2022-2023 | Vol. 6| Spring/Summer 2023

Headshot of Lesa LockfordGreetings from the Chair

Once again, welcome to our end-of-the-year department newsletter! It has been an incredibly packed, creative, and busy year for our students and faculty; full of professional development opportunities, a thought- provoking performance season, and countless celebrations of fresh and innovative work from our students.

Our annual kick-off meeting launched our fall semester as we welcomed both our returning and new students on the Wolfe Center patio. Following the meeting, a screening of Everything, Everywhere, All at Once was presented in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre.

Our academic year was filled with workshops and professional development opportunities. Our first of the year was a performance and workshop with world-renowned solo performance artist, Tim Miller. This event was followed by a masterclass with screenwriter Mitch Brian, who is also a teaching professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In late September we held a conversation with BGSU Theatre and Film Alumni, Jimmy Wilson. They spoke about their experience of co-producing the Pulitzer Prize winning and 2022 Best Musical Tony Award winning new Broadway musical, A Strange Loop. Another alumni visit was by director and producer Jon Wagner, who hosted screening and Q&A sessions on a film he directed, Cabin Girl, and the M. Night Shyamalan film, Old, for which he served as the Assistant Unit Production Manager. In November, the dance program brought in Kieran Macdonald, the Dance Captain for the national tour of the musical Cats for a themed masterclass in the Whitney Dance Studio. In the spring semester, BGSU hosted a two-day festival of some of the films screening at the 2023 Ann Arbor Film Festival, which is dedicated to highlighting experimental films from around the world.

Our students and faculty have spent the academic year creating as much as they have spent it learning from other professionals in the industry. Among them, there have been several film events that have featured the work of our talented students and faculty. In the fall we held Cineposium where students debuted original short films to peers and to the community. In the spring we hosted our annual Film and Media Festival which also showcased students' films that had been produced throughout the year. Senior Alex Jowanovitz presented his Senior Capstone, Proxemics in late April.

Our Mainstage theatre and dance productions this year began with Samuel D. Hunter’s The Harvest directed by Prof. Sara Chambers. In early November, the Treehouse Troupe’s production of Barry Kornhauser’s This is Not a Pipe Dream, directed by Heather Utsler-Smith, was presented in the Conrad Choral Room and toured to area schools. They performed over 20 performances in the region, including two at the Valentine Theatre in Toledo. Before the winter break, we also produced Qui Nguyen’s She Kills Monsters, directed by Ph.D. student Mahmoud Abusultan, in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre. The spring semester began with the winter dance concert, BiG Moves, which was staged and choreographed by students and instructors, including Prof. Colleen Murphy. Just before spring break, Sophocle’s Electra, adapted by Frank McGuinness, was directed by Ph.D. student Story Moosa. In April, our final show of the season George Reinblatt’s Evil Dead The Musical was directed by Prof. Jonathan Chambers. This production was also the final production for retiring faculty member and lighting designer, Steve Boone. We will miss his wisdom, kindness, and stellar creativity, while we also wish him a wonderful retirement! (We will miss canine friends, Esme, Scout, and Maggie too, who routinely keep us sane!).

In this issue of our newsletter, you will find additional information about this year’s productions, events, and student activities. We also feature interviews with several faculty members, students, and alumni. For example, new theatre faculty member Prof. James Stover discusses his background in theatre, his research interest and his upcoming goals and retiring Prof. Steve Boone shares highlights of his 36-year career at BGSU. Film faculty member, Prof. Cortland Rankin discusses his recent book release as well as his current projects, and BGSU alum Jon Wagner shares his experience working in the film industry and gives timely advice for students looking to work in film and production. Additionally, we have interviews with two senior undergraduate students who discuss some of their fondest memories from their time in the department, their accomplishments, and their post-graduation plans.

We are incredibly proud of the work produced as a result of our busy schedule of theatre, film, and dance productions this year. We also want to recognize our faculty for their work and contributions within and outside of our department. Overall, we think you’ll agree that it is quite an exciting time here at the Wolfe Center for the Arts!

Lesa Lockford, Professor and Chair
Department of Theatre and Film

NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE: To view previous newsletters, visit the Theatre and Film Newsletter Archive.


Annual Kickoff Party 

Thursday, August 25, students and faculty gathered on the Wolfe Center patio for pizza and to learn all about the upcoming events for the year, meet the leaders of student organizations associated with the department, learn about upcoming auditions and screenings, and be introduced to the faculty and staff of our department.

Tim Miller with Chair Lesa Lockford

A Body in the O with Tim Miller 

On September 8, artist Tim Miller presented a fierce, funny performance and spoke on how performance can embolden communities, challenge injustice, and connect people to one another. He also held a workshop on September 9 to teach students how to develop these practices in their own work.

Screenwriting Class with Mitch Bryan 

Screenwriter Mitch Bryan held a master class in screenwriting on September 27 titled The Dance of the Screenplay: Leading & Following, Showing & Telling, Acting & Reacting.

Jimmy Wilson

Road to the Tonys with Jimmy Wilson 

BGSU Department of Theatre and Film alum, Jimmy Wilson, returned to campus on September 29 to talk about their journey to winning a Tony Award for Co-Producing the groundbreaking Broadway musical A Strange Loop.  

Fall Cineposium 

Tuesday, October 25, students debuted original short films to their peers and faculty at this annual film event.

My Body No Choice 

Wednesday, November 2, students and faculty held a staged reading of eight female-authored monologues around bodily autonomy and choice commissioned by Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theatre.  


Jon Wagner Screenings and Discussion 

Alumnus Jon Wagner screened and discussed two of his projects: November 7, a work-in-progress screening on directing Cabin Girl and November 8, a screening and Q&A on Old.


Dance Masterclass with Kieran Macdonald 

Macdonald, who is currently the Dance Captain of the national tour of Cats the Musical, held a themed masterclass on November 15 in the Whitney Dance Studio.



The annual showcase and celebration of the arts featuring the creative works of BGSU students, faculty and staff was held December 3 in both the BGSU Fine Arts Center and the Wolfe Center. This year’s event featured work by multimedia and installation artist, Katie Caron, and a presentation by Imagination Station.


Senior Showcase

In January, the senior class of 2023 put on a Senior Showcase which highlighted the talents of our five graduating students. The showcase consisted of a series of solos and group numbers that highlighted the vocal ranges and performance styles of each graduating senior.

Ann Arbor Film Festival

BGSU hosted a two-day screening of the Ann Arbor Film Festival on February 20-21. The AAFF is dedicated to highlighting experimental films from around the world. Students and faculty attended both screenings.


The London Experience

Over Spring Break, the class THFM 3950: The London Theatre Experience, which is offered every other year, traveled to London, England to do an in-depth study of theatre and performance. The group was led by professors Sara Chambers and Jonathan Chambers.

Film and Media Festival 

An annual event, the Film and Media Festival showcases student films produced and written throughout the year. These films are then voted on by faculty and special guests, with awards being presented on the last day of the festival. This year’s event ran March 31, April 1-2.

Senior Film Capstone 

This year, senior Alex Jowanovitz debuted his senior capstone film project Proxemics on Saturday, April 22.

48 Hour Film Festivals 

This reoccurring event asks students to create their own short film in only 48 hours. Films are then screened and voted on by their peers. Screening dates for the 22-23 academic year were September 15, October 27, December 1, January 26, and March 2.


In The Round 

A series of contemporary Native American artists came to BGSU and shared their work with students and the community. Artists have ranged from playwrights to metalsmiths to children's book illustrators, and have started larger discussions on campus for those wanting to learn more. In The Round events were organized and curated by professors Heidi Nees of the Department of Theatre and Film and jenn stucker of the School of Art.


The Department of Theatre and Film would like to recognize Cynthia Baron for receiving the Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Media and Cinema Studies for her outstanding service and dedication to the organization.

Mainstage Productions

The Harvest

By Samuel D. Hunter, Directed by Sara Chambers


This is Not a Pipe Dream

A Treehouse Troup Production

By Barry Kornhausen, Directed by Heather Ulster-Smith


She Kills Monsters

By Qui Nguyen, Directed by Mahmoud Abusultan


Winter Dance Concert: BiG Moves

Choreographed by students and faculty, Directed by Colleen Murphy



By Sophocles and Adapted by Frank McGuinness, Directed by Story Moosa


Evil Dead The Musical

Book by George Reinblatt and Music by Frank Cipolla, Christopher Bond, Melissa Orris and George Reinblatt, Directed by Jonathan Chambers

Evil Dead Dress Rehersal April 12, 2023
Evil Dead Dress Rehersal April 12, 2023

Elsewhere Productions

The Pan-African Theatre Presents… A gathering of contemporary African, African Diaspora & Indigenous Plays

September 23-24

  • The Woman Who Was a Red Deer Dressed for the Deer Dance by Diane Glancy (Excerpt, Indigenous, Cherokee)
  • Closure, Barefoot, Locker, Backfire by Mary Weems (Excerpt, African American)
  • Sango’s Tale translated by Samuel Olugbeminiyi (West African, Yoruba)
  • Tahinta! A Rhythm Play for Children by Efua Sutherland (West African, Akan)

Directed by D. Amy-Rose Forbes-Erickson

The Forecast: A Staged Reading

September 29

By Karmann Ludwig, Directed by Victoria Norland

Frídọ̀mù Kọ̀nìfáìndì (Confined Freedom)

November 4-5

Choreographed and Directed by Samson Akanni


The Wrestling Season

January 27-28

By Laurie Brooks, Directed by Jarod Mariani

All Washed Up: A Staged Reading

March 23

By Robin Wilson, Directed by Justin Andrews

Footlights Dance Concert

April 20-21

This dance concert featured solo choreography/performance by students in DANC 3260 Dance Composition, as well as group works from our level 2 Ballet and Tap technique classes.


Ann Arbor Film Festival

The BGSU Film Department hosted a two-day screening event of the Ann Arbor Film Festival to bring experimental films from around the world to Bowling Green students on February 20-21. These widely attended events not only exposed students to experimental filmmaking, but kicked off an effort to increase in-person film programming post-Covid.

The Ann Arbor Film Festival is the third longest running film festival in the United States and is the longest running that is solely focused on experimental films. Although Ann Arbor is within driving distance of Bowling Green, many students are unable to make the trek due to time and financial constraints. The touring festival, which shows the award-winning films from the past year, was an accessible way for students and the Bowling Green community to be a part of the festival. The Monday programming was screened in partnership with the Film Appreciation Club – a student run organization dedicated to "showing those who are curious about film and cinema history something they have never seen before, as well as try to teach people what they can gain from watching films from around the world, and from people that may be different from themselves.”

Film Professor Stephen Crompton defines experimental films as those “which veer away from - or even eject completely – the conventions and techniques of mainstream narrative and documentary storytelling.” The short films in the festival screenings were certainly experimental, something many of those in attendance had never seen before. Students' reactions to the films were mixed, which is partly the goal of experimental film making. Crompton explains that with this genre “the emphasis is personal expression and exploration of the medium and/or may tackle a wide range of topics, including highly political works. Experimental films are more likely to be open to interpretation and may even be quite abstract. As such, they ask more of the viewer in their engagement with the film than do most mainstream films; the viewing is a far less passive experience.”

