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Campus News / News

Rockford University Performance Arts Department Steals the Spotlight

08/17/2023 2:33 pm

A Thrilling Recap of Unforgettable Performances

RU Performing Arts students perform in Maddox Theatre

by Lindsey Giardino 

It’s always an exciting time within Rockford University’s performing arts program.

Each academic year, the department produces a collection of theater productions open to the campus community and general public. This past fall, those productions included a 1960s themed cabaret show directed by RU Performing Arts Professor Timm Adams entitled, “Good Vibrations: Songs of the 60s!”

Complementary tickets were sent to Rockford University alumni who graduated in the 1960s and 1970s, and many attended a performance.

Another performance, “These Shining Lives,” was directed by Professor Deborah Mogford in November 2022. The heart-wrenching play is based on the true story of Catherine Donahue and her friends who worked for the Radium Dial Company and how women’s lives were changed between 1922 and 1938 by the right to vote and new job opportunities.

In addition, Rockford University’s choirs and special guest Camerata Emanon put on a choral concert in November, performing “And the Angels Sang.” 

The fall season came to a close with a dance performance, “Orchesis: New Beginnings,” co-directed by Performing Arts Department Chair and Technical Director Beth Drog and graduating senior Marissa Ott. Not only did this feature Rockford University dancers, but it also  featured dancers from Rockford Dance Company, Evolve Dance Company, Auburn High School and South Beloit High School.

“Rockford University Performing Arts truly produces excellence in the realm of performing arts here in Rockford,” said Margaret McGraw, administrative and marketing assistant for the visual and performing arts program at RU. “The rigorous program provided by our hardworking faculty produces in our students the skills they need to progress in their artistic career.”

Although guided by faculty, each show is the collective hard work of every student in the program, McGraw said.

While there are many highlights of the overall program to call out, one pressing event is the retirement of Professor Jeff Hendry, who retired at the end of the spring semester after 41 years. He created the majority of the costumes seen on stage at Rockford University.

To purchase tickets to a future Rockford University production or to learn more about all the happenings, call 815-226-4100 or visit

Rockford University Performing Arts students performing

This story was originally published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of Catalyst