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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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Alumni Updates Grads 1996-2000

Rick Anderson

BST 1988 (minor) (posted 8-13-02)

Rick announces that he will be part of the first national tour of The Producers beginning Sept. 9 in Pittsburgh. He also says he believes he will soon be acting as a true producer (delegating/assigning all aspects of a production and signing paychecks) with GAYDAR Productions sometime in the future. The wheels are in motion for a May opening of Naked Boys Singing in Minneapolis. On the road, he continues to rework This Queer Life and two other original works—Outplay, a funny look at coming out, and Ed Again!, a reworking and updated version of Marlowe's Edward the Second.

Dani Bennett

BS, 1999

Dani is currently working on a production of The Master Class as the soundboard operator at Park Square Theatre. She is also their Assistant Stage Manager for Romeo and Juliet. She moves up to Stage Manager for Biography this spring and is delighted to report that the theatre will go union next year. In the meantime, her candle business (Candles by Dani) is making her a fortune on the side!

(posted 1-6-03)

Dani went Equity in December of 2001 and had a wonderful year. "It's a great feeling to have insurance and be paid what all theatre people are worth," she writes. Equity shows she has done include Side Show, Mr. Green and The Glass Menagerie at the Park Square Theatre. She also had her first opportunity to work at the History Theatre on the remount of Hush, Hush. "The best news of all (although it isn't Equity work, they pay well) is that I have been filling in as the Temporary Resident Stage Manager at the Ordway, doing shows like 42nd Street, Vagina Monologues, The Merry Widow for Minnesota Opera and concerts for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra." The candle business is going strong, with a large contract and two factories in the future. Dani married Brian Teuber (tie brr), so her Equity name is Daniella Bennett Teuber.

David Craven

MFA Acting/Directing, 2000 (latest 4-26-01)

David is settling into a long run of Grease at the Derby Dinner Playhouse in Louisville, KY. Since he is a new member of an established cast, he gets to sing multiple parts throughout the show (tenor in one song, baritone in the next, etc.)

Before that, David played Smudge in Forever Plaid at a Dinner Theatre in Door County, WI. He also directed a high school production of Anything Goes at Sevastopal High School. After he leaves there, he has a four-show contract at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Florida from November through May, 2001. He has been contracted to play George in a musical version of It's a Wonderful Life, Joe (the Jack Lemmon role) in the Sugar (the stage musical of Some Like it Hot), Cornelius in Hello Dolly and Billy Bigelow in Carousel. After that, who knows. His caroling company "Like the Dickens" continues to remain prosperous in Atlanta and will still employ over 30 performers throughout the holidays.

Craig Ellingson

MFA, 1997 (posted 1-6-03)

Craig is now a tenured Associate Professor at Minnesota State University Moorhead who performs whenever he can. This past spring he played the role of Che in Evita and this past fall he played Rutledge in 1776. The big news is that he will be playing opposite his wife Katherine in a Valentine's weekend production of I Do! I Do! Call 218-236-2271 for tickets. Their son, Matthew, is currently in the fourth grade and is expert at catching fish.

Kate Gilhooly

BS, 2000 (posted on 2-16-01)

Kate is currently an Actor Educator on tour with CLIMB Theatre based in Inver Grove Heights MN. She is a Team Leader in the Teaching Company, which means she is in charge of selecting, and directing scripts that her team performs for students grades K-12.

(posted 1-6-03)

Kate is still touring with Missoula Children's Theatre and having a wonderful time. She's gotten to tour the Pacific Northwest and the San Juan Islands and then got lucky with a Southeastern itinerary that included a cruise to the Bahamas. She writes that she is looking at Teach for America for next year. "I have fallen in love with the teaching aspects of this job," she says. "Zillah Langsjoen (BS Acting, 2002) was just hired on as a new Tour actor and the staff here is very impressed with Mankato as a result!"

Peter "Jack" Jenness

MFA, 1999

He started his new position as assistant professor of theatre arts at the University of Wisconsin-Plattesville. He is in charge of scenic/lighting design and technical direction. He and his wife, Jen (soon-to-be MA grad), live in Plattesville with their son Jacob, born last December.

Corey Johnston

MFA Costume Design, 1997 (posted 2-11-02)

Just so you're not confused, this is the Corey Johnston who attended MSU in 1993-94 but who officially graduated in 1997.

Corey has been teaching Costume and Make-Up and Theatre History at the University of San Diego for three years. In addition to the shows they stage there—he reports productions of Heartbreak House and Two Gents (is that Two Gentlemen of Verona?)—he designed Calamity Jane at Sierra Rep in Sonora, CA, this summer (building more than 200 pieces!), as well as Boys in the Band at the Diversionary Theatre in San Diego. In June, he'll return to Diversionary to do 5th of July.

Spencer Kramber

BS 1998 (posted 12-20-00)

Upon graduation, Spencer moved to Dublin, Ireland, where he played "Orestes" in Andromache at the Samuel Beckett Theatre. Once he returned to the States, he toured with the National Theatre for Children, the Boston Chamber Theatre's "Encore" national tour, and also performed with Shakespeare in the Park in Minneapolis for two summers.

