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Martin earns CoSIDA Academic All-District recognition

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director

COLUMBIA, Mo. ­– Stephens College senior midfielder Anna Martin has been named to the 2015 CoSIDA Academic All-District Women's Soccer Team, announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) on Thursday.

Martin is one of 51 soccer student-athletes named to the College Division Academic All-District® teams, comprised of NAIA, Canadian and two-year schools. As a first-team selection for District 3, Martin will be placed on the CoSIDA Academic All-America® Team ballot, where first-, second- and third-team All-America honorees will be selected on Thursday, Nov. 19.

Martin becomes the first Stephens soccer player to receive Academic All-District honors, while joining a small group of Stars who have been presented with the prestigious award, an honor which recognizes the nation's top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom.

Other SC student-athletes to be named CoSIDA Academic All-District include Jessica McConnell in 2014, and the trio of Ashton Mixer, Emily Park and Andie Young in 2012.

"Anna is as dedicated and passionate of a soccer player as I've ever had the privilege of coaching," head soccer coach Xander Kennedy said. "It comes as no surprise to me that the focus extends to her classroom endeavors. I cannot think of a more deserving individual to be recognized in this way – she really personifies the notion of student-athlete."

A strategic communication major, Martin has demonstrated the rigorous balance of academics and athletics working as the Creative Director of Creative Ink, while appearing in 13 soccer matches and starting in 11 of them as a senior.

Carrying a 3.73 cumulative grade-point average, Martin has collected several honors in her career including two AMC Academic All-Conference awards and a Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete award in 2014. She is in line to receive both awards again in 2015.

Athletically, the Florissant, Mo. native has played in 44 career contests for the Stars at both defense and midfield. Martin finally broke through on the stat sheet this year when she delivered a shot top shelf at Faith Baptist Bible for her first career goal.

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Veteran actor, Stephens alumnus hosts casting workshop for students

Acting in front of a video camera is no different than acting on a stage, veteran actor, director and Stephens alumnus Mark Taylor told theatre students last week.

Taylor, a member of the Stephens College Board of Trustees, hosted a series of casting workshops on Friday and Saturday.

Students had the opportunity to audition for a television commercial, comedy show and television drama using cue cards from actual programming.

Taylor split students up into two groups—those auditioning and those reviewing the auditions.

“On one side they’re getting experience of working an audition, and on the other side they’re hearing and seeing what it’s like to make the casting decisions,” Taylor said.

For many students, it was the first time performing in front of a camera. Cue cards proved a little distracting, and students said they were surprised when reviewing the footage to see how their eye movements and facial gestures translate on screen.

Although students were critical of themselves, Taylor praised their performances, saying in one round of auditions, they would have all received callbacks.

It was high praise. Taylor has an extensive acting and directing career. He’s been in “High School Musical 2,” “Honey I Shrunk the Kids,” and ”Arachnophobia.” He’s been on numerous television shows, including a reoccurring role on “Boston Legal,” “The Practice” and “Melrose Place.” He’s also a director, writer and producer.

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Seniors to showcase signature dances at October concert

Senior dance majors have choreographed their own personal stories and ideas into original pieces that will debut at the Senior Dance Concert later this month.

The dances were inspired by life, death and memories of home. There’s also a number that’s perfect for the Halloween season. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 30-31 with a 2 p.m. matinee on Nov. 1 at Macklanburg Playhouse. [Tickets.]

For Katy Johnson, choreographing her number has been an emotional process. One of her dances is a tribute to her father, who passed away unexpectedly during her freshman year of college. The dance, set to Julia Kent’s “Last Day in July,” will feature soft movements and simple costumes and the music features subtle water sounds reminiscent of her dad’s love of fishing. It’s a poignant piece that will likely require tissues.

Johnson’s second number, "Discombobulated," has an entirely different feel and is a fast-paced exploration of sound and movement.

Destiney Lockhart’s piece, “Warriors,” explores her journey over the past three years at Stephens. Wearing camouflage, seven dancers, including Lockhart, will portray strength and persistence through movement. Her second piece, “Effects of You,” is inspired by Fantasia Barrino’s “Side Effects of You,” and also represents Lockhart’s own life.

Savannah Blocker’s choreographed take on “Alice in Wonderland” has been three years in the making.

“I’ve been thinking about it since I saw the senior dance concert my freshman year,” she said. “They put so much effort and heart into their pieces. Now it’s my turn to step up my game because now freshmen are watching me.”

The dance, "Revenge of the Red Queen," is a Tim Burton-inspired twist on the beloved classic and will feature all of the main characters. Expect Alice, the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts to dance out the story with an unexpected ending.

The dance concert will conclude with a large number from Tiara Saddler inspired by the Chicago house music she grew up on. She said the piece, "Taste of Chicago," is a signature piece that fully showcases her personality.

Attendees can expect to be transformed.

“I want audience members to feel like they’re partying with us,” she said. “I’m bringing Chicago to Missouri.”

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Filmmakers talk funding at third annual Citizen Jane Summit

When Mo Scarpelli and Alexandria Bombach were in the midst of making their film about life in Afghanistan, they met with a person willing to help finance the last stages of the project.

The potential donor had just one condition: The entire film would need to be re-edited to tell a different version of the story.

“We turned down a big chunk of money to keep control,” Scarpelli told a crowd at the Citizen Jane Summit yesterday.

Scarpelli joined veteran filmmaker Alison Bagnall Standefer, director of “Funny Bunny,” and actor and filmmaker Catherine Dudley-Rose, director of “Parallel Chords” for the third annual summit, which kicked off the Citizen Jane Film Festival. Scarpelli’s film, “Frame by Frame,” debuted at South by Southwest and is the opening night film for CJFF. It starts at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Missouri Theatre.

Funding was a hot topic at the summit, which drew about 100 people and was recorded by She Does Podcast for an upcoming episode.

Scarpelli, a University of Missouri graduate, and Bombach essentially funded their film piece by piece. In the early stages, Bombach sold her car to finance a two-week trip to Afghanistan. That allowed them to get enough footage to create a trailer and raise money through an online Kickstarter campaign. The film has received critical acclaim and the filmmakers are currently negotiating distribution rights.

