A national theatre blog puts the UW-La Crosse Theater Arts Department center stage in Wisconsin — and one of the best in the country.
OnStage Blog says UW-L has the best theatre program in Wisconsin in listing the top programs in all 50 states.
OnStage editors say identifying top college programs begins with finding those doing “amazing things and giving their students fantastic preparation for their various industries.”
The OnStage lists were researched and compiled by a committee of students, educators, parents and alums. All degrees within the programs were adjudicated including both performance, design and technology, as well as direction, writing, and any other areas of training. Factors taken into consideration were quality of faculty, variety of curriculum, facilities, career support, performance opportunities, scholarships, among others.
Professor Joe Anderson, chair of the department, isn’t surprised by its high marks. He says department faculty have quickly pivoted during COVID-19 to continue hands-on teaching while practicing safety.
Most theatre classes have been taught using a hybrid model, which has required faculty to be creative, particularly when teaching courses that focus on performance and movement, voice, singing, and technical design.
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Rehearsals were also redesigned for flexibility and safety. Productions this spring are being fully rehearsed and performed via Zoom — a completely new style and technique for faculty and students.
“Our top priority in the classroom and during rehearsal has been to keep students engaged, as well as safe,” Anderson explains.
He says UWL’s traditional six academic year shows were cut to two streamed performances in fall, while three streamed performances are planned this spring, including the Zoom production, a created children’s show with access being given free of charge to -elementary schools in the region, and a musical.
The Theatre Arts Department has done an amazing job doing more than others nationwide, says Anderson. But, he says it’s not the same as performing for a live audience.
“The only solace, and it is not a very comforting one, is that the entire world of theatre is in the same situation in regard to live performances,” he says.
For more about the UW-L Theatre Department and it’s spring productions visit: www.uwlax.edu/theatre-arts/
See the complete list of top programs in each state at: www.onstageblog.com/school-edition/the-best-college-theatre-programs-in-every-state-2021-edition
Meet these 28 notable UW-La Crosse alumni
Shelmina Abji, 1985, computer science
Dylan Bates, 1999, physical therapy
Barry Beaty, 1971, biology
Jason Church, 2011, political science
Russell Cleary, 1951-53, pre-law
Darryle Clott, 1966, English and history; 1971, masters of education
Barbara Gibson, 1978, physical education/teaching
Brian Gutekunst, 2016, sports management
Roger Harring, 1958, physical education/teaching
Amy Huchthausen, 1999, sports management
Theodore Knudson, 1960, general and physical science
Sandra Lee, 1983-85
Patricia Loew, 1974, mass communications
Truman Lowe, 1969, art education
Greg Mahairas, 1982, microbiology
Cynthia Marten, 1988, elementary education
Bill Miller, 2010, honorary degree
Hollie Nyseth Brehm, 2008, sociology
Jon Otterstatter, 1983, computer science
James Reynolds, 1977, political science
Andrew Rock, 2004, finance
Jennifer Shilling, 1992, political science
Barbara Skogen, 1967, medical technology
Patrick Stephens, 1971, education
Christopher Sund, 1987, political science
Dan Smyczek, 1993, political science
James Van Tassel, 1951, education
Sharon Weston Broome, 1978, mass communications
Did you know the director of "Rebel Without a Cause" and the first black American to compete in the Olympics both have ties to La Crosse?
These photos are filled with many familiar faces and places from our area's past.