Chair | Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor of Theatre
B.A., Theatre Arts | University of Nevada-Las Vegas
M.F.A., Arts & Technology | University of Texas-Dallas
Office: Potter Hall 118
Phone: (816) 271-4423
Office Hours: MWF 10-11, T/TH 2-3 and by appointment
Originally from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, Jeff worked as a professional designer both locally and nationally and has received numerous awards for his design work.
He also served as Technical Director for UT-Dallas from 1999-2008. After receiving his MFA, Jeff was promoted to Director of Theatre and Dance in 2008. In his years at UT-Dallas, Jeff turned the performance space into one of the most technologically advanced spaces in the area. Automated lighting, projection and a custom sound system were implemented as well as new lighting and sound control.
Jeff has performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC as part of the KCACTF program. He has worked with Water Tower Theatre, Kitchen Dog Theatre, Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, Plano Repertory Theatre, as well as numerous dance and experimental theatre companies.
Jeff has worked and trained with many industry professionals and has attended classes in Projection, Vectorworks (computer assisted drafting), Studio sound engineering, digital audio work stations and light board programming. Jeff’s’ expertise are sought out for consultation by theatre professionals of various design backgrounds.
Jeff has served productions in many capacities. He has worked as Set, Lighting, Sound, Projection, Properties, Stage Management, and Technical Director for many shows, sometimes in multiple roles. When he is not backstage, you might find him on stage performing
Thomas Brecheisen, MFA
Assistant Professor of Cinema
M.F.A., Animation and Visual Effects | The Academy of Art University
Office: Potter Hall 206 B
Phone: (816) 271-4442
Office Hours: M 10-12, T/TH 2-3:30, W 1-3 (Appointment Only), F 11-2 (Appointment Only)
Bio: Thomas Brecheisen, MFA, is an Assistant Professor of Cinema at Missouri Western State University. His background is in Post Production with an emphasis on Visual Effects and Editing. Thomas has been teaching post secondary film and visual effects courses since 2014 and currently works as a freelance visual effects artist. Thomas’s previous experience includes Lead Editor for MTV’s Lingerie Football League, Senior Visual Effects Artist on Dan Perri’s “Sharkskin,” Script Supervisor for American Idol, Visual Effects Artist for several feature films, and Director, Cinematographer, Editor, VFX Artist, Colorist, and Music Composer for numerous short films, commercials, music videos, and other projects.
Originally from Las Vegas, NV, Thomas served as a CounterIntelligence Agent for the US Army with two deployments to Iraq and Kuwait in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Upon returning from his second deployment, Thomas was reassigned as a Special Agent in the PACOM Hawaii Field Office where he served as a SAEDA education specialist. His mission was to educate Battalion and Brigade level organizations on Counter-Terrorism, Counter-Espionage, and Counter-Intelligence operations. This is where Thomas first learned of his passion for teaching.
Upon receiving a Honorable discharge and retiring his Badge & Credentials from the US Army, Thomas began his academic training. His first major was in Music Composition and Theory with a secondary emphasis in Trumpet Performance. This led to a study in Film Composing where Thomas studied Jazz Composition from legendary pianist David Loeb. Thomas would frequently attend FOX Studio orchestral Film Scoring Sessions under the mentorship of David. During these times, Thomas would study Composition from Family Guy composer, Walter Murphy. Finally, Thomas decided to double major in Music and Film and his love for film making helped him earn his Bachelors of Art Degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and then his Master’s of Fine Arts Degree in Animation and Visual Effects from The Academy of Art University.
Currently Thomas is pursuing furthering his education with a Ph.D. in Psychology with an emphasis in Learning and Technology, where he intends to participate in the Film Psychology research community focusing on how and why audiences are cognitively and behavioral influenced by Film, as well as how students in the college environment are influenced by upcoming technology. Thomas is excited to be part of the Department of Theatre, Cinema & Dance, and looks forward to being an important influence in the lives of his students. MAKE IT HAPPEN!
