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OU Helmerich School of Drama Faculty & Staff

Seth Gordon

Director, Helmerich School of Drama
Professor 

sethg@ou.edu

Seth Gordon received his BFA and MFA from Carnegie Mellon University and is in his second year as Director of the Helmerich School of Drama. Previously, he served as Associate Artistic Director at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and the Cleveland Play House, and Associate Producer at Primary Stages in New York. In St. Louis, he created Ignite!, a new play festival; at the Cleveland Play House, he created FusionFest, a multi-disciplinary arts festival that had a new play festival in it; and at Primary Stages, he created the New American Writers Group. He has directed plays at these three theatres, at Stages Repertory in Houston, TheatreSquared in Fayetteville, AK, Shakespeare and Company in Massachusetts, Syracuse Stage, the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival, the St. Lou Fringe Festival, Studio Arena Theatre in Buffalo, American Stage in Florida, and in New York, at Ensemble Studio Theatre, Theatre of the New City, and countless other places. He directed the Arabic premiere of Our Town in Cairo. He received the 2004 and 2006 Northern Ohio Live award, the 2014 Houston Theatre Award, and numerous nominations by the Houston Theatre Awards and the St. Louis Theatre Critics Circle Awards for his direction. He considers himself a lucky man. 

Dr. Joe

Assistant Professor - Voice & Speech
dj@ou.edu

PhD University of Texas at Dallas
MA University of Texas at Dallas
BS University of Massachusetts at Amherst

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Technical Director
Design and Production
jbaldwin@ou.edu

MFA  Indiana University
BS.Ed Missouri State University

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Adjunct Instructor - Performance
nbartell@ou.edu

Nicholas Bartell is a first year Adjunct Instructor teaching Introduction to Acting and Scene Study for the Actor. Since graduating in 2009 from the Peggy Dow Helmerich School of Drama at the University of Oklahoma, Nick has made theatre education in the OKC Metro Area his career focus. Notable education credits include six years as an acting instructor for The Sooner Theatre, four years of public school teaching (Jackson Middle School, Longfellow Middle School), six years as Camp Director for Oklahoma Shakespeare's Young Company Theatre Camp, and three and a half years as Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma's Director of Secondary Education where he was able to accumulate experience in administration, scholarships, musical theatre direction, and database management. From 2012-2018 Nick served as the Vice-Chairman of the Namron Players Theatre where he helped produce original works, 24 Hour Play Festivals, performed, and helped grow the non-profit theatre company started by his wife Sarah King Bartell. Nick also enjoys contributing to the theatrical community as a dialect coach for Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma and The University of Oklahoma, assisting teachers through professional development, teaching private lessons, and offering his skills as a Dungeon and Dragons Dungeon Master for students to show off their creative minds. Nick has lived in Norman since the 6th grade (with one year in North Carolina for the '00-'01 school year) and loves nothing more than calling Norman his home. He lives with his wife, Sarah, and their two cats Hisagi and Fred. Need a recommendation for shopping or eating local? Nick's your guy!

 

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Charge Scenic Artist
Design and Production
sblock@ou.edu

Sophie Block (She/Her/Hers) is currently in her second year as the Helmerich School of Drama’s Charge Scenic Artist. Sophie received her BFA in Theatre Arts, emphasizing in Scenic Art and Design, from Southern Oregon University. While studying in Oregon, Sophie trained with Emeritus Instructor Sean O’Skea from Cobalt Studios, and worked as a Teaching Assistant for the Masters of Theatre Studies at Southern Oregon University. She has also worked with the Oregon Cabaret Theatre (Ashland, Oregon), The Collaborative Theatre Project (Medford, Oregon), and Summer Rep Theatre Festival (Santa Rosa, California). Sophie believes that clear communication and a strong sense of responsibility are integral to successful theatre and creating a safe learning environment. She works to empower her students with the knowledge and problem-solving skills that will make them an essential member of any company. On the weekends, Sophie enjoys traveling, spending time with her houseplants, and visiting the public library.

