| Robert Westenberg |
Chair / Associate Professor of Theatre
Robert Westenberg joined the Drury University Theatre faculty after a lengthy commercial career that included work on Broadway and Off-Broadway, in regional theatres, national tours, television, and film. He is perhaps best remembered for his roles in the original Broadway casts of Into the Woods as the Wolf and the 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. Other Broadway credits include Javert in Les Misérables and Niko in Zorba for which he received the Theatre World Award.
While known for his work in musical theatre, he has also appeared in numerous plays and classical works, including Shakespeare, in theatres around the country. Mr. Westenberg is a graduate of Fresno State University and holds an M.F.A., studying at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco and ultimately graduating from the National Theatre Conservatory in Denver.
He is the director of The Broadway Cabaret and also directed The Drowsy Chaperone and Enron last season. This past summer he directed Les Misérables at Springfield Little Theatre.
Drury University faculty member since 2005
|Dr. Robin Schraft |
Professor of Theatre
A graduate of New York University, Dr. Schraft works in the areas of directing, acting, theatre management, and lighting and sound design. His commercial career includes work as a director, designer and stage manager in New York, summer stock, national tours, and Branson. He has spoken on design at theatre conferences throughout the United States and Canada. He is an active member of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, having served for many years as the Vice-Commissioner for Computer Applications for the Lighting Commission of the Institute. He also served on the committee that wrote the current national recommended practices for stage lighting graphics.
He has performed with the Springfield Ballet as a guest artist in their production of The Nutcracker, appearing as Drosselmeyer. His production credits include lighting and sound design for the Springfield Regional Opera's production of A Little Night Music, directing and lighting design for MSU Tent Theatre and Southwestern Summer Stage in Texas. He has also served as a design consultant in Branson. Last year he directed Doubt and designed lighting and sound for The Drowsy Chaperone and scenery for She Stoops to Conquer. The production of Copenhagen that he directed was selected to be performed at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival regional festival in Omaha, Nebraska, in January 2008.
Drury University faculty member since 1991
| Dr. Michael Sokol |
Associate Professor of Theatre
Mick Sokol holds a Ph.D. in Theatre History from the University of Georgia, an M.F.A. in Playwriting from Southern Illinois University, and a B.F.A. in Theatrical Design from The University of Florida. Dr. Sokol teaches a wide variety of courses at Drury, specializing in Theatre History and Playwriting. Of the many productions he has directed, designed or written in his eleven years at Drury, Dr. Sokol notes The Dining Room and Vegetables as his favorites. His passion for producing new scripts helped create the Evening of New Plays and Short and Funny, two venues for the performance of unpublished plays here at Drury.
Drury University faculty member since 2001
| Madison Spencer |
Assistant Professor of Theatre
Madison Spencer was born and raised in the Kansas City, Missouri metro area. Upon graduating from the University of Kansas with a B.F.A. in Theatre Design she moved to Los Angeles, California. Within a year and a half of arriving in Los Angeles she was working as a Costumer for film and television projects. Madison worked on such popular and critically acclaimed television series as The West Wing, NYPD Blue, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She also costumed for film including Charlie's Angels and Spiderman 2. She is a member of Motion Picture Costumers Local 705.
Madison received her M.F.A. in Scenography with Honors from the University of Kansas.
Madison has numerous costume design credits including Little Shop of Horrors, The Drowsy Chaperone, A Flea in Her Ear, Doubt, and The Odd Couple. Her directing credits include Rumpelstiltskin, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Plaza Suite, and She Stoops to Conquer.
Drury University faculty member since 2011
| Dr. Ruth Monroe |
Emeritus Professor of Theatre
Dr. Ruth Monroe, a graduate of the University of Minnesota, specializes in history of theatre and directing. In addition to working with college and university theatre, she has directed for Northwestern Iowa Opera Company and has participated in workshops with Paul Sills and Arthur Lessac. She has observed work in acting and directing in professional theatre schools in Moscow and Warsaw.
Dr. Monroe's current research includes theatre and drama in 17th century England and an examination of the possible connection between the American fascination with musical theatre and the Puritan ban on theatre but acceptance of many forms of music as entertainment.
Drury University faculty member since 1976
| Polly Brandman |
Polly Brandman began training in classical ballet in Toledo, Ohio, where she danced with Toledo Ballet Company. She also studied modern dance and developed a profound interest in body mechanics and kinesiology. After completing a B.A. in French and Classical Languages (University of Toledo) and an M.F.A. in Dance with a Concentration in Choreography (University of North Carolina at Greensboro), she arrived in Springfield in 1979 to become Artistic Director of Springfield Ballet. She left in 1985 and was on the faculty at Missouri State University and performed as a guest artist with Mid-America Dance Company of St. Louis. With Tracy Maxfield and Beckah Reed she co-founded Wishbone Dance Theatre, a modern dance company that performed in Springfield and toured in the Midwest. In addition, Polly is a licensed massage therapist and a certified instructor of Youn Wha Ryu martial arts and Tai Chi Chuan.
