The Student News Site of University of Central Missouri


The Student News Site of University of Central Missouri


The Student News Site of University of Central Missouri


First time free entry for UCM students into theatre shows


The University of Central Missouri’s Department of Theatre and Dance allows free admission to students for this year’s productions. This is the first time in history that the department has allowed students free admission for its shows.

  The department is in between show weekends for their musical performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. This is one of two main stage productions shown this semester, both of which allowed for free admission for the first time.

The Theatre and Dance Department putting on a show of Cinderella for this semester’s musical. Mirando Muenz, playing Cinderella and Riley Given, playing Prince Topher, are shown in an intimate moment on stage during their final dress rehearsal. (Photo by Ellie Whitesell)

  Cast Member, Chris Schilligo, who plays Lord Pinkelton, shared his thoughts on the free admission affecting the audience attendance. 

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  “I think it’s a good thing for sure… The people who aren’t sure if they like theatre, or like musical theatre specifically, a lot of the times what hinders them from even giving it a chance is that it’s behind a sort of a paywall and allowing it to be free has less risk to it,” Schilligo said.

An ensemble of actors practice during the Cinderella final dress rehearsal. The ensemble was mid dance in Act I, during a ballroom scene. (Photo by Kaia Trujillo)

  “So whether you like [the show] or not, money wasn’t wasted,” Schilligo said. “I think especially because of the show that we’re putting on, I think people are gonna end up really liking it and I think that it’ll draw more people in.”

  The department typically puts on two main stage shows a semester, typically one play and one musical. The cast and crew of these productions are made up of students. This change allows students to come and support their peers without having to pay for a ticket, allowing the students to support each other in their performances in a more accessible way.

  Assistant Professor of Theatre at UCM, Aaron Scully, is the director of this show. He spoke of his gratitude to the Provost for allowing the department and giving his support to allow this free admission. 

  “We’re really pleased and we’re really grateful to the Provost. Without the Provost we wouldn’t have been able to make this happen,” Scully said. “So with his support, we’re able to allow UCM students to come in for free, and we’ve already seen an increase in the student numbers for our first show. So we’re hoping that continues for Cinderella as well. And making theater more accessible to everyone has been a mission of ours.”

An ensemble of actors practice during the Cinderella final dress rehearsal. The ensemble was mid dance in Act I, during a ballroom scene. (Photo by Ellie Whitesell)

  Continuing this mentioned reach of accessibility to theater, the department has made it an objective to have at least one show per run with an ASL interpreter. They sit near the stage, with a spotlight, allowing for accessibility to those who need that interpreter to enjoy the shows. They are also allowing free tickets for veterans, military, and their families. 

  Reagan Medlock, freshman, said, “I love it so much. I think it makes it more accessible because obviously, we are students paying a lot in tuition, but also it just makes more kids want to come to theatre.”

  Sophomore, Sophia Gregory, shared similar thoughts. “I think it helps fill out theatre that students can have free admission into our productions….I think just being able to get more people to see our productions is a great thing,” Gregory said.

  This production highlights the talents of many students, actors and crew members alike. Senior theatre major, Gracie Heath, is responsible for the lighting design for this production. Heath has spent an estimated total of 750 hours on the design for this show. 

  “Cinderella is a big show. Anything Disney adjacent is going to be magical, big, bold and colorful,” Heath said. “I think that everybody, not just me, every single area of design and all the actors have put a lot of work into this, and we’ve come up with a pretty good product.”




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About the Contributors
Kaia Trujillo
Kaia Trujillo, Opinions Editor
Kaia Trujillo is a freshman at the University of Central Missouri who is pursuing a major in digital media production with a minor in theater. As the opinions editor, she is responsible for managing the content within her section. Despite this being her first time in a newsroom, she does have various writing and leadership experiences coming into this position. As for the future, she is currently exploring all the avenues of media and journalism, and will pursue whichever one sparks passion as graduation approaches. 
Linda Alviar
Linda Alviar, News Editor
Linda Alviar is a freshman at the University of Central Missouri with a major in communication studies and a minor in political science. As news editor, Alviar is responsible for the news section and the content within it. Alviar also covers the Student Government Association beat. In the future, Alviar plans to pursue a career in Journalism, specifically covering local politics. 
Mingzhu Zhu
Mingzhu Zhu, Promotions Manager
Mingzhu Zhu is a Master of Business Administration student with a concentration in marketing at the University of Central Missouri. She joined the Muleskinner team in October 2022. As the Promotions Manager, Mingzhu is committed to enhancing the Muleskinner's presence through strategic promotion on social media and various platforms. Her goal is to integrate her passion for journalism with the marketing expertise gained in her MBA program. Mingzhu looks forward to more adventures and possibilities in the future.
Ellie Whitesell, Multimedia Manager
Ellie Whitesell is a senior with a Photography major as well as the Multimedia Manager. She has been involved in journalism since high school. Now getting into the newsroom rules she is thinking about making it her life long career. She has loved taking photos since I child, it has always a hobby of mine until she realized that she could make a career of ourselves. 

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