 

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Stitcher
Design and Production
stephanie.a.cirar-1@ou.edu

MFA University of Oklahoma
BS University of Oklahoma

 

Lloyd Cracknell

Associate Professor - Costume Design
lloydcracknell@ou.edu

MFA University of Oklahoma
MA St. Martins School of Art, London
BA Nottingham Trent University

university of oklahoma logo

Professor Emeritus - Theatre History
david.h.fennema-1@ou.edu

PhD Indiana University, Bloomington
MA University of Wisconsin, Madison
BA University of Wisconsin, Madison

university of oklahoma logo

Instructor - Acting for the Camera
chrisfreihofer@ou.edu
FreihoferCasting.com

Chris Freihofer (BFA University of Oklahoma) has worked in the film industry for over 25 years as primarily an actor and casting director. He has appeared on television in such series as Breaking Bad, Prison Break, and Friday Night Lights and in, among others, three films written and directed by Tim Blake Nelson. He will appear in 3 films set for release in 2021. As the owner of Freihofer Casting, he has cast projects for Oscar winners Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorcese, Terrence Malick, Cameron Crowe, Tom McCarthy and Andrea Arnold, and first-time filmmakers Paul Dano and William H. Macy. He has cast for major studios like Paramount, Apple, Warner Brothers, Netflix and Amazon, as well as production companies like A24 and Plan B. He has also cast well over 1,000 commercials for such products as Nike, Gatorade, AT&T, American Airlines, Walmart, McDonald’s and even had a national commercial for Kia during the 2020 Super Bowl broadcast. He has cast a film in dramatic competition at the Sundance Film Festival for three consecutive years, including the 2020 Grand Jury and Audience winner Minari. He has been an active member of SAG-AFTRA since 1999, and is Oklahoma’s only member of the Casting Society of America. With the booming film industry in Oklahoma, Freihofer Casting is now typically involved in 10-15 feature film productions per year.  

university of oklahoma logo

Properties Director
Design and Production
mglaser@ou.edu

This is Margot’s (She/ Her/ Hers) second year working with OU Drama. She received a BFA: Design Emphasis from Texas Christian University in 2013 and an MFA in Scenic Design from University of Oregon in 2016. Previously she worked with Oregon Contemporary Theatre in Eugene, OR as a Properties Master and served as the Resident Properties Designer at The Phoenix Theatre Company in Phoenix, AZ.  Her ultimate goal as an instructor and mentor is to provide students with tools to analyze and think critically in an environment where they feel they can safely take risks to expand upon their believed limitations. She also hopes to provide them with a broader awareness of just how much awe and knowledge there is for them to explore in life. She believes theatre is built on rich traditions and influences that are important to know, but that openness and willingness to investigate new technology and ideas are equally important. In her free time, she enjoys exploring all Oklahoma has to offer with her two dogs and getting to better know her vibrant community. 

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Assistant Technical Director
Design and Production
alexanderisaacs@ou.edu
alexanderisaacs.com

Alex is in his 4th year of working for the Helmerich School Of Drama.  He graduated from Texas State University with a BFA in Theatre in 2017, and has also worked with Zilker Theatre productions and Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre (UFOMT). 

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Master Stitcher
Design and Production
amy.j.kercher-1@ou.edu

 DR. KAE KOGER

Professor Emerita - Theatre History and Dramaturgy
2015 Rothbaum Presidential Professor of Excellence in the Arts
akoger@ou.edu

PhD University of Michigan
MA University of Michigan
BS University of Evansville

Jessica Slusser

Adjunct Lecturer - Voice and Diction
kathryn@okshakes.org
okshakes.org

Kathryn McGill is the Executive and Artistic Director for Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park.  Kathryn has both a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting and directing from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Fine Arts in acting from New York University. She co-founded Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park (OSP) with the late Jack O'Meara in 1985. She has directed over 50 productions for OSP including Twelfth NightThe Merchant of VeniceRomeo and JulietHamletJulius CaesarRichard IIIMacbethAs You Like ItCyrano de Bergerac and Much Ado About Nothing.  She has also directed The Rivals for Oklahoma City University, Spitfire Grill for the University of Central Oklahoma and co-founded the Detroit Women's Shakespeare Project and played the title role in their production of Henry V.  She is a recipient of a Governor’s Arts award from the State of Oklahoma, the Harry A. Perry II Award for Non-Profit Leadership from the Executive Service Corps of Central Oklahoma and the Michi Susan Award for contributions in the arts from the Paseo Arts Association. She currently teaches at Oklahoma City University in the Master of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership Program.

