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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Special Events

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Our 2017 touring children's production, The Stolen Wind, is on the road!

Daisy Jones, Peggy and One-Eyed Sue are not your normal pirates.  They spend their days sailing the seas, searching for lost treasure so they can donate it to people in need.  After a day filled with helping others, they come back to their ship to find that the wind is gone, having been stolen by the angry Wind Thief. To get the wind back, they must battle the 3 keepers of the wind in order to finally find the Wind Thief.  All of the characters learn about perseverance, being kind to others, and the importance of second chances in the search for the stolen wind.


Lessons the pirates learn along the way: Giving up is not a solution to a tough challenge. Being kind to others, even when it isn’t easy, often has unexpected benefits. It’s OK to ask for help, and often, a team can accomplish a task much faster than someone acting alone.


The cast consists of seven freshman: Samantha Buckley, Felipe Escudero, Megan Fischer, Braden Hanafee-Major, Sheila Tacheny, Katie Van Denise and Cassie Virnig.



Minnesota State Mankato at the Region V
Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival 48

Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Department of Theatre and Dance participated along with 1,513 registrants, representing 86 colleges and universities, in the Region V Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival gathering at Normandale Community College during festival week, January 17-23, 2016.  Region V represents Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri, and its regional festival is the largest in the country.
Minnesota State Mankato placed four students in the Semifinal round of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition, including Adam Yankowy (3rd year MFA Musical Theatre from Louisville, KY) partnered by Amanda Mai (junior BFA Musical Theatre from Beaver Dam, WI).  Adam went on to win Best Musical Theatre Actor in the Semifinals for the second year in a row.  Maria Camila Perez (senior BFA Acting from Bogota, Columbia), partnered by Andrew Anderson (junior BFA Acting from Roseville) advanced on her first try, and then captured the Best Classical Actor in the Semifinal round.  Erin Horst (2nd year MFA Musical Theatre from Vinton, IA), won Best Partner last year, but this year made it to the Semifinals on her own, partnered by Michaela Shapiro (junior BFA Musical Theatre from St. Louis Park).  Finally, Jake Sullivan (senior BFA Musical Theatre from Andover) broke to the semis with partner Maureen O’Malley (junior BFA Musical Theatre from Minneapolis).
For the second year in a row, Minnesota State Mankato excelled in the Open Jar Musical Theatre Intensive, advancing eight students to the finalist showcase (more than any other school), performed at the Ames Center last Friday.  Included were Emily Scinto (junior BFA Musical Theatre from Lakeville, Luke Steinborn (junior BFA Actor from Sioux Falls), Claire Clauson (BFA Musical Theatre from South St. Paul), Ian Lah (senior BFA Actor from Ely), Carolyn Strauss (senior BFA Musical Theatre from Minneapolis), Maria Camila Perez, and partners Jake Sullivan and Amanda Mai captured First Runner Up with their delightful song from Guys and Dolls.  
Minnesota State Mankato’s Michael Sheeks (3rd year MFA Directing from Roseville) was a Finalist in the Society of Directors and Choreographers (SDC) competition and Isaac Sawle (2nd year MFA Technical Direction from Minneapolis) took the 2nd Place Regional Technical Project award for Haunting of Hill House.  Costumes from Life is a Dream, designed by David McCarl (faculty), were invited to the juried Annual Costume Parade.  They were placed at the very end of the parade—the place of pride for the grand finale. 
KCACTF Certificates of Commendation for past productions at Minnesota State Mankato were awarded to: Kate Kanne (3rd year MFA Scene Design from Redwood Falls) for Scene Design for The Miracle WorkerAdam Yankowy for Musical Direction for A Christmas Story.  Jayme Caye Beerling (junior BFA Design/Technology  from Prior Lake) for Stage Management for Titanic.  The Cast of Titanic for Ensemble Acting.  Paul J. Hustoles (faculty) for Directing for Life is a Dream.
During the past year, faculty members John Paul, Matt Caron and Paul J. Hustoles have served as Region V Respondents.  All three presented workshops at this year’s festival along with George Grubb.  Hustoles continues his service to Region V by being on the Regional Advisory Board and served as the Festival Registrar for this, his sixteenth time.




A Very Special Event

Dedication of Earley Center for Performing Arts

On Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011, Minnesota State University, Mankato dedicated and renamed the Performing Arts Center the Earley Center for Performing Arts. Below are pictures of Dean Emerita Jane F. Earley with the plaque that will be installed in the building; in the second picture is Chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance, Paul J. Hustoles. Below that is Dean Earley's speech from the event.

Jane Earley with the plaque

Jane and Paul H.


Thanks first of all to those who had a part in creating this event:  the Events Office, the President’s Office, MnSCU, the College of Arts and Humanities Dean and Department Chairs, the students, faculty, and staff who performed and spoke today, and the committee headed by Dr. Paul Hustoles.

President Davenport, I am deeply honored by your decision to name this building for me.  This building was still new when I came here in 1969, and that very fall—encouraged by my English Department colleague and friend, Donabel Linney, I became a theatre season ticket holder and a concert patron.  In addition to the countless plays, recitals, and concerts I have attended here since, I’ve also been in this building for many other occasions.  I have addressed the faculty every fall and spring here, and presided at and attended funerals or memorial services for faculty, students, and staff in these halls.  I have heard administrators resign here (under duress), entertained governors-elect here, celebrated graduates and local heroes.  E. J. Halling, for whom the recital hall is named; Ted Paul, for whom this theatre is named; and Lowell and Nadine Andreas, for whom the studio theatre is named—I’ve known and worked with them all, and am humbled to have my name connected to the places that honor them.

I requested that today there not be a series of speeches about me, but rather that we celebrate the building, that we hear a few selections from the current folks who live and work here; our concert pianist, our concert choir performing music composed by our choir conductor (a piece I dearly love), some elections from the current theatrical production, and especially the impromptu theatre faculty quartet singing “No One is Alone” from my favorite musical, “Into the Woods”—a play demonstrating that though we wander alone through a life of magic forests and often feel forsaken, none of us ever is really alone—there is always some “other” and for the most part it is a community or collaborative enterprise.

In the arts so much is done by collaboration.  In this building dedicated to the performing arts, there is a rich heritage of students and faculty and staff working together to produce moments that touch our hearts and give us context for our emotions.  I’m honored to have my name attached to a building in which that kind of working together will go on and on, to produce evidence that “no one is alone” here because this is a place of community.

It’s the most beautiful building on campus—I’ve thought so from the day I arrived—and although my office as both professor and dean was in another building, this building holds so many of my memories and illustrates my thoughts about higher education and about life.  I’m thrilled to have this 44 year old building carry my name, because I know what extraordinary things have happened here, and what extraordinary things are yet to come.

Thank you, and thank you all for coming today and for supporting our students.

Jane F. Earley
Dean Emerita, Minnesota State University, Mankato