OU Fine Arts News
Vince Leseney Awarded for Excellence in the Arts at OU
Dec. 2018- Nationally recognized soloist, actor and professor Vince Leseney, has been awarded the 2018 Irene and Julian J. Rothbaum Presidential Professor of Excellence in the Arts at OU Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts.
Leseney, associate professor of musical theatre, has taught voice performance at the OU Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre since 2002.
In addition to his teaching duties, Leseney has served on multiple boards and councils, most recently serving on the search committee for the director of the A. Max Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre and Dean’s Faculty Advisory Council and as a member of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art Faculty Advisory Board.
An ongoing source of pride for Professor Leseney is the continued success of his students. Many musical theatre alumni are in the workforce from Broadway and national tours to regional theatres, cruise ships and television. Leseney states, “My greatest reward is the growth of the students, both as performers and human beings.”
Leseney believes that is important to lead by example. He performs with professional arts organizations in Oklahoma and across the country . Since 1994, he has appeared in over 50 productions with Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma. He has also performed at the Kansas City Starlight Theatre and as a featured soloist for the Kansas City Symphony, the Cedar Rapids Symphony, and the St. Joseph Symphony. In 1999, he founded the Oklahoma City Philharmonic POPS Chorale.
A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Leseney earned a master of music in vocal performance from Oklahoma City University.
The Peggy Dow Helmerich School of Drama at the University of Oklahoma is one of the top 10 Bachelor of Fine Arts theatre design and technology programs in the nation, according to OnStage. Housed in the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts, the school is under the leadership of Tom Huston Orr, director and James Garner Chair. OU is the only school in Oklahoma and the only school in the Big 12 to be selected.
“We are thrilled that OU’s Peggy Helmerich School of Drama has been ranked in the top 10 nationally out of the approximately 3,000 schools of drama in the United States,” said OU President David L. Boren. “Having this center of excellence on our campus enriches the life of the entire university community,” he said. “Director Tom Orr and his faculty and staff colleagues have done an outstanding job of unlocking the great potential of our students.”
The A. Max Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre at the University of Oklahoma has been recognized as one of the top musical theatre programs in the country by American Theatre magazine. The national publication compiled a list of the top 13 colleges and universities outside the New York City metropolitan area that continually work to modify, adapt and reshape degree programs by offering unique coursework that provides students the opportunity to distinguish themselves in an ever-changing form of theatrical performance.
Both private and public colleges and universities are included in the list. In addition to OU, this year’s honorees include the University of Michigan, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and Carnegie Mellon University.
OU is the only school in Oklahoma and the only school in the Big 12 to be selected.
“This honor from American Theatre magazine confirms OU’s ranking as having one of the best musical theatre programs in the nation,” said OU President David Boren.
Housed in the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts, OU’s A. Max Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre offers students conservatory-style training within a dynamic liberal arts university environment. As the only school of musical theatre in the country, and with alumni performing on Broadway, in national tours, at regional theatres, and throughout Europe and Asia, it has become identified as one of America’s premier musical theatre programs.
“We are very excited to have been named as one of the top programs in the country. I am so proud and honored to be working with such talented and dedicated faculty and staff that provides our students with consistently top notch education,” said the school’s interim director, Harold Mortimer, Ph.D. “Our amazing alumni serve as incredible ambassadors for the school, and we couldn’t be happier for them and the successes of our current students.”
The degree curriculum is designed to provide students with the tools for success both on and off stage. The program offers courses that range from singing, acting, dancing and performing to liberal arts classes, intended to broaden students’ critical thinking and knowledge. It is one of the very few university programs in the nation that provides students an opportunity to be in the same cast with professional Broadway actors in brand-new productions. Students also have opportunities to study musical theatre techniques abroad in Europe and South Africa.
OU has one of the oldest comprehensive colleges of fine arts in the Great Plains states. In addition to its musical theatre program, the university also has highly regarded schools of music, musical theatre, drama, art and dance, and programs in opera and sculpture.
American Theatre’s complete list of the nation’s top 13 musical theatre programs can be found at www.americantheatre.org/2017/01/04/not-only-in-new-york-13-musical-theatre-programs-outside-of-manhattan/.
More information about OU’s A. Max Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre can be found at musicaltheatre.ou.edu.
The OU Symphony Orchestra, one of the most exciting collegiate ensembles in American universities today, performed to a full house in Houston’s Wortham Theater Center on April 1, 2019.
The orchestra has gained attention for its sell-out performance in Dallas’ Morton H. Meyerson Center, as well as for hosting the 4x4 Prizes for Composers and Conductors. The ensemble performs regularly at the University of Oklahoma, playing a wide repertoire of orchestral and operatic music.
The OU Symphony is conducted by Music Director Jonathan Shames, who is also Director of Orchestral Studies and Artistic Director and Conductor of OU Opera Theater at the University of Oklahoma.
Guests at the Houston concert enjoyed the following:
Hector Berlioz Roman Carnival Overture
Anthony Brandt Making Perfect
Leonard Bernstein Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
Johannes Brahms Symphony No. 1 in C Minor
The Elsie C. Brackett Theatre, formerly the Rupel J. Jones Theatre, opened with the Tony Award-winning musical Ragtime on Oct. 15, 2015, with a dedication of the newly renovated theatre at the University of Oklahoma.
The theatre is named in honor of the late Elsie Corrine Brackett, who lent her beautiful voice to church choirs in Tulsa and Bartlesville and whose love of musical theatre show tunes filled the family home with music.