Jessica Slusser

Adjunct Instructor - Directing and Departures from Realism
ashley.monroe-1@ou.edu

BFA University of Oklahoma

ashleybrookemonroe.com

 

Jessica Slusser

Operations Manager
jessmorris@ou.edu

BBA University of Oklahoma

 

Alissa Mortimer

Associate Professor - Performance
alissamortimer@ou.edu

MA Washington University, St. Louis, MO
BFA University of Oklahoma

 

 

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Costume Studio Director
Design and Production
stephanie.l.orr@ou.edu

MFA  Indiana University
BFA   University of Oklahoma

tom huston orr ou school of drama director

Professor - Performance
James Garner Chair
thorr@ou.edu

MFA University of Texas, Austin
BFA Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX

 DR. JUDITH PENDER

Professor - Performance and Directing
Performance Area Coordinator
2007 Rothbaum Presidential Professor of Excellence in the Arts
jmpender@ou.edu

PhD University of Georgia
MFA University of Georgia
BFA Missouri State University

 CHRISTOPHER SADLER

Visiting Assistant Professor - Combat & Movement
Scott.Russell-1@ou.edu
www.scottnrussell.com
http://www.duelingarts.com/instructors/scott-russell/

Scott Russell is an AEA actor, SDC fight choreographer, and a Full Instructor/Associate Fight Director with Dueling Arts International; he currently serves as Visiting Assistant Professor at the OU Helmerich School of Drama at where he teaches Intro to Movement, Stage Movement, and Stage Combat. He is recognized as an Advanced Actor Combatant with DAI and the Society of American Fight Directors and an Intermediate Actor Combatant with Fight Directors Canada, the Society of Australian Fight Directors, Inc., the Nordic Stage Fight Society, and the British Academy of Stage and Screen Combat.  He has previously served as instructor for the Indianapolis Opera’s Resident Artist program. Scott is a graduate of The Conservatory at Act One Studios – Chicago, received his MFA from the University of Arkansas and received his BS in Biology from Belmont University.  He is also a Certified Teaching Candidate with the National Michael Chekhov Association.

 

 CHRISTOPHER SADLER

Associate Professor - Stage & Theatre Management
Theatre Minor Adviser
Curriculum Coordinator
2019 Rothbaum Presidential Professor of Excellence in the Arts
csadler@ou.edu
www.facebook.com/oustagemanagement

Associate Professor Chris Sadler has led the stage management emphasis in the Helmerich School of Drama since his arrival at OU in 2005. He teaches multiple courses in stage & theatre management and dramatic literature and is the adviser for the School's Theatre Minor. Professor Sadler holds an MFA in stage management from the University of California San Diego and a BFA from Ithaca College. A proud member of Actors' Equity Association since 1999, Chris has a successful freelancing career having been part of stage management teams for over 100 productions at theatres nationwide, including Capital Repertory Theatre, Great River Shakespeare Festival, 7 Devils Playwrights Conference, the National Playwrights Conference, PCPA Theaterfest, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, La Jolla Playhouse, Theatre Rhinoceros, California Rep, Portland Stage Company, Great Lakes Theater, Berkshire Theatre Festival, the Hangar Theatre, and for seven seasons, was Production Stage Manager at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. Additionally, Chris participates with the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival as a stage management respondent at regional festivals since 2013 and was National Stage Management Coordinator from 2014-18.

 

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Assistant Professor - Scenic and Digital Media Design
uldarico@ou.edu

MFA University of Missouri, Kansas City
BFA University of Oklahoma

www.uldaricodesign.com

 

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Visiting Assistant Professor - Dramaturgy and Theatre History
kshermeyer@ou.edu
https://www.kellishermeyer.com/

Dr. Kelli Shermeyer is the Visiting Assistant Professor of Dramaturgy and Theatre History, and she’s brand new to OU. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Virginia, where her research focused on global anglophone drama and critical theory. She’s also a theater director and freelance dramaturg. Kelli’s book project, Ecologies of SufferingTragedy in the Anthropocene, explores how the structures of tragic drama enable dramatists to articulate the consequences of colonial and ecological trauma and to imagine vital forms of solidarity that extend into the more-than-human world. Her writing can be found in PAJ: A Journal of Performance and ArtThe Journal of Contemporary Drama in EnglishThe Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, and various other places around the internet and in print. She also co-convenes the Ecology & Performance Working Group for the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR). She has won grants to study the work of twentieth-century literary managers in London and Dublin. Kelli’s favorite recent projects include The Wolves and The Electric Baby (as director), and She Kills Monsters and Sweat (as production dramaturg). She has also worked with the American High School Theater Festival/International Collegiate Theater Festival to help schools and universities stage their productions at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Kelli teaches courses in dramaturgy, playwriting, and dramatic literature in the School of Drama.