Though many students walked away from the screenings not feeling like they “understood” the films, each felt as if they were leaving with a newfound appreciation for both experimental films, and also the more intense experience of watching this type of film. Crompton notes “that techniques pioneered in experimental films often make their way into mainstream work – in particular music videos and advertising – so there’s a strong likelihood of seeing films that are visually fresh.” The Theatre and Film Department is home to many dedicated and creative filmmakers and we are excited to see how the Ann Arbor Film Festival has inspired and motivated our up-and-coming creators.

Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF)

As classes began on campus back in January, eight students along with faculty members, James Stover and Sara Chambers, attended the KCACTF Region 3 Festival. This year the festival, which ran January 11-15, took place on University of Michigan-Flint’s campus in Flint, Michigan. Many of the students who attended took part in various scholarship competitions, attended productions presented by other universities, and took workshops on various theatre topics with professors and industry professionals from across the region.

Among the BGSU students who attended the festival and took part in various competitions, several were recognized for their work. Kenna Harrington, one of four students competing in the Irene Ryan Scholarship competition, made it to the final round and received the Irene Ryan Selectors’ Drama Award. Grace Whetstone was one of two students partaking in the Open Jar Studios Musical Theatre Workshop competition. Whetstone came in second for the competition and also performed in the cabaret performance which was sponsored by Open Jar studios. Also, freshman Olivia Lutz was appointed to the KCACTF Region 3 Student Council.

Faculty member, James Stover, noted about the event, “The festival is a very busy and active time and there are tons of opportunities to learn more about theatre.” In addition to the numerous competitions held at the Region 3 festival, KCACTF offers workshops and multiple trainings where students can dig deep into topics of performance, design and directing, all ranging from foundational approaches to advanced methods. When asked what advice he would give to students interested in attending KCACTF, Stover said, “I would tell students to talk to those who went and also to seek out information from Sara Chambers and myself.” Besides the particular workshops and competitions, Stover adds, “There are also many opportunities to discuss and engage with the issue of representation in theatre and how to better support those ideas in general as well as with your home institution and department.”

Join us in congratulating our students who are continuing to be active in this industry! We look forward to sending another group of students to represent BGSU in January 2024 back to University of Michigan-Flint for next year’s festival.

In The Round Highlights
In The Round

BGSU’s In The Round speaker series was created with the collaborative efforts of Dr. Heidi Nees, Assistant Professor of theatre and jenn stucker, Associate Professor of graphic design in the School of Art. The series, which began in February 2022, grew out of the development of the Land Acknowledgement Statement for BGSU, which was a collective effort of a committee of staff, faculty, students and administrators from both the BGSU main and Firelands campuses. Believing that the Land Acknowledgement Statement should be the first step toward further action, Nees and stucker came up with the idea for In The Round. After being awarded the Glanz Family Research Award for Interdisciplinary Family Innovation and Collaboration in 2021, Nees and stucker were able to kickstart and develop the series.

Throughout the process of bringing contemporary Native American artists to BGSU, Nees said that one of the most difficult aspects has been figuring out whom to invite. “There are so many amazing Native creatives! The good news is, we hope the series will run for a long time so that we can invite many artists to campus.” Another challenge Nees and stucker have faced through this process has been learning the logistics of planning campus events. “There are many moving parts to these events,” Nees said, “and as faculty members we are trying to navigate the different units and how to connect across campus.” Overall, through creating the series and bringing in the various speakers, Nees and stucker feel they have learned so much about what many of their colleagues in numerous capacities contribute to the university community.

While hosting a speaker series has its difficulties, it also has its countless rewards. Through In The Round, Dr. Nees and Prof. stucker have been able to collaborate with campus and community partners like the Wood County District Public Library and the Mazza Museum. Additionally, Nees and stucker feel they have learned so much from each speaker who has been a part of the series. “I am amazed by each speaker and am so grateful for their generosity in sharing insights, perspectives, modes of expression, and stories,” Nees said. “Each artist has made me think, re-think, consider, and re-consider, and enabled me to learn, (un)learn, and (re)learn.”

A most recent example of a rewarding professional experience through the speaker series for Nees has been the opportunity to distribute copies of Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story to Bowling Green City Schools kindergarten through third grade students and teachers. Thanks to the book’s creators, Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal, along with the help of WBGU-PBS and the Ohio Learns 360 grant, In The Round was able to provide each of these students and teachers with their own copy of the book. Speaking about the experience, Nees said, “Watching the kids’ excitement as their received their copies and seeing them look through the book was moving, inspiring, and energizing!”

When asked what they want BGSU students and members of the community to take away from attending an In The Round event, Nees replied, “We hope people walk away thinking through the issues, topics, and stories shared by each artist, wanting to discuss the issues with others, and seeking to learn more. We also hope that these events disrupt reconciled notions of ‘pastness’ often ascribed to Native peoples by introducing attendees to contemporary contributions of Native creatives.”

The series will continue throughout the 2023-2024 academic year. Students and community members can mark their calendars for the upcoming fall speakers. On September 8, Ryan RedCorn, a photographer, graphic designer, filmmaker, and WGA screenwriter will be screening his new short film, Dead Bird Hearts. Next, Talon Silverhorn, who works in historical interpretation and theatre, will give a talk on October 26. Both events will take place in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre at 5:30 p.m. and will be free and open to the public. To learn more about In The Round, visit or follow @intheroundbg on Instagram.

Dance Program
Dance Program

During the 2022-2023 academic year, the dance program within the Department of Theatre and Film has been creative and innovative. In the fall semester, the dance program hosted a master class with Kieran Macdonald, the Dance Captain on the national tour of Cats the Musical, performed a tap dance improvisation at ArtsX, and presented Fall DANC technique class projects under new stage lighting in the Whitney Dance Studio.

In the spring semester, the dance program presented Winter Dance Concert: BiG Moves in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre, hosted a jazz master class with alum Sarah Drummer, and presented Footlights Dance Concert, an evening of student choreography in the Whitney Studio.

Beyond all the work that this program collectively has showcased in the past year, individual students have also been given the chance to create and perform their own work, both on campus and at conferences. Doctoral student, Samson Akanni, choreographed and performed his piece Frídọ̀mù Kọ̀nìfáìndì (Confined Freedom) at BGSU in the fall of 2022, and in March 2023, he attended and performed an excerpt of the piece at the American College Dance Association (ACDA) East-Central conference in Athens, Ohio. BGSU faculty member Colleen Murphy along with several other students from the department joined him. Samson’s work was selected to perform again at the Gala concert and was named as an alternate to attend the ACDA National Conference in Long Beach, California this May. Commenting on his work, one adjudicator responded, “Thought, imagination and spirit portrayed by a gifted storyteller; the dance had tragicomic in its layered journey.”

When asking Akanni about the inspiration for his original piece, he replied that it was his home [Nigeria]. “Covid, studies, and borders kept me away for so long that I began to lose myself. One of my solutions I could think of was to re-create my home and perform it.” From a more academic and professional perspective, he also added that he felt frustrated by his circumstances and felt the need to say something in the best way he knew how.

Samson decided to create this piece that told his story after a string of events where his various performances within the department left him feeling more isolated than belonging. His goal with this piece was to show members of BGSU “a thing or two about African culture.” He felt he could contribute professionally showing his piece to a larger audience. Besides a potential offer to perform the piece at the University of Toledo, Akanni had no other initial plans for the performance. He thanks faculty member, Colleen Murphy, for introducing him to ACDA and helping ensure that he would perform an excerpt of his piece there as well.

As with many artistic pieces from the heart, even when it is finished it never really feels done. Akanni noted that while the performance took about three months of rehearsal to put together, he had been battling with the idea for over a year. “Eventually it all worked out. I had a beginning, middle, and end, so yes, it was complete in that sense. At the same time, it felt incomplete in the sense that nothing changed.” Akanni continued saying that while the performance itself provided satisfaction and a sense of achievement, he afterwards went back to his reality. After the fall semester concluded, Samson was able to travel back home again for the winter break and it was there that he was able to de-stress, heal, and reinvigorate himself again.

When asking Akanni what he wanted his audience to take away from his show, he replied, “First, I wanted them to see the tension, oppression, conflict, and trauma that inherently exist within the life of virtually all international students and migrants.” Beyond what the audience could literally see, Samson also wanted the audience to take away a feeling, any feeling at all, and to have that feeling move them in some sort of way. “Maybe start being understanding towards international students, use their privilege to help them when they can--while they do that--learn a thing or two and grow together.” Overall, Akanni recognizes that while this relationship is ideal, it is not easy. “The international students may seem less approachable or apathetic to various campus activities. But trust me, they need you as much as you need them.”

Film and Media Festival

As the lights went down and the circus music faded, the 2022-2023 Film and Media Festival’s weekend of film and filmmaking began on March 31. This yearly event, organized by the student organizations BGReel and UFO, allows student filmmakers to showcase their films to the larger community. This year's event, which had screenings Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1, was attended by over 100 individuals, with many attending both days as well as the awards ceremony on Sunday, April 2.

This year, the Film and Media Festival had a recording-breaking 47 submissions, which doubled last year’s total. The festival was split into seven different categories: long-form films and dramas, romance, comedies, music videos, documentaries, horror, and experimental. A wide range of submissions included a 40-minute on-the-street style documentary, an animated short about anxiety and mental illness, a comedy about a killer bicycle, an experimental film about nature versus nurture, and a drama about a future where everyone can legally murder one person and receive $10,000 for their efforts. Organizers remarked that the sheer number of submissions and genres made them even more excited for the future of BGSU filmmakers, actors, and editors whose creativity and vision were on display. Viewers clearly agreed as the audience left each screening entertained and inspired.  

Organizers also noted that many of the submissions were originally produced for the 48-Hour Film Festivals and screenings that took place throughout the school year. The Film and Media Festival gives students a chance to not only have these short films shown to a wider audience, but also to be appraised by a panel of judges. This year’s judges were Tom Routson, Jon D. Wagner, Josh Lightle, and Charles Wetzel Jr. During the awards ceremony, 21 awards were presented, with Jonah Daniel’s Thanksgiving ‘97 taking home the coveted Best in Show.

ProxemicsProxemics 2
Senior Capstone:  Proxemics

From a screenplay assignment to premiering for a packed house, Alex Jowanovitz’s Senior Capstone Film Proxemics is the culmination of BGSU’s film department at its best. The short film debuted Saturday, April 22 at 7:30 p.m. to a packed house and included a Q&A session that lasted over an hour. When introducing the project, Jowanovitz’s thanked the 45 cast and crew members who made the film possible, remarking that this was one of the largest cast and crews for a senior capstone project. This “army of people” helped bring his vision to life and embodied “how much passion and love the faculty and other students have for the film program” at BGSU.

Proxemics, according to Jowanovitz, is "about two college students from widely different walks of life who meet at a house party under awkward circumstances. This chance encounter leads the two to recount their version of the nights’ events to the other, leading to deeper realizations and understandings about each other, as well as themselves.”

