The Department of Theatre and Dance is proud to host numerous working professionals from across the disciplines who spend time on campus making art and guiding students artistic growth. Through this unique opportunity to interact with established theatre and dance artists, your artistic and educational experience will be deeply enriched. Below you’ll find highlights from the more than 20 guest artists who were on campus during the 2016-17 school year.
Sutton Foster is an award-winning actor, singer and dancer who has performed in 11 Broadway shows—most recently the revival of “Violet”—and originated roles in the Broadway productions of “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Little Women,” “Young Frankenstein,” “Shrek The Musical,” and her Tony Award-winning performances in “Anything Goes” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” She also stars in the TVLand series “Younger.” In the 2016-17 school year, Ms. Foster co-directed our main stage production of “Shrek the Musical” with Department Chair Bill Jenkins and also conducted performance workshops and master classes while on campus.
Michael Rafter is a composer, conductor, arranger, and musical director who has worked on numerous Broadway shows including “Swing!,” “Violet,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” and recent revivals of “Sweet Charity,” “The King and I,” and “The Sound of Music,” among others. Here at Ball State, Mr. Rafter has served for three years as the music director of the Senior Musical Theatre Capstone Cabaret, which performs each year in Indianapolis and in Joe’s Pub at the Public Theatre in New York City. He will also be musical director for the department’s production of “Damn Yankees” in the Fall of 2017.
Sidra Bell is the artistic director of the acclaimed Sidra Bell Dance New York, a company that is rapidly gaining an international profile for work that reveals aspects of the human condition through a distinctly female lens. Ms. Bell has won numerous awards, notably a 1st Prize for Choreography at the Solo Tanz Theater Festival in Stuttgart, Germany in 2011 for Grief Point. and a 2015 National Dance Project Production Award from the New England Foundation for the Arts. She has created over 100 new works, notably for BODYTRAFFIC, Ailey II, The Juilliard School, Harvard University, Boston Conservatory, and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Ms. Bell has had several residences at Ball State, most recently collaborating with dance students in the immersive learning project IMPACT 2 INNOVATION in the spring of 2017.
Steven Dietz is a lauded playwright whose 30-plus plays have been produced Off-Broadway and at regional theatres across the country, not to mention internationally in more than 13 countries. Recent plays include the Pulitzer-nominated “Last of the Boys” (produced by Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago), the Steinberg Award finalist Becky's New Car, and the Edgar Award-winning Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure. Other plays include “Fiction,” “Shooting Star,” “Inventing van Gogh,” “The Nina Variations,” “Private Eyes,” “Halcyon Days,” “God's Country,” and “Lonely Planet.” Mr. Dietz served as a guest artist at Ball State during the 2017 Discovery New Works Festival.
Tom Moore is an award-winning director whose original Broadway production of “Grease” ran for 3,388 performances. He has also directed Carol Burnett in the original production of “Moon Over Buffalo,” the premier of Marsha Norma’s Pulitzer-winning “‘night, Mother,” and many others. Mr. Moore has received Emmy nominations for directing the hit TV drama series “LA Law” and “ER,” and the comedy series “Mad About You.” He’s also directed episodes of “Gilmore Girls,” “Ally McBeal,” “Dharma and Greg,” “The Wonder Years,” “Cheers,” and “Northern Exposure,” among others. In the spring of 2017, Mr. Moore conducted directing workshops and master classes in the Department of Theatre and Dance.
Joe Deer is an award-winning director, choreographer, performer, teacher and author. He has been a part of over one hundred-fifty productions including the Broadway revival of “Guys and Dolls,” the national touring productions of “Anything Goes,” “The American Dancemachine,” and “Singin' In The Rain,” and Off-Broadway works including “Rainbow and Subway Series.” Mr. Deer is also a prolific author, most notably of “Directing In Musical Theatre: An Essential Guide,” and the definitive textbook on its subject, “Acting In Musical Theatre: A Comprehensive Course.” Mr. Deer was a guest artist during the 2017 Theatre Education Week, teaching master classes and mentoring Theatre Education students.
Rachel Hoffman is a casting director with the New York casting agency Telsey and Company. Ms. Hoffman has cast numerous Broadway and touring productions, including “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Come From Away,” “An American in Paris,” “First Date,” “Hands on a Hardbody,” “Bring it On: The Musical,” “Memphis,” and “The Sound of Music” (revival).