This page is dedicated to Nancy's work, and
involvement with Theatres across the country. If you have
information to share, please contact the
Webmaster, and we
will add your information, chronologically, to our "Nancy's
Heritage Museum Collection
Among the Heritage items shown:
1988 Kendallabrum... 1981 N.I.T.
Championship Team photo and autographed basketball... "Nancy and the
President" long-play record featuring Nancy Vunovich and President
Paschal Twyman... KWGS-FM 40th Anniversary program (1947-1987)... 1984
TU Basketball Guide...
Paschal Twyman Award
The Twyman award was established by the
TU Alumni Association after the late president’s death to honor any TU
Alumnus, student, faculty or staff member, or friend of the university
for outstanding contributions to the university, “far and beyond the
call of duty.” The honoree should possess some of the qualities Twyman
admired, including leadership and commitment.
- Past Recipients
- 2006 — Ellen Adelson
- 2005 — Charles Norman
- 2004 — Dr. George Mauerman
- 2003 — Hart Hix, '41
- 2002 — Bill Fisher, '63
- 2001 — Ellis Jenkins, '55
- 2000 — C. Arnold Brown, '50
- 1999 — No award given
- 1998 — No award given
- 1997 — Francine Ringold, '64,
- 1996 — Bob and Roxana Lorton,
- 1995 — Betty Oswald
- 1994 — Tish Stuart, '73
- 1993 — No award given
- 1992 — Genave King Rogers, '38
- 1991 — Kathleen P. Westby
- 1990 — Michael W. Davis
- 1989 — Nancy Vunovich, '51
Ponca Playhouse presented “Steel Magnolias.”
Directed by Nancy Vunovich, the show
starred Karen Rivers, Diana Mills, Jacque Hollar, Mary Hunt, Ruslyn
Hermanson, and Zondra Smith
THE JEANNE ADAMS WRAY
SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD
FOR OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO
COMMUNITY THEATRE IN
Dr. Nat Eek,
University of Oklahoma, Norman
Risso, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Duran (deceased)
Dr. Nancy Vunovich,
University of Tulsa
JoAnn Muchmore directed the Playhouse
production of “The Cemetery Club,” a comedy featuring Vicki Poulson,
Marge Parker, Iris Ballou, and Nancy Vunovich.
How To Direct a Musical - Published in 1995
by DAVID YOUNG (05 April,
1995) - A Theatre Arts Book
page-42: " ...
Nancy Vunovich PhD. She has
additional tips on staging. Each musical has several types of
numbers that are similar to numbers in other musicals.
Without too much generalizing, the ensemble numbers, solos, and
duets in Chess and Carnival have a certain similarity to the
From The Pages Of
The Ponca City News
Sunday, February 16, 1997
Retired' Director Stays Busy With
Variety of Theater Events
Vunovich, director of the upcoming Ponca Playhouse production
of "Noises Off," though retired, admits she is happiest when working on
a theater project of some kind, and that seems to be a constant in her
who retired as theater professor from the University of Tulsa several
years ago and moved to Ponca City, admits that one of her major reasons
for doing so was the opportunity to work with a community theater rather
than an academic theater.
"It was a new venue for me, and one that
I've really enjoyed since living in Ponca," she said, "although I keep
my hand in as many areas of theater as I can."
In January, before starting rehearsals
for "Noises Off," Dr. Vunovich spent a week
in Las Vegas at the National Senior Adult Theatre Festival, where 20
senior theater groups held workshops and performances.
"It's a very new national organization,
and I was amazed to discover more than 600 people - many of them
involved for the first time - having a great deal of fun in performance
activities, acting, singing, storytelling. I would love to get a group
together here in Ponca. In fact that's near the top of my project list
next project is acting in a brand-new, prize-winning play for the
University of Kansas. "Abide With Me," winner of the first Great Plains
play contest, is being produced at KU in April and features several
alumni actors who will work with current students.
The humorous-but-touching drama touches
on characters who must learn to celebrate all of life's difficulties,
and is set in a small town in Kansas.
"I'm playing an old hymn-singing widow
who finds new love late in life," she says, "and the playwright will be
working hand in glove with the actors and director - a great project!"
Also in March, she'll be perform in
Eureka Springs, Ark., for the 25th Tulsa University Mystery weekend,
where she plays a 1882 woman judge, raised by the Indians and "tough as
After Arkansas, it's off to Colorado, and
her vacation home, where she may be working again with the Creede
Repertory Theatre acting in "Forever Patsy Cline," this summer.