“Ultimately, the film is an examination of the expectations and emphasis society has on romantic and sexual relationships, and how meaningful platonic relationships are just as valid and important.” says the director, writer, and producer.

Because the film deals with topics such as asexuality and consent and features scenes of emotional intimacy, the cast and crew chose to work with theatre faculty member Sara Chambers who is a trained intimacy coordinator. Intimacy coordinating is a way of ensuring that the actors and crew members are comfortable during scenes of physical or emotional intimacy. The two leads, Noah Archer and Maddie Hatton, explained that Proxemics was a film that put them out of their acting comfort zone and that Chamber’s directing helped them feel not only comfortable, but safe and supported. Jowanovitz, explained that proxemics is a study of “how people react to personal space and intimacy,” so working with Chambers was a logical choice in exploring the sometimes awkwardness of human connection both on and off the screen.  

When reflecting on the experience of completing his senior capstone, Jowanovitz said, “The experience, while a huge learning experience and somewhat challenging undertaking, I found to be incredibly rewarding and cathartic. The story of Proxemics is something I have been sitting on for nearly three years now and seeing it all come together with a cast and crew of truly wonderful and dedicated individuals was honestly incredible.”

He hopes that his experience will encourage other students to pursue capstone projects and to embrace the hard-working and accepting community that is the film department.

jimmy wilson
Road to the Tonys with Jimmy Wilson

In September, BGSU alumnus, Jimmy Wilson ‘11 came back to campus and held a Q&A conversation with Department Chair, Lesa Lockford. Jimmy shared their experience as Co-Producer of the musical A Strange Loop for which they won a 2022 Tony Award for Best Musical. Since their graduation, Jimmy has become an Associate Producer at Barbara Whitman Productions and has worked with the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, various CBS shows, served as a General Management associate at Bespoke Theatricals, and has been the house manager for over 30 Off-Broadway musicals.

Speaking with BGSU faculty member, Geoff Stephenson, about his experience with Jimmy as a student revealed the innate talent that Wilson has always had in the musical theatre industry. “Jimmy was a musical theatre specialization student when they were here. So, they were interested in performing mostly.” Stephenson added, “They started on their road to management when I directed A Christmas Carol and they volunteered to be the child wrangler for me. They did an amazing job; so when they were in my Musical Theatre History class, I introduced them to Shaun Moorman, who was Company Manager of the National Tour of Billy Elliot: The Musical.” Wilson was hired for the touring production, and in collaboration with the department, they were able to finish their degree on the road of the Billy Elliot tour.

While the conversation was informative and interesting for many of the students who attended, it was also inspiring for them to be able to see a former student succeed at their craft. In a way, it makes the dreams of every theatre student seem a little more within reach. For faculty who knew Wilson, it was great to see someone they mentored for several years make an impact on the industry.

James Stover
Dialogue with…James Stover

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself, how did you get introduced to theatre, and where did you get your degrees?

A: I am originally from Ashtabula, Ohio. I was introduced to theatre by my barber whose name was Chris. He directed me in a community theatre production of Godspell when I was 14. When he passed away, I returned home and directed a production of Godspell, dedicated to him. It was that production that inspired me to return to school and work towards becoming a professor. I attended Virginia Commonwealth University for my M.F.A. in Theatre Performance Pedagogy. I previously received my B.F.A. in Musical Theatre from Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.

Q: What are your research and teaching interests?

A: My research interests include musical theatre performance, queer studies as related to theatrical performance as well as the history and historical impacts of musical theatre. I also continue to seek out opportunities to work as a practitioner in theatre, specifically as an actor, director and writer. My teaching interests are acting, musical theatre performance, and performance pedagogy.

Q: What projects are you currently working on?

A:  I am currently workshopping a new short film script, based on a short play of mine. It deals with hate crime prosecution as it relates to ethnicity and sexuality. I am also guest directing the one-man play Fully Committed at the University of Findlay which was performed in April. I am currently seeking professional performance opportunities for the summer.

Q: What classes are you teaching at BGSU?

A: I am currently teaching Acting: Principles, The Theatre Experience and Creative Drama. I taught Acting: Principles and Acting: Songs & Arias (for both undergraduate theatre and graduate music students) this past fall.

Q: Are you active in any other organizations/institutions outside of BGSU?

A: I'm a member of the Musical Theatre Educators Alliance, Estill Voice International (an organization dedicated to studying voice production based on individual anatomical structures) and the Actors' Equity Association (the union of professional actors and stage managers in the U.S.).

Q: Do you have any projects that are in development for the future?

A: I am working with my producing partner towards filming the script I mentioned that's currently in development. I am working on a new journal article that I hope to complete this summer. I am also excited to be directing BGSU's spring musical in 2024!

Q: What aspects of the Department of Theatre and Film excite you the most?

A: There is a strong sense of community here. There has been a great deal of kindness that resonates throughout this department. I'm very excited to be a part of and contribute to that idea. I really enjoy the uniqueness of our Musical Theatre Specialization program. It's strong and I look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Stephenson and all of my colleagues to see how it can continue to grow and evolve moving forward.

Steve Boone
Dialogue With…Steve Boone

Q: When did you start at BGSU?

A: My first day at BGSU was August 10, 1987. In our department, only Margaret McCubbin has been around longer.

Q: What are your specializations?

A: My MFA is in theatre design and technology, although I never did any costume designs outside of the classes I took. Very few MFA programs offer complete, combined Design/Tech degrees anymore. Most now specialize in one or two areas.

Q: How did you first get introduced to theatre and/or lighting design?

A: I got introduced to theatre when I was about 9 years old. My older sister was involved in the local high school theatre program and played Mama in John Van Druten’s I Remember Mama. I really wanted to see backstage, but they wouldn’t let me. Maybe that’s where it started? Anyway, that’s about the time when anything going on that took place on a stage got me interested in what it was like backstage. The scenery was interesting, the lighting equipment all looked really interesting, setting up for a show was interesting (even orchestra, band, and dance concerts). Sound equipment back then was pretty non-existent and usually consisted of a turntable, amplifier and speaker, and maybe a microphone or two for someone to do announcements over.

Q: What do you like most about lighting design and/or set design?

A: I like design work because it's fun. You get to work with a team and come up with something creative that contributes to an experiential way to tell a story. There is a good deal of satisfaction in getting it about as good as you can within the “givens.”

Q: If you had to guess, how many shows have you worked on during your time here at BGSU?

A: On my cv, I’ve got 235 productions listed since starting here in 1987. In my life, I think I did about four dozen shows before that.

Q: What was the most challenging show you've worked on?

A: I think every show is a challenge of some kind, so it makes it hard to pick one. The first time we did Noises Off we collaborated with University of Toledo to split the cost of the set. Noises Off is particularly hard on the set because of the number of door slams (something like 200 each show). University of Toledo ran the show for their summer theatre and for a week during their regular season in the fall. Then we got it for two weeks on our regular season in the spring of the same year. Lastly, the set was used one more time for a week at our summer theatre. The challenge was repairing the set — sometimes every night!

When we did Sweeny Todd, we had a really short turn-around from the show right before it and had to make some serious choices about what scenery to build for opening night, and what would be added for the second night. It was a “wet paint opening.”

Our summer theatre had a very large stage, but a pretty small budget for scenery. Still, we would do these golden age musicals that were written to be done using seven sets. The challenge was to figure out what settings could be combined, which sets could be just one thing on a wagon (like the brig, in Anything Goes), and which sets needed to go full stage (hopefully just one!).

Q: What are some of your favorite memories from your time here at BGSU?

A: I think my favorite memories are hanging out with everyone backstage or at a pizza joint after strike, and just listening to stories.  

Opening this building was a pretty good time too. It is the first purpose-built theatre on this campus. All of the other spaces that we used for theatre and dance shows over the years had been adapted or remodeled spaces that had some definite design compromises. The compromises made doing some things really hard.

The old main auditorium in University Hall (remodeled into a workable theatre in 1937 and renamed as the first Eva Marie Saint Theatre in 1986) was on the second floor of the building and didn’t have a very good way to get scenery or anything else heavy up to the stage. The capability to do stage lighting was limited, and involved crawling around in the ceiling, and running tons of electrical cables all over the place.

Kobacker Hall (which opened around 1980), was at first thought of as a multi-use facility, but as Mike Lee (one of the old faculty members that was here when I got here) told me, as Moore Musical Arts Center construction costs went over-budget, Kobacker Hall was pared back into a concert hall, with no scene shop, or fly tower. Trying to do theatre productions in Kobacker will make you cuss and cry. So, the Wolfe Center for the Arts is a thousand times better than the old spaces were!

Q: What are your plans for retirement?

A: I haven’t had time to think about, much less plan for life-after-retirement! So, I don’t have any good ideas!

Nick Adams
Dialogue With…Nick Adams

Q: How did you come to the decision to try to put together a Senior Showcase for your class?

A: I came to the decision to try and put a showcase together after years of watching other programs post theirs on YouTube. I would watch them for new song/monologue ideas, but then I realized that there was no reason why BGSU couldn't do one, as well. I also just loved watching actors show their authentic selves through their selections, and it made me want to create that opportunity for us!

Q: What was the process like directing and creating this year's Senior Showcase?

A: was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I started the process in the fall semester of junior year, but most of the leg work was done in the fall semester of this year. It was incredibly difficult to balance being Chuck Biggs in She Kills Monsters and touring every week with Treehouse Troupe, as well as being APO's president and a student. That is a major reason it was a very hard process. The other challenge was that I had to use ALL of my knowledge from the past four years (directing courses, acting courses, etc.) in order to put it all together. I will be VERY quick to say that I could not have put showcase together if it wasn't for Kelly Mangan. She served as what I would call my faculty advisor for the project and was such a wonderful person to work with. She assisted in all the ways she could and was even our stage manager the night of the performance. I could not have done it without her.

That being said, the process for putting it together was a LOT. I started with a proposal for the department in the fall of 2021 with everything laid out, but with some question areas that would require deeper research. After we solved the immediate issues, I had meetings with Kelly and Lesa to get things going. Meanwhile, I was also communicating with the seniors that wanted to do the showcase and working with them to find good song choices and to start getting the show around. After a few weeks of meetings, we finally got the green light. I started with picking the group songs, helping the seniors pick songs that showed them off well, and getting things blocked. We probably only had 10 rehearsals from the beginning of September to the actual performance on January 21. Through those, I coached people through songs, blocked the numbers, had wonderful humans come in and give notes, made the program, designed the sound/edited the accompaniment tracks, and had multiple meetings with everyone that worked on showcase. Because we had a film element as well as most of the conventional theatre elements, there were a LOT of moving pieces.

With all of that in mind, I will say that directing BGSU's first showcase was such an honor, and I am so thankful that I was trusted to do so by my peers and the department. I think of it as being my capstone project, and one of the most fulfilling and educational experiences I have had at BGSU.

Q: How do you feel BGSU has shaped you as a person and/or performer?

