Faculty and Staff Bios (2024)

Telory D. Arendellhas a PhD from Stanford University, a master’s degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a BA from Swarthmore College. She is a Professor at Missouri State University and has published four books: Pina Bausch’s Aggressive Tenderness: Repurposing Theater through Dance (2020),Dance’s Duet with the Camera: Motion Pictures(2016);The Autistic Stage: How Cognitive Disability Changed 20th-Century Performance(2015); andPerforming Disability: Staging the Actual(2009). Her current book projects includeDevised Theatre’s Collaborative Performance: Making Masterpieces from Collective Concepts(due out from Taylor &Francis 2022), and a novel,Missouri Normal. Her directing credits include Le Wilhelm’sCucumbers, August Strindberg’sMiss Julie, Dinah Toups’Totally Red, Linda Daugherty andMary Rohde Scudday’sHard 2 Spel Dad, and Lanford Wilson’sThe Rimers of Eldritch. Arendell also co-founded Philadelphia’s Pig Iron Theatre Company before moving into academia.

Eryn BrooksBrewer Artist in Residence. Eryn is a costume designer and technician. Since completing her MFA at The University of Alabama in 2017, Eryn has been working professionally. Some of her favorite past credits include, The Music Man, Cinderella (Playmill Theatre), The Merchant of Venice, Carousel (Texas Shakespeare Festival), The Addams Family and Beauty and the Beast (Ocala Civic Theatre). Eryn is excited to be part of the faculty at Missouri State!

Chris DePriest is Technical Director for the Department of Theatre and Dance. He also serves as the Production Manager for Tent Theatre at Missouri State. Mr. DePriest freelances as a Scenic Designer for Tent Theatre and other professional theater companies across the nation. Some companies that he has worked with include: The St. Louis Black Repertory Company, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Bigfork Summer Playhouse, Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre, The Rose Theater in Omaha Nebraska, and The University of Idaho. Mr. DePriest works closely with up and coming design students within the Design/Technical/Stage Management program at Missouri State. He is also teaches various classes within the Theatre and Dance Department. Mr. DePriest holds a M.F.A. degree from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale.

Micheal Foster (Lighting Designer): Micheal is the lighting design professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Alabama, a Master of Fine Arts degree from Ohio University, and interned at Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design in London, England. Micheal is a proud member of United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829, IATSE, the labor union and professional association for theatrical designers, artists, and crafts people.

Kathleen Hains holds a BFA and MFA in Theatre Arts from Stephens College and The University of Iowa. Kathleen is an Artist-In-Residence for The Department of Theatre and Dance, where she is the Admin and Production Manager. In addition, she is Past-Chair of MSU’s Staff Senate, President of the Associate Board for Springfield Little Theatre, Secretary for the Executive Board at Springfield Contemporary Theatre, and a member of Actor’s Equity Association as a Stage Manager.

Dr. Kurt Gerard Heinlein Professor of Theatre, Coordinator of BFA Acting. Coordinator of the Acting On-Camera Certificate program. Kurt is a working member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, ATME, FDC, and USA (stunt). Kurt has worked extensively since completing his MFA in Acting from the U. Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), with union performance credits that include NY, national tours, concert tours, regional theatre, soaps, film, voice-overs, and numerous national television spots. His union stunt, combat, and stunt coordination work are seen in feature films, daytime drama, commercials, and in professional and educational theatres around the nation. He recently served as stunt coordinator and actor in the film Sick Girl (2023) with Nina Dobrev. Kurt received his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University. A lifelong environmental activist, he’s earned several awards for his work in Green Theatre. He has published Green Theatre (book), Evangeline Drowning (play), and a host of journal articles. His recent film directing project, Between the Creag and the Sky has won accolades at LA Intl. Film Fest, LA Film Awards, Indy Shorts at Cannes, Environmental Film Festival, KC Film Fest, and The Grand River Film Fest, and the Festival of Media Arts (BEA), among others. Kurt is a recipient of the Missouri State University Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence.

Dr. Christopher Herr joined the faculty in 2005 and is the interim Department Head for Missouri State University Theatre and Dance. He currently teaches courses in theatre history and dramatic literature as well as Introduction to Theatre and Script Analysis. His published works include Clifford Odets and American Political Theatre as well as an essay on satire in modern theatre in Blackwell’s A Companion to Satire, on American political theatre in The Oxford Handbook of American Drama; in “To Have or Have Not”; New Essays on Commerce and Capital in Modernist Theatre; and in American Playwrights of the 1930s, and a chapter on American director Harold Clurman in Great North American Stage Directors. Dr. Herr holds a Ph.D. in Drama from the University of Toronto and an MA in English from the University of Toledo, and has worked as a dramaturge and playwright in both the United States and Canada.