Standefer shared a similar story of having to sever ties over artistic differences. She acknowledged her films might not appeal to everyone but it’s important for her to create movies that matter to her. It’s like sending “smoke signals” into the air to see who else out there gets it, she said.

Asked for advice for future filmmakers, all three agreed that the most important thing is to stay true to the story, even if it means saying “no” to potential funders.

“You have to do what you want to,” Standefer said. “Life is short. Your job is to share with the world your story.”

“Believe in yourself,” Dudley-Rose added, “and commit to the story that moves you.”

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Death of print? Not at annual Spook-a-Thon creative writing event

By Senior Emily Cross

Kitiara McGuire glanced at her smart phone from behind the pulpit—a perfectly symbolic move as she donned a costume dubbed “Death of Print,” which was comprised of shredded pages and oozing ink.

Media might be changing, but printed word was alive and well last night at Sigma Tau Delta’s annual Spook-a-Thon, a celebration of scary stories, the Halloween season and the English/Creative Writing program at Stephens.

Costumes this year were as elaborate as ever. Haley Coburn dressed as Bilbo Baggins, the protagonist of the J.R.R. Tolkien classic “The Lord of the Rings,” snagging first place in the costume contest. Erika Westoff’s fawn witch costume earned second place. Other costumes included Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Marty McFly (just in time for “Back to the Future” day) and Olaf from “Frozen.”

Associate Professor Kate Berneking Kogut took her costume to another level. She dressed as a birdwatcher and observed the entire event through a pair of binoculars.

She remained in character when it was her turn to read. Following a spooky reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic, “The Raven,” Kogut performed a dramatic reading of the National Audubon Society’s description of a common raven, earning her a standing ovation.

Spook-a-Thon is just one of several events on campus that happen annually around Halloween. Earlier this week, Tri Sigma hosted its annual haunted tour of campus, a fundraiser for the Robbie Page Memorial Fund. Next week, Mortar Board will host the annual Safe Trick-or-Treat for children in the community. The event is 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday in Lela Raney Wood Hall and is free and open to the public.   

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Guest speaker discusses Middle Eastern style to current issues class

For Hiba Jaafari, wearing a hijab is a personal choice that’s not so much about her religion as it is about being conservative.

“It’s about modesty,” she told students in Stephanie Link’s Current Issues in the Fashion Industry class today.

She wears the headscarf anywhere she might be in the presence of men who are not relatives, she said.

Jaafari is a Columbia native whose family is from Damascus. Growing up, she and her family visited Syria every other summer, helping her embrace her dual identity. A University of Missouri graduate, today, she lives in Washington, D.C.

Jaafari presented a slideshow of photos of traditional dress, as well as her street style. Jaafari mixes Western fashion such as sleeveless dresses with long sleeves and slacks to combine style and modesty.

Following a slideshow, Jaafari fielded a number of questions from students, most of whom wanted to know about using cultural and religious practices for fashion purposes.

Is it OK to wear a hijab just because it looks fashionable?

“As long as it’s not done in a negative connotation,” Jaafari said. “The point of wearing it is modesty, so if it looks cute and looks good and displays modesty, that’s great.”

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Callahan named head golf coach

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director 

Stephens College Interim Athletics Director Ray Fron announced Monday that Brian Callahan has been hired as the college’s new head golf coach.

Callahan takes over for Fron, who led the program in 2014-15 before assuming the role of interim AD. A Columbia resident since 1995, Callahan has competed in several golf tournaments in the area, including Columbia’s Francis Hagan Match Play Championship, Columbia City Championship, Gustin Club and the Missouri Amateur Championship. 

“I am excited to bring Brian aboard as the next golf coach,” Fron said. “He is an accomplished amateur golfer and has the same philosophical approach and goals that align themselves with Stephens. Brian will be an asset to both the institution and our golf program.” 

Originally from Hanover, Ill., Callahan was a varsity letterwinner in basketball and baseball and earned a B.S. in Psychology from Illinois State University. Callahan has spent 25 years in the insurance industry and currently works at Columbia Insurance Group as a quality control coordinator.

He resides in Columbia with his wife, Toby, and stepson, Zachare. His daughter, Courtney, attends University of Central Missouri.

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Ribbon cutting marks start of stable tours

The Stephens College Equestrian Center on Friday hosted a Columbia Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting celebrating the first-ever Boone County Stables Tour.

The Saturday tour allowed residents to explore the center, along with four other stables, around the county.

The event was a fundraising effort for the Boone County Historical Society and also served to educate citizens about the area’s equine history.

It’s the only stable tour of its kind in the country, and organizers hope to make it an annual event, said Chris Campbell, executive director of the historical society.

On Friday, Stephens faculty and students welcomed Campbell, Chamber ambassadors and representatives from the Missouri Horse Shows Association to campus to participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“We’re so thrilled to be part of this and to share our rich history of equestrian programming here at Stephens,” said Sara Linde Patel, program coordinator and hunter/jumper instructor.

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Scholars get behind-the-scenes glimpse of dance at Missouri Contemporary Ballet

Freshman Allie Wilson adequately summed up a group of students’ thoughts yesterday after seeing a rehearsal at the Missouri Contemporary Ballet.

“I don’t have any questions, but I do have a comment: Holy cow,” she said.

Wilson and other members of the Stephens Scholars yesterday took a walking field trip to the Columbia-based dance company, where dancers were rehearsing a fast-paced piece called “Falling.” The dance, choreographed by MCB Executive Director Karen Grundy, will be part of an upcoming performance, Poised in Flux, slated for Nov. 13 and 14.

Scholars had the opportunity to see how dance numbers are created, learning that it’s a rigorous and intense process. Each section of the dance is repeated multiple times with dancers counting out rhythms and steps to create symmetry or complementing motions.

Associate Professor James Terry, a Scholars adviser, noted that dance is a bit like an iceberg—one sees the tip while the bulk of the mass is not visible. By the time audiences see the piece, it will not be evident how much work has gone in to creating it.

