10th Annual Friends of Theatre Gala Gets Broadway Boost

group of four people who are dressed in formal attire and are holding colorful hats in the air in front of a red curtain

The Michigan State Univeristy Friends of Theatre invite the public to attend the Friends of Theatre Gala on Tuesday, May 7, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Wharton Center for Performing Arts. This annual event, now in its 10th year, supports the programs and activities of MSU Theatre students such as scholarships, artist/educator fellowships, and scholar residencies.

Guests will be invited onto the stage of the Wharton Center’s Pasant Theatre to enjoy appetizers, wine, and dessert as they mingle with friends, faculty, and students and enjoy a performance to highlight the work enabled by the endowment.

This year, the Department of Theatre’s Musical Theatre Touring Company will be joined by award-winning Broadway performer Kyle Taylor Parker, best known for featured roles in the original Broadway cast of Kinky Boots and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as well as Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert on NBC.

collage of three photos that show the same actor performing in different roles
Kyle Taylor Parker in “Kinky Boots” (left), his headshot (center), and a poster from “Jesus Christ Superstar” (right)

“The Musical Theatre Touring Company is an opportunity for students with a Musical Theatre minor to gain practical experience,” says Alisa Hauser who directs the group along with Dave Wendelberger. “The company has performed in a variety of settings, from an intimate house party to the Cobb Hall stage at Wharton Center. Students discover how to quickly adapt routines, find creative solutions to physical and technical limitations, and learn the impact a venue can have on an audience.”

Performances are typically in the style of a revue, comprised of well-known numbers from classic Broadway musicals. For the Gala performance, the students and Parker will each perform a short set and collaborate on an opening and finale.

“Our theme for the gala this year is ‘Hopes and Dreams,’ which is really lovely when you think about it,” said Alisa Hauser, Musical Theatre Touring Company Artistic Director. “The students will be exploring the hopes and dreams of the characters they portray, while having the opportunity to perform alongside a Broadway professional who is living their dream.”

The students will be exploring the hopes and dreams of the characters they portray, while having the opportunity to perform alongside a Broadway professional who is living their dream.


Tickets for the 10th Annual Friends of Theatre Gala can be purchased in advance at theatre.msu.edu for $75 per person, $20 of each ticket is a donation to the MSU Friends of Theatre Endowment Fund and is eligible for deductibility, funding special projects benefiting MSU Theatre students such as the ĭmáGen Musical Theatre Immersion Program with Wharton Center, Summer Circle Kids’ Camp, and the 4th Wall Theatre Company collaboration.

Additional monetary gifts to the endowment can be made in a single payment, as a recurring sustaining gift, or as a pledge in installments by completing the fund pledge form found at theatre.msu.edu.

The Friends of Theatre at MSU (FoT) is a community group committed to promoting, encouraging, and enhancing activities and programs of the Michigan State University Department of Theatre (DoT); creating fundraising opportunities to support the DoT and promoting improvements in its programs and facilities; and collaborating with the DoT in organizing events and programs that expand the community experience of theatre.