A: I feel like BGSU has shaped me in all the best ways. Studying theatre here has taught me so much about who I am as a person, performer, technician, director, and student. I feel like my work ethic has been shaped the most. When I came into this program, I came in with the understanding that BGSU does not have the same tools and resources that somewhere like the University of Michigan program does. The reason I say U of M specifically is because a large number of students that go to U of M for musical theatre end up on Broadway soon after graduating. I knew that BGSU was not going to pave my way to being successful. Because of that, I took Kelly's "Get Your Fries" speech to heart and have worked twice as hard to make sure I have scraped everything I can out of my education. Because of that, I feel like I am going into the professional theatre world with realistic expectations, a wide variety of skills, and the work-ethic required to be successful. It is because of my BGSU education that I feel ready to take the next step into the world (and continue to learn in the process).

Q: How have you been involved in the department over the last four years?

A: I have been very lucky to have been VERY involved in the program during my time here. I performed as Caden in The Thanksgiving Play, Oliver in Theory of Relativity, Warren in Ordinary Days, Father in This is Not a Pipe Dream, Chuck Biggs in She Kills Monsters, as well as in advanced directing scenes, an original musical that was canceled due to COVID, and Broadway Cares in 2020! In addition, I was in MuTS and was the historian of APO my junior year. I am a department ambassador, and am the current president of APO! I was also lucky to serve on Season Selection for this year's season, direct the senior showcase, and fulfill multiple tech assignments for shows. I also started a student studio last year where we would get together, sing, give each other feedback, and work on audition materials every other week. This semester, I am also directing two scenes for Advanced Directing and performed a solo show on March 26 in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre. I have had such a wonderful time in the department, and it is because of how involved I have been. The people I have met and the lessons I have learned in the process have made my four years here wonderful.

Q: What is next for you after graduation?

A: This is a great question! Instead of doing a show this semester, I decided to dedicate my semester to setting myself up for after graduation. I have assisted in the planning of our New York City showcase this summer, and most importantly, I dove headfirst into audition season. Since the very beginning of January, I have gone on professional auditions, sent online submissions, and submitted through a conference. Between all of those, I have submitted to over 70 theatres around the country and have received a few offers and a callback so far. I won't know what life will look like for me until around March or April, but I am proud of myself for getting out there.

If I don't end up booking this season, I will work a 9-5 and save up to move to a bigger city. New York City is very high on my list, as well as London and Chicago. In addition to pursuing my performing career, I am also looking at taking the steps to become a monologue/audition coach. I love coaching people through songs and monologues, and over the last four years, I have learned that I have a talent for it. To that end, I do plan on getting my master's and possibly my Ph.D. in Acting or Musical Theatre, because I would love to become a professor later in life and run a musical theatre program. So, yeah...I have some plans, but you never know what's going to happen (especially in this career).

Q: What advice would you give to incoming freshmen who are interested in being involved in the theatre department?

A: My biggest piece of advice is: DO THE WORK. One of my favorite things that I have learned from Sara Chambers is that there is no substitution for doing the work. This field is anything but easy, and the sooner you learn that, the better off you will be. You have to do the work, whether that be technical or performance based. For actors, I recommend constantly looking for new material. I watched bootlegs, listened to hundreds of musical theatre soundtracks to find new songs, watched senior showcases, and did EVERYTHING in my power to make sure I was constantly learning and growing.

Nothing is going to be handed to you in this program, and even less will be handed to you after graduation. Because of that, take advantage of everything you can. Go to Acting/Directing Studio. Go to Actor's Lab. Join APO and attend all the workshops, Q+A's, and professional development opportunities. Go to the department workshops. Do everything you can to get the MOST out of your education. At the end of the day, you are going to get out what you put into this program. If you go to class and nothing else, you are not going to grow. You need to put yourself out there in ALL the ways and do EVERYTHING you can to learn all that you can.

Additionally, if you want to do something, become best friends with a professor that is in charge of that thing and ASK TO DO IT. Showcase would have never happened if I hadn't just asked. The worst thing they can say is no. I have worked on incredible projects in this program because I had the courage to ask for what I wanted. This is YOUR education. Take advantage of it to the fullest extent.

And a KIND person. Always be kind. These are the people that are going to be connections for you in the future. Be kind and respectful to everyone, and you will not only leave with future connections, but you will leave with lifelong friends...just like I am.

Rankin Headshot
Dialogue with…Cortland Rankin

Q: Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

A: Well, I’ll start with my professional self since this seems to be the venue for that. I’m an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre and Film here at BGSU, and I teach Film Studies, which serves not only Film Production and Film Studies majors, but also students taking my classes for BGP or MDC credit. I received my Ph.D. in Cinema Studies from New York University and before coming to BGSU in 2019 I taught at several institutions in New York City, including NYU, The New School, Columbia University, Brooklyn College, the College of Staten Island, and Hunter College. I'm primarily a scholar of American cinema and my areas of research include war cinema and media and the relationship between cinema and urbanism.

Q: Your book Decline and Reimagination in Cinematic New York came out this past fall. Can you give us a brief description of what the book is about?

A: I’d be glad to! Decline and Reimagination in Cinematic New York was published by Routledge as part of their Advances in Film Studies series in Fall 2022, and it’s a project that’s been with me for some time as it’s an adaptation of my doctoral dissertation. So, I’m happy (and relieved) to finally see it in print! Simply put, it’s a book about the relationship between movies and a tumultuous period in New York City history. Specifically, it examines cinematic imaginaries of New York’s postindustrial turn from the mid-1960s through the mid-1980s across a spectrum of mainstream, independent, documentary, and experimental films.

I wanted to broaden the conversation about New York’s representation on screen by placing the cinematic discourse of urban decline that dominated the era in dialogue with films that reimagined the downtrodden city as fertile ground for innovation and alterity and home to myriad stories of perseverance and resistance. I focus specifically on how filmmakers mobilized derelict space, including abandoned buildings, vacant lots, and disused industrial sites, and various articulations of non-human “nature,” from metaphors like “urban jungle” to actual urban flora and fauna, to decenter traditional notions of urbanism during a period of great flux when the role of cities in general (and not just NYC) was really being called into question. Cutting across the industrial and generic distinctions that typically segregate films, the book analyzes how filmmakers rendered New York variously as a desolate wasteland, a hostile wilderness, a refuge and playground for outcasts, a home to resilient and resourceful communities, a studio for artistic experimentation, an arcadia conducive to alternative social arrangements, and a complex ecosystem.

Q: What drew you to write about cities and urban centers? How does living in Bowling Green influence that?

A: I really became interested in cities when I was an undergraduate at Northwestern. I suppose coming from Dallas where I grew up to the Chicagoland area sparked an interest because I’d never really thought of Dallas as a “real” city in the same vein as Chicago and New York. Of course, now I know it’s just a different kind of city, but back then I was really stunned, but also fascinated, by the density and complexity of Chicago. Double that (at least) for New York. As an undergraduate I saw Berlin, Symphony of a Great City in a film history class and that inaugurated a long love affair with the city symphony genre and city films more generally that continues to this day.

Living in New York was a major inspiration for the dissertation that later became the book. I’ve always been interested in writing about the places I live, so if I hadn’t done my Ph.D. in New York, the book probably would’ve been about somewhere else. I was just lucky enough as a scholar of cinematic urbanism to have ended up in such a rich environment. Obviously living in Bowling Green is a radically different change of pace, but I do think the physical and emotional distance from the day-to-day grind of life in New York certainly helped me focus my thoughts in writing the book and also helped me see my own experience of the city for what it had been.

Q: Your book features a lot of films from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s - what is it about that era of film that you find compelling? What films from that time would you recommend to the readers?

A: Well on the one hand, it’s an amazingly rich period for American cinema of all shapes and sizes, and that’s no secret. But the story that gets told about New York in that era tends to get narrowed down to gritty visions of the city’s decay. And while that’s certainly part of it, what I felt I could contribute was a broader perspective on the city’s cinematic representation that drew together films and filmmakers from mainstream, independent, documentary, and experimental contexts that wouldn’t normally be considered together. Casting a wider net allowed me to include the cinema of urban decline, which I felt needed to be there, but also allowed me to consider aesthetic, narrative, and ideological alternatives to it, which was a big part of my intervention. 

For anyone looking to learn more about this period of New York cinema, obviously there are classics like Midnight Cowboy or The French Connection or Taxi Driver that everyone points to (for good reason), but there are some lesser-known gems too that I’d be happy to suggest. While I don’t write about it in the book, the original 1974 Taking of Pelham One Two Three is a fantastic distillation of the cynical zeitgeist of mid-70s NYC and it’s very funny in an extremely dry way. I would also point people towards William Greaves’ experimental doc Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One and The Landlord (Hal Ashby, 1970), both of which seem in many ways well ahead of their time. I’d watch pretty much anything by Rudy Burckhardt, too. His poetic documentaries of New York street life are just mesmerizing. His eye is just attuned to all these details of architecture and fashion and movement in a way that makes even the most seemingly ordinary street corners things of beauty. 

Q: Can you speak a bit about the process of writing a book and getting it published?

A: I tried to think of it as a long walk rather than a marathon so I wouldn’t stress myself out over a metaphor, but there were definitely some periods of sprinting too. As I mentioned before, the book was an adaptation of my doctoral dissertation, so after taking some time away from the project after defending, I started going through the process of reconceptualizing it as a book (and they are very different genres of writing). I worked on it while I was doing a teaching postdoc at NYU, but the revisions didn’t start in earnest until I came to BGSU. By April 2021, I finally had a couple chapters and a book proposal that I was happy with, so I sent them off to Routledge. They expressed interest, I eventually got the reader reports, which were very positive, and by October of that year, I had a book contract. Fortunately, I had been working on other chapters too because the turnaround was very quick. I submitted the full manuscript (figures and all) in January 2022 (so just three months after receiving the contract). By the spring I was copyediting, and by summer I was looking at page proofs. Routledge is a large press and moves quickly, so I had to keep up. My daughter was due in late July so I was in a race to see if I could get everything done by then (and I did!). The book came out in September 2022, and I’ve been trying to get the word out ever since! 

Q: You also have an interest in war films and memory within American Culture – can you talk a bit about that?

A: Since coming to BGSU I have also embarked on a second research trajectory centering on war cinema, particularly in relation to cultural memory. I contributed two chapters that consider the various memorializing capacities of Hollywood war films to the anthology Hollywood Remembrance and American War (Routledge, 2020) edited by Andrew Rayment and Paul Nadasdy. Each chapter is written as a close reading of a particular war film with a focus on its function as a medium of memory. The first chapter, “Their War, Our War: Private Memory and Public Commemoration in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2016),” explores concepts of prosthetic memory, mnemonic ownership, and authenticity in Ang Lee’s Iraq War film. The second chapter, “‘A Quiet Day at the Front’: Realism as an Act of Memorialization in Cease Fire (1953)” postulates the realism of the Korean War film Cease Fire, which was shot in Korea during the war in 3D with real soldiers playing the characters, as an unintentional act of memorialization that preserves the particularities of that war in a manner that stands out amidst that general atmosphere of cultural amnesia that shrouds the Korean War in American memory.