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Associate Professor - Lighting and Sound Design
rlsprecker@ou.edu

MFA  University of Missouri, Kansas City
BA Greensboro College

www.richardsprecker.com

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Master Electrician
Design and Production
estehl@ou.edu

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Adjunct Instructor - Scene Study for the Actor
artisticdirector@thepollard.org
thepollard.org
d20tocurtain.com

W. Jerome Stevenson is thrilled to join the OU family in his first year as adjunct faculty. Jerome serves as the Producing Artistic Director for the Pollard Theatre Company with over two decades of experience in professional theatre. A graduate of Langston University, Stevenson has established himself as a diverse theatre artist displaying his talents as an actor, director, designer, and teacher. A strong advocate for diversity in theatre, Jerome has garnered critical praise for his direction of both plays and musicals of the American stage including Crowns and 21 Chump Street (Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma), The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-Time (Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre), Fences (University of Central Oklahoma), Dinner with Friends, Godspell, La Cage aux Folles, The Diary of Anne Frank, In The Heights, To Kill a Mockingbird, and American Idiot. Jerome acting credits including Thomas B. Collins in RENT, Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple, Adam in Someone Who'll Watch Over Me, Billy Flynn in Chicago, Othello in Othello, Dr. Martin Luther King in The Mountaintop, Prospero in The Tempest, The Narrator in Passing Strange. Jerome is a proud member of Actors Equity Association and thrilled to be able to create art in Oklahoma.

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Business and Accounting Associate
cthomas@ou.edu

BBA University of Oklahoma

 

 JON YOUNG

Adjunct Lecturer - Acting for Non-Majors

MFA Kent State University
BA Columbia University
etownsend@ou.edu

https://elizabethanntownsend.com

 JON YOUNG

Professor - Scenic Design
Design & Production Area Coordinator
2016 Rothbaum Presidential Professor of Excellence in the Arts
jon.young-1@ou.edu

http://www.youngscenicstudio.com
www.facebook.com/DScenicStudio

Jon Young is a Full Professor of Scenic Design at the University of Oklahoma and a proud member of USA 829. Young is a 2020 inductee to the membership of the National Theatre Conference, a recipient of the 2016 Rothbaum Presidential Professor of Excellence in the Arts from the University of Oklahoma, and a 2015 recipient of the Gold Medallion from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Young has designed professionally for Houston Shakespeare Festival, Stages Repertory Theatre, Creede Repertory Theatre, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, Black Hills Playhouse, Unicorn Theatre, Late Night Theatre, and Coterie Theatre. Young has designed over 30 productions at the University of Oklahoma for Dance, Drama, Opera and Musical Theatre. His design for Stupid F##king Bird at Stages Repertory Theatre was published in the Summer 2016 issue TD & T. Designs for Sunday in the Park with George and The Odyssey were published in the Summer 2012 issue TD & T. His scenic design for After Juliet was invited to be a part of the World Stage Design 2009 exhibit in Seoul Korea. You can follow his work on his work on the following social media sites: https://www.youngscenicstudio.com and @youngscenicstudio 

 JON YOUNG

Cutter/Draper
Design & Production
catyost@ou.edu

Cat Yost has returned to OU for her first season as Cutter/Draper. She earned her BFA in Costume Design at OU in 2014. After graduating, she attended Penn State University and earned her MFA in Costume Technology. While in graduate school she taught several sections of Introduction to Costume Construction and earned both the PSU President's Medal of Excellence and the USITT Barbra Matera Award in Costume Technology. She then worked at Florida State University for 2 1/2 years. While there she was the Staff Draper and Associate Shop Manager, and taught Wigs and Advance Makeup for both Graduate and Undergraduates. During the summers while Cat was earning her degrees, she worked for various summer stocks including, Music Theatre Witchita, Trinity Shakespeare Festival hosted at TCU, and Glimmerglass Opera Festival holding positions such as a Stitcher, Wardrobe Assistant, Craftsartisan and Firsthand. Cat is excited to have returned to OU School of Drama, and Norman with her black belt in Taekwondo and three cats.