Grundy started the company 10 years ago and today artists come from around the country to Columbia to audition to be part of it. Most also have other jobs not related to dance, Scholars learned.

“We definitely don’t do it for the money,” one company member said. “But it’s worth it because we love it and feel privileged to be able to hone our art form.”

The trip to MCB was one of several activities the Scholars have participated in this semester. This past weekend, they also got a tour of the Columbia Daily Tribune and its printing press led by Publisher Vicki Russell, who is also a Stephens Trustee.

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Stephens trio to perform for Dallas Alumnae Club this weekend

Three members of “A Class Act” vocal group at Stephens are traveling to Texas this weekend to perform six numbers for Stephens alumnae at the Dallas Country Club.

Allie Mgrublian, Sydney Benton and Morgan Walker will each perform a solo and also sing three numbers as a trio. Among the selections is “Up the Ladder to the Roof,” the 1970 hit single from The Supremes. The event is the Dallas Alumnae Club’s annual fundraiser.

“I’m super honored to be representing a Class Act and the School of Performing Arts,” Benton said. “And I’m really pumped because I know they’re going to love us and that they will be really encouraging.”

A Class Act is a vocal group that showcases the talents of musical theatre and vocal arts majors. Mgrublian, Benton and Walker were selected for the trip through an audition process.

It’s just another example of the types of opportunities students get at Stephens, Walker said.

“The thing I love best is that there are so many opportunities to perform, whether it’s a master class or production or recital,” she said. “Stephens has a really nice way of selecting opportunities for each student and knowing what’s going to be challenging but also reachable.”

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Students studying abroad gain courage, confidence, independence

They went to different corners of the world, but Stephens students who returned after studying abroad earlier this year share a common refrain: they’re more confident, independent and courageous women because of it.

“I’m confident about myself now, and confidence was not my strong point,” said senior Carter Grove, an integrated marketing student who took business classes in Barcelona.

Stephens offers a buffet of Study Abroad options through affiliated school, volunteer and internship program providers, as well as partnerships that allow students to directly enroll in schools abroad. Study Abroad Coordinator Lynda Baumgartner works closely with students to make sure they understand their options and helps them navigate the necessary paperwork. She also encourages them to take initiative and plan well in advance for their experiences.

Senior Tatiana Evans befriended an exchange student from South Korea at Stephens last year, attending church with her and learning the language and culture before embarking on her own study in Seoul.

The highlight of her experience was Seoul Fashion Week, where she got to watch designers, stylists, photographers and models work behind the scenes. Evans made lots of connections, which she hopes to use when applying for an internship at an English-speaking channel there. She said the internship made her realize she wants to pursue a fashion career abroad rather than in the states.

Senior Hillary Henry also studied fashion, opting for more traditional locations. She crafted a schedule that allowed her to study footwear at the Florence University of The Arts and couture at the Paris American Academy. Despite traveling solo, Henry said she quickly discovered that she’s adaptable to new situations and had no difficulties getting around.

Grove spent four months in Barcelona and admits it required her to step out of her comfort zone.

“I think this will help me in the future with my career because I will be able to try new things,” she said.

Senior Meaghan Dye also stepped out of her comfort zone when she joined students from the University of Missouri to take business classes in Italy this summer.

“It was one of the best experiences of my life,” she said, adding that she’s already signed up to return to Paris and London with the MU group over winter break.

Dye is from a small community and chose Stephens because of its size. Now, she said, she's no longer limited to thinking she can't thrive in larger cities.

“It changed my perspective and how I look at things,” Dye said. “I learned a lot about what I can do, and I can see myself living in a big city. I can definitely do it. My dreams, they can become reality, I just have to make them happen.”

Senior Livvy Runyon was part of a documentary film crew that traveled to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, through Actuality Media. She was producer on a four-member crew that created a short documentary about the work of Xela AID, an organization that seeks to empower women. The film has been accepted into the Catalina Film Festival.

Runyon said Stephens prepared her not only with production and technical skills but also with an ethical understanding of when to put the camera away.

Runyon, who has also traveled to Haiti, said the experience reaffirmed her career choice.

“It reinforced my desire to tell stories through film about other people and cultures,” she said. “It really challenged me as a filmmaker and as a person.”

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Playhouse Theatre Company to present 'Hay Fever'

The Playhouse Theatre Company next weekend is producing “Hay Fever,” considered by critics one of Noel Coward’s finest comedies.

The play explores and pokes fun at the eccentricities of the British creative class in the 1920s.

When members of the flamboyant Bliss family terrorize their weekend guests in their country home, they ultimately expose the fundamental folly of those who seek to run shoulders with the rich and famous.

Audience members can expect to be transported in time, said Director Lamby Hedge.

“’Hay Fever’ offers the Stephens College Playhouse Company a chance to tackle a sparkling period piece set in what once was the exclusive and sometimes bohemian domain of the creative class of Cookham, England, circa 1925,” she said. “Our production will be resplendent with period style costumes, period movements and dialect work, Coward’s wry sophisticated language, over-the-top comic characterizations and board physical comedy-and executive in a fast-paced high style.”

The play has five strong female roles, including the eccentric retired actress Judith Bliss, which will be played by Stephens alumna Peggy Friesen, an in-demand actress who also starred in the 2008 production of “Hay Fever” at Okoboji Summer Theatre. Additional professional actors in the cast include guest artist Timo Aker portraying the stiff diplomat looking for a weekend frolic with the Bliss daughter, Sorel, and Stephens Professor and resident teaching artist Rob Doyen portraying the patriarch, David Bliss.

“Hay Fever” starts at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 16 and 18 with 2 pm. matinees on Oct. 17 and 18. Tickets.

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Popular food/fashion designer critiques student work

Gretchen Roehrs had a hard time deciding which designs senior Cortney Sims should make reality this school year—and it’s exactly the reaction Sims was hoping for.

“I wanted it to be hard to choose,” Sims said, grinning.

Roehrs is a 2012 graduate and works as a mobile app designer at Chime in San Francisco.

