Tag Archives: Inauguration Week

Pippin paves “Extraordinary” Launch of Inauguration Week


The spring musical “Pippin” was presented by the Muskingum University Communication, Media, & Theatre and Music Departments March 30 – April 2.

The musical, performed in the Sandra Wolfe Thompson Theatre in Philip and Betsey Caldwell Hall, was the final theatre performance for the school year.

“It has been a major commitment from vocalists, accompanists, and a massive collaboration from all departments,” said Professor of Theatre Diane Rao.

Elijah Branham, as the lead Pippin, sings “Corner of the Sky” in the first act.
Muskingum University sophomore Eli Branham played Pippin during the four-day production. The musical focused on the journey of the title character as he attempted to find his pace in life.

“This is a lot of hard work but it does pay off, we all have dedicated a lot of time and this has been a very satisfying experience,” said Branham.

“Pippin” was the final production for Technical Director and Associate Professor of Communication and Theatre Ron Lauck, who will retire after a 31-year career at Muskingum.

“Since this is Ron Lauck’s last show here at the university, we really want to send him off with a bang,” said Rao.

Mallory Fischer, the Leading Player, guides Pippin on his journey to a fulfilling life. Photo: Marty Kurtz
The Tony Award-winning “Pippin” made its Broadway debut in 1972. The playwright was Roger O. Hirson and music was composed by Steven Schwartz, who is known for his work with “Wicked.” This was the first time “Pippin” was performed at Muskingum.

The “Pippin” cast included Branham with Mallory Fischer as the Leading Player, Johanna Whetstone as Fastrada, Nicholas McInturff as Charles, Lane Hunt as Lewis, Kaylee Piatt as Catherine, Zackary Devoll as Theo, and Caroline Heading as Berthe. The Band of Players included Kenzie Back, Ryan Burkhart, Sarah Crawford, Brian Lewis, Elyse Meyers, and Donald Purkey.

The cast of “Pippin” finish their rendition of “Magic to Do.”  Photo: Marty Kurtz
The musical was under the direction team of Rao, Assistant Professor of Music Emily Oehrtman, Associate Professor of Communication Gene Alesandrini, and Stage Manager Tricia LePage with Assistant Professor of Music David Turrill as conductor for the live 12-member orchestra.

The Sunday finale performance of the show kicked off Inauguration Week, celebrating Muskingum’s 21st President Dr. Susan S. Hasseler.

Muskingum to Celebrate Community during Inauguration Week


Listen or watch Friday’s Inauguration Ceremony live on WMCO 90.7 and Orbit TV. We’ll be streaming the event in addition to the ceremony being aired on our local channels – 90.7 FM and New Concord Cable 9/96.204. Prelude starts at 1:45 p.m. with the ceremony beginning at 2 p.m.

Muskingum University is set to host a variety of events both on campus and around New Concord as a part of Inauguration Week April 2-8.

Muskingum’s 21st President Susan S. Hasseler said the week of events are much more than celebrating her first year in office.

Muskingum President Susan S. Hasseler (left) speaks with a representative of Quimby’s (right). Quimby’s was one of 18 businesses who participated in the Shark Tub event on March 2.
Muskingum President Susan S. Hasseler (left) speaks with a representative of Quimby’s (right). Quimby’s was one of 18 businesses who participated in the Shark Tub event March 2.

“The major thing we are trying to accomplish in Inauguration Week is to celebrate this community,” said Hasseler, “and when I talk about the community, I mean everybody on the campus and the amazing things faculty, staff, and students do here. But also, to celebrate our broader community and the partnerships we have in this region.”

Hasseler said Inauguration Week is the perfect opportunity to showcase the talents Muskingum University and the community have to offer.

President Susan S. Hasseler addresses the audience during Homecoming festivities October
President Susan S. Hasseler addresses the audience during October’s Homecoming festivities.

“[Inauguration Week] captures so many different facets of the really amazing things we do here at Muskingum,” said Hasseler, adding the highlights of the week will include student performances and community events.

Looking back on her first year of presidency, Hasseler said despite the passing of a faculty member, student, and notable alumnus, she was pleased to see the community come together during difficult times.

“What really was striking to me is how this community immediately comes together and supports the families, supports the friends, [and] supports one another,” said Hasseler. “My job in that is to provide opportunities for the community to come together… but you can only do that when you’re in the middle of a caring community, and this certainly is one.”

Dr. Susan S. Hasseler shares a prayer during the service held for Ray Rataiczak Friday, Oct. 14.
Dr. Susan S. Hasseler shares a prayer during the service held for Muskingum Professor Ray Rataiczak Oct. 14, 2016.

Hasseler said her biggest accomplishment in her first year has been reaching out to the Muskingum community to improve the student experience.

“That is going to launch all kinds of things in the future,” said Hasseler. “So a lot of really exciting initiatives are emerging from that process.”

Inauguration Week kicks off Sunday, April 2 with the final performance of the Spring Musical, “Pippin,” at 2 p.m. in Thompson Theatre in Caldwell Hall. Orbit Media will be covering a number of events live throughout the week on WMCO and Orbit TV.

The week concludes Saturday, April 8 with the Day of Community Service at the New Concord Area Pool at 10 a.m., the Cardboard Boat Regatta at the Campus Lake at 2 p.m., and a community celebration at 2:30 p.m. in the Anne C. Steele Center. Inauguration Week activities are free and open to the public.