Grammy-nominated platinum recording artist Sara Bareilles to perform at Millikin Big Event
Press Release - Millikin University

Millikin University will welcome Grammy-nominated platinum recording artist Sara Bareilles for the annual University Center Board (UCB) Big Event on April 5 at 8 p.m. in the Kirkland Fine Arts Center. 


Sara Bareilles gained mainstream success with her 2007 hit, “Love Song,” which brought her into the number one spot on the Billboard Pop 100 chart. She has sold over 1 million records worldwide and has been nominated for three Grammy awards. Bareilles’ second album, “Little Voice” was certified as platinum by Recording Industry Association of America in 2010. 


Bareilles’ most recent album, “Kaleidoscope Heart,” was released Sept. 7, 2010 and debuted at #1 in the United States. It features the hit song, “King of Anything,” which reached #1 on the Hot AC and AAA charts and VH1. For more information on Bareilles, visit


Bareilles will be joined by opening acts Elizabeth and the Catapult, a pop-rock trio from Brooklyn, N.Y. and Ximena Sarinana, a Grammy and Latino Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter from Guadalajara, Mexico. For more information, visit and


The UCB is Millikin University's student-run programming board, comprised of 11 student executive board members and staff advisors with the responsibility to plan, promote, execute, and evaluate student events and activities.  UCB plans a variety of annual events for students to enjoy, including Fall Family Weekend, the Pancake Breakfast, Millipalooza, and Springfest.  In addition, the UCB brings a nationally recognized band to campus each spring to entertain the community.  Millikin students voted for Sara Bareilles as their #1 choice to perform this year. Past artists have included OneRepublic, Gavin DeGraw, The Roots, O.A.R., Ben Folds, Jason Mraz, Train, 3 Doors Down, Sugar Ray, Vertical Horizon, and Sister Hazel.


In order to maintain appropriate decorum and an atmosphere that encourages respect, Kirkland Fine Arts Center asks patrons to honor the following requests: 


• All bags are subject to search 

• No photography, audio taping, or videography 

• No alcohol, drugs, tobacco products, or smoking of any kind 

• No re-admittance once inside the theater


Patrons who do not follow the above requests or those who display inappropriate or illegal behavior will be ejected from the facility. 


Tickets for the event are $20 for the general public and may be purchased at the Kirkland Fine Arts Center Box Office, by phone at 217.424.6318 or online at A $2.50 fee will be charged for credit card purchases. This is a per transaction fee, not per ticket, and applies to online and Box Office orders. Kirkland Box Office hours are Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

52nd Annual Vespers scheduled for this weekend - Dec. 4 & 5!
Millikin University- Press Release

Millikin University will welcome the holiday season with the 52nd annual Vespers celebration, “Shout the Good News,” to be held at the Kirkland Fine Arts Center at 3 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4 and Sunday, Dec. 5.  

For fifty-two years, Vespers (which means "evening prayers") has signaled the beginning of the holiday season with a sumptuous evening of carols, choirs and candlelight. Over 300 musicians join together for this joyous musical feast presented annually on Millikin’s campus. Songs from past centuries combined with familiar carols and arrangements create an evening of seasonal warmth for the whole family.  Vespers is one of Millikin’s most popular events, and has become a beloved tradition on campus and within the Decatur community. 

“Each year, Vespers provides a wonderful opening for the holiday season,” remarked Dr. Brad Holmes, professor of music and artistic director for Vespers. “This year’s program will provide an array of beloved Christmas classics that will delight concertgoers young and old.”

Tickets may be purchased at the Kirkland Fine Arts Center Box Office, by phone at 217.424.6318 or online at Kirkland Box Office hours are Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for seniors and children. A $2.50 fee will be applied to credit card purchases. This is a per transaction fee, not per ticket, and applies to online and Box Office orders.

Events at the Kirkland Fine Arts Center are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.
'Tada American' Mike Super performs Sunday at Kirkland
By Jim Vorel- H&R Staff Writer

"Mystifier" Mike Super asks a simple question - why limit oneself to only one branch of the "mystical arts" and a title as simple as "magician?"

"I don't like ‘magician' because it conjures up a picture of an old guy in a tuxedo and a top hat," said Super, who brings his award-winning "magic show" to Millikin University's Kirkland Fine Arts Center Sunday. "Who wears a tuxedo anymore? So I say ‘mystifier' because it better conveys all of the things I choose to do - magic, mentalism, illusions, escapes, etc.