On the side, she’s been making headlines with her creative food fashion designs. Roehrs’ work has been featured in magazines, and most recently, she appeared on the Rachel Ray Show.

This week, Roehrs returned to Stephens to critique senior collections and student designs. With her input and selections, students will now work to turn their sketches into garments that will be submitted to a jury for possible inclusion in the spring fashion show on campus.

Tylar Paris’s collection, Guardian, was inspired by her grandmother, whom she considers her guardian angel. Designs included red carpet-ready gowns, edgy jumpsuits and jackets featuring feathers, manipulated fabric and sequins.

“My brand philosophy is to evoke emotions,” she told Roehrs.“I want to design things that make you feel a certain way.”

Roehrs liked the collection but warned Paris not to try to create too many of the looks. “With evening wear, it’s better to make a few things really well,” she said.

When she wasn’t critiquing designs, Roehrs spoke to several marketing classes.

She advised one group to use Instagram as a way to impress employers.

“It gives employers good insight into your creative process and how you think, not just what you think,” she said. Roehrs has more than 60,000 Instagram followers.

She uses the platform to show off her food creations. The latest images include a dancer wearing a blueberry and a dress made of lettuce and radishes.

She credits Stephens for helping her think differently.

“Stephens taught me it was OK not to follow the rules,” she said. “The reason I succeeded was I decided I didn’t want to do projects exactly as is. So if there’s a project you’re not jazzed about, find a way to make it interesting.”

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Students create pink dresses for breast cancer awareness month

Students taking the Crafting Sustainable Communities design course this semester were challenged to again create wearable pink garments from recycled materials to promote breast cancer awareness.

"Breaking the Pattern" is a project the class undertakes every fall, and the designs never cease to amaze.

This year, selected dresses will be on display in the windows of Susie’s campus store at Stephens. Jennifer Zink used Chinese New Year envelopes and lotus flowers to create her skirt and top, symbolizing good health and well wishes to those fighting breast cancer.

Whitney Dixson’s piece, “The Whirl Wind” featured handmade pinwheels. Victoria Vitale’s dress, “It’s Just a Chapter” was made from torn book pages and survival stories she found online and printed. She said she wanted to show that survivors can continue to write their book and that breast cancer was just a chapter.

Students researched breast cancer and read stories of survival before beginning the design project.

“It brings an awareness about breast cancer,” Assistant Professor Maureen Lowary said. “Statistically, two of any 10 women will become victims.”

The project also requires students to learn fundamental design techniques. Some students in the class had to learn sewing and patternmaking, skills they did not have prior to the project. Others challenged themselves with materials such as etpy toilet paper rolls and seat belts. One student used tablecloth material to crochet a top.

“There’s a lot of problem solving that goes into working with non fabric materials,” Lowary said. “It creates all kinds of issues that have to be figured out along the way, and many times designs have to change when something doesn’t work.”

Some of the dresses could be selected to be featured on the runway of The Collections student designer fashion show this spring.

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Real-world experience key to event management program

Senior Carly Schooley was prepared to help coordinate special dinners and events for donors during her internship at Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, Mo., this summer.

What she hadn’t thought about was how to respond when 8,000 people show up for an outdoor production in the middle of a tornado warning.

“It wasn’t part of my internship, but it was interesting to see how the theatre responded,” she said. “I never thought about that before, but now I understand risk management.”

Being prepared for the unexpected is a key lesson in event and convention management, but not one that can be taught in a classroom. That’s why Cindy Hazelrigg, assistant professor of event and convention management at Stephens, makes sure students like Schooley get practical experience in addition to their academic studies.

“When they graduate, I want them to have a wealth of knowledge and experience enriched by not only courses but practicum experience they’ve gotten out in the community,” Hazelrigg said. “Each semester, we focus on one style or type of event, and there are always opportunities.”

Since the Event and Convention Management degree was added in 2013, students have assisted with an annual Cancer Research Center Gala, the Heart of Missouri United Way campaign, the Ronald McDonald House’s Red Show Gala and a number of private weddings and campus events.

Schooley worked in the development office during her internship at Starlight. She planned a stewardship event, helped come up with menus for dinners, helped create center pieces using photos from dress rehearsals and made sure donors received special keepsakes.

“It gave me an idea of what nonprofit work is like,” she said. “It was a great real-world experience, and my class lessons now make a lot of sense. I liked working in a development office and that side of the event world.”

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Volleyball climbs standings with sweep of Harris-Stowe

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director

ST. LOUIS – The Stephens College volleyball team got back to its winning ways as it topped Harris-Stowe State University in straight sets Tuesday evening. Several Stars had their chance to shine with 10 different players registering a kill on the night.

With the 25-7, 25-14, 25-17 victory, the Stars shifted into ninth place in the American Midwest Conference standings, just one place out of playoff contention. Stephens improved to 6-12 overall and 2-5 in AMC play, while HSSU remains winless at 0-5, 0-4 AMC.

SC set the tone early overpowering the Hornets in Set 1 with a crushing attack percentage of .765. The Stars, who won by a 25-7 margin, posted a match-high 13 kills on 17 swings with zero attack errors. Middle hitter Kerri Kircher (JR/Richmond, Ind.) paced the team with five kills and a service ace, while the senior tandem of Madison Reale (SR/Chesterfield, Mo.) and Kandace Cook (SR/La Junta, Colo.) had three kills apiece. Halan Mann (SO/Blue Springs, Mo.) also contributed a pair of kills in the set.

In the second frame, Kircher finished her night with three more kills for a grand total of eight. The junior from Richmond, Ind., had a clean night on attack with zero errors and red-hot hitting percentage of .800. Kircher's middle hitter counterpart – Shelby Johnson (FR/Nixa, Mo.) – had a productive game with five kills, while outside hitter Darby Jones (SO/Kansas City, Mo.) was efficient in her appearance with two kills and back-to-back service aces. Harris-Stowe State overcame a rough first set to hit above .000 and score 14 points in Set 2.

