SCU Professor Takes Stage for Shakespeare in the Park

SCU Professor Takes Stage for Shakespeare in the Park


SCU Professor Takes Stage for Shakespeare in the Park

By Tyler Moss

As we approach the dog days of summer, the campus at Southwestern Christian University is still quiet, a sharp contrast to the hustle and bustle seen during the fall and spring semesters. But for one SCU professor, this summer has been anything but quiet.

Dr. Mark Johnson, Professor of Creative Arts and Chair of SCU’s Creative Arts Department, has spent his summer preparing for his upcoming performance in Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park’s productions of Ring Round the Moon and King Lear.

A life-long musician with more than 30 years of experience in solo vocal performance, voice teaching and choral music, Dr. Johnson will play the role of Romainville in Ring Round the Moon and will play several roles in King Lear.

For a Fine Arts faculty member, the opportunity to perform is a testament to the hard work and dedication applied to their craft. Dr. Johnson’s performance in a regional professional theatre production is the same honor that it would be for a faculty member from a different field to present a paper or serve on a panel at a regional-level conference, and as he points out, that king of honor can hold many advantages.

“As a professor of Creative Arts, being cast in a play presented by a regional professional theatre company is a great benefit to my students because they can come and see their professor working as an actor and improving his skill set,” Johnson said. “Secondly, any student taking my ‘Acting for Everyone’ class is able to gain a reference point beyond just a textbook or theory of acting.

“More importantly, however, is the important aspect of Christian outreach,” Johnson added. “Performing Arts is my calling. Oral Roberts used to preach about going ‘...where God’s voice is heard small and His light shines dimly.’ And for me, that’s one of the important reasons to do professional theatre. To make sure that God’s presence is known in that world through my life and witness.”

While this is his first performance in Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park, Dr. Johnson is no stranger to the stage. He recently performed for the General Conference of the United Methodist Church in Tampa, Florida, and has previously performed at St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church in New York, The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and has both directed and performed at the White House. He holds Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees in Voice Performance from Oral Roberts University, Oklahoma City University and Louisiana State University.

According to its website, Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park was founded in 1985 by the late Jack O’Meara and artistic director Kathryn Huey O’Meara Mcgill. Showings of Ring Round the Moon began last night at the Myriad Botanical Gardens Water Stage and will continue through the evening of July 13th. Performances of King Lear will begin on September 12th and run through the 28th. For more information visit http://oklahomashakespeare.com/events/2013-season/.