This chapter sparked my interest in Korean War film and television more broadly, a line of inquiry which has since resulted in an article published in the Journal of Popular Film & Television entitled “Forgettable Tales of a Forgotten War: Narrative, Memory, and the Erasure of the Korean War in American Cinema.” This article surveys a broad spectrum of American-produced Korean War films made since 1951 in terms of their capacity (or rather incapacity) to serve as adequate means of Korean War remembrance. In it I propose a typology of the kinds of (non-)memory work done by American Korean War films, with a specific focus on common narrative strategies that not only hinder remembrance, but facilitate forgetting. I’ve presented my research on Korean War cinema a couple times at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies annual conference. I’ve also presented it here at BGSU as part of the American Culture Studies Culture Club speaker series, and am due to give a talk on the topic this spring to a general audience at the Marion Public Library in Marion, Ohio. It will also be the topic of my next book project. 

Q: You work with the War & Media Studies Scholarly Interest Group (SIG) of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS). What is that and what exactly do you do within the organization?

A: SCMS is a massive organization and within it there are various caucuses and SIGs devoted to particular subjects and issues. The War and Media Studies SIG was founded in 2014 and, as it says in our mission statement, is dedicated to the “intensive study of the representation and conduct of war and militarism in all media forms.” Put another way, we’re interested in media in war and war in the media. I was elected SIG co-chair in Spring 2022. It’s the job of the leadership team to help sponsor our members’ work at the annual SCMS conference, advertise and celebrate their work year-round, and help facilitate networking opportunities. We also sponsor several travel grants and an essay contest for graduate students. Among other efforts to make the SIG more useful to its members, I along with my co-chair and the SIG’s graduate student representative established a partnership with the international peer-reviewed SAGE journal Media, War & Conflict to the effect that they agreed to publish the winning submission to our Graduate Student Writing Prize contest. So that was exciting and the winning essay was really fantastic.   

Q: What project(s) are you currently working on?

A: I’m currently at the page proof stage with a chapter about the live-action 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as an independent film, which will be part of the anthology Screening American Independent Film edited by Justin Wyatt and Wyatt Phillips due out from Routledge in May 2023. This chapter uses Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (an admittedly unconventional “independent film”) to shed light on several interrelated facets of independent cinema, including the fluid dynamic between independent and mainstream cultural products, the place of exploitation and commercial filmmaking in the independent sector, and the realignment of the film’s distributor New Line Cinema and the American independent film industry more broadly that followed from the film’s success.

In the coming months and years, my aim is to continue to work across both the fields of film and urbanism as well as war and media studies. In fact, my next scholarly venture bridges these areas of interest. I organized and will co-chair a panel at the upcoming SCMS conference in April 2023 titled “Warscapes: Mediating Environments of and at War,” which gathers scholars whose research interrogates the intersection of environment, conflict, and media. In addition to chairing the panel, I will also present a paper titled “Façades, Firepower, and Film: Military Training Cities and Documentary Critiques of the New Military Urbanism, ”which explores Stephen Graham’s concept of the “new military urbanism” through the lens of two American documentaries about U.S. military training cities - Full Battle Rattle (Tony Gerber & Jesse Moss, 2008), which centers on a model Iraqi town constructed at the Fort Irwin National Training Center in the Mojave Desert, and Riotsville, U.S.A. (Sierra Pettengill, 2022), which is composed of archival training and TV news footage of police and National Guardsmen engaged in civil unrest exercises held in Army-built model towns known as “Riotsvilles” constructed in the wake of the urban uprisings of the 1960s. It’s my hope that this panel will serve as the basis for an edited anthology on environments of conflict that I eventually intend to submit to the War Culture series at Rutgers University Press. 

I’m also a member of the editorial board for Mediapolis – A Journal of Cities and Culture and we are on occasion expected to propose, edit, and contribute to a dossier, which consists of approximately five shorter articles centered on a specific theme, for inclusion in a particular issue. I’ve recently proposed a dossier on mediations of automobility and urban space for the September 2023 issue, a perennially relevant topic that is nonetheless somewhat of a blindspot in much scholarship on media urbanism. My own contribution to this dossier will explore how a series of experimental New York city films, including Hilary Harris’s Highway and Shirley Clarke’s Bridges-Go-Round (both 1958), Marie Menken’s Go! Go! Go! (1964), Ernie Gehr’s Shift (1974), and Rudy Burckhardt’s Doldrums (1972) processed, reflected, fetishized, and critiqued New York’s contentious postwar relationship with the car and car-based infrastructure.

Branching out from my focus on New York, I am also excited to shift my focus in the arena of cinematic urbanism to something now closer to home – the so-called “Rust Belt.” In Fall 2023 I will teach a new course I’m designing called “Filming the Rust Belt” (THFM 3810 Film and Society), which centers on the role film (including those of Hollywood, independent fiction, and documentary filmmakers) has played over approximately the past 50 years in making and unmaking cultural imaginaries of the Rust Belt. While I am still in the early stages of preparing this course, I aim to use the course prep as a stepping-stone towards an article. I am particularly interested in the relationship between representations of Rust Belt “decline” and “revitalization” onscreen and the operations of state and local film offices that support and incentivize film production in the region. 

Looking further ahead, my second book project will be the next logical step in my investigation of American cinema of the Korean War. Thus far my work on Korean War cinema has been primarily concerned with film as a form of cultural memory. While that will certainly be a component of the book, I will also consider Korean War cinema and television through the lenses of industrial context, politics and ideology, genre, exhibition and reception, and representation. This is a long-term project obviously, but much of the research groundwork has already been laid through the work I’ve done for various publications thus far.  

Q: What courses do you teach at BGSU and what has been your experience as an instructor?

A: I regularly teach Introduction to Film and History of Film. I’ve also offered a number of Film Studies electives over the years here including courses on film comedy and American society, the war film, and cities and cinema. I love teaching and that’s why I got into this line of work in the first place. Since a number of my classes fulfill either BGP or MDC requirements, I get to interact not just with film students, but a wide swath of the BGSU student population. It’s great to see what they bring to the table from their own disciplines and modes of thinking as well. When a discussion really gets going and I can see students engaging with a topic and each other in a sincere and informed way, that’s what it’s all about. There’s really nothing better.

Q: I know you are also a husband and father – how you find a work/life balance?

A: I’ll let you know when I find that balance! It’s a difficult one to strike and I’m still learning how (sometimes I wonder what in the world I was complaining about before I had kids!) I have a son, James, who’s 3 going on 4 and a daughter, Zoe, who’s 7 months old and growing faster than I can keep up with. My wife, Sylvie, is also a film scholar and an outstanding teacher in her own right and she has also taught courses in both the Departments of Theatre and Film and World Languages and Cultures here at BGSU as well as French and Italian courses at the University of Toledo and the University of Michigan. I’m very fortunate to be a part of this family – they're all incredible people.

Jon Wagner
Dialogue With…Jon Wagner

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself

A: I graduated from BGSU in 2005 with a double major in Film Studies and Creative Writing. After spending a summer back home in Cincinnati working at my friend’s family business, I moved to Los Angeles and started my career in the film industry. Like most people, I started at the bottom, finding Production Assistant jobs via Craigslist on really low budget movies, and worked my way up through the production ranks to start Line Producing features. I was also directing as much as I could while I was Line Producing. I did a whole lot of web series and music video projects, and a couple “viral” Youtube videos. I directed my first feature in 2010, and knew that’s what I really wanted to do with my career, and where my passion as a filmmaker really was. In 2014, I Line Produced a film called Bone Tomahawk, which starred Kurt Russell and Richard Jenkins, and was the first film I was a part of that became a real mainstream hit. That sort of kicked my producing career up to the next level, and I was suddenly being sought out for larger budget projects as a Line Producer.

Right before I worked on Bone Tomahawk, I had moved from Los Angeles back to Ohio, as I was getting married and my wife and I knew we wanted to raise our family back home. It was a bit scary at first, wondering if my career was going to be affected, but it turned out to be a great move for my career. With the tax incentives in both Ohio and Kentucky, I found myself working more than ever on bigger and more exciting projects, and that has continued up until now. I do travel a lot for work, working on projects recently in places like the Dominican Republic, Baltimore, Chicago, and Philadelphia, but I always prefer to work at home whenever I can.

Besides having a really cool job, I have a wonderful wife, who I met when I was at BGSU and is an extremely talented poet, and three amazing kids. By far they are what I take the most pride in in my life, and find the most enjoyment out of!

Q: You seem to wear a lot of hats within the film industry. What all does being a producer or a production manager on a film entail? What does your day-to-day look like when working on a film?

A: For the most part, I’ve had two sort of parallel but also intertwined careers, although sometimes the position names or titles fluctuate. The first role, and the one I’ve held most often, is as a Line Producer/ Unit Production Manager. Basically, I am the person who handles all of the actual physical production of the film. There are other producers who develop the material and find financing, and attach cast, etc. I generally come on board once some of that is already in place, and break down the script and create a budget for the film. Then, I’m in charge of hiring crew and all of the day to day “logistics” of making the film... such as securing locations to gear rental, and making sure the film doesn’t go over budget and that the director is getting everything they need to make the film that everyone set out to make. Each film is its own beast. I’ve made dozens of films, and no two have ever been the same experience, which is what I like about my job.

My second career has been as a director. This is what I always wanted to do, and have recently started to shift my focus more towards that end. While I love Line Producing and have made a ton of great friends and connections and memories doing that, I feel truly satisfied as a creative person only when I’m directing. I started directing when in grade school I suppose, making films with my friends on the family VHS camcorder with my action figures. It’s just something I always loved to do. I made some short films when I was at BGSU that I’m still proud of, and when I moved to Los Angeles, I directed whenever I could. I love translating the creative vision in my mind into something tangible on screen that I can share with other people, and especially love the communal aspect of it. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of working with really talented artists like production designers and cinematographers and actors, and watching them add their unique perspective to your creative vision. It really is a magical feeling.

Q: You have done a lot of work with horror films – what drew you to the genre?

A: Ha, I wish I could say it was intentional, but it’s not. First, I think horror tends to be one of the most produced genres of film, because it can be done pretty well on a lower budget, and it translates well into all parts of the world. In fact, I don’t watch much horror outside of the projects I’ve worked on. And, when I’m working on a horror film, I don’t let myself think about it within the confines of that specific genre. Rather, I just focus on making the best movie possible.

Secondly, when I first started line producing films, I was working on what we called “Ultra Low Budget” films, or movies with budgets of around $250k. As you might guess, many of those films don’t always end up being that...well, good... or finding an audience. But, for some reason, quite a few of the films I made in that budget range were horror films that became these little cult classics, and that cemented a bit of a reputation for me early on as someone who really knew how to get a lot out of a small budget. So I think that success just kept similar type projects (horror) coming my way.

Q: You have worked on a couple of M. Night Shyamalan films. Do you have any stories about working with such a famed director and some of his processes?

A: Yeah! That’s been a pretty recent chapter in my career, and a really exciting one. I had worked for M. Night’s producer on some pickups on a different film in Baltimore, and he was talking about how he was looking for a place to shoot M. Night’s next film, which was supposed to take place on a remote beach in the Carribean. I suggested he check out the Dominican Republic, as I had scouted there recently for a film that ended up not being made. Long story short, they ended up liking the location and decided to film there, and the producer asked me to come on board as the UPM. We shot it right in the middle of the pandemic, so it was a bit rough being on a remote part of the island, subject to all the Covid safety protocols, unable to go home or have my family visit at all. The weather didn’t really cooperate and we had some delays when our set was destroyed by a storm... but we made the movie and of course it was OLD, which turned out great and did really well at the box office. 

