For Mesa State’s theater faculty, life really is the stage
The faculty of Mesa State College’s theater department is small in number but big in personality.
There are five full-time professors and one full-time lecturer and they aspire to make the 2010–11 academic year a memorable one in the classroom and on the stage.
The void left by the summer departure of former department head Richard Cowden has been filled by Tim Pinnow, former New Mexico State University head of acting.
Pinnow isn’t as tall as Cowden and lacks the reddish-colored facial hair, but he brings his own flair for the dramatic.
To learn more about the six leaders of the largest theater group in the area, read on.
Job title and length of time at Mesa State: Pinnow was recently hired to head up the theater department and is a professor of acting and theater history.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in musical theater and psychology from Luther College; Master of Fine Arts in theater performance from University of Florida; former head of acting at New Mexico State Univeristy; former acting professor at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.
In the photo: Pinnow is a certified fight director with the Society of American Fight Directors, thus the two swords. Pinnow travels the country teaching fight scenes for plays and showing actors how to fight.
What he is up to this year: Pinnow directs “All My Sons” from April 13–16. He can be found walking around the Moss Performing Arts Center teaching and leading the department.
Ideal dinner and a movie: The dinner is a linguine tossed with crab, morel mushrooms and goat cheese followed by a white chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce. The movie is “The American President” with Michael Douglas and Annette Bening.
One play everyone must see: “Henry V” because “it has some of the most incredible poetry ever written. It’s also a coming-of-age tale, and the sheer size of the visuals and sets is just amazing.”
David M. Cox
Job title and length of time at Mesa State: Cox has been at Mesa State for 32 years. He is a professor of theater scenography (lighting, set design, etc.)
Education: Bachelor of Arts in theater arts from Mesa State; Master of Fine Arts from the University of Utah.
In the photo: Cox holds a mini-rendering of the set of “Foxfire,” which was performed at the college in the early 1980s, he thinks. Cox is depicting his involvement with scene construction and detail.
What he is up to this year: Cox is behind the scenes, leading set design for the four major shows. “Hopefully, (people) won’t see me. If they see me, something is wrong.”
Ideal dinner and a movie: Red Lobster because he likes seafood. And he liked “Inception” with Leonardo DiCaprio but confessed to watching movies with a eye more on the scenography.
One play everyone must see: “Fiddler on the Roof” because “you can take and apply that aspect with any group in the world. It’s a slice of life.”
Job title and length of time at Mesa State: Ivanov has been at Mesa State for 17 years as a professor of theater arts.
Education: Associate of Arts in theater from Manatee Community College, now State College of Florida, in Sarasota, Fla.; Bachelor of Arts Comprehensive in theater from Western Illinois University; Master of Fine Arts at Asolo Conservatory in Florida.
In the photo: The cane was used by Ivanov’s father in a comedy sketch he performed as part of the show with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The sword is from Ivanov’s first professional job in a production of “Hamlet.”
What he is up to this year: Ivanov is directing “The Drowsy Chaperone” as well as judging and recruiting future Mesa State students at November’s New Mexico One Act Play contest in Farmington.
Ideal dinner and a movie: Indian food at the Nepal Restaurant in Grand Junction. The movie is “Lawrence of Arabia” with Peter O’Toole but “only in widescreen.”
One play everyone must see: “Cyrano deBergerac” because “it is probably the greatest example of a piece of drama. It has heroes, a love story, a war and it tells those stories better than other plays.”
Jeanine A. Howe
Job title and length of time at Mesa State: Howe has been an assistant professor of theater arts at Mesa State for eight years.
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting from Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio; Master of Fine Arts in directing from Carnegie Mellon Univeristy in Pittsburgh; one-year acting apprenticeship with the Actors Theatre of Louisville in Louisville, Ky.
In the photo: Howe holds her director’s book for “Alice in Wonderland,” which occupies her time, and wore sunglasses, because that’s how she always looks. She also brought a stack of papers, as she is often doing research, and a bottle of Lipton green tea because that’s what she’s always drinking.
What she is up to this year: Howe is directing “Alice in Wonderland,” and attending a lot of arts and entertainment events around town as a member of the Grand Junction Commission on Arts and Culture.
Ideal dinner and a movie: Howe would go to the Nepal Restaurant to have Nepalese food with girlfriends and then see “Brazil” with Jonathan Pryce and Robert De Niro.
One play everyone must see: “Antigone” by Sophocles because “it is relevant to today’s societies, and it’s one of those Greek plays that deals with issues that we deal with on a daily basis.”
Job title and length of time at Mesa State: Waggoner is a 15-year professor of theater.
Education: Associate of Arts and Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts with a focus on theater arts from Indiana University/Purdue Univeristy at Indianapolis (IUPIU); Master of Fine Arts in custom design technology from Illinois State University.
In the photo: Waggoner holds a tape measure to depict how much time and work she does in the college’s costume shop.
What she is up to this year: Waggoner is “sequestered to the second floor unless I’m teaching classes.” In other words, Waggoner will be in the costume shop planning and sewing all costumes for theater performances.
Ideal dinner and a movie: Shepherd’s pie with ground turkey, vegetables, potatoes, cheese and garlic. The movie is “Profoundly Normal” with Kirstie Alley.
One play everyone must see: “Lion King” because the whole puppetry thing is just fabulous.
Job title and length of time at Mesa State: Franklin is a full-time lecturer of musical theater. He has taught at the college for five years.
Education: Bachelor of Music from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark.
In the photo: Franklin loves musical theater, thus the top hat, cane and piano. He has a booming voice and longs to take the stage.
What he is up to this year: Franklin is directing all the music for “The Drowsy Chaperone,” he is directing “Oklahoma!” and he plans another one-man cabaret at the college similar to the one he performed in August. Franklin also participates in on-stage shows in the community.
Ideal dinner and a movie: He would make a decision between El Tapatio and Kuniko’s Teriyaki Grill, depending on whether he wanted Mexican or Japanese food. The movie would be pretty much anything at the Avalon Theatre, but he loves “The Girl Who Played with Fire,” which is based on the book with the same name by Stieg Larsson.
One play everyone must see: “Hair” because “it amazes me how fun, yet timely, this musical continues to be.”