"But most any other term is fine, honestly. They can call me a ‘tada American,' if they want."

Super has been performing magic since age 6, when he first began shows for neighborhood children in the back yard of his home. He had already been touring the country and winning awards for years in 2007 when he accepted an invitation to join the cast of NBC's live magic competition "Phenomenon." Winning the show's national voting and the $250,000 prize vaulted Super's career in magic into the next level.

"I still get recognized by people on the street based on that show three years later," he said. "It changed a lot of things. I used to do my show and people were surprised by how high the production values were. Now, it's simply expected of me, and I have to work even harder to meet that expectation."

Of course, an inevitable question arises when it comes to the format of a television show based on performing acts of "mentalism," or influencing the minds of others. If a mentalist really was successful, couldn't he or she influence the judges and audiences critiquing a performance?

"Unfortunately, I'm not a hypnotist, so I can't just plant ideas to make someone vote for me," Super said. "I did always think it was kind of funny, though, that it was a show with a bunch of possible psychics who all thought they were going to be the winner."

Audience participation makes Super's performance "a magic show turned on its side and spilled into the audience." Be it levitating an audience member or divining private information, Super is obsessed with creating a show that is more than just a progression of tricks.

"My show breaks down the fourth wall that I've always hated in magic," he said. "I also like to have a reason for what I'm doing beyond simply the entertainment factor."

This reason is typically evoking specific emotional responses in the audience. Where some performers might craft tricks or illusions with a specific visual effect in mind, Super's drawing board starts specifically with which emotion it is he wants to generate. A story about his mother is the lead-in to one of his favorite illusions.

"One of my mom's favorite things was snow around Christmastime, and as a tribute to her I make it snow in the theatre in honor of my mom and everyone who supported me," Super said. "People will sometimes tear up and come talk to me after the show to say ‘that was my dad' or ‘that was my grandfather.' "

These fans of Super are collectively known as his "Superfreaks," and their numbers are undoubtedly part of the reason the mystifier was able to win "Phenomenon." Super maintains an email list of over 50,000 "Superfreaks" at any given time, calling them "my lifeblood." Known for his habit of connecting with fans at random, Super has found the Internet particularly useful for dropping in unexpectedly, and cites the Web as severely underutilized by the modern mystifier.

"Magic is always kind of behind the times, it seems," he said. "If I'm bored or traveling I'll just go on my Facebook page, log into chat, and start reading some minds over the Internet. Soon there will be a couple hundred people all clamoring to be next."

Super has saved the best trick, however, for last. Several months ago, the mystifier claims to have received a "strong impression" that he could predict Sunday's Herald & Review front-page headline. He sent his guess to the Kirkland Fine Arts Center, where it is currently being guarded under lock and key by Director Jan Traughber, who is ready to accept blame for any tampering. This is a trick that Super has performed on a small number of other occasions, when he feels particularly sure of his guess. And yet he resolutely denies that he is "psychic."

"I do not possess psychic power like a 900 number," he said. "It's based on automatic writing and what's on the news on CNN. This is completely legit. I've done it about 15 times and haven't been wrong yet, but there's a very real chance that I could be wrong anytime I do it."

Moreover, if Super fails to correctly guess the headline, he has claimed he will refund all advance ticket purchases. As for automatic writing, he claims it is "what comes out of your subconscious when you clear your mind."

"We sent the prediction to the theatre, and I have no idea where it is now," Super said. "I will never touch it again, even at the show. In some towns, it's been kept in a jail cell, or the mayor's office, or even hanging from the theatre marquee."

Audiences on Sunday will find out if Super can back up his boast, but those who doubt may want to purchase their tickets early.

Eileen Ivers returning
By Tim Cain - 5/27/2010 at 2:00 am

One of the best shows I ever saw at Kirkland Fine Arts Center was one of its most sparsely attended.

On St. Patricks’ Day 2004, Eileen Ivers – a past Ireland violin champion – headlined a show at the Millikin entertainment center. There were about 300 people in attendance.

They were the happiest people in town that night, I’m guessing. Instead of phoning in a performance, Ivers ripped it up. And even though the extent of my exposure to her prior to that night was a cursory listen of a CD her publicist had sent, I left the concert a fan.

We all get another chance next year.