"Of course, my current project, 'Noises
Off,' is what interests me most at the moment. I wanted to direct this
show because it presents such a challenge - not only to the actors and
designers, but to the director as well. I really felt that some Ponca
City talents were ready for the challenge - and boy, have they come
University Theatre to perform premiere
of Averill's play
The homespun philosophy of William Jennings
Bryan Oleander and his fellow citizens of Here, Kan., will come alive on
the stage of the Crafton-Preyer Theatre with the premiere of Abide
with Me by Thomas Fox Averill.
Performances of the new play, winner of the first Great Plains
Playwriting Contest, sponsored by the KU Theatre, are at 8 p.m. April 24
to 26 and May 1 to 3.
The production is part of "Alums Come
Home III," a special reunion for KU theatre alumni. Originally held by
the University Theatre in 1985 as a scholarship benefit, "Alums Come
Home" has grown into a three-day series of workshops, scholarly
presentations, performances and social gatherings.
Abide with Me not only is written,
directed, and designed by KU alumni but also features a cast of five
current KU students and four theatre alumni. KU alumni performing
include Glenn Q. Pierce, Olathe, former chair of the KU Department of
Theatre and Film, as Oleander; Nancy Vunovich,
Ponca City, Okla., retired chair of the Department of Theatre at the
University of Tulsa, Okla., as Iola Humboldt; Piet R. Knetsch,
Eudora, director of Hospice Care for Douglas County, as Claude Anderson;
and Nancy Marcy, Kansas City, Mo., a professional actress, as Mabel
Averill, professor of English and writer
in residence at Washburn University, Topeka, said his play grew out of
commentaries he has done for several years on KANU-FM, KU's public radio
station. The commentaries began as monthly pieces broadcast during the
legislative session and expanded to weekly spots about life in Here.
Abide With Me is directed by Jack
B. Wright, professor of theatre and film. Scenic and lighting designer
is Dennis P. Christilles, assistant professor of theatre and film, while
costume designer is Steve Hudson-Mairet, Lawrence graduate student in
scenography. Sound design for the production is being created by Trevor
Ruder, Oakley senior.
Wright and Averill agree that they have
enjoyed producing the drama. "Tom is so good with dialogue, and he knows
these characters so well, it has made for a great collaboration," Wright
Abide with Me is about a small
town on the decline, Wright said, and the need to adjust to and
celebrate life's difficulties. Averill said he wanted to explore how
people come to live the double life of acceptance and celebration, grief
"The play is not only about the decay of
the town, about death and dying," Wright said, "but it also deals with
what happens when you're not `here.' The play shows us Oleander's
progress through the grief over the loss of his wife."
Ponca Playhouse Presents Comedy
Ponca Playhouse opens its charming
boy-meets-girl musical "Anything Goes," Friday.
Director for this
seagoing comedy is Nancy Vunovich, choreographer is Fran Norris and
orchestra director is Mel Arner. Corporate sponsors for the event are
Commercial Federal Bank and Crown and Rose English Pub.
Performances for "Anything Goes" are Feb.
13-15 and 20-21, at the Poncan Theatre. Curtain times are 8 p.m. for the
evening shows and 2 p.m. for the matinee.
"Anything Goes," is an amusing story
wrapped around the magical music of Cole Porter. In this story, true
love is put to the test when complications arise out of a shipboard
The hero and heroine, Billy Crocker
(Micah Carroll) and Hope Harcourt (Kelly Haikin) meet at an overcrowded
party on a hot summer night in the early 30s. They part without knowing
each other's name, but find each other again on the Ocean Greyhound
"America" bound for England, where all the action takes place.
Of primary interest to publicity hounds,
Tommy Crouch and Cheryl Mauk, who routinely cover ocean-liner crossings,
is Reno Sweeney (Dana Nesselrode), famed evangelist. She has her four
angels Chastity (Lisa Worley), Purity (Peg McDaniel), Virtue (Erin
Rutherford), and Charity (Melisa Young), with her.
Another celebrity aboard is very much
under wraps for the trip. Moonface Martin (Kent Carbough) a onetime
ships' gambler and "Public Enemy No. 13" is hiding out on board. The
"13" has brought him a succession of bad luck and he is determined to
move up to the "11" or "12" public enemy spot.