Then, on his last film, I was unavailable for the principal photography in Philadelphia because I was directing a film at the time, but I came on board and UPM’d all of the pickup shots.

As far as M. Night himself, it’s a real pleasure working with him. He’s been a hugely successful director for decades, and it’s a lot of fun watching him work and seeing his process. It’s certainly gratifying to be a part of films that you know are going to be major wide theatrical releases, that you know they are going to be good simply because of the caliber of his work. I certainly hope I can keep working on his films! Once the work starts, though, that’s what it is, and I focus on my job and making sure everything runs smoothly, as I would regardless of whom the director was.

Q: You have continually come back to BGSU – just this academic year you gave two talks and are serving as a judge at the Film and Media Fest this spring. What keeps bringing you back to Bowling Green and the department?

A: It would be impossible to overestimate just how important and foundational my years at BGSU were to me both as a filmmaker and as a person. I made so many lifelong connections and friendships there, and developed so much of who I am as a creative person while I was there. I owe so much to professors like Daniel Williams and Dr. Baron, and I really just love coming back and seeing how much the facilities have improved, but also just how much of the same excitement and creative energy there is amongst all of the students and faculty. It makes me very nostalgic for my college years, and very excited about the future that I know a lot of the students have in the industry. It also doesn’t hurt that I get treated so well every time I come in for a visit!  

It’s also really nice when I come for an event, because it gives me a bit of an opportunity to take stock of my career and view it from a bit of an objective lens, which I think is a good thing to do every once in a while. And, being amongst so many young artists that are excited about their future and just getting started is infectious, and gives me a recharge of my own creative batteries.

Q: What advice would you give to students hoping to make films one day or break into the industry?

A: Right now, the opportunities for people when they graduate are so promising in the industry, and I just try to impress that on the students when I’m there. I had no choice but to move to Los Angeles when I graduated if I really wanted to give it a go. But now? There is so much production happening at so many places in the country (including Ohio!), that I don’t think it’s ever been easier to break into the industry without having to move across the country and risk going broke or starving in the process.  

When I’m starting prep on a movie, and looking to hire Production Assistants, so much of what I look for is an attitude and excitement and willingness to work hard. So, if someone can be enthusiastic and willing to learn, and takes a bit of initiative to reach out and get an interview or meeting to work on a film, then chances are good you’ll find a job. Once that happens, make as many connections as you can and stay positive.

 Most importantly though, there’s no golden ticket or magic answer to how to get your foot in the door. There are no mythical gate keepers trying to keep people out of the industry, and there are so many ways to get your start. If you want it to happen, you can make it happen. With so many streaming services and outlets for content than ever before, every production is always looking for crew, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

Q: You’re currently in post-production on your film Cabin Girl – can you talk a bit about the film, your directorial process, and what post-production looks like?

A: I’m really excited about CABIN GIRL! We shot it last February/March in Shreveport, and I was just in Los Angeles a couple weeks ago finishing the final sound mix. It’s now officially done except for the opening credits. It’s been a long journey but I couldn’t be more happy with the film. Now, the producers are sending it out looking for distributors, and my hope is it finds a home and gets released sometime this year, which I think it has a good shot at.

As far as my process, it starts with the script. When I read the script I am trying to envision what the film is going to look like, sure, but more importantly I try think about what themes I want to explore and what the emotional core is of both the movie as a whole, but also all of the individual characters. While much of that is on the page, the real fun and creative part is digging below the surface and bringing all those elements out... that’s where the director puts his stamp on the material.

And then, equally important, is hiring great collaborators. The director doesn’t do it all themself. Far from it. You have a to put a team of people together: your cinematographer and production designer and costume designer etc., that you know understand your vision and will also add something special to the film. And then, of course, the cast. Finding the right actors who can turn the characters on the page into something tangible and real and completely unique is incredibly important and really fun. 

And finally, in post production it’s sort of like starting a whole new film. You have to find the right editor to collaborate with, who shares your sensibilities and understands how you want to tell your story. The movie is really shaped and created in the editing room, and it’s where you can manipulate all of the emotions and the experience you want your audience to have...basically where you create that vision you imagined in your head when you first read the script.

Q: Are there any other projects you are currently working on or hope to be working on in the future?

A: The nature of being a freelancer is that you have to have all sorts of things circling out there in various states of development all at once. It’s kind of like baseball. If you have ten projects floating around, and 2 or 3 of them actually end up getting made, then you have a pretty good batting average.

I have quite a few projects possibly happening this year on the Line Producing front, but am really most excited about some potential directing jobs, and also finishing a couple scripts I’ve been working on that I hope can become one of my next directing gigs.

Q: I know that you are also a husband and father – how do you balance your work and your home life?

A: I would be lying if I said that working on movies and spending time with your family at the same time is easy. When I’m actually in production on a film, I’m working 15-16 hours every day, and often my weekends are bombarded with phone calls as well. I’m really lucky to have a supporting and understanding wife (Sara Moore Wagner), who basically becomes a single parent when I’m in production. It would be impossible without her. And it helps that she is a creative person as well, and understands why I do what I do. We met at BGSU, and she is a very talented poet who has had in the last several years won quite a few national awards for her work, and had two books published last year (and the creative writing program at BGSU had her up to read her work on March 23!). With her career and national visibility rising, she’s now getting invited all over the country to readings and events for her poetry, so I do my best to return the support that she gives me so she can also live her creative dream in the same way that she supports me in living mine.  

So, when I’m not on a film, I spend as much time as possible going to all the games and volunteering in the kid’s classes. We do a lot of fun trips as well, and just try to give the kids a really fun, rounded childhood. And, when I have to travel for work and am out of town, I make sure to zoom with the family and they come visit as much as possible, and I make a point to get home for weekends, etc. It’s not easy, but we make it work!

Alexa Tenney
Dialogue With…Alexa Tenney

Q: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

A: My name is Alexa Tenney, and I am a senior majoring in Film Production with a minor in Digital Arts! I am originally from the Toledo area. A lot of my hobbies involve digital arts as I love to do character design. I love vintage things and old Disney movies!

Q: What extra-curriculars are you involved in?

A: I am currently president of BG on Screen a student film organization. We help students produce their short films and other wacky ideas! We provide many resources to help students of any major get involved in the filmmaking process. As an officer I have gained experience as a leader helping students make their projects as best as they can be! One of my favorite aspects of the org is the close-knit connection it has allowed me to develop with my peers as well as the opportunities I have had to get on different sets. I have really loved being a part of this org and helping it grow into what it is today!  

Q: What made you choose BGSU and the Department of Theatre and Film?

A: I really liked my tour of BGSU I did when I was in high school. It felt like it was just the right size for me. Until my tour I really didn’t know that majoring in film was an option. Seeing the facilities, backstage areas, and opportunities that would be available to me really got me interested in pursuing it! I really liked that I could explore my creative ideas with guidance and surrounded by others who were interested in the same things.  

Q: What have been some of your favorite experiences from this academic year?

 A: During the fall semester I got to work as DP on my friend’s independent study film. This was a big challenge for me as it was one of the biggest commitments I have ever made. However, the experience was so helpful and created some great friendships! During the fall, my friends and I competed in the Sylvania 50-hour film challenge, which we won an award for! It was my first time winning a film award outside BGSU!  

Q: Do you have any exciting summer plans? What’s next after BGSU?

A: After BGSU I will be working at Disney World through their college program! It is something I have always wanted to do, so I am excited to give it a try. I would love to work with Disney animation so getting a start working for the company, even the parks, is a great way to meet people and build connections!  

Q: You’ve made films during 48-Hour Film events – can you talk about that experience and how a film is made in such a short period of time?

A: I’ve been participating in the 48-Hour Film Festival since freshman year! One of the best things to come out of this is simply the experience of making a film – even if that film isn’t the greatest. Experience being on set, using a camera, audio equipment, etc. is so valuable! And the 48s are a great place to grow your versatility as a filmmaker. Because there is such a short amount of time you need to rely heavily on your team. You learn how to work efficiently but also creatively with others, which is a must in the film industry!

Cynthia Baron, Professor in Film

Journal Editor

As of January 2023, I am the editor of the Journal of Film and Video, the official publication of the University Film and Video Association and one of the premiere international film-media journals.

Keynote Lectures/Talks; Facilitated Workshops

  • “Stardom, Screen Acting, and the Performance Frame.”
  • Stars and Actors as Anomalies: Imperfect Fits and Expressive Dissonance Conference
  • Sorbonne Nouvelle University, Paris June, 2022

Conference Presentations

  • Reservation Dogs (FX 2021-): Reimagining the American Teen Drama.”
  • University Film and Video Association Annual Conference, Fredonia, July 2022
  • “Michael K. Williams in Lovecraft Country: Giving Expression to the Horrors of Racism.”
  • Nightmares from Monkeypaw: Virtual Symposium on the Works of Jordan Peele and Black Horror Cinema, online, October, 2022
  • Reservation Dogs and the Industrial-Aesthetic Circuit of Indie TV and Independent Film
  • Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference, April, 2023. 


  • “Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan: Twenty-First Century Stardom.” Stellar Transformations: Movies Stars of the 2010s. Ed. Steven Rybin. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2022.
  • “Independent Films in an Age of Crisis: Illuminating the Lives of Outsiders in Neoliberal America.” Screening the Crisis: US Cinema and Social Change in the Wake of the 2008 Crash. Eds. Juan A. Tarancón and Hilaria Loyo. London: Bloomsbury, 2022.
  • Fear and Desire, Casual Misogyny, and 1950s Art House Cinema.” Gender, Power, and Identity in the Films of Stanley Kubrick. Eds. Karen A. Ritzenhoff, Dijana Metlic, and Jeremi Szaniawski, 2023.
  • “Sofia Coppola and Indiewood Performance.”The Bloomsbury Handbook to Sofia Coppola. Ed. Suzanne Ferriss, 2023.
  • Fargo (2014-2020): Indie Cinema, Midwest Mobsters, and Indie TV.” Indie TV: Industry, Aesthetics, and Media Specificity. Eds. James Lyons and Yannis Tzioumakis. London: Routledge, 2023.

Steve Boone, Associate Professor in Theatre


"I’m happy to say I’m involved with all of the department’s main stage theatre productions this year."