Despite a 4-0 run to start the third set, unwarranted errors from the Stars' lineup allowed the Hornets to stay within four points up until the 20-15 mark. Stephens finally pulled away scoring seven in the last nine rallies. Stepping up in the stretch for the Stars was Danielle Kirk (FR/Camarillo, Calif.), who had three kills and an assisted block, and Halan Mann with a kill and assisted block.

Setter Danielle Craven (SO/Kansas City, Mo.) dished out 31 assists on the evening along with two aces and six digs. On the defensive front, Taylor Edwards (JR/St. Peters, Mo.) led the team in digs with 10, registering her fifth double-digit dig performance of the season.

The Stars will end a three-match roadswing on Monday when they visit Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Mo. 

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New LaZebnik screenplay chronicles family's journey; alumna Annie Potts to portray Sherry Wyatt

Ken LaZebnik, director of the Stephens College M.F.A. in TV and Screenwriting, has released a new screenplay about the family of a Columbia soldier killed in Afghanistan three years ago.

Some 5,000 people showed up at Sterling Wyatt’s funeral in downtown Columbia in 2012 to shield the family from Westboro Baptist Church protestors. The rally became so large that most in the crowd barely noticed the small group of picketers.

The play, STERLING, chronicles Wyatt’s mother, Sherry, and her journey as a Gold Star mother.

LaZebnik, who went to high school with Wyatt’s father, Randy, said he became interested in the media’s portrayal of military after his own son, Jack, went to West Point.

“I had the sudden realization that I had stereotypes in my mind of what soldiers would be like—stereotypes inspired by my own industry in television and film,” he said. “At that point, I devoted myself to writing material that would present soldiers and their families as more fully human.”

LaZebnik said he felt compelled to tell the Wyatt family’s story after seeing news reports from the so-called “Red Wall” that formed at Wyatt’s funeral.

“Sherry and Ryan Wyatt and their son, Chandler, are remarkable people,” LaZebnik said. “Their son was a hero, but they are heroes to me, too. It’s their journey that I hope to tell.”

The Writers Guild Foundation is presenting a benefit reading of STERLING starring Stephens alumna Annie Potts in the role of Sherry Wyatt. The reading starts at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at WGAW headquarters in L.A. The reading is being directed by Stephens alumnus Mark Taylor. Proceeds will benefit the WGA Foundation’s Veteran Writing Workshop.

LaZebnik said he would love to someday produce and film the story in Columbia, “but at this point that is a goal for the future.”

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Stanfield, Valentine propel Stars to second place at H.W. Wright Classic

FORSYTH, Ill. – After running in larger meets for its first two competitions of the season, Stephens College cross country scaled back and participated in the H.W. Wright Classic on Friday at Forsyth Park. The field was comprised of just three teams including Millikin University, the host institution.

Navigating their first 6K course of 2015, the Stars took second place behind Millikin. The sub-30 minute performances by Brittany Stanfield and Julie Valentine was plenty to push the Stars past Blackburn College, the other competitor in the field.

Stanfield finished first among SC runners with a time of 29:47.80 and was 10th overall behind nine Millikin University athletes. Julie Valentine also clocked in under 30 minutes with her time of 29:53.40. The junior from Portland, Ind., has made giant strides from last year, shaving off more than 1 minute and 20 seconds from her 6K mark at the Maryville Cross Country Open (31:17.80).
The next pack of Star runners consisted of Juliana Hitchcock and Fey Chavez, who placed 14th and 15th respectively. Hitchcock crossed the finish line at 31:50.90, while Chavez was nearly 30 seconds behind with a time of 32:17.00.

Rounding out the Stephens competitors were Melissa Brereton (17th), who had a career best time of 35:42.10, Emily Hatfield (22nd) at 40:32.40 and Lyubov Sheremeta (23rd) at 40:33.80.
The Stars will be back in action next weekend at the Gary Stoner Invitational, which is hosted annually by Central Methodist University in Fayette, Mo. The meet is set to start at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10.

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Exhibit shows Hollywood's influence on fashion throughout the decades

Blockbuster movies have powerful influence over culture and society, oftentimes sparking trends and shifting pop culture.

A new exhibit in the Historic Costume Gallery at Stephens College this fall will explore Hollywood’s imprints on fashion.

“Reel to Real: Hollywood's Influence on American Fashion” opens Oct. 16 and runs through Dec. 13.

The show will include information explaining which films inspired which looks, show curator Sheryl Farnan said. The show begins with Hollywood’s Golden Age in the 1930s and features a white organdy gown with large ruffled sleeves and puffed shoulders—the iconic dress Joan Crawford wore in “Letty Lynton.”

“Joan Crawford had an athletic, almost boyish figure,” Farnan said. “By giving her a silhouette with large shoulders it gave the illusion of an hourglass.”

Macy’s department store sold more than 50,000 replicas of the so-called “Letty Lynton” dress nationwide.

Also on display will be an example of the slinky white satin gown made famous by Jean Harlow in “Dinner at Eight,” and an embellished coat mass produced after Bette Davis wore one following her transformation in the movie “Now, Voyager.”

In the 1950s, Elizabeth Taylor was making her mark on fashion, portraying a young socialite in the movie “A Place in the Sun.” She wore a strapless bouffant gown with a full tulle skirt that was adopted as the official attire of proms and beauty pageants around the country. Similar dresses will be among the exhibit.

Other fashions on display will include cocktail dresses inspired by “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Russian-inspired pieces that came out after the release of “Doctor Zhivago,” examples from the mod look that followed “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and colonial Dutch-inspired safari fashions inspired by “Out of Africa” in the 1980s.

The most contemporary garment in the exhibit will be an example of the structured, polka-dot dress made popular by “Pretty Woman.”

“That movie really helped tone down the looks women had been wearing throughout the 1980s,” Farnan said. “It took us out of the 70s and 80s for a softer sophistication.”

The gallery is located on the mezzanine in Lela Raney Wood Hall and is open Thursday evenings and from noon to 3 p.m. on weekends.