He is now pursuing an MFA in acting at UCLA and expects to graduate in spring 2003.

(posted 1-6-03)

We'll let Spencer tell his own story: "I'm neck deep in third year grad school. I'm writing my one-person-show thesis project which will go up Feb. 23 (looks like we're in production at the same time). I'm also preparing for the real world by getting stuff together for our showcase in March. Crazy, crazy, crazy." He reports seeing many MSU alum in California. He spent Christmas with Colin Woolston up in Northern California, then on the way back down stopped by Eric Bakker's to watch the Vikings season finale and Berrisford Elliott was there. "They're all doing well if you don't hear from them," he writes. "Rafferty, Delfino, Gustafson, Chris Schmidt, Steph Gould and I all seem to bump into each other now and then. Cedric, Lisa and Missy Peterman, who I recently saw on an episode of '$25,000 Pyramid,' seem to busy to play and Michelle Carpenter is out here. ... So if you want to send any more kids out here from Mankato tell them we're waiting."

Jason Larche

MA, 2000

Jason's dad tells us that he has accepted a position as an instructor in the Department of Theatre at Central Michigan University, and that he directed The Dining Room and play Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls in productions at Carousel Theatre in Iowa this spring and summer.

Jonathan Lentz

Lighting Designer/Project Manager '97-'99

Jonathan is currently project manager with Fourth Phase (formerly Production Arts Lighting) in New York City. Recently completed projects include 175 moving light fixtures, lasers and fiberoptics in permanent installation in Huangpu River Pedestrian Tunnel in Shanghai, China, and a complete moving light environment at Philips Arena Experience, home of the NBA Atlanta Hawks and NHL Atlanta Thrashers in Atlanta, Ga. Prior to joining Fourth Phase, he completed the Andreas Theatre at MSU while with the school and then BMI Supply.

Lisa Nanni-Messegee

MFA, 1998 (posted 2-11-02)

The best part of Lisa's 2001 was her marriage to Todd Messegee on Sept. 29. Todd is a professional fine art and commercial photographer. Anyone traveling to LA should call him to get great headshots (shameless plug). Most of her work year was spent working as segment producer for Weller-Grossman Productions on the show "Smart Solutions," which airs on HGTV and is hosted by Mary Monfort. She returned to Mankato for the fourth year to do Visiting Artist children's Theatre. For the week she's here she teaches theatre classes, casts, rehearses and presents a show. "My only regret," she writes, "is not having enough time to visit old friends in town."

Also, she freelanced for a couple of weeks for Norsemen Productions on a TBS show called "Movies for Guys who Like Movies," setting up a San Francisco shoot that included the hosts touring Alcatraz and visiting with ex-cons and guards. She also did voiceovers for the syndicated show "Main Floor" for a second year. So far this year she reports freelancing for two weeks on the daytime craft show on HGTV called "The Carol Duvall Show" and starting a new job on a Fox show called "Good Day Live," an offshoot of "Good Day LA" that is being tested in seven markets.

(posted 1-6-03)

Lisa spent last year working as the Field Producer for the TV show, "Good Day Live." She has been able to work with celebrities ranging from Kelli Clarkson (the American Idol) to Wolfgang Puck (the master chef). Her Christmas letter included a great picture of Lisa and Bear (from "Bear in the Big Blue House Muppet" fame—Grandpa Hustoles was very impressed). She even had time to return to Mankato for Children's Theatre week, now in its fifth year.

Katherine "Cat" Nelson

BS Theatre Arts, 1996 (posted 1-6-03)

After leaving Mankato, Cat went to Milwaukee for a season as the ASM for First Stage Milwaukee. From Milwaukee, she headed over the "pond" for an apprenticeship in London, UK. While in England she was hired for a national tour of Love Me Slender, which played for four months in 16 different cities after rehearsing for a month in Perth, Scotland. After coming back across the waters, she has spent the last four years touring the U.S. with American Family Theatre, and more recently Omaha Theatre Company for Young People. She still considers Minneapolis her home, and can sometimes be found there in the summer months. By mid-February of '03, she will have toured to all 48 continental states (she's currently only missing three). Her goal right now is to continue touring.

Lori Anne Peterson

BS Acting, 1998 (posted 1-25-02)

Lori Anne, who was then a Johnson but has married Enoch Peterson, changed jobs in November of 2001. She received her real estate license and is now working for condominium and townhouse assocations instead of low-income housing. She and her husband are expecting in March. Son Cassady is is in first grade and wrestling (presumably in a club and not during recess), and he has also been in two school plays. Lori Anne sees big things in his future. She has started auditioning.

(posted 1-6-03)

Lori Anne had another child. Catja Marin Peterson was born on April 1, 2002. Her brother Cassady is now 7 years old. In her spare time, Lori earned her real estate license and has been consulting on the side. She has been running all over the place É literally. Her most recent success was the Twin City Marathon 10 Mile in which she placed 74 out of 2,125 Women, 330 overall, finishing in 1:15:36. She is now gearing towards Grandmas Marathon and training for whatever 5K she can get into.

