By Aimee Kidrick
News & Features Editor
In the summer of 2002, theater professor Kenn Wheeler received a call saying that EOU was short a faculty member.
More than 11 years later, Wheeler plans to celebrate his time here with the aid of theater alumni by dedicating a night to performing songs from his past productions.
“We’re doing 21 numbers over two hours. It’s going to be a busy evening,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler grew up in a large family with several brothers and a sister. Although passionate about theater now, Wheeler had wildly different interests when he was younger. Wheeler’s father, a football fan, enjoyed watching his son play football for years until theater took over Wheeler’s life in his sophomore year of high school.
“I played football for years and years before (trying theater),” said Wheeler. “In my junior year, I actually gave up football to concentrate on theater, and I don’t know if my dad’s ever forgiven me.”
He still enjoys football, but the sport has taken minimal priority compared to the numerous theater projects and performances he has been involved in at EOU.
From early productions at EOU, such as “Urine Town” and “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” to more recent productions, such as “Midsummer Night’s Dream” and the upcoming “Les Miserables,” Wheeler has been involved with many shows.
His event might not be able to cover all the shows he’s done, but “Kenn Wheeler—An Evening with Friends and Family” promises to be an entertaining night regardless.
The 21 songs, from serious to humorous to duets, will be performed by Wheeler, his family and past EOU alumni.
“We have four girls and four guys coming back to sing with me, so it’s not just me,” Wheeler said.
“Kenn Wheeler–An Evening with Friends and Family” starts at 7 p.m. at McKenzie Theater on Saturday, Nov. 16. Tickets cost $15 and can be reserved by calling 541-962-3757 or by visiting the theater box office in Loso Hall.
All proceeds from the event will be used to fund scholarships for EOU’s theater students, particularly juniors and seniors.
No matter how much money the event gathers, however, Wheeler is happy to perform and reunite with people from his past, if only for one night.
“I’m excited to get the family and students back together,” said Wheeler. “We haven’t performed together in a long time.”