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Peterson’s golden goal leads Stars to first-ever AMC victory

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director

An infusion of youth continues to push the Stephens College soccer program to new heights. On Tuesday, the Stars defeated St. Louis College of Pharmacy 2-1 in overtime for their first win in the American Midwest Conference. In addition to the AMC feat, the Stars improved to 4-6-1 on the season and surpassed their previous best for wins in a single season.

Freshmen Martha Noelker and Megan Peterson found the back of the net Tuesday afternoon, with the latter delivering the golden goal in the 96th minute.

The path hasn’t always been easy for Stephens, which reinstated its varsity soccer program in 2012. Prior to Tuesday’s triumph, the Stars had lost 34 out of 35 AMC contests and registered its first draw in league play against Central Baptist one week ago.

Early on, St. Louis College of Pharmacy led the battle in scoring opportunities, but was unable to convert. The Eutectics registered two shots on target in the first 20 minutes along with a shot in front of the goal that was blocked by Bridget Teixeira.

Stephens beat STLCOP to the punch in getting on the scoreboard when Martha Noelker registered her 11th goal of the season. Beginning with a pass from Sarah Vitel, Noelker followed up a deflected shot on goal from captain Dani Wilson and punched it in at the 29:39 mark.

Following the goal, both teams were quiet on the offensive front. The Stars went into halftime with a 1-0 lead.

The Eutectics evened the match at 1-1 in the 53rd minute with a fluke goal. Into the wind, STLCOP’s Emily Nickels chipped the ball up in the air and watched it descend at the perfect angle over SC goalkeeper Jordan Mayle.

Stephens and St. Louis College of Pharmacy both had their chances to put the game away in regulation, but came up empty. It marked the second time in four matches that the Stars were headed to overtime.

Nearly six minutes passed in OT before a shot was taken and it was worth the wait. While taking the ball up the sideline, Megan Peterson decided to cut inside and had open field in front of her to take the shot. Peterson placed it upper 90 off the crossbar and into the net before the team celebration ensued.

The Stars will look to make it three wins in a row when they travel to take on Lincoln Christian, a team they beat 11-1 on Saturday (Sept. 26). While in Illinois, Stephens will also visit Rockford College on Oct 2 at 10 a.m.

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Sophomore takes championship at St. Louis Charity Horse Show

Sophomore Gabby Zimmermann won the Adult Shatner Western World Championship Finals at the St. Louis Charity Horse Show this past weekend.

“There were a lot of great horses out there, and honestly, I didn’t even think that I would win,” she said. “So when that moment came, it was amazing, probably one of the happiest moments in my life. As I sat there, all I could think about was how hard and how long I have worked for this moment and the fact that it was there was astonishing!”

Although Zimmermann competed as a private owner and not as a Stephens student, she said the College prepared her for the show.

“My experience at Stephens College has pushed me to be not only a better student, but also a more confident, focused and well-rounded rider,” she said. “Going into the class, I was prepared because Stephens has taught me to always be prepared for whatever may come.”

Stephens did not compete in the St. Louis Charity Horse Show, but students did attend to see the show and support Zimmermann, said Sharon Marohl, stable manager.

Additionally, Kelly Hulse, assistant professor of saddle seat, presented a scholarship to an incoming student at the show.

Stephens equestrian students are currently preparing to compete in the American Royal in Kansas City in November.

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Soccer Stars steamroll Lincoln Christian, 11-1

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Stephens College soccer team had some offensive success as it cruised past Lincoln Christian University on Saturday, 11-1.

The game was part of Welcome Home Family and Friends Weekend and marks the second time this year the Stars have scored 10+ goals, the first coming against Faith Baptist Bible in the season opener. With the blowout victory over Lincoln Christian (4-4), the Stars moved to 3-6-1 on the season to tie last year’s win total.

Freshman point leader Martha Noelker, who registered a hat trick against Columbia College on Tuesday and set a single-game record for goals, one-upped her mark with a new program best of four goals against the visiting Red Lions.

Noelker put the Stars on the scoreboard first with a one-timer in the sixth minute of play. Defender Lex Rinehart extended SC’s lead in the 12th minute off a Sierra Thibault corner. Deflecting off Noelker’s foot, Rinehart blasted a shot to the lower right and scored her first career goal.

Defensively, the Stars did a great job of keeping LCU sharpshooters Abigail Crockett and Rachel Johnson in check. Entering Saturday’s match, the duo had accounted for 38 of the Red Lions’ 44 goals on the season. Midfielder Abigail Crockett, who ranked first in the NAIA in goals scored (27), was limited to one and scored Lincoln Christian’s only goal of the day in the 18th minute.

Martha Noelker recorded her second goal of the day (26:43) from the right wing and delivering a shot off the right post into the back of the net. Just one minute later, Allie Wilson got in on the scoring action. Beginning with a cross from Megan Peterson and a header from Dani Wilson, Allie capped off the sequence with a header of her own to put the Stars ahead 4-1.

Stephens scored once more before halftime to take a 5-1 advantage into the break.

The potent offensive attack carried over into the second period as the Stars scored a barrage of goals in a seven-minute span. Another reoccurring theme was selfless play by the entire SC squad as the team registered 10 assists on 11 goals. Dani Wilson, Megan Peterson and Sierra Thibault each dished out a pair of assists.

Similar to the first half, Martha Noelker got the scoring started. Freshman teammate Megan Peterson dribbled around a defender near the goal line and made the extra pass to Noelker to finish the play off and earn her second hat trick in three games.

After missing on a few attempts in the first half, Kenna Mattison made sure that wasn’t the case in the second. In fact, Mattison scored back-to-back goal in three minutes.

For Mattison’s second strike, teammate Allie Wilson swiftly made her way through the box and could have snuck one past the keeper, but an unselfish pass allowed Mattison an easy and wide-open goal.

Noelker scored her fourth and final goal in the 58th minute on a header after relentlessly following her first shot. At the 65:30 mark, Gerica Curry followed suit with a goal off her own rebounded shot attempt.

Long after the game had been determined, Megan Peterson put the finishing touches on the Stars’ 11-1 victory with an unassisted goal in the 73rd minute.