Sara Chambers, Teaching Professor in Theatre


  • THFM 4900 Problems in Theatre & Film: Auditioning: Technique, Self-Taping, and Building Your Book, Nick Adams, Spring 2023.
  • THFM 4990 Honors Project. Madison Ephlin, Playwriting, Spring 2023.
  • THFM 4900 Problems in Theatre & Film: New Plays Development: Directors Working with Playwrights, Victoria Norland, Fall 2022.
  • Honors 4980 & 4990 Honors Project, Blain Hudak, Playwriting: Intersections of Mathematics and Theatre, Fall 2022, Spring 2023.
  • Jared Mariani, Directing Wrestling Season, Spring 2022.
  • Victoria Norland, Directing & New Play Development The Forecast, Fall 2022.
  • Acting/Directing Studio, weekly w/ Jonathan Chambers, Bowling Green State University, Fall 2017-Fall 20, Fall 2021-present.
  • Invited Lectures
  • Trainer for Office of Multicultural Affairs Ambassadors, “Presenting Emotionally Loaded Material”, Fall 2022.
  • Graduate Seminar in Theatre, “Introduction to Intimacy Direction”, Spring 2022, Fall 2022.
  • “Intimacy Direction: Intercourse” Digital Workshop, Theatrical Intimacy Education, 5:00pm-8:00pm, February 17, 2023.
  • “Intimacy Direction: Outercourse” Digital Workshop, Theatrical Intimacy Education, 5:00pm-8:00pm, February 16, 2023.
  • “What is a Consent Forward Artist?”, Digital Workshop, IDC Professionals, November 14, 2022.
  • “What is an Intimacy Director?”, Digital Workshop, IDC Professionals, September 26, 2022.
  • Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) “Effective Teaching Practices”, Spring 2023-Fall 2024.


  • The Harvest, Eva Marie Saint Theatre, October 2022. BGSU Department of Theatre & Film.
  • My Body, No Choice, Conrad Recital Hall, Bowling Green, OH, November 2022, Arena Stage, Washington DC.


  • Intimacy Consultant, Evil Dead The Musical, Director Jonathan Chambers, Bowling Green State University, Fall 2022.
  • Intimacy Choreographer, Proxemics, Writer/Director Alex Jowanovitz, Bowling Green State University, Fall 2022.
  • Intimacy Consultant, She Kills Monsters, Director Mahmoud Abusultan, Bowling Green State University, Fall 2022.

Professional Service

  • Board Member of The Black Swamp Players Community Theatre, Bowling Green, Ohio, June 2022-present.

Lesa Lockford, Professor in Theatre and Performance Studies, Chair of the Department


  • "Surviving Our Aging: A Love Letter for My Mom," forthcoming in Narrative and Grief: Autoethnographies of Loss, edited by Deleasa Randall-Griffiths and Patricia English-Schneider, Lexington Press.
  • "The Mind's Mask: Concealing, Filling In, and Filling Out," in the International Review of Qualitative Research (2022).

Refereed Conference Presentations:

  • “Pushing Walls with Tami Spry,” National Communication Association, New Orleans, November 2022.
  • “The Mind’s Mask: Concealing, Filling In, and Filling Out.” Plenary Panel on Masking/Truth, International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, virtual, May 2022 (virtual).
  • “C’mon People Now: Mourning and the Radical Hope of Despair,” presented as part of the Dystopian and Utopian Dialectics: Autoethnographies of Hope and Transformation panel at the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry annual meeting, virtual, May 2022 (virtual).

Invited Papers

  • “The Personal is Utopian,” Session 1 of the Special Interest Group on Autoethnography, International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, 18 May, 2022 (virtual).

Creative Activity

  • Audiobook Narrator for The Teen Interpreter: A Guide to the Challenges and Joys of Raising Adolescents by Terri Apter, Dreamscape Media LLC, May 2022.

Kelly Mangan, Teaching Professor in Theatre


Four fabulous mainstage shows – each with spectacular designs and performances.

  • The Harvest
  • She Kills Monsters. (I’m particularly proud of the puppets constructed for the show)
  • Electra (I’m a little partial to the scenic art – the whole thing was really wonderful)
  • Evil Dead The Musical (complete with blood splatter zone and tons of special effects)
  • Wonderful dance concert
  • A variety of productions in the Elsewhere season
  • An exciting ArtsX – lots of student exhibitions and performances to packed crowds
  • Community involvement with Toledo Science Center at BG High School
  • First-ever senior showcase – presented on the Donnell stage
  • Treehouse Troupe performed for a record number of students including a performance at The Valentine Theater


  • I presented two workshops for High School Thespians – at the regional and State level


  • Student involvement with BG high school’s The Little Mermaid – our tech students volunteered their time to be on the crew that flew the performers with ZFX Flying.
  • Several successful recruitment events
  • Group of students attended the KCACTF Festival – of which student, Kenna Harrington was a Irene Ryan finalist

Colleen Murphy, Associate Teaching Professor in Dance


  • Conference Presentation: Rhythm Tap Master Class Instructor at the American College Dance Association East-Central Conference. Ohio University in Athens, OH. March 2023


  • Director/Choreographer of BiG Moves: the Winter Dance Concert, BGSU Department of Theatre & Film Donnell Theatre. February 2023
  • Director/Choreographer of Footlights Dance Concert, BGSU Department of Theatre & Film Whitney Dance Studio. April 2023
  • Director of The Beat Dance Company’s Season 14 Recital. Bowling Green High School Performing Arts Center in Bowling Green, OH. June 2022

Heidi L. Nees, Assistant Professor in Theatre

Conference Presentations

  • Ohio Campus Compact Conference (Columbus, August 2022)
  • Title: “Cultivating a Sense of Presence in a Perceived Absence: Going Beyond Acknowledgment with In the Round”
  • Mid America Theatre Conference (Minneapolis, March 2023)
  • Practice/Production Symposium Paper: “Circling the Impossible with In the Round”
  • Theatre History Symposium Paper: “‘Nothing about us without us’: Possibilizing the (Im)possible in Outdoor Historical Drama”


  • Nees, Heidi L. "Choreographic Revisions: The Eagle Dance as Historical Hallmark of Unto These Hills." Theatre History Studies 41 (2022): 107-125. doi:10.1353/ths.2022.0008.
  • Nees, Heidi L. “Re-Righting Cherokee History in Mary Kathryn Nagle’s Sovereignty.” Theatre Annual 75 (2022).
  • Nees, Heidi L. “The Crucible of Our Crucible: Problematizing Past and Present through Historiographic Approach.” The Arthur Miller Journal 17.2 (2022): 89-104.


Co-creator, with Associate Professor jenn stucker (BGSU School of Art) of In the Round: a guest speaker series featuring Native American creatives. The 2022 season included:

  • Seth Thomas Sutton // Professor, Filmmaker, Scholar, Artist.
  • Carole Lindstrom & Michaela Goade // Author & Illustrator of the award-winning children’s book, We Are Water Protectors
  • Sadie RedWing // Graphic Designer, Professor
  • Frank Waln // Hip Hop Artist, Music Producer
  • Mary Kathryn Nagle // Attorney, Playwright
  • Pat Pruitt // Metalsmith, Jewelry Artist

The series includes extensive collaborations across campus, as well as community partnerships with the Wood County District Public Library and the Mazza Museum. In March 2023, In the Round hosted Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal, author and illustrator of the award-winning children’s book, Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story. As part of the programming surrounding this event, BG City Schools K-3 students and teachers, area families, and graduating BGSU Inclusive Early Education majors and Arts Education majors will be receiving free copies of the book.

BG Ideas Podcast Recording with Mary Kathryn Nagle, Institute for the Study of Culture and Society. Recorded in October 2022, released spring 2023.

WBGSU-PBS The Journal, episode #2424: BGSU In the Round, air date: February 16, 2023.

Cortland Rankin, Assistant Professor in Film Studies



  • Rankin, Cortland. Decline and Reimagination in Cinematic New York. Routledge, 2023.

Book Chapters

  • Rankin, Cortland. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990).” Screening American Independent Film, edited by Justin Wyatt and Wyatt Phillips, Routledge (forthcoming May 2023).

Reviews of My Work

Joseph, Robert and Cortland Rankin. “The Mediapolis Q&A: Cortland Rankin’s Decline and Reimagination in Cinematic New York.” Mediapolis – A Journal of Cities and Culture, vol. 7, no. 4 (November 14, 2022).

Conference Presentations

  • “Façades, Firepower, and Film: Military Training Cities and Documentary Critiques of the New Military Urbanism,” Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) Conference, Denver, CO (April 2023). 
  • Panel Organizer and Chair. “Warscapes: Mediating Environments of and at War,” Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) Conference, Denver, CO (April 2023).
  • Invited Lectures/Talks
  • “Films of the Forgotten War: American Cinema and Korean War Memory,” Adult Lifelong Learning Course, Marion Public Library, Marion, OH (March 2023).
  • Decline and Reimagination in Cinematic New York Book Talk,” Graduate Seminar, Dr. Jonathan Chambers, Dept. of Theatre and Film, Bowling Green State University (November 2022). 

Professional Service

  • Editorial Board Member. Journal of Film and Video (Spring 2023-present).
  • Editorial Board Member. Mediapolis – A Journal of Cities and Culture (Spring 2022-present). 
  • Co-Chair. War and Media Studies Scholarly Interest Group, Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) (Spring 2022-present). 

Geoff Stephenson, Teaching Professor in Theatre


  • Lakeside Chautauqua: Living History – Edward Herman, Marblehead Light Keeper By Geoff Stephenson – Wednesday, July 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Steele Memorial Bandstand to go on a journey through the life of Captain Edward Herman told by Geoff Stephenson. Captain Edward Herman was the last in a long line of dedicated ‘light keepers’ for the Marblehead Lighthouse, which is the longest continuing operating lighthouse on the Great Lakes.
  • Performed on Songfest Cabaret Night: Ann Arbor Kerrytown Concert House. Friday, July 15, 2022
  • Music Director, BGSU Homecoming Gate Dedication September 2022
  • Music Director, BGSU Department of Theatre and Film production of The Harvest. October 2022
  • Stage Director of Addio Senza Rancor: Songs of Love, Loss and Hope Opera Scenes for the College of Musical Arts. Sept. - Oct 2022


  • Coaching Sally Kelley, doctoral candidate Ball State University, Department of Choral Activities for Mezzos Do Musical Theatre, Act III. August 2022
  • Coordinator of Jimmy Wilson: Road to the Tonys A conversation with BGSU alum and first time Tony winning producer Jimmy Wilson. September 2022
  • February 2023 – Awarded Faculty Improvement Leave for Spring semester 2024. Inspired by Andrew Garfield in Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tick, Tick, ...Boom, I will be doing a study of how professional voice teachers go about building a singing voice from the ground up.
  • February 2023 – Hosted a masterclass with Broadway music director Phil Reno
  • 2023 Spring Semester – Season Selection Committee
  • 2023 Spring Semester – Search Committee for Department of Theatre and Film music coordinator

James Stover, Assistant Professor in Theatre

Conference Presentations

  • Practical Aesthetics: A Gender Inclusive/Neutral Based Approach to Characterization
  • Musical Theatre Educators' Alliance Conference, New York City, January 2023
  • Panel/Committee Presentation: MTEA New Works Collaboration Catalog (NWCC)
  • Musical Theatre Educators Alliance Conference, New York City, January 2023

Film Screening

  • Teacher Fight, Actor, Screenwriter, Producer, Standing Rock International Shorts Film Festival; Kent, OH, January 2023

Production work outside of BGSU

  • The Fantasticks, Co-Director, Myers Dinner Theatre; Hillsboro, IN, August 2023
  • Holiday Pops 2023, Co-Stage Director, Fort Wayne Philharmonic; Fort Wayne, IN, December 2023 [performances cancelled due to musicians' strike]
  • Fully Committed, Guest Director, University of Findlay; Findlay, OH, April 2023

Haley Anissa Alvarez, Ph.D. Student

In March 2023, I presented my paper "Producing Inclusive Theatre; Adapting Greek Mythology for Mechicana/o Audiences" at the Latnix Issues Conference at BGSU. Additionally, I have taken lead on EDI facilitated workshops such as "Sundaes on Mondays" which serves as a space to encourage hot topics with cool treats. For instance, our first conversation surrounded "Color-conscious casting" and we aim to host this event around 3-4 times a semester!