Azaria Hogansis a freelance dancer, choreographer, artist scholar, and educator. She holds a M.F.A. in dance from Texas Woman’s University where she expanded her research on black modern dance. Azaria serves as the Manager of Resources and Archives and board member for kNOwBOX dance. Currently, Azaria is an Assistant Professor at Missouri State University and covers an array of classes including contemporary, jazz, contact improvisation, dance history, composition, and West African dance forms.She has presented and performed works both nationally and internationally including Symposium on Performance of the African Diaspora as Social Change Conference, American College Dance Association (South-Central, South-East, and Central) conferences, World Dance Alliance Puebla, Mexico, Women in Dance Leadership Conference, UNT’s Gospel Meets Jazz, Sant’Agata Central Plaza, Sant’Agata, Italy, to name a few.In her passion for education, she has brought the art of dance to local schools including Putnam High school in Putnam, Georgia and Lee Elementary School in Denton, Texas through community outreach programs and residencies. Azaria has publishedarticlesin the Journal ofDance Education in Practice (DEip),the Journal of Dance Education (JODE),Dance Teacher Magazine, Black Dance Magazine, and Dance Magazine.

Anna Huntsupervises student employees and lab classes in the construction and installation of scenery for Missouri State University’s theatrical season. Anna also serves asProperties Designer for Tent Theatre. Some of Anna’s previous experience include Properties forThe Pirates of Penzance,The Odyssey, My Fair Lady, andUnnecessary Farce; Paint Charge forHair,Rigoletto,andCucumbers; and Carpentry forLittle Shop of Horrors, Romeo and Juliet, andSweeney Todd. Anna holds a Bachelor of Science of Education in Theatre from Missouri State University. Anna thanks her husband Tom, and her family for their support.

Heather Chittenden-Luellen  is Music Director/Accompanist for the BFA Musical Theater program and the Department of Theatre & Dance. She joined the staff of Missouri State University in 1996. Heather has served as Music Director for mainstage productions since 2003 and Tent Theatre musical productions since 1998. Heather is also the Associate Artistic Director for Tent Theatre. She serves as Music Director for the New York Senior Showcase held each spring. In addition to her teaching duties, she also serves as alumni liaison for the department, providing a central contact for MSU alumni working all over the world. Select recent mainstage Music Direction credits include: A Chorus Line, Ordinary Days, Working, The Secret Garden, CATS, Amelié, bare the musical, Heathers, Pippin, Legally Blonde, White Christmas. Select recent Tent Theatre Music Direction credits: Crazy for You, Xanadu, Beehive, Catch Me If You Can, Grease, The Drowsy Chaperone, Nice Work If You Can Get It, She Loves Me, Hairspray. Heather’s other credits include Music Director for Broadway Unlocked’s #Giveback Concert 2018 & 2019 (New York), Kyle Dean Massey’s solo cabaret at Feinsteins’s at the Nikko; Actor, Lawyer, Indian Chief, a musical by Craig Carnelia and David H. Bell, workshopped at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre Festival of New Musicals (NYC) and premiered at Goodspeed Musicals; pianist/music director for many productions in local community theatres; local keyboardist for national tours of White Christmas, Beauty and the Beast, and  Titanic.

Dr. Carol J. Maples is the Assistant Department Head for Missouri State University Theatre and Dance, a Professor, and Coordinator for the BSEd Speech & Theatre program at MSU. She is also director of Giving Voice, a nationally recognized interactive theatre troupe that addresses various issues of diversity, oppression and micro-aggressions. Giving Voice has presented forums at high schools, universities, national conferences, and worked with international companies. Dr. Maples has trained at the Mandala Center for Change and coordinates workshops to begin the courageous conversations needed to improve daily lives in education, business, and community settings. Dr. Maples has an extensive directing career, including MSU credits for shows such as West Side Story, Hedda Gabler, Twelve Angry Jurors, The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Proof, Clybourne Park, Crimes of the Heart, and Men on Boats. Additionally, she has directed numerous equity productions for Tent Theatre, including The Boys Next Door, Anything Goes, Noises Off, Hairspray, and The Drowsy Chaperone. Dr. Maples has also been a guest director at Springfield Little Theatre. She has been seen on stage in The Good Bodyand in the web series, A Little Help. Dr. Maples is Past-President of the Speech and Theatre Association of Missouri and has served two terms on the Board of Governors. She is a published author and has presented at various state, national, and international conferences. Dr. Maples was a lead author of the new Dance and Theatre Fine Arts Standards for the state of Missouri. She has received the MSU Foundation Award for Service and was the faculty recipient of the MSU Excellence in Advising Award. Most recently, Dr. Maples was awarded an Outstanding Advising Certificate of Merit at the National Academic Advising Association’s Global Awards Ceremony.