Dr. Paul Hindemith
Dr. Paul Hindemith
Assistant Professor of Voice
Office: Potter Hall 102
Phone: (816) 271-4420
Office Hours: MWF 11:00-12:00pm, T 11:30-1:30pm, Or by appointment
Paul Hindemith’s professional career has taken him from coast to coast and overseas performing opera, oratorio, operetta, musical theatre, and art song. Hailed as “touching and expressive” by the Washington Times and as “vocally and theatrically sturdy” by the Baltimore Sun, the baritone has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra; the San Diego, Utah Festival, Ohio Light, Skylark, and Fargo-Moorhead Operas; and theatre companies like Theatre Latté Da in Minneapolis and the Robidoux Resident Theatre in Saint Joseph. Hindemith made his European debut as both singer and stage director in Pergolesi’s La serva padrona with the Grumo Festival in 2014. Favorite roles include the title role in Don Giovanni, the baker in Into the Woods, and Lumière in Beauty and the Beast for which he received a 2017 RRT “Ruby” award for best supporting actor in a musical.
Hindemith appears on a recording of Bach arias published by the International Trumpet Guild; he also appears as Baron Weps in the Ohio Light Opera’s recording of Carl Zeller’s The Birdseller. A 2012 finalist in the National Association of Teachers Singing Artist Award Competition for the north central region, Hindemith has twice been a finalist in the Michael Ballam International Opera Competition. He has performed on concert series at the Mindekirken in Minneapolis, the Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe in Dallas, and at several colleges and universities.
Recently, Hindemith joined Kantorei, a professional chamber chorale based out of Kansas City, a group known for its “flawless intonation coupled with an irresistible warmth and depth.” He has performed with the Omaha Chamber Singers, Opera Omaha Chorus, Basilica of St. Mary (Minneapolis, Minn.) Schola Cantorum and Cathedral Choir, Minnesota Opera Chorus, Washington (D.C.) Choral Ensemble, Fargo-Moorhead Choral Artists, and the SMU Meadows Chorale. He also sings in the bass section of the First Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir and the newly formed Robidoux Chorale in St. Joseph.
Hindemith has a growing resumé as both a stage director and music director. At Georgia College (Milledgeville, Ga.), he served as music director for Kander and Ebb’s Chicago, Ifa Bayeza’s The Ballad of Emmett Till, and the Georgia collegiate premiere of Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays; he also served as stage director for two programs of Music Theatre Scenes at Georgia College, and numerous opera scenes at Concordia College (Moorhead, Minn.). As director of opera at the University of South Dakota (Vermillion, S.D.), he translated and directed a production of Humperdinck’s opera Hansel and Gretel. At Missouri Western, he has served as music director for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and The Wedding Singer and will music direct Schoolhouse Rock Live! this fall and Spring Awakening next spring.
Hindemith is also a passionate and dedicated educator; the Omaha native is currently an assistant professor of voice at Missouri Western State University where his duties include music direction for musical theatre and coordinating the voice area. Previously, he has taught at Omaha North High School, the University of South Dakota, Concordia College, and Georgia College. He graduated summa cum laude from Southern Methodist University in Dallas with minors in Chemistry, Math, and German. Hindemith holds a doctorate from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree from the Maryland Opera Studio at the University of Maryland – College Park.
Hindemith is particularly interested in vocal pedagogy that enables singers to function a variety of vocal and musical styles, from opera to pop. He is also interested in the scholarship of teaching and learning, particularly on the topic of encouraging students to take academic risk. He regularly presents on practical vocal techniques and vocal repertoire, vocal health, audition techniques, and text/music analysis for performers and teachers. His doctoral thesis was entitled The Singer as Communicator. In his spare time, Hindemith enjoys gardening, doing logic puzzles, playing games, and spending time with his husband Fred and cats Figaro, Froggy, Timonium, and Josephine.
