Faculty & Staff

Eastern Oregon University Theatre Faculty & Staff

Kenn Wheeler

Associate Professor of Theatre


Kenn, in his fifteenth year, is an Associate Professor of Theatre Arts who considers himself a theatre generalist. His areas of concentration would include musical theatre, stage management and directing, but he also designs scenery, and teaches acting, theatre history, stage makeup and stage combat. He received his BA from Southern Utah University and his MFA from Michigan State University. Before coming to EOU, Kenn taught at Lansing Community College and Albion College, in Michigan, and Treasure Valley Community College, in Ontario, OR. His most recent project was directing  On the Verge. In the fall of 2010, Kenn was privileged to direct the first amateur university production of The Phantom of the Opera to be produced in the United States. While some of his favorite projects have included Urinetown the Musical, Jekyll and Hyde, Les Miserables, and Much Ado About Nothing, he considers his greatest productions to be his three daughters, Jennifer, Jessica and Jillian. He and his wife, Denise are now working on spoiling the Wheeler grandkids: Valin, Boston, Nathaniel, Oren, TobiNn, Hazel and most recently Abigaille. Plenty of pictures available upon request.


Michael Heather

Associate Professor of Theatre


Mike is an Associate Professor of Theatre and program chair here at Eastern Oregon University. Mike teaches Scenic, Costume and Lighting design, Stagecraft, Irish drama, Banned Plays, Theatre History, Introduction to Theatre and advanced studies in Theatre and Film. Mike has also directed such shows as Titanic the Musical, The Crucible and Life is a Dream at EOU. Currently Mike is writing an anthology of plays with supporting material geared to the needs of the design professor and student. Mike earned his MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University in Design. He holds a Bachelor of Science in both Theatre and Social Studies/History from Southern Utah University. Mike’s goal is to “Tell part of the story” when it comes to design for theatre productions. Previously, towards that end, Mike has been an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Augustana College and Georgetown College, Technical Director for Randolph College, Resident Designer and Technical Director for the Lynchburg Fine Arts Center, Granbury Opera House and Black Hills Community Theatre. Mike has also worked for the “Mouse”, Walt Disney Resorts, Entertainment Art at Disneyland as a Consultant/Assistant Art Director. Mike holds memberships in the United States Institute of Theatre Technology (USITT) and the Historical Miniatures Gaming Society.


Heather Tomlinson

Assistant Professor of Theatre


Heather is an Assistant Professor and this will be her ninth year teaching at EOU. Her focus is costume design and construction and stage makeup. She has recently added directing to her repertoire debuting with her first directed play, Rabbit Hole, at EOU. Heather studied fashion, textiles and design at the University of Idaho (U of I). She also earned her MFA in costume design at the University of Idaho. She has worked at the Idaho Repertory Theatre, Utah Shakespearean Festival and the Chautauqua Opera in Chautauqua, NY. Heather has also taught at the Universidad de Monterrey (Udem) located in Monterrey, México. Her focus there being on fashion design, textiles and construction. She has designed numerous plays at EOU, some of her favorites being Pippin, A Midsummer Night´s Dream, Much Ado about Nothing, and Endgame. Her costume designs for A Country Wife at U of I received a Kennedy Center Meritorious Achievement Award. Heather also designed costumes for the debut of A Grave for Sister Agatha Off-Off Broadway in conjunction with Ken Bush.


Ashly Braden

Adjunct Professor of Theatre Dance


Ashly is a classically trained dancer, teacher, and choreographer. She began her early ballet training at the age of three, and hasn’t stopped since. She received a BFA in Dance Performance with an emphasis in modern techniques, at Belhaven, University in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Belhaven, she also spent a semester in New York City studying Limon Technique and repertoire at the Jose Limon Institute; working under Carla Maxwell, Alan Danielson, and Gail Corbin. Ashly has had the opportunity to work and perform with various noted choreographers such as Steven Wynne of Arts Immersion Denver, CO; Bill Wade of Inlet Dance Theatre Cleveland, OH; Randall Flynn of Dance Adeum Houston, TX; Anne-Sophie Fenner of Flowing Dance Company Zurich, Switzerland; and Rebeccah Hope Schlissel-Brann of Hope Dance NYC. Ashly has been teaching ballet, modern, and jazz techniques locally at LaGrande School of Ballet, as well as choreographing original works and restaging classical pieces on students. While her truest love began with ballet it has since embraced modern dance techniques, and most recently she has enjoyed immersing herself in the Musical Theater genre at EOU. So far she has had the privilege of choreographing Phantom of the Opera, Secret Garden and Spamalot for EOU and looks forward to future collaborations.

