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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Since 2000

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Alumni Updates Grads Since 2000

Hollie Ackerson

BS Acting, 2000 (posted 12-5-01)

Hollie writes from Chicago where she made her debut on December 2 in A Christmas Carol in HogPatch Holler. It's slightly adapted from the Charles Dickens classic, with the Big Bad Wolf as Scrooge and a family of rabbits for the Cratchets. She plays Mrs. Rabbit, Fan the Wolf and a Goose. She sends best wishes from the Chicago Gang—Joe McCauley, Kate Gilhooly, Amanda Deierling White and Sara Patsy.

David Craven

MFA Acting/Directing, 2000 (posted 1-2-02)

Over the Christmas break David reported that he was back in Atlanta working with his 36-caroler company, which logged 233 hours this year. Among his clients was Jane Fonda, who "heard we were the best company in Atlanta to call. Of course," he reports. David also says that he broke two ribs while on stage and got up and did another hour of performing. We crank out tough graduates, don't we!

Peter Ellenstein

MFA Acting/Directing, 2001 (posted 8-17-01)

Peter has accepted the position of Director of the William Inge Theatre Festival in Independence, KS, home of Independence Community College. Primary responsibility is managing the festival, which takes place four days in April, though he will be teaching theatre classes of his choosing as well. Plans are to expand the festival to include year-round playwright development and better integration and promotion of the college's theatre program.

Jenny Heckendorn

BS, Tech Theatre, 2001 (posted 8-27-01)

Jennifer reports that she is the Guthrie Theater's newest stage management intern. She was offered two shows, Merrily We Roll Along and A Christmas Carol and accepted them both. She begins August 31 and completes the internship November 23.

John Carl Heimbuch

BS, 2001 (posted 12-21-01)

John has been very busy during the time since he graduated. He worked at the Minnesota Fringe Festival on Edword Gorey's Helpless Doorknobs, which he wrote and starred in. The production team included several other MSU veterans: Amy Rummenie (director), Chris Cacek and Molly Mennenga. He also designed nearly two dozen masks for Chaos/Theory Theatre's The Shriker.

In the fall, John has been in Zenon Dance Company's Intensive Study Program, doing small theatre projects in Winona and Minneapolis, and worked at the Guthrie Theater costume storage where he "singlehandedly reorganized almost 25 years of hats, belts and accessories." Soon he will begin a seven-week tour with the National Theatre for Children to Tennessee and Virginia.

Cheryl Hoffmann

BS Acting, 2001 (posted 12-29-01)

This past July Cheryl performed in Fort Lauderdale, FL, with Raymond Productions, Inc. on the SeaEscape Cruise Line. In September she traveled to Rock Island, IL, to work for MSU Alum Denny Hitchcock at his Circa '21 Dinner Theater as "Sally" in the new gospel/comedy musical Peace In the Valley. After that she traveled to Lake Geneva, WI, to work at the Grand Geneva Resort and Spa where she played the role of "Jessica" in Holiday Magic. She returned home to spend the holidays with her family in Sleepy Eye.

This just in (1-7-02) ... Cheryl has returned to Rock Island and Circa '21 to join the cast of Footloose as a dancer and an understudy.

(posted 1-7-03)

Cheryl completed Footloose at Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse in January 2002 where she met her boyfriend, Jamey Isenor, who is playing "Danny Zuko" in the national tour of Grease. Cheryl then worked at Bearcreek Farms Country Resort in Bryant, IN, last summer where she did three written/revue shows. She is currently waiting for her next job to start in Michigan and during her free time drives across the country to see Jamey in Grease. You can check her out on her website,

Todd Karner

BS, Acting/Directing, 2001 (posted 8-17-01)

Todd is alive and well and auditioning for shows in Ireland. While he wasn't cast in Oklahoma! -- probably too American -- he will appear as Jim in a production of Tennessee Williams' Not About Nightingales. It will be performed in a 16th century jail in a town called Wicklow.