| George Cron |
George Cron has directed productions at almost every venue in town, including The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), The Glass Menagerie, As You Like It, The Odd Couple, and Tuesdays with Morrie. He has acted professionally on stage, film and television. Springfield audiences saw him perform in Misery at the Landers for Springfield Little Theatre and last January in The Seafarer at Springfield Contemporary Theatre. You will also be able to see him as Sheriff Bignall in the movie Broken Faith to be released later this year. His company, A Class Act Productions, produces the very successful parodies of Star Trek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer every month at the Canvas Art Gallery. Mr. Cron coaches acting privately and takes great pride in the accomplishments of his students, many of whom now work professionally in NYC, LA and Chicago. He continues to be an emeritus member of Love Creek Productions in NYC.
| Michelle Willadsen |
Michelle Rose Willadsen graduated from the University at Buffalo with a B.F.A. in Dance Performance and Choreography. She has worked with master teachers from the Martha Graham Dance Company, Jose Límon Dance Company and Paul Taylor Dance Company. Michelle has been teaching dance for over thirteen years for programs such as Dance Masters of America, the University at Buffalo, the Royal Academy of Ballet, Masquerade Dance, Rainbow Dance, and for several dance programs in New York and Missouri. Michelle has been seen as a soloist for both Buffalo Contemporary Dance and Zodiaque Dance Companies. Her performing credits include Costa Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruise Lines and regionally in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, Celebrate America, The Road to Rock, and Dino's Christmas Extravaganza. Her choreography has been showcased at the Alley Way Theater and the Elmwood Arts Festival in Buffalo, New York and several theaters in Branson, Missouri. She is the founder of "Artists In Action" designed to help bring the arts together for positive causes. Currently, Michelle is the artistic director of Mid West Dance Revolution.
| Mark Needelman |
Mark Needelman grew up in Miami, Florida. He had formative technical theater experiences at Miami Dade Community College, the Miami Shakespeare Festival, the University of Florida and Asheville Community Theater. He has worked as a scenic carpenter, lighting technician, costume shop assistant, and crew supervisor. He received his BFA in Sculpture at the University of Florida. He was also a member of the University of Florida Dance Company. He enjoys the creative process of bringing ideas into physical form on the stage.
| Jan Blue |
Academic Department Secretary
Box Office and Marketing Manager
Jan Blue joined the Drury Theatre Department in the fall of 2006. Her love of theatre began in high school when she performed onstage as Helen, a pathologically mute woman being stalked by a vicious killer, in the classic thriller The Spiral Staircase.
Jan serves as the Box Office and House Manager and acts as the primary liaison between the theatre department and our patrons.
Rebecca Yi holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre with costume emphasis from Missouri State University. Previously she has worked as a Costume Shop Assistant for the MSU Department of Theatre & Dance as well as two seasons of Tent Theatre. Past credits for MSU include scenic design for Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) and costume design for For Colored Girls who Have Considered Suicide… When the Rainbow is Enuf.
| Beth Falukos |
Musical Director / Conductor / Pianist
Beth Falukos grew up in Springfield, studying piano with Joyce Minasian. Her first experience accompanying was as an 11-year-old playing the organ for services in a small Lutheran church. As a teenager she substituted as organist at St. George's Church in Tunis, Tunisia, where her family lived for three years. Upon returning to the States she continued developing her skills accompanying theatrical productions, choirs, small instrumental ensembles, and soloists.She completed her nursing degree at St. John’s School of Nursing in 1995.
Beth has been involved with music programs in area churches for the past 23 years and has worked as rehearsal and performance accompanist for the Springfield Regional Opera. Beth is a homeschooling mom of five and teaches piano in addition to accompanying The Broadway Cabaret.
| Josh Inmon |
Director / Choreographer
Josh Inmon holds degrees in Communication and Theatre from Missouri State University. He is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Theatre from Missouri State, where he also holds a graduate assistantship at Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts.
Josh's choreography credits include productions of The Drowsy Chaperone, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, The Rocky Horror Show, as well as the regional premiere of Evil Dead: The Musical. As a performer, Josh's credits include The Music Man (Tommy Djilas), Curtains (Bobby Pepper), Cats (Rum Tum Tugger), Annie Get Your Gun (Tommy Keeler), as well as recent productions of 9 to 5 and 42nd Street at Tent Theatre. This season, Josh's work includes directing and choreographing Drury's production of Curtains, choreographing Nathan Shelton's latest project, Night of the Living Dead, as well as musically staging Les Misérables for Springfield Little Theatre.
Additionally, Josh co-directs and choreographs Springfield Little Theatre's Y.E.S. Troupe and youth performance troupes, as well as choreographing PFI's industrial events.
| Stephanie Weddell |
Graduate Assistant / Grant Administrator
As Grant Administrator for the Drury Theatre Department, Stephanie is responsible for fundraising efforts through grant applications, ad sales, and donor relations. Stephanie also works as the Arts Administration Graduate Assistant and is studying for her Masters in Communication with an emphasis on nonprofit organizations. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Arts Administration and Theatre from Drury University. Her work in the Drury Theatre Department included stage managing several productions such as The Hypochondriac, Twelfth Night, She Loves Me, Company, and Broadway Cabaret. Stephanie was also the director of the Reader’s Theatre Production of Assassins and the one-act play The Problem. Additionally, Stephanie works for local arts organizations such as the Springfield Regional Opera and the Springfield Contemporary Theatre. Her latest work was as the stage manager for Avenue Q at the Springfield Contemporary Theatre.