Stephens will look to take its momentum into Tuesday’s AMC tilt with St. Louis College of Pharmacy. The home match is set for 4 p.m. at Cosmo Park Soccer Complex, Field #4.

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Spirit Rally, Parade kick off Welcome Home Family and Friends Weekend

Welcome Home Family and Friends Weekend is off to a great start as parents, siblings, relatives, alumnae and loved ones gather on the Stephens campus.

The event started with the first-ever Spirit Rally and Parade on Friday afternoon.

The Stephens Starlets competitive dance team led a crowd in cheers before freshman Paitra Babb, sporting the Stephens Star mascot, led the group on a parade from the residential quad to the President’s Home for a reception. Mortar Board won the parade float competition with their wagon celebrating local women leaders.

Today, there are special presentations on campus before everyone gathers for a campus BBQ and movie back at the President’s Home this evening.

Families are also encouraged to check out "Clybourne Park" at Macklanburg Playhouse at 7:30 p.m.

The College expanded upon its annual family weekend this year to include all members of the Stephens community and family, said Ada Gallup, director of programming and student leadership.

“We wanted this to become a larger celebration of Stephens College,” she said. “It’s off to an amazing start and we’re looking forward to our all-campus gathering this evening.”

Events will conclude on Sunday with a Stars softball double-header at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the American Legion Park in Columbia.

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Children's school gets glimpse into lives of Columbia firefighters

Students at The Children’s School at Stephens College got a real-life glimpse into the life of a firefighter today when the Columbia Fire Department got an emergency call and had to leave a presentation at the preschool. 

The firefighters pledged to come back if they could, but they needed to head to the scene of an incident. Children rushed to the window to wave as the fire truck, with its sirens on, sped away.

The preschool this week is studying emergency vehicles. Although there was no time to get a peek inside the fire truck, the students did have a chance to interact with a firefighter in full uniform.

Firefighters can seem a little scary if you’re not familiar with them. Fire crews promised the kids that they were the good guys, even when wearing complicated headgear and making funny breathing noises through a mask.

The lesson demystified the firefighter uniform, ensuring the youngsters will have had seen a firefighter before in the case of a real emergency at their own homes.

The Columbia Fire Department also recruited the children, saying in case of a fire at their houses, firefighters would rely on them and their family members to report any missing relatives or animals.

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Havig receives College honor

Longtime faculty member and current curator of the Stephens College archives, Dr. Alan Havig was honored today at an all-campus ceremony celebrating the history and future of the College.

President Dianne Lynch announced the creation of the Alan R. Havig Award for Distinguished Service, which will be presented periodically to an individual whose contributions to the College have had a lasting and significant impact.

"We are establishing this award in Alan's honor to recognize him for all he has done for Stephens,” Lynch said. "It is a tribute to hisextraordinary service, not only as a revered faculty member but as the College's longtime archivist. Thanks to Alan, the College has been able to capture and retain its rich and important history."

A Minnesota native, Havig has been a fixture at Stephens since 1966 when he joined the faculty after earning a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri.

During his more than 40-year tenure, he taught history and social studies, served on the Searcy House Plan faculty, chaired the Dorothy Martin Endowed Scholarship Committee, was an elected member of the Curriculum Committee, was a faculty sponsor of the Student Government Association and for decades has served as the unofficial historian of Stephens College. Havig received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1985 and again in 1994, the Distinguished Adviser Award in 1990 and the Governor's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2002. He continued to teach through 2005 and was popular among students.

On online rankings, students dubbed him “awesome,” saying they loved his class and that he "knows everything you ever wanted to know about Stephens and the world."

"I loved the class and he's awesome, subtly hilarious," wrote one student who took Havig's 19th Century American History course. "I wish I could take another one of his courses"

Havig is also an author. He published an illustrated history of Columbia in 1984, a book about Fred Allen's Radio Comedy in 1990, and a history of Shelter Insurance Company in 1995. He also completed "A Centennial History of the State Historical Society of Missouri" in 1998.

Havig oversees the Stephens archives in the basement of Tower Hall, where he assists faculty and staff needing historical documents. "We're lucky to have Alan as the gatekeeper of our history and records," Lynch said. "This award will ensure that his legacy at Stephens will be remembered for generations to come."

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'Once Crazy' to debut at Citizen Jane Film Festival in Columbia next month


After years of working behind the scenes at the Citizen Jane Film Festival, LeeAnne Lowry ’15 will be one of the stars of the festival this year.

Lowry’s short, “Once Crazy,” will be screened as part of the Ms.ouri Made program at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25, at the Blue Note.

“It’s the perfect festival to start the festival circuit with,” Lowry said. “It’s poetic to end up essentially premiering the film there.”

Citizen Jane Film Festival is Oct. 22-25 on and around the Stephens College campus. The complete schedule and ticket information can be found here.

Lowry and a crew of mostly Stephens students worked on “Once Crazy” in 2014. The 14-minute film centers on a man, portrayed by actor Santiago Vasquez, who is in solitary confinement.

The prison has placed a telephone in his cell that allows a psychologist to call in and check on him—although he cannot make calls out.

When an old woman mistakenly calls the number believing she’s telephoned her grandson and will not be convinced otherwise, the two develop a relationship. Eventually, the prisoner begins believing he is, indeed, a businessman with a kind grandmother.

The film is a psychological thriller that will leave audiences questioning reality.

The film was also selected to be screened at the Kansas International Film Festival in Lowry’s hometown, Overland Park, in November.

“That was a big deal because we didn’t submit it; they asked for it,” Lowry said.

She said film organizers there called “Once Crazy” “Kafka-esque,” referring to Franz Kafka, author of dark short story, “The Metamorphosis.”

Additionally, the film was selected by the Miami Independent Film Festival as a monthly pick, meaning organizers of the main festival in March will review it.

Although not yet shown to wide audiences, “Once Crazy” was screened at the Senior Film Showcase at Stephens last semesters. Lowry said viewers have told her the film made them nervous.

Lowry is no stranger to making uncomfortable films. Last year, she filmed a classmate having her eyebrows shaved off.

The one-minute short has since been accepted in the Eyecatcher International Film Festival in Oklahoma.