Zillah Glory Langsjoen

BS, 2002 (posted 1-9-03)

Zillah writes from Wenatschee, WA (Apple Capitol of the World) that she has survived the 8-day intensive training routine for the Missoula Children's Theatre. They were full days of workshops,set-up for the stage, set, and lights,sponsor phone calls, and a rehearsals. "I have to watch it; I'm on the verge of losing my voice and my character is a talk/singing fiend!" Her partner is an expert, and she landed him for the next four months on a domestic tour to tide him over for the European tour. "So, here's to a big suitcase for the next nine months (that, and a whole bunch of hotel stays mixed in with homestays and good cooking."

André LeTendre

BS, 2002 (posted 1-7-03)

André is working as an Account Executive and Fashion Show Director at the Twin City Bridal Association. He reports that his first fashion show in October went well, with about 4,500 people in attendance. His second show was Jan. 5, and he says "it improved by leaps and bounds. I managed to add four dresses and two tuxes, and cut 20 minutes off the entire show." The attendance went up by about 200 and the show was covered by both major papers (nothing like free publicity).

Patti McGuire

MFA, 2000 (posted 7-5-01)

The original musical Patti was cast in, "Menopause, The Musical," has been an immense hit in Orlando. After a slow first two weeks they've extended the show another two weeks for a total two-month run of constantly sold out performances. The Cuillo Center for the Arts in West Palm Beach is now booking the show as its summer offering and has also requested a run until November. A 20-city tour is also being put together. "The nice thing," Patti reports, "is that the four of us bonded as a cast immediately and the producer, director and stage manager are like family too. And I'm still not tired of the show. It is a joy to perform every time." Check out the play (and Patti) at

Peggy Michaelson

Theatre minor, 2001 (posted 11-01-05)

Since being "reorganized" out of our jobs at the ArtsCenter Minnetonka in Sept. 03, my mom and I have started an event and wedding consulting business. Uncommon Gatherings was launched the beginning of April and I'm happy to say that we have booked our first wedding! Visit In other news Joe Lushine (aka the sax guy) and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary in September and we've made it through the first 3 years of homeownership.

Kristina Miller

BS Acting, 2001 (posted 9-13-01)

After a hectic summer helping in the box office and costume shop, as well as appearing on stage and behind stage for Highland Summer Theatre, Kristina landed at the Ordway Center for the Peforming Arts in Minneapolis where she works as a sales associate.

Sara Patsy

BS Acting, 2001 (posted 11-21-01)

Sara reports from Chicago that she has gained her first post-college role. She will play "Estelle" in No Exit for Speaking Ring Theatre. Interestingly, on of the founders of Speaking Ring is Christine Norman of Lake Crystal, a 1992 Theatre Arts graduate of Mankato.

Travis Richardson

BS, Tech. Theatre, 2001 (posted 8-17-01)

Travis has spent most of his summer at the San Diego Zoo working at an aerial acrobatic and dance show that has been running every night and continues through September 3. His fiancee, Megan Short (costume shop) has spent the summer working at The Globe. The couple has set May 26, 2002, as a wedding date ... it's about time! In the meantime they'll occupy their time with grad school at San Diego State University, where Megan will assist on the first show of the season. Travis is designing a show for The Lambs Players Theatre in October.

(posted 1-6-03)

Travis writes that things in San Diego are going well. In September he had the chance to assist on a show at The Globe, which was a great experience. When the show moved on to Broadway he got to go with it. He spent three weeks in November living in NYC working on Imaginary Friends at the Barrymore Theatre. But there was a downside, he writes: "The only problem with working on Broadway is that after you do it, you don't want to work anywhere else. And you certainly don't want to return to grad school. But return I did. I figure continuing on is the only way I'm going to get back to the Great White Way."

Danae Schniepp

BS, 2002 (posted 1-10-03)

After serving an internship at the Guthrie Theater, Danae has accepted an Assistant Stage Manager position at The Children's Theatre Company for Antigone, which will be geared toward junior and senior high students. She is currently interning on Once Upon a Forest and was recommended for the position by her Stage Manager. She also might be the paid intern for Korczak's Children after the current internship.

Alan Shorter

MFA Directing, 2001 (posted 1-28-02)

After completing his MFA at Minnesota State, Alan joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where he is currently the Coordinator of the BFA Musical Theatre Program. This year he served as conductor for a production of Guys & Dolls, is the musical director for Closer Than Ever and teaches music theory, private voice and two performance labs.