Samantha Morrow is the Costume Shop Manager. Samantha’s previous credits include Costume Design for She Loves Me & All Shook Up and Wig Design for Hairspray at Tent Theatre. Costume Design for The Rocky Horror Show, Good People, and Killer Joe at Springfield Contemporary Theatre. Costume Shop Manager and Costume Designer for The Odd Couple and The Curious Savage at Maples Repertory Theatre. Costume Intern at The Williamstown Theatre Festival. Samantha is a BFA Theatre Design Technology graduate from Missouri State University.

Mark Templetonis a 1987 graduate of Paris Jr. College and a 1989 BFA recipient from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. Prior to arriving at Missouri State University, Mark served the Palestine, Texas Independent School Districts for eight years as Theatre Director and Chairman of the Fine Arts Department. While in Palestine he directed over thirty productions; eight earning regional honors and two receiving state recognition (WingsandInto the Woods). Other directorial credits include:The Rimers of Eldritch, Johnny Belinda, andThe Diviners. Mark joined the Missouri State University campus community in August 1997 as Assistant to the Marketing Director of the Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts and moved to the Department of Theatre and Dance as Marketing Director in 1999. In 2003 he was promoted to Man- aging Director of Tent Theatre. He is an alumnus of the Commercial Theatre Institute of New York. Currently, Mark serves as the University representative and negotiator to Actors’ Equity.In 2008 he served on a team that formally transitioned the Tent Theatre operation into a professional theatre company.He hasprovided insight for the programming,layoutand “Tent Theatre aesthetic” of the new John Goodman Amphitheatre which willensurethe design fulfillsthe requirementsoftheAEAcontract.

Karen Sabo (she/her) is a director, teacher, writer, producer, and actor. She has been a member of three resident acting companies, including the LORT Barter Theater in Virginia where she was also a resident director, dialect coach, and eventually, director of education. Karen studied with the American Conservatory Theatre, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, the Saratoga International Theatre Institute, Shakespeare & Company, and Larry Silverberg’s Meisner program. She has a B.A. from Hampshire College, an M.A. from East Tennessee State University, and an MFA in Directing at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. Her plays have been produced nationwide and she has had dozens of articles published including in American Theatre and Southern Theatre Magazine. She is a 25-year member of Actors’ Equity, belongs to SDC (Stage Directors and Choreographers Society), and to VASTA (Voice and Speech Trainers Association). She is married to playwright and theatre artist Derek Davidson. Website:www.karensabo.com

Dr. Kyle A. Thomas is Assistant Professor of Theatre and Coordinator of the BA/BS Theatre Program at Missouri State University. Kyle received his Ph.D. in Theatre from the University of Illinois in 2018, where he was awarded departmental distinction for his efforts in dramaturgy and directing. His work centers on developing contemporary approaches for performing of historical plays, as exemplified by his direction of medieval dramas such as the Play of Adam at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Cloisters (NYC), Babio for the Newberry Library (Chicago), and the Mellon Foundation-funded production, The Play About the Antichrist for the “Performing the Middle Ages” Symposium at the University of Illinois. Kyle has synthesized much of this work in his forthcoming book, The Play About the Antichrist (Ludus de Antichristo): A Historical Exegesis, Performance Dramaturgy, and Latin Edition. He is also the Chief Editor of the international journal, ROMARD: Research on Medieval and Renaissance Drama. Kyle’s recent professional acting credits include Moon Over Buffalo at Tent Theatre (Springfield, MO); St. Louis Stories at La Petite Theatre (New Orleans) and .ZACK (St. Louis); Gone Missing at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (Urbana, IL); Kissing at New Theatre (Miami). Recent on-camera roles include the SAG short film, Red Horse; the music video Grand Bargain by the Poster Children; and as Jay Roberts in the LA Hollyshorts selection, The Karaoke Singer. Check him out in the upcoming Discovery Science Channel series, Abandoned America or catch him as The Theatre History Professor on YouTube. Kyle also hosts The Teaching Drama Podcast. Twitter: @kyle_a_thomas.