Cassie Kay Hoppas
Cassie Kay Hoppas
Assistant Professor of Theatre
Costume Design & Technology
M.F.A., Costume Design & Production | The University of Alabama
B.F.A., Theatre | Emporia State University
Office: Potter Hall 100 H
Phone: (816) 271-5985
Office Hours: MWF 11-12, T/TH 10-11 and by appointment
Fall 2018 Teaching Schedule:
THR 113 01 Intro to Theatre
THR 113 02 Intro to Theatre
Bio: Cassie Kay Hoppas is very excited to join the team at Missouri Western State University. Cassie holds her Masters of Fine Arts in Costume Design and Production from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL and her B.F.A. in Theatre from Emporia State University in Emporia. KS. Cassie is originally from southeast Kansas but has been around various points in the country both in professional theatres as well as university theaters including Missouri, Florida, Maine, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Colorado. A particular love is historical costuming, the fantasy genre, opera, and improvisational theatre. Some favorite designs include Tartuffe, The Dining Room, The 39 Steps, and “The Yellow River Ballet”. Cassie’s work can be found at www.cassiekayhoppas.org
Toby Lawrence, MFA
Assistant Professor of Cinema
MFA in Film Directing | California Institute of the Arts
Office: Potter Hall 206 C
Phone: (816) 271-4296
Office Hours: M 10-1, T/TH 1-2, W/F 1-3 (Appointment Only)
“I am a 27-year veteran of the entertainment industry; I spent my early career as a signed recording artist on Epic Records (a division of Sony). I also bring an MFA in Film Directing from California Institute of the Arts and more than seven years of teaching experience in Film/Video Arts at the University level.
I am a working filmmaker who wrote and directed an award-winning debut feature film in 2014 (Best Mystery Feature, EIFF 2014). I also directed an award winning short documentary in 2002 and several narrative shorts, industrials, and various commercials. My first feature length narrative film premiered in August of 2014 at the Sacramento Film and Music Festival and was user-rated #1 in its genre on IMDb (Internet Movie Database) at that time. Beyond writing, directing, producing, lighting, and cinematography, I have extensive experience with post- production, including editing, sound design, and color correction.
I am formerly the Chair of Media at the Art Institute of San Antonio, Texas. I oversaw more than 300 students in 5 separate disciplines and 20+ full-time and adjunct faculty members. I have experience in teaching all aspects of pre-production, production, and post-production. My diverse industry background provides me with the expertise to teach a broad range of both upper and lower division courses.
My class sign-up and retention rates are excellent; I take a personal interest in the success of every student. I have a passion for helping a widely diverse student population master the skills necessary to navigate the challenging and evolving professional world of film/video and develop their unique strengths and talents. Former students have gone on to successful careers in the film and TV industries.
I am excited to announce that I am currently employed by Missouri Western State University as an Assistant Professor in Cinema and will begin teaching in fall 2017.
It is my enduring goal to combine my broad personal and professional experience with a compassionate and enthusiastic teaching style to make a positive contribution to the growing field of the Media Arts.”
Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre and Dance
B.S., Dietetics | Brigham Young University
M.F.A., Musical Theatre Acting | Minnesota State University
Office: Potter Hall 110
Phone: (816) 271-5683
Office Hours: MWF 10-11, T/TH 11-12 and by appointment
Morgan Mallory is excited to be on the team at Missouri Western! Morgan holds an MFA in Musical Theatre Acting from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a BS in Dietetics from Brigham Young University. Morgan is very passionate about arts education, and started both the drama and dance programs at Eastside College Preparatory School in 2013. When not teaching, Morgan loves to be involved in many types of performance including acting, choreographing, dancing, and directing. Morgan has won many acting awards including a Theatre Bay Area award and Best Musical Theatre Actor for Region 5 at KCACTF. One of her favorite projects was learning ASL for a local production of Tribes. Keep up with her at www.morgandayley.com
Tee Quillin, MFA
Associate Professor of Theatre
B.A., Theatre | University of Alabama
M.F.A., Acting | Southern Methodist Univ.
Office: Potter Hall 206 D
Phone: (816) 271-4441
Office Hours: MW 11-1:30 and by appointment
Tee Quillin, is a classically trained professional actor & Assistant Professor of Theatre & Cinema. He holds his Bachelors of Arts in Theatre from the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!) and his Masters of Fine Arts in Acting from the Meadows School for the Arts at Southern Methodist University.