Denise Wheeler

Costume Shop Supervisor


Denise is a theatre generalist who has had a creative hand in almost every aspect of the theatre arts. She started as an actress at the age of 14 when she appeared in her high school production of Fiddler on the Roof. Since then, she has created roles in more than 75 plays and musicals. Some of her favorites include Dotty Otley in Noises Off and Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance. She has costumed more than 150 productions including, Tartuffe, The Lion in Winter, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and The Music Man which had a cast of 84. She has directed and choreographed nearly 200 shows with Urinetown, the Musical, Fiddler on the Roof and Newsies as some of her favorites. In addition to her remarkable work in theatre, Denise has literally “produced” three astounding daughters, Jennifer, Jessica and Jillian, who have gone on to produce seven wonderful grandchildren: Valin, Boston, Nathaniel, Oren, Tobin, Hazel and Abigaille who arrived this past May.


Grant Turner

Guest Director – “Hamlet”


Grant Turner has been in over 55 Shakespearean productions and has performed in 32 of the 37 plays in the Canon. He has worked through out the region for theaters such as Artists Repertory and Lakewood Theatre (both in Portland), Bend Shakespeare in the Park, and Willamette Shakespeare, in addition to the Northwest Classical Theatre Company, where he served as Artistic Director for 15 years. In his tenure with the NWCTC, he had the opportunity to work with many Shakespearean luminaries including the Olivier award-winning director Bill Alexander, RSC Associate director Barry Kyle, and actors Michael Pennington, Imogen Stubbs, and Dame Janet Suzman among others. Favorite roles include the title characters in Hamlet, Richard III,Romeo & Juliet, Timon of Athens , as well as Thersites in Troilus & Cressida, Enobarbus in Anthony & Cleopatra, and Iachimo in Cymbeline. Favorite directing credits include, Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Merchant of Venice.


J. Michael Frasier

Guest Director – “West Side Story”


Mike is a lifelong educator who holds undergraduate degrees from Central Washington University and a Master of Music Degree, with an emphasis in Musical Theatre Performance, from Eastern Washington University. He spent 30 years in the La Grande public schools, teaching courses in choral music, theatre, and leadership. He has also served as an adjunct faculty member at EOU teaching courses in music and theatre. Mike was co-founder, with Dr. Lyle Schwarz, of the EOU Summer Musical Theatre program, and with Dr. Schwarz and Mark Kuntz of the Eastern Oregon Youth Summer Musical Theatre program. As a performer, Mike has appeared on stage in over 40 productions, including leading roles in Secret Garden, Music Man, Man of La Mancha, Sweeney Todd, and 1776. Most recently, he appeared as Sir Danvers Carew in EOU’s production of Jekyll and Hyde. He has served as director, or collaborative musical director, on more than 40 productions including, Guys and Dolls, Into the Woods, Godspell, The Last Five Years, A Year With Frog and Toad, Pippin, Annie Get Your Gun, and West Side Story. His most recent directing project was My Fair Lady, at the Elgin Opera House. He is excited to be collaborating with the staff and students on the production of this seminal work.


Student Staff for 2016 – 2017

  • Sonja Adams – House Manager
  • Lexi Laird – Box Office Manager
  • Aubrey Slaughter – Box Office Assistant
  • Julie Gulliford – Box Office Assistant
  • McKayla Nitz – Costume Shop Assistant
  • Ashlee Mink – Scene Shop Assistant
  • Avalon Bloodgood – Theatre Assistant
  • Sonja Adams – Promotions Assistant
  • Cassandra Johnson – Promotions Assistant
  • Alan Stogin – McKenzie Theatre Student Technician
  • Ashlee Mink – Assistant McKenzie Theatre Student Technician
  • Cassandra Johnson – Theatre Librarian



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