While at Mankato, he completed his adaptation of the children's book "Oliver Button Is a Sissy" as a concert work for men's chorus and small orchestra. It was made into a documentary called "Oliver Button Is a STAR!" by Dan Hunt and John Scagliatti, Emmy Award winners for the documentary "Before Stonewall." It will be airing on PBS in the coming year. Alan wrote the incidental music for the documentary after serving as musical director for Highland Summer Theatre's production of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown.

The musical theatre program at Stevens Point has 32 majors and is part of the Department of Theatre and Dance, which has 220 majors and minors. He remains active as an ACTF responder in Region III.

(posted 1-6-03)

The past semester was extremely busy for Alan. He again taught in overload, fairly normal for his position, he writes, and made his directorial debut with Children of Eden with a cast of 45, not counting the 43 animals (various actors, puppets, etc.). "I don't think the creators of that piece could decide whether it was an opera, a musical, or a comedy sketch." Reaction was positive, however, and he was offered another contract at the University of Wisconsin Steven's Point. "I apparently jumped through all the retention hoops successfully and am slowing inching my way toward tenure."

David Tacheny

BS, Theatre Arts, 2000 (posted 8-17-01)

David has just finished a production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at Circa21 Dinner Playhouse in Rock Island, IL, where he played oldest brother Benjamin Pontipee (his last MSU performance was as Gideon, the youngest brother, in our Highland Summer Theatre production). He's currently playing Joe in Calamity Jane at Dutch Apple Dinner Theater in Lancaster, PA. He also reports that his web site ( is undergoing a face-lift thanks to Ben Thietje (BS, Theatre Arts, 2001).

(Posted 1-6-03) After a week of visiting family after Christmas, David intends to take a short trip to NYC to "scout out the possibility of a move. Yes, after several years of skirting around the issue I've decided to finally really go!" While skirting, he has been performing on cruise ships, most recently as the lead in Peter Pan.

(Posted 11-01-05) For the first 3 years after MSU David traveled all over the U.S. working in children's theatre, dinner theatre, regional theatre and national tours. Two years ago he moved to NYC and has started a personal training business while pursuing theatre. He's done several productions and is currently working on his first directing project for the Theatre Studio, Inc., a well-known not-for-profit in NYC. David is also recently engaged! He and his fiance, Kate, were married in December 2005 in a small ceremony in St. Louis, MO. Please feel free to drop us a line if you're in NYC!

Brent Teclaw

BS, Theatre Arts, 2001 (posted 1-2-02)

Brent reports from the Twin Cities that he has been cast as "George" in the Theatre in the Round production of Our Town. It runs February into March.

(Posted 5-23-01)

Brent started rehearsal in Minneapolis the week of May 14 for the Medora Musical and will leave for Medora, ND, on May 28. The show is a huge musical extravaganza that "celebrates the life of Theodore Roosevelt." He reports: "I have never danced so much in my entire life. Who knew this crazy body of mine could dance?" The show will be performed nightly June 8 - September 2 in a huge 2,900-seat Ampitheatre in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. "We only get the night off when it rains so I'm brushing up on my rain dances."

(posted 1-7-03)

This past fall Brent played Thaddeus in Gray Space Performance Company's production of Corpus Christi in Minneapolis. "A few protesters here and there," Brent reports, "but overall a successful run of a controversial show. Lavander Magazine had this to say about the show: 'Most Unfairly Maligned Production: Corpus Christi—gray space. Both mainstream and alternative presses irresponsibly exaggerated the supposed homosexual excesses of what was a lovely staging of this gay retelling of the Christ story.'" He was also a part of one of the top 10 productions in Twin Cities, A Night at the Black Pig for Theatre in the Round. He's now back with Theatre in the Round Players rehearsing his role of Malcolm in Macbeth.

Ben Thietje

BS, Theatre Arts, 2001 (posted 11-26-01)

Ben reports that he will be playing "Mid Scrooge" in a national tour of A Christmas Carol that will be going up and down the east coast through December (the same tour David Tacheny was involved with last year, though Ben is playing the older version of the same character). After that, he will perform in a tour with the National Theatre for Children.

For more information, visit his web page at