Christopher Jones, Ph.D. Student

I am Judge/Reader for the 2023 Warner International Playwrights Festival, held at the Warner Theater in Torrington, CT.

I am still Technical Director for The Provincetown Dance Festival, held in August in Cape Cod, MA.

Jarod Mariani, PhD. Candidate 2023

  • Participated in ATHE 2022 Graduate Student Teaching Demonstration Session (ATHE/Graduate Student Teaching Demonstration Session/Detroit/2022)
  • Directed The Wrestling Season by Laurie Brooks in January of 2023 (BGSU Elsewhere Production)
  • Was hired to be the full-time Lead Simulation Specialist by BGSU’s Project Impact program in the College of Education and Human Development
  • Performed the role of Pastor Chuck in BGSU’s Mainstage production of Samuel D. Hunter’s play The Harvest.
  • Organized, as GuSTO President, the BGSU campus visit of Dr. Petra Kuppers, from the University of Michigan’s Department of English Language and Literature, in April of 2022. Dr. Kuppers conducted a workshop on her book titled Eco Soma: Pain and Joy in Speculative Performance Encounters.

Story Moosa, Ph.D. Student

In her second year in the doctoral program, Story Moosa has been involved in directing projects within the department. In the Fall, Story acted as the assistant director for the Mainstage production of She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen. This Spring, Story directed the Mainstage production of Sophocles' Electra, adapted by Frank McGuinness.

Department of Theatre 

  • F. Lee Miesle Award for Design and Technical Theatre - Katie Hicks 
  • F. Lee Miesle Award for Acting/Directing - Isabelle Grima 
  • Lois Cheney Award for Academic Achievement - Nick Adams

Department of Film 

  • Rachel Mae Witjas Undergraduate Scholarship - Mya Wallace 
  • Dr. Ralph H. Wolfe Award - Jenna Beerman and Salvatore (Sam) Amato 
  • Edgar Fisher Daniels Prize in Filmmaking - Dominic Felice 
  • Dorothy and Lillian Gish Award - Seraiah Proctor and Zach Rogers 
  • Jay and Christine Ellison Scholarship - Natalie LaMacchia  

Film and Media Fest Awards 

  • Best Direction - Gwen Decker 
  • Best Performance - Hurricane Harrington 
  • Best Cinematography - AJ Leonard 
  • Best Documentary - Dominic Felice 
  • Best Music Video - Ben Boutwell 
  • Best Narrative Comedy - Alexa Tenney 
  • Best Narrative Drama - Gwen Decker 
  • Best Narrative Horror - Leona Brown and Nick Polace 
  • Best Narrative Romance - Gwen Decker 
  • Best Overall Short Film - Gwen Decker 
  • Best Overall Medium Film - AJ Leonard 
  • Best Overall Long Film - Elias Moenter 
  • Best Production Design - Gwen Decker 
  • Best FX - Gwen Decker 
  • Best Hair and Makeup - Kaitlin Kollarik and Jonah Daniel 
  • Best Supporting Performance - Kayleigh Hahn 
  • Best Original Score - Ethan Archer 
  • Best Editing - AJ Leonard 
  • Best Sound - Gwen Decker 
  • Best Experimental - AJ Leonard 
  • Best in Show - Jonah Daniel  

APO Masque Awards  

Joe E. Brown Awards for: 

Excellence in a Leading Role:

  • Nick Adams playing the role of Chuck Biggs in She Kills Monsters  
  • Ruby Brandon playing the role of Electra in Electra

Excellence in a Supporting Role:  

  • Maddie Hatton playing the role of Chrysothemis in Electra
  • Claire Oliver as Tilly Evans in She Kills Monsters

Excellence in an Ensemble Role: 

  • Hurricane Harrington playing the role of Denise in The Harvest
  • Trey Kratz playing the role of Steve in She Kills Monsters

Excellence as a Newcomer Actor: 

  • Hurricane Harrington for playing Denise in The Harvest

Excellence as a Newcomer Dancer: 

  • Claire Oliver for BiG Moves Dance Concert

Excellence in Choreography: 

  • Emily Ritchie for BiG Moves Dance Concert

Excellence in Dance or Stunt Performance: 

  • Alexis Reinbolt Tucker for Vera/Puppet Captain in She Kills Monsters

Excellence in Tech Contribution: 

  • Cameron Willis as 1st Assistant Stage Manager for The Harvest

Excellence in Stage Management: 

  • Atlas Mitchell for Electra

Excellence in Dramaturgy: 

  • Cameron Willis for The Harvest

Excellence in Assistant Directing: 

  • Donovan Callahan for The Harvest

 Best Mainstage: 

  • She Kills Monsters

Indie Awards for: 

Excellence in a Leading Role: 

  • Mikayla Collins for playing Susan in All Washed Up
  • Rick Hodgson for playing Matt in The Wrestling Season

Excellence in a Supporting Role: 

  • Ruby Brandon for playing Lucy in All Washed Up
  • Sara Madden for playing Heather in The Wrestling Season

Excellence in an Ensemble Role: 

  • Mikayla Collins for playing Kori in The Wrestling Season
  • Katie Hicks for playing Nicole in The Wrestling Season

Excellence as a Newcomer Actor: 

  • Trey Kratz for playing Harry in All Washed Up

Excellence in Dance or Stunt Performance: 

  • Isabelle Grima for playing Melanie in The Wrestling Season

Excellence in Choreography: 

  • Samson Akanni for The Pan-African Theatre Ensemble Showcase 

Excellence in Stage Management: 

  • Cameron Willis for The Wrestling Season

Excellence in Directing: 

  • Justin Andrews for All Washed Up

Excellence in Assistant Directing: 

  • Cameron Willis for The Wrestling Season

Excellence in Lighting: 

  • Elias Moenter for The Pan-African Theatre Ensemble Showcase 

Best Elsewhere Production: 

  • The Wrestling Season

Recognition of Excellence: 

  • Steve Boone 
  • Margaret McCubbin 
  • Story Moosa 
  • Mahmoud Abusultan  

Members of APO standing at a table

This year, we have been incredibly lucky to have initiated 14 new members into APO, with majors varying from educational theatre, musical theatre, acting and directing, technical theatre, and youth theatre! In order to be initiated, all new "understudies" had to pass a written exam, memorize 12 lines of Shakespeare, meet a GPA requirement, and prove their involvement in the program through a point system!

We also have held numerous workshops with outside professionals! We had talks with Elyse Mirto (an actor, teacher, etc. based in LA), Jill Lyons (a prop designer, set painter, scenic designer, grant writer, etc.), Elizabeth Cottle (a voice actor based in NYC). We are having a dance and headshot workshop with BGSU alum Sarah Drummer (a professional actress, dance teacher, and dancer in the Las Vegas area) and a video-editing workshop led by Nick Adams. We held a workshop at the end of the semester to go over where to find jobs and getting everyone signed up for the websites!

We also put on our annual Spring Masque on April 2 to celebrate the Mainstage and Elsewhere Seasons, and we had a luncheon with music afterward!

BG on ScreenBG on Screen 2
BG on Screen

BG on Screen is a student film organization that helps students produce their film ideas! Through collaboration and community BG on Screen provides support for students by helping them learn about equipment, find crews and casts, and meet other creative individuals. Through BG on Screen, students of any major have the opportunity to get on set or workshop their own film ideas and those of their peers! Our goal is to help students make films in an educational, safe, and welcoming environment. 

This academic year we have produced five student short films and hosted multiple script workshops. In addition, we have hosted multiple fun activities such as our screenwriting extravaganza, an editing workshop, and PowerPoint night! This year we were also able to purchase film equipment for our members to use and gain experience with! We look forward to more films and fun activities this coming year!


We've had four successful 48-hour film festivals throughout the academic year. The Film and Media Festival was held March 31-April 2, and is a celebration of student work created within the last year. For a second year, we hosted one of our wackiest meetings, Heartthrob Thursday, where members compete in a bracket tournament to debate how their heartthrob (a celebrity, character, etc.) is the best. We also had a successful bake sale in the fall semester to raise funds for the club.This academic year we have produced five student short films and hosted multiple script workshops. In addition, we have hosted multiple fun activities such as our screenwriting extravaganza, an editing workshop, and PowerPoint night! This year we were also able to purchase film equipment for our members to use and gain experience with! We look forward to more films and fun activities this coming year!

Film Appreciation Club

On November 7, we had BG alum Jon D. Wagner screen a cut of his feature film Cabin Girl. On February 20, we had the Ann Arbor Film Festival screen their first program of traveling experimental films at our meeting. Our fun "Bad Movie Night" was held at the end of each semester - November 28 and April 17.


One of our first-year doctoral students, Haley Anissa Alveraz, led the way in creating and running our designated GuSTO Instagram page, which has been a wonderful way to share what our members are doing throughout the department. Haley Anissa also organized our department's first-ever Dia De Los Muertos ofrenda that was set up in the Wolfe Building the week leading up to November 1-2. GuSTO hopes that this will be an annual part of the Fall semester for our department and for the campus at large.

Spring semester, GuSTO focused on community building within our organization and within the graduate community in the Theatre & Film Department. We focused on celebrating our individual accomplishments, from conference acceptances to involvements in productions, as well as future endeavors. The remainder of spring involved our Book Sale fundraiser in hopes to fund headshots for the graduate students!

Mainstage Productions

Venus by Suzan-Lori Parks
Eva Marie Saint Theatre
October 19-21, 26-28th at 8:00 p.m.
October 21-22, 28 at 2:00 p.m.

POTUS by Selina Fillinger
Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre
November 16-18 at 8:00 p.m.
November 18-19 at 2:00 p.m.

Winter Dance Concert
Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre
February 2-3 at 8:00 p.m.

John Proctor is a Villain by Kimberly Belflower
Eva Marie Saint Theatre, February 15 -24, 2024
February 15-17, 22-24 at 8:00 p.m.
February 17-18, 24 at 2:00 p.m.

Heathers: The Musical by Kevin Murphy & Laurence O’Keefe
Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre
April 11-13 at 8:00 p.m.
April 13-14th at 2:00 p.m.


BG Reel and UFO 48-Hour Film Festival Dates

  • September 15-17 (Screening on September 21 in the Donnell)
  • October 20-22 (Screening on October 31 in the Donnell)
  • November 12-18 (Screening TBA)
  • January 19-21 (Screening on January 25 in BTSU)
  • February 23-25 (Screening on February 29 in BTSU)
  • March 22-24 (**May be changed to April**)

Updated: 05/17/2023 08:16AM