When the chair of University of Wyoming’s music department, Theresa Bogard, interviewed for a position at the university 24 years ago, she was told the department would be getting a new building “soon”. Now, nearly a quarter of a century later, the newly renovated performing arts center is finally here. But before the renovations, conditions were bleak.

Riot Act, Inc.

The next big name in sketch comedy could have its roots in Wyoming.

This Saturday, September 19, the Jackson-based theatre company Riot Act, Inc. will hold a sketch comedy workshop with hopes that participants will go on to form a comedy troupe of their own. The workshop is open to all levels of writers and actors.

University of Wyoming Cultural Programs


Late next month the fall 2015 season of Cultural Programs at the University of Wyoming will get underway with a September 29th performance of Huun Huur Tu, Tuvan throat singers. It’s an extremely diverse schedule that wraps up in April. University of Wyoming Director of Cultural Programs and Director of Fine Arts Outreach Janelle Fletcher told Bob Beck that they are doing some new things.  

This weekend and next, Laramie-based theater company Relative Theatrics is debuting seven new plays by Western playwrights. Earlier this year, director Anne Mason requested submissions, expecting to receive only a handful of applicants. Instead, she was sent over 20 scripts. Seven made the cut.

Four Shakespeare plays open next week in Laramie as part of the University of Wyoming's Shakespeare Project. Then, they’ll all fan out across the state on tour. (See below for locations.) The plays are staged in the signature style of Actors From The London Stage—just five actors and minimal props. One of the plays coming to Wyoming is a professional production. The other three are University of Wyoming student productions, directed by Actors From The London Stage.

Relative Theatrics

In the year since its founding, Laramie-based theatre company Relative Theatrics has made a name for itself with numerous Wyoming premieres. For its size, Laramie has plenty of theatre offerings, thanks in large part to the University of Wyoming. But Relative Theatrics founder and director Anne Mason says her company's growing success comes partly from its commitment to contemporary plays.

Laramie-based Relative Theatrics is raising money for a new production through the crowdfunding website IndieGoGo. Anne Mason is the founder and producer of Relative Theatrics. She tells Wyoming Public Radio's Caroline Ballard that many people don't realize the hidden costs that figure into a community theater's budget.

For the first time, Laramie’s Snowy Range Summer Theatre is doing a touring show. ‘Swingtime Canteen’ is in Laramie June 19-21 and 26-28 (opening night is free to the public). In between, the show will travel to Riverton on June 22, Rock Springs on June 23, Lander on June 24, and Dubois on June 25. Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer spoke with the director, Leigh Selting.

One of classical music’s most famous pieces is not normally performed the way the composer conceived it. But next week (Nov. 19-24), the University of Wyoming is staging Carmina Burana the way Carl Orff intended—with dancers and actors alongside the orchestra and chorale. That’s 150 performers onstage at once. Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer spoke with UW dance professor and choreographer Lawrence Jackson.

The 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play makes its Wyoming debut this week.

RED, by John Logan, is the second production for Laramie-based theatre company Relative Theatrics. The two-person play centers on a major commission New York painter Mark Rothko received in the 1950’s. It explores the line between commercialism and artistic integrity through the relationship between Rothko and his assistant.

Director and Relative Theatrics founder Anne Mason says it’s remarkable for a small company to snag a major contemporary play.

Playwright William Missouri Downs says Ayn Rand’s rational, objective philosophy helped him through college. But in Downs’ newest play, certainty is lacking. Writer and philosopher Ayn Rand is put on trial, and the audience is the jury. Wyoming Public Media’s Micah Schweizer spoke with William Missouri Downs.

Nicole Madison's musical roots came from her father, who played a major part in the development of the Mississippi River Festival at Southern Illinois University in her home town of Edwardsville, Illinois.  You can download her songs on iTunes.