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Academics

About the Directors

Tony Piazza
Director of Theatre
Communication & Theatre Instructor
B.A., University of California-Santa Barbara; M.A., San Diego State Univesity
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Courses:  Beginning Acting, Intermediate Acting, Theatre Appreciation,
Stagecraft, Voice and Diction, Oral Interpretation, Technical Theatre Practicum, Theatre Practicum, Public Speaking

Tony has been Director of Theatre at Allen Community College since 1999. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Dramatic Arts from UC Santa Barbara and a Master’s degree in Drama from San Diego State University.  At Allen he teaches Acting I & II, Theater Appreciation, Stagecraft, Voice and Diction, Public Speaking and Theater Practicum. Tony is production coordinator for all shows and directs two plays a year.  He and his wife, Terri, also sponsor a summer Allen Youth Theatre in the Park series for youths ages 13-21.  Tony has directed over 40 plays at Allen including The Night of the Iguana, Much Ado About Nothing, Our Town, The Cherry Orchard, Bus Stop, Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors, The Crucible, The Importance of Being Earnest, You Can’t Take it With You, Footloose, As You Like It, The Drowsy Chaperone, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, and The Tempest,

Tony has received the NISOD award for outstanding Allen faculty member and a Meritorious Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center-American College Theatre Festival for theatre program development. Prior to coming to Allen, he taught or directed at Baker University, Mid-America Nazarene University, St. Mary College and Maple Woods Community College. Tony trained professionally at Stella Adler Studios in New York and worked in theatre and television in New York and California.  He is a member of Actor’s Equity, SAG-AFTRA, and the Association for Theatre in Higher Education.

Terri Piazza
Communication and Fine Arts Division Chair
Communication & Theatre Instructor
Assistant Theatre Director
B.F.A., Southwest Missouri State University; M.A. Pittsburg State University
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Courses:  Public Speaking, Mass Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Theatre Appreciation, Improvisation, Introduction to the Film Medium, Costume Practicum

Terri received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theatre Performance at Missouri State University and Master of Arts Degree in Communication from Pittsburg State University.  She has been a member of the Allen faculty since 2000 working with her husband, Tony Piazza, to develop the theatre and communication programs at Allen.  She was appointed Chair of the Communication and Fine Arts Division in 2008.

Terri teaches communication and theatre courses providing students an academic foundation in each of these disciplines.  Her work as a director includes productions of The Comedy of Errors, Cotton Patch Gospel, The Laramie Project, Lend Me a Tenor, The Taming of the Shrew, Cinderella, Guys and Dolls and Scapin.  She and her husband founded Summer Theatre in the Park, a workshop for area youth.  Terri supervises costume design and production for all college productions, and sponsors the student improv troupe "Lighten Up."

Terri's diverse background enables her to share a variety of skills and experiences with her students in the classroom and on-stage.  Prior to teaching, she worked as a professional actress in theaters across the country including New York City, San Diego and St. Louis.  Her years in New York were highlighted by working on the development of new scripts by up-and-coming playwrights, many of whom have been published and are produced around the country.  She received training from Curt Dempster at Ensemble Studio Theater in New York and became a member of the Actor's Equity Association.  She is a published playwright having written numerous short dramas published by Concordia Publishing.

In addition to her theatre experience, Terri spent several years in the marketing and public relations industries gaining experience which informs her teaching today.  She was Senior Marketing Associate for Home Box Office in New York and Marketing Associate at the La Jolla Playhouse in California where she worked with Tony Award-winning director Des McAnuff and numerous renowned playwrights, performers and designers.  Terri worked for the public relations firm Fleishman-Hillard in Kansas City before taking a teaching position at Allen.
Dr. Susan McKinnis
English Instructor
B.A., Sterling College; M.A., Emporia State University; Ph.D., University of Oklahoma
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Courses: Public Speaking, writing and literature classes.

Susan earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theater and English (with secondary education certification) from Sterling College; an M.A. in English from Emporia State University; and a Ph. D. in English (with emphases in drama and Middle English literature) from the University of Oklahoma.  She became a member of the Allen faculty in 1998, and has directed for the Theater Department periodically since 2000.

For Allen, Susan's work as a director includes the musicals Into the Woods and The Boyfriend and the one-act plays Trifles and Sure Thing. For other venues, Susan has directed the musicals Godspell; Tintypes; A Day in Hollywood, A Night in the Ukraine; Bye, Bye Birdie; Annie; Little Shop of Horrors; Oliver!; Annie Warbucks; The Sound of Music; Gypsy and Annie Get Your Gun. She has also directed the following one-act and full-length plays: Here We Are; The Still Alarm; You Can't Take It with You; Phillip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread and A Play of Saint George.

Susan's English degrees and background in textual analysis allow her to bring to her directing a deep understanding of a play's literary elements-setting, theme, characterization, diction, plot, symbolism-which then, through the collaborative process of theater, are transformed into live performance via acting, staging, lighting, set design, music and costuming.  Although her most recent work in educational theater has been as a director, she has also served as a performer, choreographer, costumer¸ stage manager and technician.   Susan has worked extensively in community theater, as well.