Tee started out by working his way through his undergraduate program as on-air talent for several professional and public radio stations. During his time at the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!), he co-founded Guerilla Theatre, an evening of scenes, monologues, and one-act plays. Conceived as an arena for students to fully explore their potential and experiment with various theatrical form, it was and still is managed completely by students, including conception, production, direction, house management, and publicity. Guerilla Theatre is still an active part of campus life at the University of Alabama today.
While at Southern Methodist University, Tee organized professional auditions and showcases that were held in New York City and Los Angeles. It was during his time at SMU that his passion for Shakespeare ignited.
His professional on-stage credits include performances with the Dallas Theater Center, Kitchen Dog Theatre, WaterTower Theatre, as well as the Utah Shakespearean Festival. Tee has also stared in various national television commercials, (7-Eleven, Krystal, Tn. Lottery, & CMT to name a few) and voice-over spots including audiobooks for Audible.com with American Entrepreneur by Larry Schweikart. Tee has had the pleasure of working with Barbara Somerville, Ben Furey, Cecil O’Neal, Michael Connolly, and Patsy Rodenburg. While working with the Utah Shakespearean Festival, Tee taught acting workshops and during his tenure with the Tennessee Shakespeare Festival, he served as Director of Education working in partnership with television star, Lane Davies.
Tee has been an active member of the Southeastern Theatre Conference by participating on various discussion panels and conducting workshops. He has also participated as a production respondent for Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival (KC/ACTF). Tee was actively involved with the Tennessee Governors School for the Arts as Auditions Coordinator, Adjudicator and Interviewer.
Tee is the co-host of the weekly theatre podcast, The Inexplicable Dumb Show. He has also been an invited guest of The Humana Festival of New American Plays (2008-present) at the Actors Theatre of Louisville in Louisville, KY where he has been a part of interviewing playwrights and professional actors for this weekly podcast. The website also plays host to Tee’s partnership with Shakespeare Monologues, where he created and hosts scansion-ready, printable PDF files of all of the major monologues from the Shakespearean canon.
Recently, Tee was invited to present a paper at the South Atlantic Modern Language Association (MLA) Conference. He presented his paper, “Some Things Never Change: Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and American Politics in the 21st Century.” Tee has been a member of the Actors Equity Association and has been recognized by the Society of American Fight Directors as an Actor Combatant on multiple occasions.
Among the productions Tee has stared in, he counts Hamlet in Hamlet, Decius Brutus in Julius Caesar, Lopakhin in The Cherry Orchard, George Tessman in Hedda Gabler, Peter in the musical Company, as well as Billy Crocker in the musical Anything Goes among his most memorable. His favorite production he has directed includes, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, Twelfth Night, Oliver! and Phantom.
Tee has been playing the banjo and other instruments since he was 6 years old. He is also an avid hiker and geocacher. In his spare time, Tee is also an amateur radio operator and storm spotter.
Founding Dean of SFA | Faculty
Dr. Bob Willenbrink
Founding Dean / Faculty
Office: Potter Hall 107 C
Phone: (816) 271-4515
Office Hours: by appointment
Dr. Bob Willenbrink is the Founding Dean of the School of Fine Arts at Missouri Western State University. He holds the Ph.D. in theatre from Bowling Green (Ohio) State University and a MA from Morehead (KY) State University. He began his academic career at Hazard (Ky.) Community College and for years served as Chair and Director of Theatre at the University of Central Arkansas. He created the Youth Theatre of Central Arkansas, was the national director of the ARC of Arkansas Performing Arts Institute for disabled artists, and founded ACTS, a theatre troupe for disabled performers. He was chair of the Department of Communication and Theatre at Morehead State University and a served for a short time as the Director of the Luckey Honors College. He became the Head of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Missouri State University and Producer and Director for the critically acclaimed Tent Theatre. He has directed over 80 productions of various styles at numerous venues. He has served as chair of Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region VI, was a member of the Kentucky Humanities Council Board of Directors and served as a director and first vice-president of the Jenny Wiley Theatre. For three summers he was the artistic director for the Kincaid Regional Theatre. He received the Kennedy Center Bronze Medallion for Service, the Outstanding Public Service Award at the University of Central Arkansas and the Distinguished Creative Production Award at Morehead State University.
