Faculty and Staff

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Eric Renschler

Department Chair/Scenic Design/Associate Professor

Hughes S113
812-488-2744
er55@evansville.edu

In 2015, Mr. Renschler was named the Chair of the UE Department of Theatre, after joining the faculty in 2006 as the scenic designer. He returned to his alma mater after nearly twenty years of working on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and on regional and international productions.

His Broadway designs include scenery for Mamaloshen and As Long As You Both Shall Laugh (including a subsequent national tour and PBS special). His Off-Broadway credits include designs at the New York Shakespeare Festival, Circle Repertory Company, Pan-Asian Repertory Theatre, Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, and The Juilliard School. His regional design credits include Cincinnati Playhouse, Chautauqua Opera, Barrington Stage Company, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Adirondack Theater Festival, Hangar Theatre, and Seattle Repertory Theatre.

As an associate designer, he worked on over forty Broadway shows, national tours, and international productions, including The Color Purple, Doubt, Chicago, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Footloose, Proof, Wonderful Town, The Redwood Curtain, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

The UE Center for Innovation and Change named Mr. Renschler a 2011 Global Scholar Award-winner. He used his award to expand his experience in the international design arena with a year-long comparative study of national design aesthetics as exhibited through theatrical scenography. He is a former board member for the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana, a member of the Evansville Historic Preservation Commission, and a frequent grant reviewer for the Indiana Arts Commission.

He holds an MFA in Theatre Design from the University of Michigan and is a member of IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) and USA (United Scenic Artists).
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Sharla Cowden

Managing Director/Head of Theatre Management

Hughes S116
812-488-2747
sc75@evansville.edu

Ms. Cowden has been the Head of the Theatre Management program at UE since 2000 and coordinates the national recruiting efforts for the department and the marketing of the theatre season’s productions. At UE, she teaches Theatre Management and Principles of Arts Marketing, as well as independent studies in special topics within the field of arts management.

She served as the Managing Director of Connecticut's Hartford Children's Theatre, Marketing Associate at Hartford Stage, and worked extensively for eight seasons with the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival. She also served as the Audience Development Coordinator at the University of Oklahoma School of Drama for six years.

She is a graduate of Leadership Evansville and is regularly asked to make presentations on networking and business etiquette. In addition, she serves as the co-coordinator of the National Unified Auditions, held annually in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Ms. Cowden has a BA from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and a MFA in Theatre Management from Wayne State University’s Hilberry Theatre in Detroit, Michigan.
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R. Scott Lank

Directing/Professor

Hughes S115
812-488-2860
sl29@evansville.edu

Mr. Lank has studied acting at The Actors Center, the New York Ensemble Studio Theatre, and HB Studios. His professional experience includes major positions as actor, director, and production manager at regional theatres across the nation including the Alley Theatre, Barter Theatre, Spoleto Festival USA, Chicago Lyric, Joffrey Ballet, and the Houston Shakespeare Festival. As a director, he has had three productions selected to appear in Washington, D.C., as part of the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival.

He is the recipient of teaching awards from the University of Evansville, Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana, and KC/ACTF. He serves on the board of the National Congress of Actors and Acting Teachers at the Actors Center and is active in developing curriculum/peer review for acting programs across the nation. Mr. Lank is the recipient of national grants in playwriting, having had his work developed at the Canadian Stage Company, Toledo Repertory Theatre, the Lark Theatre, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Edward Albee Theatre Festival in Alaska.

Mr. Lank is a member of SDC (Stage Directors and Choreographers Society) and holds an MFA in Directing from the University of Nebraska.
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Chuck Meacham

Technical Production/Stage Management/Professor

Hughes S117
812-488-2752
cm53@evansville.edu

Mr. Meacham has worked in various capacities including as a master electrician, lighting designer, production manager and technical director with such organizations as the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Hope Summer Repertory Theatre, and the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival. He has been highly active with the United States Institute for Theatre Technology where he has served in the leadership of the Technical Production Commission since 2012. He is currently the Commissioner for Technical Production with USITT.