Millikin has announced its Kirkland lineup for 2010-11. I’ll have a story in Friday’s paper, but Ivers returns next March. Single tickets won’t go on sale until close to the end of the year, but keep an eye out. She’s more than worth the cost of admission.

Read the original post at:

Millikin University's Department of Theatre & Dance announces 2010-2011 Season

Expect the Unexpected…


It was Scottish poet Bobbie Burns who warned a little mouse (whose nest had been destroyed by a farmer’s plough) that the “best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men” often go awry.  That’s where Steinbeck got it, and it also suggests the thread that runs through our 2010-2011 season of plays and musicals.  In spite of all the planning that goes into the perfect wedding, the perfect family, or even the perfect suicide, stuff happens.  Dark family secrets get unveiled, phones get answered by the wrong people, and some folks get “Pucked” by an annoying fairy in the woods.  Whatever the plan, mouse or man, expect the unexpected!


Laura Ledford

Chair, Department of Theatre & Dance

Millikin University
Visit to read about the 2010-2011 Season.
Behind-the-Scenes with the cast of Urinetown
Urine Good Company says "Pay to Pee!"

Urine Good Company says “Pay to Pee!”



Monday, April 12, 2010


Under a new directive from the Urine Good Company (recently contracted by Millikin’s Department of Theatre and Dance to extort revenue from its patrons), users must pay a fee to access all toilet facilities on campus. Effective April 28, 2010, Policy F-37982.3 states that those seeking urinary relief must use UGC’s Public Amenity No. 9, the only available option for relieving themselves on campus.  In a press conference held to announce the new policy, UGC spokesperson Penelope Pennywise cited “depleted water supplies and the need to conserve” as reasons for the policy, though she was overheard later singing “It’s a privilege to pee!” through a microphone accidently left on after the announcement.


Beginning on April 28 all toilets on the Millikin University Campus will be equipped with a coin deposit mechanism and swipe card reader. Every user will be required to pay 25¢ to access the toilet stalls, or if they prefer to swipe, the fee will be charged to their MU account by the Urine Good Company.  An appropriate percentage of the revenue (called “pee-ola” by an anonymous theatre professor) will be kicked back to the Department of Theatre and Dance.


Campus enforcement of Policy F-37982.3 will be conducted by two new officers hired by UGC, Mr. Lockstock and Mr. Barrel.  Lockstock and Barrel will apprehend, fine, assault, kill, or issue citations to those who refuse to pay to pee as well as those caught peeing in places other than Amenity No. 9.


Certain members of the public, clearly outraged by the policy, have already begun to organize resistance activities.  Community members Soupy Sue, Hot Blades Harry, and Tiny Tom, led by reluctant activist and community organizer Bobby Strong, have formed a coalition to protest the policy “with violence if necessary… and really mean songs.”


Caldwell B. Cladwell, president and CEO of the Urine Good Company, will host a series of musical town hall meetings (sponsored by the Department of Theatre and Dance) on April 28th through May 1st at 7:30PM and on Sunday, May 2nd at 2:00PM. These will take place in Albert Taylor Theatre, where Cladwell and Pennywise have promised to field appropriate questions from the peeing public.  Inappropriate questions will result in an all-expenses-paid trip to Urinetown, a mysterious place from which no traveler returns.


These meetings are open to all Millikin students, faculty and staff, as well as concerned citizens of the Decatur area. Seating is limited, so please contact the Kirkland Box Office at 217-424-6318 for tickets and further information.


If you think you cannot attend the meetings but would like to register a complaint about policy F-37982.3, please e-mail Your comment or concern will receive a prompt and thoroughly unsatisfying response.


You may also post comments on this blog.*

*UGC reserves the right to censor your comment and/or sue you for libel.



Behind the Scenes: Brighton Beach Memoirs
Get a Behind-the-Scenes look at Brighton Beach Memoirs:
Costume Design for Brighton Beach Memoirs

By the 1930s money was scarce because of the depression, so people did what they could to make their lives happy.  In Brighton Beach Memoirs, we hear many references to the diversions of the time- movies, radio shows, books, etc.  This golden age of the mystery novel included escapist stories by Agatha Christie, Dashielle Hammett and Raymond Chandler.  Soon after the time period of Brighton Beach Memoirs, America would see the release of movies like The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind.  This confluence of events is certainly expressed in the clothing of the period.  When the stock market came crashing down in 1929, so did women's hemlines.  The short, tomboy silhouette of the 1920s was replaced by a long, feminine line with a defined waist.  The 1930s also brought a new interest in color and pattern in fabrics, which were much more affordable than the beadwork and delicate trims of the 1920s.  This is certainly reflected in the costume design for Brighton Beach Memoirs.  Other fashion trends of the time that are present in the show include:


- Plus fours (knickers) for men.  Edward VIII made the shortened pants fashionable.