Our hero Billy, wins Moonface's
friendship by getting the FBI off his trail, and Moonface joins Reno's
efforts to help Billy win Hope away from her fiancé' - the pleasant but
lame-brained English baronet, Sir Evelyn Oakleigh (Dave Hart).
Billy has just a few days to win Hope,
whose mother, Mrs. Harcourt (Vicki Poulson) is all for the baronet.
Meanwhile ships' officers, the Captain (Robert Nesselrode) and purser
(Ivery Allen) are searching the ship for a man who is the occupant of
another famous gangster's cabin.
Billy results to a variety of disguises
that include Moonface himself. Two sailors Kevin Goldman and Nathan
Wells also dress like Chinese converts to help out. Other romantic
entanglements include Elisha Whitney (Jose Cervantes) and Bonnie
Additional colorful characters include
The Drunk (Nathan Wells), Girl One (Christy Gonterman), Girl Two (Alana
Cervantes), and Bishop Henry Dobson (Jim Halbrook).
Rounding out the cast are children;
Lonnie and Rudy Carbaugh and Zack Mauk; sailors, Kevin Stauffer, Ivery
Allen, Tommy Crouch, Nathan Wells and Kevin Goldman; Society Debs, Erin
Sylvester, Donya Gartside, Lisa Phelan, Cyndy Miller, Christy Gonterman,
and Alana Cervantes; and Society Ladies, Larri Ann Halbrook, Marlys
Cervantes, Melanie Longmore, Landra Gukeisen and Linda Shindler.
Tap Dancers for the production are Shawna
Kelley, Leslie Jones, Mackenzie Fender, Nicole Lambert, Meredith
Inselman, Blair Turney, Stacy Hayes, Kristina Kirsch, Katrina Kirsch,
Jordan Flett, Mandy Bacher, Megan Dickey, Maddie McDaniel, Amanda
Choats, Shannon Love, Samantha Dockey and Savanah Morin. The trio is
comprised of Annette Hunt, Linda Cowley and Robert Nesselrode.
Production staff is led by Karen Rivers
as producer, Vickie Hart as stage manager and Sheryl Mauk as assistant
stage manager. Light design is by Pete Shields and techs are Vickie
Dailey, Ivery Allen, Joe Cervantes. Light board operators are Vickie
Dailey and Joe Cervantes. Spotlight operators are Iris Jorgensen and
Sound design is by Dave May, sound tech
and sound board operator is C.R. Rupert. Props are done by Diane Malone
and Loretta Wilson.
Costumes are provided by Ruslyn
Hermanson, assisted by Chris Rupert, Sheryl Goldman, Kristina
Rich-Splawn, Marilyn Inselman, Gweneth Thompson, Mike Hansen, Betty
Radcliff, Diane Malone, Loretta Wilson, Sandy Bishop, Eva Byer, Denise
Jones, Mackenzie Fender, Marilyn Bacher and Marika Kirsch.
Set design is by Nancy Vunovich. Set
construction crew for the show includes Warren Rivers, Robert Griffith,
Billy Bransford and Jim Halbrook. Set dressers are Larri Ann Halbrook
and Kris DeYoe.
August 12, 1998
Ponca Playhouse Auditioning for Season Opener
Ponca Playhouse will be auditioning for
it’s season opener, “Moon Over Buffalo,” on Aug. 26-27 at Playhouse
rehearsal hall, 301 South First. The auditions for the fact-paced comedy
will begin at 7 p.m. both days.
The play was written by Ken Ludwig,
author of the crowd-pleasing comedy “Lend Me A Tenor.”
Nancy Vunovich, PhD will direct the production
with assistant director Christina Rich-Splawn. Rehearsals will begin on
The cast covers a wide age range for its
quirky characters. George and Charlotte Hays are a middle-aged pair of
touring actors, somewhat on the skids of their careers. Ethel, the
oldest woman in the cast is Charlotte’s irascible, hard of hearing
Rosalind is the Hays’ lovely and
level-headed daughter. Her current love interest is Howard, a TV
weatherman. Her past love is Paul, a member of the Hays touring company.
Eileen, another cast member, is a former
paramour of George, and Richard Maynard is the Hays’ theatrical lawyer
who longs to take Charlotte away from her somewhat seedy life on the
Perusal copies of “Moon Over Buffalo” are
available at the Ponca Playhouse office. Interested persons may check
out a script by calling the Playhouse office at (580) 765-5360 between
11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Production dates are Sept. 25, 26, and
Oct. 2-3 at 8 p.m. and a matinee on Sunday, Sept. 27. All performances
will be held at the Poncan Theatre.