Mr. Meacham teaches classes in scenic production techniques (carpentry, welding, rigging, drafting) as well as sound design and production and stage management. Every fall, Mr. Meacham heads a team of design and technology faculty team-teaching a course on portfolio and career preparation for senior theatre students. He heads the stage management program and is the Production Manager for the Department of Theatre.

He received a BA in Theatre from Wake Forest University, after which he served there for two years as the Assistant Technical Director. He earned an MFA in Theatre Technology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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Diane Brewer

Theatre History and Criticism/Professor

Hughes S119
812-488-2369
db57@evansville.edu

Dr. Brewer teaches theatre history and dramatic criticism, serves as the department’s Resident Dramaturg, and directs text-based as well as ensemble-generated productions. An avid supporter of new plays, she has actively developed new work in venues such as Primary Stages, the Tofte Lake Center, The New Harmony Project, the Utah Shakespearean Company Plays in Progress, the Mark Taper Forum’s P.L.A.Y, and the University of Evansville.

Her dramaturgy has earned published credits in Arlene Hutton’s See Rock City and Gulf View Drive. She regularly dramaturgs for award- winning playwright Mark Rigney, whose plays, including Acts of God and Bears, have been produced in nineteen states and Canada. She is a founding ensemble member and performer with In the Mix, an Evansville-based company dedicated to the collaborative development of new work. Her work as a director is a featured subject in Deaf Side Story: Deaf Sharks, Hearing Jets and a Classic American Musical (Gallaudet University Press).

She has received the Dean’s Teaching Award from the University of Evansville and a Certificate of Merit for Dramaturgy from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Her developmental initiative has generated grants for playwriting, dramaturgy, and directing from the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, the University of Evansville, and the Illinois Arts Council. Her published articles have appeared in The Dramaturgy Protocol, The Dramaturgy Sourcebook (vol. 4), Theatre Topics, PAJ: Performing Arts Journal, and HowlRound at the Center for Theater Commons.

She earned a BA from Tufts University and a PhD from UCLA. She is a member of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and the Network of Ensemble Theatres.
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Stephen Boulmetis

Lighting Design/Associate Professor

Hughes 114
812-488-2750
sb287@evansville.edu
Boulmetis Boulmetis Personal Website

Mr. Boulmetis has experience in lighting design for television, fashion shows, cruise lines, theme parks, corporate events, and various architectural projects. His Broadway credits include Associate Lighting Designer for The Drowsy Chaperone, Assistant Lighting Designer for Ring of Fire, Whoopi, Old Acquaintance, Butley, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, and Prymate. He has worked at regional theatres such as Utah Shakespeare Festival, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Huntington Theatre Company, South Coast Repertory, American Repertory Theatre, and Westport Country Playhouse.

Mr. Boulmetis received a BFA from the University of Cincinnati–College Conservatory of Music, an MFA from Boston University, and is a member United Scenic Artists–Local 829.
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Sarah J Smith

Costume Design/Assistant Professor

Hughes 116
812-488-5868
ss662@evansville.edu

After over a decade of professional work as a costume designer, stylist, and project manager in New York City, Los Angeles, and regional theatres across the country, Ms. Smith brings her professional work to the classroom while continuing to pursue professional projects. Her theatre work ranges from small-scale new works to opera and Broadway musicals. Sarah has worked at Disney/ABC Television Studios, styled photo shoots for national print campaigns, and designed costumes for television.

Sarah received her Masters and BFA in Drama/Design from Carnegie Mellon University. She is a proud member of IATSE—United Scenic Artists Local 829 and Theatrical Wardrobe Union Local 764.
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Janel Miley

Voice and Speech/Acting/Assistant Professor

Hughes S103
812-488-5023
jk356@evansville.edu

Ms. Miley joined the faculty in 2018 and teaches Voice and Speech, Dialects, Acting Shakespeare, Character Study, and Fundamentals of Acting. In addition, she serves as the Voice, Dialect, and Text Coach for all UE Theatre productions.

