in the 1980s.

Disguised as an Australian roller skater named Kira, Clio helps struggling artist, Sonny, fulfill his dreams of creating a roller disco.

When asked about the production, Director Jenise Cook stated, “It is a musical full of 80s nostalgia. You won’t be able to stop yourself from laughing, singing, and dancing along to the tunes of ELO! This show has always been one of my favorites because of how timeless it feels. It really is a good time."

UCM Theatre and Dance is excited to welcome special guest actor and former UCM Theatre and Dance faculty member and chair, Dr. Richard “Buzz” Herman, in the role of Danny Maguire / Zeus.

“It is such an honor to be asked to return to the Highlander Stage and collaborate with these wonderfully gifted students and faculty members,” Herman said.” What better time can one have than acting, singing and dancing?"

Prior to the performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 24, UCM Theatre and Dance will honor Todd Proffitt as the recipient of the 2024 Dr. Ed See Outstanding Theatre Alumnus Award. See, on his retirement from the University of Central Missouri, established this award through the University Alumni Foundation.

The purpose of the endowment is to honor UCM Theatre alumni who have in some way distinguished themselves in theatre education, community theatre, or in some area of professional theatre and have demonstrated commitment and love for theatre arts. The award recognizes those alumni who have honored their alma mater through their dedication and various theatrical achievements.

Proffitt is a freelance lighting designer, also serving as Senior Assistant Dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at SUNY-Fredonia and Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance where he teaches Lighting Design, Sound Design and Computer Technologies.

He has served in a variety of technical and design positions in companies such as Theatre of Youth in Buffalo, The Chautauqua Theatre Company, Cortland Rep, The Paul Robeson Theatre, Buffalo State College, The Producers Circle, Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts, Angelfire Mountain Theatre Group, Central Missouri Repertory and others. Proffitt has been active in the United States Institute for Theatre Technology for over 15 years. He has worked in the Lighting Commission as the Student Volunteer Coordinator in the Light Lab, Light Lab Chair and Vice Commissioner for Programing 2011 and 2014. He served as the Lighting Commissioner for four years, and currently chairs the Awards Committee. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Faculty Student Association at Fredonia and the Theater of Youth Company in Buffalo.

In May 1999, Proffitt received his Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Design at Texas Tech University, and in 1994, he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from what was then Central Missouri State University. He was the recipient of The United States Institute for Theatre Technology's Barbizon Award for Lighting Design in 1999.

For three years he wrote a blog on using computer technologies at Digital Tools for the Performing Arts and spent three years writing a column in “Stage Directions” magazine called “TD Talk.” Proffitt’s portfolio and website can be found at http://toddproffitt.com
On Sunday, Feb. 25 for the matinee, UCM Theatre and Dance will present its Pay-What-You-Can performance. Audiences may choose to pay any amount, $1 or above, for a ticket.

Additionally, for the Friday evening performance, ASL interpreters will be provided. New this year, all tickets for UCM Theatre and Dance productions are free for UCM students upon showing their UCM student ID. Tickets are also free for active military, veterans, and military families upon purchasing at the Theatre and Dance Box Office with a military ID.

The cast includes: Miranda Muenz as Kira, Chris Schilligo as Sonny, UCM Theatre and Dance Professor Emeritus Richard Herman as Danny, Claire Groos as Melpomene, Reagan Medlock as Calliope, Nicholas Dmitry Crawford as Thalia, Trae Selemaea as Terpsicore, Alannah Trigg as Euterpe and
McKenna Sanford as Erato.

The pit orchestra includes Jake Mager, guitar; James Florkowski, keyboard; and Brad Farrow, drums. The production team includes Director and Choreographer, Jenise Cook; Musical Director, Iona DeWalt; Stage Manager, Xander Corkins; Assistant Stage Manager, Sam Fischer; Sound and Lighting Designer, Aleksandra Combs; Scenic Designer, Dalima Kapten; Technical Director, Spencer Musser; Costume, Hair and Makeup Designer, Cassie Kay Hoppas; Properties Designer, Wesley Freeman; Assistant Choreographers, Miranda Muenz and Nicholas Dmitry Crawford; Dance Captains, Claire Groos and Miranda Muenz; Roller Skating Consultant, Danny Gage; Assistant Lighting Design and Light Board Operator, Arianna Kendrick; Sound Board Operator, Stephanie Heathcock; Publicity/Marketing Director, Dr. Aaron Scully; Social Media Marketing Specialist, Shanna Sinow; Graduate Shop Assistant, Dalima Kapten; Costume Crew, TiJhana Hines; Assistant Costume Design and Costume Crew, Lucy Nutt; Scene and Lighting Shop Hires, Gracie Heath, Grace Clark, Sam Fischer, Wesley Freeman, Braeden Sholes and Rosalyn Schuster; Costume Shop Hires, Paige Hull, Sage Miller, Lucy Nutt, Alannah Trigg, and Raegan Weber; Box Office Manager, Lars Jepsen; Assistant Box Office Managers, Grace Clark and Shanna Sinow; House Manager, Raegan Weber; Office Professional, Lars Jepsen; Office Student Assistants, Shanna Sinow and Grace Clark.

Free parking is available in the parking lot directly south of the Highlander Theatre. Anyone who has questions about the production should please contact Dr. Aaron Scully at ascully@ucmo.edu  or call the Theatre and Dance main office at 660-543-4020.

Tickets are available at the UCM Theatre and Dance Office in Martin 113, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, by calling 660-543-8811 or online at https://ucmboxoffice.universitytickets.com.

Individuals who have questions about tickets should call 660-543-8811 or email boxoffice@ucmo.edu.

“Xanadu” is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI (www.mtishows.com).

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