“I’ve shown the film to a few people and it made them really tense,” she said. “I wasn’t trying to make any sort of cultural statement, but in film, we go for emotional reactions. So if it provokes thought about beauty, fashion or cultural norms, that’s great.”

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Thompson's short to be screened at first-ever Diamond in the Rough Film Festival

Assistant Professor Chase Thompson’s short film, “Flat Black,” will be screened this weekend at a new festival in Cupertino, Calif.

The first-ever Diamond in the Rough Film Festival is hosted by Bluelight Cinemas and will showcase more than 30 independent films from 10 countries. The festival received nearly 1,300 submissions.

“With 50,000 movies being made each year, too many wonderful films get lost,” the Diamond in the Rough website says. “We felt it was our job to find them and give them a theatrical screening.”

Thompson said it was a perfect fit for his film.

“Flat Black” focuses on a Mid-Missouri legend that began circulating in the 1990s. Two brothers claim to have seen a 9-foot-tall giant who drove through their field. When they confronted him, they reported that the giant spoke in a strange language and said he was from the future sent to look for something buried on the property.

“This work of fiction is based on a real rural legend that many locals recall to this day,” Thompson said. “I’m thrilled that the team at Diamond in the Rough Film Festival selected this story as one of its inaugural festival films.”

Thompson is currently wrapping up work on his fourth short, “Grandma Vs. The Woods,” which documents his grandmother’s incredible survival story.

He is also working on a feature film through the Master of Fine Arts in TV and Screenwriting at Stephens.

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Annual Write Like a Pirate Day at Stephens has academic component, too, matey

There were plenty of “arghs” and “mateys” being bantered around in Firestone Baars Chapel today, but “Write Like a Pirate Day” has a serious component, too.

The annual event—which corresponds with the national “Talk Like a Pirate Day”—serves as a way to get students to loosen up when it comes to writing.

Perfection often paralyzes the writing process, Associate Professor Kate Berneking Kogut stresses at the event, sponsored by the English/creative writing program.

“Too often we focus on self-editing, and sometimes that prevents us from moving forward,” she said.

During the hour-long event today, students were challenged to team up with peers they didn't know well and create a joint story. One student wrote the start of a story, then turned that work over to another student to build upon. The idea is to promote stream-of-consciousness writing.

But there’s plenty of fun, too. In addition to using the unique vernacular, students dress up and participate in a pirate parade, waving cross-bone flags and marching around the perimeter of the sanctuary. 

They also submitted pirate-themed haikus prior to the event, and winning poems were read aloud.

This year’s winners were: Alexandra Wilson; Jasmine Clayton; Haley Coburn and Sarah Marxsen.

Erika Westhoff received a special award for long-form haiku (she wrote several back-to-back, forming a longer story).

Heather Beger earned a “pirate sarcasm” award for her haiku, which used the word “argh,” and a sentence about the assignment, to fulfill haiku requirements.

International Talk Like a Pirate Day, which is technically tomorrow, was started by two men in 1995 and became an international sensation after columnist Dave Berry wrote about it in the early 2000s.

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One Read event is tonight

Stephens College will participate in this year’s One Read, Daniel Boone Regional Library’s annual community-wide reading event.

This year’s book, “Station Eleven,” by Emily St. John Mandel, is a national bestseller that takes a look at the state of art in a post-apocalyptic world. The book revolves around a traveling Shakespearean troupe attempting to preserve pre-pandemic theatre. There are also themes of art and graphic design throughout the novel.

“The Intersection of Art and Society: A Stephens College Panel Discussion” starts with a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception featuring Tom Andes on the piano at 6:30 p.m. in the Kimball Ballroom.

The panel discussion begins at 7 p.m. with Dr. Suzan Harkness moderating. Panelists are Dr. Gail Humphries Mardirosian, Dean of the School of Performing Arts; Kate Gray, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design; and Dr. Leslie Willey, Dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies.

Prior to the reception, Gray’s exhibit, “Dual Ties: A Creative Journey—Can Art and Design Become One?” will be open starting at 5 p.m. in the Historic Costume Gallery. Gray’s M.F.A. exhibit explores the relationship between designer and artist.

The public is invited to the event, and One Read organizers expect a large turnout, so come early to get refreshments and a seat. The discussion will conclude by 8 p.m.

“With strong theatrical and art themes, we knew this was a perfect book for Stephens,” said Rebecca Kline, Director of Marketing. “We’re thrilled to showcase our faculty and their expertise at this public event.”


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'Clybourne Park' shines spotlight on disparities

The Stephens College Playhouse Theatre Company this month presents “Clybourne Park,” a story about how gentrification and white flight impacts individual families of all races.

The play, written in 2010 by Bruce Norris, essentially picks up where “A Raisin in the Sun”—a groundbreaking play about a lower-class black family struggling to gain middle-class acceptance—leaves off.

“Clybourne Park” begins in 1959 when the main characters, who are black, are preparing to purchase a home in an all-white neighborhood. White neighbors unsuccessfully try to stop the sale.

Fast-forward 50 years. In the second scene, set in 2009, Clybourne Park is now an all-black neighborhood, and residents must decide whether they are willing to allow a white couple to move in and build a new home. Discussions about housing codes quickly turn to questions of racial issues and perceived political correctness.

It’s clear underlying issues have not changed, although roles have been reversed.

And the story is as timely today as ever, guest director Linda Kennedy said.

“During these times, people try to be so politically correct,” she said. “When you try to pretend something doesn’t exist when it clearly does, you end up putting your foot in your mouth.”

She hopes the play shows that people are more alike than unalike, although on different levels in society.

She also expects the story to shine a spotlight on systematic failures that keep certain people from having the ability to get ahead.

“It’s not just about race, it’s about politicians using territory to control people no matter what race they are,” she said.

Kennedy wants students actors to get as much out of the message as audience members.

“I hope students learn that it’s OK to disagree,” she said. “You can agree to disagree. We’re all part of the human family.”

Clybourne Park begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, and Saturday, Sept. 26, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Sept. 27. Tickets.

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