She formerly taught at West Virginia University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Messiah College, Governor’s School at the University of Virginia-Wise, Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA. As a professional actor, Ms. Miley has performed with Shakespeare Theatre Company, Folger Theatre, Shakespeare & Company, Compass Rose Theatre, Eclectic Company Theatre, ARK Theatre, and Second Stage.

She has an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth, is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, and a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner.
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Jean Nelson

Costume Shop Manager

Shanklin Theatre 207
812-488-2790
jn50@evansville.edu

Ms. Nelson has served as the costume shop manager and taught several costuming courses at the University of Evansville since 2002. Previously, she owned and operated Town Tailor, specializing in alterations, tailoring, and custom sewing for 20 years. Also, she has worked for the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Opera, Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, Santa Fe Opera, Baltimore Opera, and Disney; she continues to spend her summers as a stitcher at The Santa Fe Opera and Guthrie Theatre.

Ms. Nelson has an AA in theatre and business from Austin Community College, a BA in family and consumer science from Mankato State University, and an MA in Design, Housing, and Apparel from the University of Minnesota in St. Paul.
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Adam Rager

Assistant Technical Director

Shanklin Theatre 108
812-488-5124
ar355@evansville.edu

A native of Mt. Vernon, Indiana, Mr. Rager joined the department in 2017 and oversees all scenic construction and supervises students in the day-to-day operations of the scene shop. A graduate of the University of Southern Indiana, with a B.S. in Theatrical Arts, he has extensive experience with the New Harmony Theatre in technical direction, carpentry, and company management.

Mr. Rager also served as Technical Director for Long Island’s Gateway Playhouse, North Carolina Dance Theatre, and the Albany Berkshire Ballet. Most recently, he worked on the national tours of ELF, DAMN YANKEES, PAW PATROL LIVE, and the 20th anniversary tour of SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE.

Locally, he has designed scenery for Evansville Civic Theatre and Think Pink Productions and is a proud member of IATSE Local 102.
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Amelia McClain

Visiting Assistant Professor Theatre

812-488-5028
am99@evansville.edu

Ms. McClain is serving as a guest artist for the 2018 Fall semester and teaches freshman and sophomore acting classes and senior-level audition techniques. She just finished a Broadway run as Sandra in The Play That Goes Wrong. Also on Broadway, she worked on Fool For Love, Noises Off, The Heidi Chronicles, The House of Blue Leaves, and the Tony Award-winning Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike. Amelia has been in over 20 productions off-Broadway and in regional theatres across the country. Her favorites include October/November at Ensemble Stage Theatre in New York, Brooke in Noises Off at Arena Stage in Washington, DC, and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet at the Pioneer Theatre Company in Utah. If you don’t blink, you can catch Amelia in the film Inside Llewyn Davis, written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen.

She received her BFA from the University of Evansville in 2003 and an MFA from the graduate acting program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
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Wes Grantom

Visiting Assistant Professor Theatre

812-488-5029
gg23@evansville.edu

Mr. Grantom is serving as a guest artist for the 2018 Fall semester and teaches directing, as well as directs the October musical production of Spring Awakening. His recent directing credits include beep boop, by Richard Saudek, at Ars Nova, A Comedy of Tenors, by Ken Ludwig, at Pioneer Theatre Company, Older Brother's Almanac, by Richard Thieriot, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Toxic Avenger: The Musical, by David Bryan and Joe DiPietro, at Pittsburgh CLO, Lone Star Spirits, by Josh Tobiessen, NYC’s Crowded Outlet, Eager to Lose, by Matthew-Lee Erlbach, at Ars Nova, The Steadfast, by Mat Smart, and Mine, by Bekah Brunstetter, for Slant Theatre Project.

He has a number of Broadway credits as resident and associate director, working alongside James Lapine, Emma Rice, John Rando, Anthony Page and Rufus Norris. Mr. Grantom has also directed productions and facilitated workshops at several academic institutions such as University of Evansville, Montclair State University, New York University, Kean College, Centenary College, Professional Performing Arts School, Stella Adler Conservatory, and the Lee Strasberg Institute.

