Theater teacher WT will assume the artistic direction of TEXAS Outdoor Musical

A familiar face will soon take the reins of TEXAS Outdoor Musical.

Stephen Crandall, currently head of the West Texas A&M University Art, Drama and Dance Department at Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities, will be the musical’s new artistic director.

“I am delighted to welcome Stephen Crandall as the next artistic director of an institution so rich in history in the Panhandle of Texas,” said Dr. Andrew Hay, executive director of the Cultural Foundation of the Texas Panhandle (CFTP). “Of course, Stephen is no stranger to performing in this region, and his expertise both nationally and internationally speaks for itself. But it is his continued leadership as a faculty member of WT, and the respect of his peers, that lends itself to his exceptional candidacy as the next artistic director of TEXAS.


“I cannot express enough the enthusiasm with which the board of directors of the Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation and management of WT received the news of this opportunity,” continued Hay. “I am excited about the prospect of working alongside Stephen, and I look forward to the 56th season of TEXAS under his leadership.” The CFTP was formed in 2021 under the supervision of WT, as a member of the Texas A&M University System. It exists to promote the rich cultural heritage of the Texas Panhandle, concentrating the efforts of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum and the Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation (TPHF), the latter of which[producestheopen-airmusicalcomedyinthePaloDuroCanyonStatePark[producestheoutdoormusicalinPaloDarkCanyonState[produitlacomédiemusicaleenpleinairdansleparcd’ÉtatdePaloDuroCanyon[producestheoutdoormusicalinPaloDuroCanyonStatePark

“We are very happy to bring someone with the experience, talents and abilities of Stephen on board as artistic director of TEXAS,” said Mark Hodges, Chairman of the Board of TPHF. “With Stephen, we begin an exciting new chapter of sharing the history and culture of this region with clients around the world.”

“I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity and for the support from the leaders of TPHF and CFTP, as well as WT,” said Crandall. “TEXAS is part of my story and that of my wife; we met on our first summer with the show. It is all the more an important part of the history of the Texas Panhandle, and I look forward to helping to improve that history. “

Dancers perform during the musical

Crandall will be stepping down as Head of Department at WT but will continue as a Professor in the Department. A decision on Crandall’s successor as head of the department is expected by the end of the semester, said Dr Jessica Mallard, dean of Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities.

“Stephen has done an outstanding job leading the department over the past six years, and we wish him the best of luck with his new venture,” said Mallard. “I know he’s thrilled to put his artistic hat back on and do it with something with such a rich and long history as TEXAS.”

Crandall will become the eighth artistic director of TEXAS since its first performance on July 1, 1966.

“It’s humbling to consider the thousands of talented people who have been a part of TEXAS over the years,” said Crandall. “I consider myself lucky to be able to be a part of it again and lead the next generation of artists who will help tell this story and continue the legacy of live performances in the canyon. As someone who has experienced TEXAS on multiple occasions, I can speak of its magical ability to captivate a diverse audience and create lasting memories for everyone who sees and is a part of it.

Crandall himself has a long history with the show. He first saw the production in the late 1990s and was inspired to audition for the show in 1999, landing the role of protagonist Calvin Armstrong. He played the role for the next three summers and returned in 2002 as an interim coach after his marriage that spring to partner Leigh Anne Thomas. Since 2012, he has been directing the production’s “Shakespeare in the Canyon” project.

Crandall received his BA in Theatrical Performance in 2003 from WT, followed by an MA in Acting in 2007 from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, where he also taught theater, voice and movement. .

As an Equity actor, Crandall has performed internationally at the Adelaide Fringe Festival in South Australia; professionally with the Nevada Conservatory Theater, the Nevada Theater Company and the Music Circus of Broadway Sacramento; and locally with Amarillo Little Theater, Merely Players and TEXAS. He is also an active member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and has directed over 30 plays and musicals for regional and community theaters. He returned to WT in 2010 as Assistant Professor of Drama and was appointed Head of Department in 2016 after being established and promoted to Associate Professor. He was promoted to professor in 2021.

The effort to celebrate the region’s history through an outdoor musical began in 1960 when Canyon community leader Margaret Harper contacted playwright Paul Green. The musical debuted in 1966 and, until COVID-19 forced the cancellation of its 2020 season, has been performed in front of thousands of spectators every year in the Pioneer Amphitheater inside the Park of ‘State of Palo Duro Canyon. The 55th season entertained 46,588 visitors.

TEXAS season 2022 will open in June. The focus on the needs, history and future of the Texas Panhandle is key to WT’s long term plan, WT 125: From Panhandle to the World. This plan is fueled by One West’s historic $ 125 million fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign – which was launched publicly on September 23 – has raised around $ 85 million.

About the Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation The Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation, founded in 1965, is a non-profit organization that produces the outdoor musical “Texas” with financial support from donors, corporations, and grants. Since its first season, the musical has entertained more than 4.5 million spectators, generating a significant economic impact for the region.