Robert Westenberg, Professor of Theatre, Musical Theatre Program Coordinator. After a lengthy performing career that included work on Broadway and Off-Broadway, in regional theatres, national tours, television and film, Mr. Westenberg is now concentrating on teaching, directing and playwriting. He is perhaps best remembered for his roles in the original Broadway casts of Into the Woods as the Wolf and Prince, for which he received a Tony nomination and Drama Desk Award, Secret Garden as Neville Craven, and Sunday in the Park with George, where he replaced Mandy Patinkin in the title role. He also performed the role of Javert in the Broadway production of Les Miserables. Other Broadway credits include leading roles in 1776, Company, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, A Christmas Carol and Zorba, for which he received a Theatre World Award. While known for his work in musical theatre, he has also appeared in numerous plays and classical works in theatres around the country. His national tour credits include Zorba, Funny Girl, and The Full Monty. His film and television credits are The Ice Storm, Before and After, The Stars Fell on Henrietta, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, Swift Justice, Central Park West, and Law and Order: SVU. He has sung at Carnegie Hall in The Gay Divorcee and can be heard on several original cast albums. Mr. Westenberg is married to Kim Crosby and is the proud father of their three children. He is a graduate of the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco and completed his degree studies at the National Theatre Conservatory in Denver.

Sarah Wiggin is a Full Professor of Theatre Performance at Missouri State, the Artistic Director for Tent Theatre, and a founding member of the Resident Artist Ensemble (RAE), Springfield. A proud member of AEA and SAG- AFTRA, Sarah has performed with theatres such as The Shakespeare Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, Everyman Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, The Folger, and regional companies nationwide. Locally, she worked with SCT as The Pilot in Grounded, Margie in Good People, Veronica in God of Carnage, and Becca in Rabbit Hole, and directed Painting Churches. She directed professionally with Tent Theatre (Steel Magnolias, You Can’t Take It With You, Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, The Mousetrap, Beehive: The 60s Musical, Moon Over Buffalo); Venus Theatre in Washington, DC; and assisted Aaron Posner in his Helen Hayes Award-winning production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona at Folger Theatre. Her own production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile earned Baltimore City Paper’s #4 slot in their Top Ten: the Year in Theatre list. Her on-camera work includes Law & Order: SVU and Gods and Generals, among others. Ms. Wiggin earned her MFA in Acting & Directing from the University of Arizona.

Sarah Wilcoxonholds an MS in Communication from Illinois State University and an MFA in Dance from Florida State University. At Missouri State, Sarah is the coordinator of the dance program and the dance representative for the musical theatre program. She also directs the wellness initiative in the Department of Theatre and Dance, supervising our staff athletic trainer. Her interdisciplinary approach to making dances about community in relation to boundaries and borders necessitates collaboration outside of the dance field with actors, directors, filmmakers, musicians, visual artists, and theorists. Her collaborative works have performed on stages in musicals and concert dance throughout the Midwest and the Southeastern United States while her award winning cross-disciplinary and co-created films have been screened both nationally and internationally. Sarah views somatic practice, mind-body connection, as an essential part of community building through dance. She is a STOTT certified Pilates teacher as well as a certified Progressing Ballet Technique instructor, and she works to promote a culture of wellness in the teaching and practice of dance.

Cynthia Winstead holds a MFA from the University of Virginia. In addition to teaching classes in costume design, construction and history of costume and décor at Missouri State, Ms. Winstead designs and drapes professionally. Her costume designs have been seen Off Broadway in Maiden’s Progeny-An Afternoon with Mary Cassatt, 1906 (world premiere), The Death in the Juniper Grove (world premiere), The Shattering of the Golden Pane, and The Hanging of Razor Brown – all produced at the 59east59 theaters, New York, New York. She also designed the costumes for The African Company Presents Richard the Third, Oak and Ivy, Conversations on a Dirt Road (world premiere), Robert Johnson, Trick the Devil, Cryin’ Shame, and Before it Hits Home – all produced by the St. Louis Black Repertory Company. Ms. Winstead’s construction work has been seen on the stages of The Santa Fe Opera, The Glimmerglass Opera, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, The New York City Opera, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Stages! St. Louis, The Mill Mountain Playhouse, and the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival.

Faculty and Staff Bios (2024)
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