He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, recipient of multiple Drama League Fellowships, a member of Lincoln Center Directors Lab, a 2003 graduate of the University of Evansville, and the Artistic Director of Crowded Outlet, based in Queens.
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Lindsay Halbig

Dance and Movement/Adjunct Instructor

812-488-2592
lg29@evansville.edu

Ms. Halbig began her dance training at the age of 3 and developed a love of ballet at The Ballet Center under the direction of Mark Bush in Evansville, IN. While there, she had the opportunity to perform in several ballet productions including The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Snow White, The Red Shoes and other Original Works. It was during this time that she began integrating Pilates conditioning into her dance training, as well as attending a summer intensive worship with David Howard.

She began instructing students at Jan’s School of Dance after graduating from high school and while pursuing her B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Evansville. In 2011, she expanded her instruction to include several classes at Bob’s Gym in Evansville including Pilates, Group Centergy and Burn at the Barre. She continues to perform and choreograph with Legacy Dance Company in Evansville.
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Dana Taylor

Theatre Education/Adjunct Instructor

812-488-2563
dt83@evansville.edu

Mr. Taylor teaches music and theatre at the Mt. Vernon Senior High School Fine Arts Academy in Mt. Vernon, Ind. In addition to teaching, he is the technical theatre editor for Dramatics Magazine and Teaching Theatre Journal.

In 2011, he was named recipient of the Founder’s Award by the Educational Theatre Association and in 2014 received the Distinguished Achievement Award for Education by the United States Institute for Theatre Technology.

Mr. Taylor received his BME and MM degree from Indiana University.
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John David Lutz

Acting/Director/Professor Emeritus

jl24@evansville.edu

After 53 years, Mr. Lutz is the longest serving faculty member in the history of the University of Evansville. After serving as Department Chair for 31 years, he continued to teach courses in acting and directing until 2018. His first play to direct as a member of the UE faculty was Tennessee Williams’ Summer and Smoke. He directed over 30 productions at UE.

During UE’s 38 years of participating in KC/ACTF, 32 productions were invited to perform at regional festivals—with an 18-year uninterrupted streak of regional appearances. Mr. Lutz directed 24 of those 32 productions, and R. Scott Lank, directed the other eight. Additionally, eight UE productions were invited to the national festival, six directed by Mr. Lutz and two directed by Mr. Lank.

In 2007, by special invitation, the UE production of The Comedy of Errors was one of the Kennedy Center’s contributions to the “Shakespeare in Washington” celebration. Lutz has also directed at regional theatres and the Off-Broadway premiere of Between Daylight and Boonville, by Matt Williams, a UE alumnus.

A few of his awards include: 1982 University of Evansville Medal of Honor, 1984 KCACTF Gold Medallion, 1987 Berger Award for Outstanding Creative Artist, 1994 Evansville Mayor’s Arts Award for Arts Educator of the Year, 1995 Indiana Governor’s Arts Award for Arts Educator of the Year, 2005 Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana’s Mayor’s Arts Award, 2007 induction into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre, 2012 KCACTF Outstanding Career Achievement in Directing, and 2014 University of Evansville Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.

Mr. Lutz graduated in 1964, from what was then called Evansville College. He earned an MA from the University of Denver and returned to UE in 1965 as an instructor and technical director. He later earned an MFA from the University of New Orleans.
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Joseph P. Flauto

Designer/Professor Emeritus

jf33@evansville.edu

Before retiring in 2008, Mr. Flauto served as the department’s Scenic and Lighting Designer for 30 years. He played vital roles in the renovation of of Shanklin Theatre and the construction of the May Studio Theatre and shop expansions. Active in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for many years, he has had numerous designs appear at regional and national American College Theatre Festivals, including Anatomy of Gray, which was invited to appear at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. His set design for UE’s production of The Comedy of Errors was seen as part of the city-wide Shakespeare in Washington Festival in April of 2007.

