Assistant Professor Lori Woodall-Schaufler directs students during a rehearsal for an outdoor Concordia production.Assistant Professor Lori Woodall-Schaufler directs students during a rehearsal for an outdoor Concordia production.

Assistant Professor Lori Woodall-Schaufler brings more than a quarter-century of professional theatre experience in her commitment to Concordia theatre arts students on stage and in the classroom.

A master of fine arts graduate from the Walt Disney owned California Institute of the Arts, Woodall-Schaufler has infused enthusiasm into a program that has seen the number of students auditioning for shows nearly triple since she started teaching in 2006.  “When I started, we used to have trouble filling out casts and had students playing two or three roles,” says Woodall-Schaufler.  “I find that students involved in theatre today have a sense of community and are searching for an outlet.”

That mindset has athletes auditioning and performing in productions and their teammates coming to cheer them on, according to Woodall-Schaufler, who began her professional career with The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre and The Children’s Theatre of Madison.  “While we’re at the point where we have to cut students from productions, we always encourage them to work on costumes or sets and audition for future shows,” says Woodall.  “Nearly all of them do and they end up in future shows.”

Woodall-Schaufler has directed 15 performances since taking over the theatre arts program in 2013, including “Godspell,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Hairspray” and “Macbeth,” which she co-directed with her husband, Ryan.  The two have starred in several Acacia Theatre productions over the years – most recently “Pilot” – which have been staged at Concordia since 2008.  “My foremost goal is to bring a part of my California experience here,” noted Woodall-Schaufler, “and ultimately create a second base for Concordia theatre in the third ward or downtown Milwaukee.”  For the past 10 years, she’s been a volunteer drama instructor at Above the Clouds, an inner city Christian center for youths ages 5-12.

Woodall-Schaufler’s modest office adjacent to Concordia’s theatre is known as “The Grotto,” and her door is open to students and alumni.  “Some of my first students are now in their early 30’s and I’m always open to doing a little mentoring or helping them with a possible job.”

Woodall-Schaufler implemented the first-ever summer outdoor theatre this past July with six performances of the popular comedy, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”  “It was a great way to introduce people to a fun Shakespeare work,” she noted.  “We livened it up with songs by The Beatles and other popular groups from the 70s.”  After taking the summer of 2018 off to concentrate on drama ministry at her church, she’s planning a second family-oriented show the following summer.

This season Woodall-Schaufler is producing three shows and bringing in guest directors to serve as acting coaches.  The second show this season, “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe,” will be performed March 2-4 in the Todd Wehr Auditorium on campus, 12800 North Lake Shore Drive.  The curtain rises at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, with a 1:30 p.m. Sunday matinee.

Tickets cost $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students 13 and older, $5 for veterans, $3 for children 5-12, and free for children under 5.  To order tickets, call the theatre arts hotline at 262.243.4444.

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