September 25, 1998
Ponca Playhouse Season Opens With Madcap
“Its like living
in an asylum on the guards day off,” a caustic line spoken by Jacque
Hollar in “Moon Over Buffalo,” pretty well describes the back stage
antics of the Hay theatrical family in the Ponca Playhouse production
opening tonight at the Poncan Theatre at 8 p.m.
Crazy, confusing and full of character
chase scenes (mostly in pursuit of George Hay played by Phil Bandy); a
delightful drunk, (Phil Bandy); hammy, theatrical acting (Phil Bandy and
Ruslyn Hermanson as Charlotte Hay); misunderstandings by all; great
punch lines by mother-in-law Ethyl (Jacque Hollar); thwarted love
entanglements involving Eileen (Toma Foster), Paul (Dave Guinn), Richard
(Don Jorgensen), Howard (Robert Nesslerode), as well as Bandy and
Hermanson; and an almost slapstick plot; make “Moon Over Buffalo” a
Director Nancy Vunovich,
as usual has cast her characters well — not a weakling in the lot!
Interaction between these eight veteran Playhouse actors is smooth and
natural, even when the scenes are zany.
The simple but cluttered set is typical
backstage and depicts the greenroom of the Erlanger Theatre in Buffalo,
N.Y. in 1953. As per Ponca Playhouse standards the set is excellent and
very usable for the theater trappings of thespians and the very physical
antics of the actors — especially the madcap chase scenes.
My vote for best actor for the evening
was Wendy Bersche who plays the level-headed Rosalind. Smooth lines,
great voice and easy stage presence all combined make for a winning
combination. But all the rest of the actors came in second — a close
second. The two and one-half hour production flies by quickly as the
plots and scenes unfold the story about a theatrical family, hoping to
make it into the big time and worrying about the death of “live”
Phil Bandy and Ruslyn Hermanson are — as
always — professional and so very enjoyable to watch. Facial expression
and body language speak volumes. Jacque Holler adds a believable
dimension as the hard-of-hearing mother-in-law, and delivers her witty
punch lines in good time. Robert, Toma, Dave and Don add the necessary
ingredients to make the plot boil and the production moves along in high
On Thursday evening at the final dress
rehearsal, the audience of more than 100 viewers, applauded, whistled
and cheered as the lovable scalawag George gets his come-uppence in
several scenes. A standing ovation rewarded the cast at close of final
Others who made the delightful comedy a
success were co-producer and costume director Christina Rich-Splawn,
stage manager Ivery Allen II, properties managers Diane Malone and
Loretta Wilson, fencing choreographer John P. Maddox, lighting design
director Dave Guinn, light board operator Deryl Mauk, sound design Dave
May, sound board operator Karen Rivers, set dressing Warren Rivers and
Karen Rivers, dressers Deanna Hinshaw, set construction Gary Owen, and
many more volunteers to handle curtains, set move-in, publicity,
programs, and office management.
Corporate sponsors who make it possible
for top quality production are Boettcher, Ryan and Martin Attorneys at
Law and Kid’s Kastle.
In the director’s notes in the “Moon Over
Vunovich says, “This play is about people who think the theater might be
dying. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard during my own lifetime
‘The theater is dying’ — but,” Nancy goes on to say, “as long as
somebody has a good story to tell, a couple of people to act it out and
some others to watch and listen, the theater is never going to die.”
Watching productions like the current “Moon
Over Buffalo” by Ponca Playhouse actors make us all hope it never dies
in Ponca City!
The University of Tulsa Magazine Summer/2000
’50), retired University of Tulsa theatre department
chairman, died May 4, 2000. She was 71. Dr. Vunovich
retired in 1992 and was associated with Creede Repertory Theater in
Creede, Colorado. She is survived by her two daughters,
Alexandra Vunovich and Holly Lewis Von Arch, both of Nashville.
Nancy Vunovich (
The University of Tulsa Magazine
Wade Williams (BFA ’87) is
appearing in Fox’s TV show Prison Break on Mondays at 8
p.m./ET. Wade gives credit to his voice teacher, Jane Carmichael, who
asked him to
audition for the part of Miles Glorious in “A Funny Thing Happened on
the Way Home
from the Forum.” Nancy Vunovich (BA ’51)
and Dr. David Cook were also inspirations to him.
News Articles found through Google search, in the Archives of
the Ponca City News
The University of Tulsa Magazine