Julie (Pfaffenberger) Powers

MFA, 1997 (posted 7-30-01)

Julie is alive and well and living in Indianapolis. She regularly teaches acting for The Phoenix Theatre, one of only 3 Equity theatres in Indy. She also serves as a theatre consultant to Conner Prairie Museum in Fishers, IN. Her last onstage appearance was in Highland Summer Theatre 2000's production of Jerry's Girls. Julie gave birth to a daughter, Lillian Kathryn, in December. She is anticipating her return to the working world next summer, when she is slated to direct Annie for Hendricks Civic Theatre.

(posted 1-6-03)

Since Lilly turned a year old, Julie has been working again, and seems to have her 2003 scheduled through summer. Her most recent project was a terrific production of Chicago as Mama. "Loved that role!"

(Posted 8-13-02)

Early August was a busy time for Julie. She directed Annie for the Hendricks, IN, Civic Theatre and then began rehearsals for Chicago after just a week rest. She will be playing "Matron 'Mama' Morton." She also has been offered the directing position for Nunsense at the Merrimack Theatre in Martinsville, IN, after the first of the year.

Erik Sterling Quam

MFA in Acting, 1997

Erik worked as an actor/director in the Twin Cities from 1997 to 2000, appearing in national commercial spots for Nike and, as well as making a TV movie, "A Chance of Snow." Theatre experience since graduation includes the Peninsula Players, America's Oldest Professional Resident Summer Theatre, Door County, WI, and Seasons Players Dinner Theatre in Minneapolis.

In 1999 Erik created Off Broadway Dinner Theatres, LLC, opening its first show June 20, 2000. It is a seasonal dinner theatre seating 296 people, open June through October. He serves as vice president/marketing director, and acts as well.

Susan Rabideau

MFA, 1997 (posted on 1-4-01)

Susan started the year as a professor at Minnesota State University-Moorhead (as a fixed term replacement) and moved back to Wisconsin where she teaches classes at the University of Wisconsin-Oskhosh. Her directing credits this year include The Vagina Monologues (she says "don't let the name scare you ... it is an empowering piece for both men and women ... see it if you get a chance"), Danger Dinosaurs! (one of her beloved murder mysteries) and The Orphan Train. Her biggest production, however, was her wedding -- she finally got that co-starring role with Bill!

Heather Reese

BS, Technical Theatre, 2000 (posted 6-13-01)

Heather just completed her first year as a Production Assistant at Indiana Repertory Theatre that included a two-month run of A Christmas Carol. Afterward, she assisted a special Equity TYA contract production of The Taming of the Shrew in which the theatre cuts the script down to 90 minutes and runs without intermission back-to-back performances at 9:45 and 11:50 a.m. Monday-Friday. Toward the end of her last show she assisted with The Bonderman Symposium, a program for playwrights specializing in children's theatre. Now she moves on to Weston, VT, where she will be an Assistant Stage Manager for Weston Playhouse Theatre Company productions of An Ideal Husband and Floyd Collins.

Sarah Ross

MFA, 1999

Sarah reports that she has been cast as one of three lead actors in the Great American History Theater's production of Watermelon Hill. The story takes place in a home for pregnant teenagers in the 1960s and requires her to play the same character from age 19 to 48 years. The show opens at the end of January. Sarah also does educational residencies in schools through Minnesota Opera's OperaVenture program.

Patrick Rowan

BS, Theatre Arts, 1997 (posted 5-17-01)

Patrick is working full-time at the National Theatre for Children being an Artistic Associate. As part of the Production team, he directs shows, builds and develops new shows. A few other Mankato grads have came through here to tour. They also produce Shakespeare in the Park every summer. On staff is another MSU alum, Chris Becker. On a personal note, he reports, "I'm getting married this summer to a fellow MSU grad, Jennifer Geelan. She was a music major but I'm sure you remember her from the musicals she took part in." She teaches Vocal Music at Cooper High School in Robbinsdale.

Andrea B. (Shaw) Peterson

B.S., Theatre/Speech and English, BT, 1997

Andrea teaches English at Cathedral High School in New Ulm where she also directos the one act play musical and coaches speech. Occasionally, Andrea reappears to choreograph or to act in a Highland Summer Theatre show, such as HST 2000's Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. She also came back to MSU as an adjunct faculty member to teach tap and movement classes. She married Ryan Peterson in July, 1999.

Sheila Tabaka

MFA Costume Design, 1998 (posted 2-26)

Sheila is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Southwest State University in Marshall, MN, and her husband, Jim, is a graduate student at the University of New Hampshire ... which makes for a long commute for one of them. In addition to their son, Eukariah, they welcomed daughter Sally Sue Tabaka on February 17.

David Tacheny

BS 2000

David says you can find out everything you want from him by visiting

Shannon Zeig

BS, 1999

After working at WCCO Radio for a year and performing in Tony 'n Tina's Wedding at Hey City Stage, Shannon has moved to Sunnyvale, CA, where she is involved in a production of The Diary of Anne Frank with the Palo Alto Players. She currently works at eBay.