Since Mr. Flauto retired from UE, he has designed over a dozen productions, including sets for a production of Skin of Our Teeth at Hope College and costumes for a new play, Bud, Not Buddy at the University of Michigan-Flint.

Mr. Flauto is also active with UE as the President of Friends of Art, a Theatre Society member, and a member of a committee that organizes monthly lunches for the University’s Emeriti Faculty. He also continues to regularly teach at Harlaxton College in the summer.
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Patti McCrory

Designer/Professor Emeritus

pm4@evansville.edu

Retiring in 2017, Ms. McCrory taught and designed at the University of Evansville for 29 years. She has also designed and taught at Indiana State University, the University of California Los Angeles Summer Intensive, Indiana Repertory Theatre, and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

She regularly spends summers teaching in England at Harlaxton College and spent a month drawing at the Italia Accademia, in Florence. She received her BA from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, her MA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and joined United Scenic Artists in 1990.

Under the mentorship of Ms. McCrory, students from the University of Evansville have succeeded in garnering regional and national awards for their costume and make-up designs. For many years in a row, an Evansville student won the Kennedy Center American College Theater Region III’s award in make-up or costume design and advanced to the national competition. In addition, two of those students received the national award in make-up design and one student received the national award in costume design.

In addition to receiving the 2004 KC/ACTF National Design Fellowship, Ms. McCrory received the 2010 Region III Faculty Service Award for Indiana, and the Gold Medallion Award for extraordinary contributions to the teaching and producing of Theater. Other awards include the Dean's Teaching Award and the Arts Educator of the Year Award from the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana.

In 2016, she exhibited in Designs for the Theatre and Life: An Exhibit, a collection of set, costume, and lighting designs, at the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana. As a Professor Emeritus, she is teaching cooking classes and baking, with menus inspired from culinary experiences abroad.

She has two unimaginably handsome and talented twin boys and one amazingly talented daughter in law that live in Los Angeles and New York City.
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Christia Ward

Speech and Voice/Acting/Professor Emeritus

cw46@evansville.edu

For 18 years, Ms. Ward taught Voice and Speech, Dialects, Acting Shakespeare, Audition, Character Study, and Fundamentals of Acting. In addition, she served each University of Evansville theatre production as Voice, Dialect and Text coach. Ms. Ward has performed professionally as an Equity actor at the Dallas Theatre Center and Stage #1 in Dallas, at Victory Gardens and Mary-Archie Theater in Chicago.

She was an actor at the New Harmony Project for five years and originated roles in Mauritius by Teresa Rebeck, Mad City by Meredith Stiehm, and See Rock City and Gulf View Drive by Arlene Hutton. She has done workshops with Cicely Berry, Catherine Fitzmaurice and David Smukler. She is trained in Knight-Thompson speech work, which is rapidly becoming the standard in professional acting programs.

She made her Shanklin Theatre directing debut in the fall of 2017 with William Shakespeare’s The Tempest and has directed several classroom projects, including Elemenopea, August: Osage County, and the premiere of Kill Local, by 2001 UE alumnus Mat Smart.

Ms. Ward has been honored with acknowledgement of meritorious work by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for her dialect work on Jekyll and Hyde, and her text work on The Comedy of Errors and The Winter’s Tale. Ms. Ward received her MFA in Acting from the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University.

She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and VASTA (Voice and Speech Trainers’ Association).
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Sherri Peachee

Senior Administrative Assistant

Hughes S113
812-488-2744
sp188@evansville.edu

Mrs. Peachee oversees the day-to-day operations of the main office, coordinates prospective student visits, and serves as the clearinghouse for internal and external questions pertaining to the Department of Theatre. She serves as an ex-officio member of the UE Theatre Society Board of Directors and facilitates communication on behalf of the executive committee.

Office Phone:
812-488-2744

Office Email:
theatre@evansville.edu

Office Location:
Room 106, Hyde Hall