-Lana Turner's 1937 film They Won't Forget made her the first sweater girl, a look for young women accentuating large breasts.

-A trend in men's fashions to replace the traditional matching vest of a three-piece-suit with a sweater vest.


The fashions of the 1930s are unique and represent the uncertainly in the world between the World Wars.  Soon, as the inevitably of another war looms, women's fashions will lose their feminine shape and begin to take on masculine shapes and military details.


- Jana Henry Funderburk, Costume Designer
You see, some people… they don’t like to talk about this thing… it’s called “Puberty”

The brilliant style that Neil Simon has in his writing is that every single character in the play goes through a monumental change by the end of it. And for Eugene, that change is growing from a boy to a man – a change in all teenagers that is metaphorically represented by puberty.
But how do I make this character more then just about a horny pubescent boy? Before we get into the good stuff, let’s make it clear that there is more going on in this boy’s life than just growing hair and searching for boobies…. Well, not much more. This is a boy that gets faced with crucial decisions through one of the most confusing times of anyone’s life. In a span of 107 pages, Eugene is faced with: a craving to be a New York Yankee, a passion for writing, a crush over his own first cousin (first being very important because if it was his third, it’d be okay), going to the store 15 times a day, the threat of being the only man left in the house - because of his brother’s leaving, his Pop’s health, and his Aunt Blanche and cousins finally leaving the house - and of course, the biggest obstacle in his way is his confusion and/or lack of direction of his raging hormones. It’s no wonder he’s reading biological novels, it’s the only source of information he can try and get besides his brother. Now lay the threat of having no money and the upcoming of the Second World War, and you have one very confused kid trying to discover what the lower half of the female body even looks like!


The search for the Golden Palace of the Himalayas begins…


I know from my own experiences that you don’t just snap into being a horny little kid… it takes time and experience. When I was first starting to notice girls… I wasn’t craving to just find nipples and beavers… Honestly, at first, I was a little scared of seeing those images. I often would get made fun of by my brothers growing up because if I saw a little “too much” of a woman I would get a little freaked out.


Obviously, things would change. As time went on, I would be exposed to a little more skin and imagery because of the media, something Eugene doesn’t really have the advantage of. But in Eugene’s favor is the expansion of his imagination because it is really all he has. So as an actor, it’s been a really creative process to see how these opposing experiences could create what I believe Eugene is going through in regards to what stage he is in this play. My own experiences gave me a slow rise to discovering the whole female body, while Eugene’s experiences from the play show he is craving for the whole package right away. So in Eugene’s life right now, I am playing it that he has gone through the beginning stages of puberty. He’s seen some risqué pictures in his life… but nothing compared to what he would die for. You don’t get too far with cartoon images of Betty Boop, as hot as she may be. Eugene is past the point of fear of the unknown. He is ready to face the unknown head on.


So because Eugene wants everything he can get right now at this time, but doesn’t have the resources, it makes complete sense for Eugene to be fascinated by his cousin’s perfect breasts. They’re big, defined, and laid on a perfectly shaped body. And since they are living together… why not take advantage of that access? When you’re going through puberty, you take whatever images you can get.


It may seem silly, but Eugene’s main goal in this play is to find the Golden Palace of the Himalayas. While all the other members of the family are fighting for something a little more serious in the real world, it doesn’t mean that puberty isn’t just as serious. Eugene’s character is blessed to have such a hopeful and optimistic attitude… he is the only one that keeps the family going. He annoys the crap out of everyone, but the family still loves him because he always has a smile on. As we as a cast and ensemble have learned, the smile on everyone’s face is what gets through the hard times.


So call Eugene a pervert, call him a brat, call him a pest... call him ridiculous for craving girls. But know that through all of that is a warm-hearted soon to be man who will some day play for the major leagues. He doesn’t need to worry about being a writer because he already is one when you sit down in your seat. And he couldn’t be more excited to tell his story!


- Kevin Hoffman, Junior BFA Acting Student
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