Part-Time Faculty & Staff
B.A. in Spanish, B.A. in Christian Missions, TESOL Certification | Campbellsville University
M.L.S., Global Studies | Fort Hays State University
Office: Potter Hall 100 F
Phone: (816) 271-5664
Bio: Hannah Herrera serves as the Administrative Assistant for the Department of Theatre, Cinema, and Dance. Hannah is originally from Hartford, Kentucky—a small town with the famous slogan, “home of 2,000 happy people and a few soreheads”. Hannah considers herself to have been one of the 2,000 happy people. She received her B.A. in Spanish, B.A. in Christian Missions, and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Certification from Campbellsville University in 2013. Hannah also holds a Masters of Liberal Studies in Global Studies from Fort Hays State University, which she received in 2018. Hannah has extensive travel experience and has volunteered in orphanages, schools, and homeless shelters in Ukraine, Mongolia, Guatemala, Venezuela, and Mexico. Hannah’s desire is to serve as an advocate for higher education and contribute to international human development through educational opportunities.
Adjunct Faculty of Dance
Phone: (816) 271-5664
Spring 2018 Teaching Schedule
- DAN112 Modern Dance I
- DAN214 Dance History
Marla Heeler the owner and director of The Dance Arts Center, LLC is thrilled to share her passion and love for the art of dance with as many people as possible. Her motto is, “There is more to dance than pointing your toes.” As a choreographer and studio owner she has many award-winning students; including Dance Masters Chapter 28 Teen Miss Dance 2013 and Teen Mr. Dance 2012. Her students have also been award opportunities to study with ABT, Kansas City Ballet, North Carolina School of The Arts, State Street Ballet and Chicago Human Rhythm Project.
Marla’s award-winning choreography has been recognized by Robidoux Resident Theater as a Dobbins Award recipient. She has also been recognized by several dance competitions such as; Bravo, Celebrity, Dance Masters of America, I Love Dance, Dance America and Headliners. She has also had the pleasure of choreographing for both Missouri Western State University and Northwest Missouri State University theater productions.
Marla has taught Master Classes and judged throughout the Midwest. As a certified instructor, she is very involved in continuing to raise the standard for dance professionals. She has served as both President and Vice-President for Chapter 28 Dance Masters and is a member of Chicago National Association of Dance Masters.
As a former performer, Marla began her professional career after winning Miss Dance Heart of America. This award created the opportunity for her to study with the world-renowned Gus Giordano. While in Chicago she performed with Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, The Chicago Opera Theater, The Evanston Dance Ensemble, The Dance Foundation, Dance Explosion, Dancewerks and Indola Int’l Hair Show.
One of her most proud achievements is being the founder of A Chance To Dance. This unique dance benefit was started in 2002 to bring the dance community together to help raise awareness and funding for the prevention of child abuse.
She is thrilled to be an adjunct professor of dance at Missouri Western State University and this year she brought to life the dance production of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. The opportunity to work with such a variety of people in the arts is one of her favorite parts of being a choreographer and dance instructor.
B.F.A. in Technical Theatre | Valdosta State University
Office: Potter Hall 100 B
Phone: (816) 244-9141
Office Hours: by appointment
Spring 2018 Teaching Schedule
- THR140 Production Participation
Before moving to Missouri, Michael Scroggs was from Conyers Georgia. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Technical Theatre from Valdosta State University in Valdosta Ga. His education was not limited to the classroom as he was employed in the fields of Aviation construction and repair, automotive refinishing, housing construction, and welding fabrication to round out his education. He brings this knowledge base to Missouri Western and an overwhelming love of carpentry to build and tech the various shows.