MSU Summer Theatre green room named after Kevin Neuharth

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 7:42 PM CDT
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MINOT, N.D. (KMOT) – Sometimes you meet people that unexpectedly become as close as family.

For MSU Summer Theatre staff and students, retired professor Kevin Neuharth is one of those people.

The theatre’s new green room is now known as “The Neuharth” and represents “the new heart” of the summer theater.

The MSU Summer Theatre has been a staple of the Magic City since the 60s, but it wouldn’t be what it is today without Neuharth.

“Seventy-six was my first teaching year, so I went to the University of Denver in the summer and then came back and started teaching and directing and building and designing and everything with Tom Turner,” said Neuharth.

The theatre began in 1965 in an old circus tent where Hartnett Hall stands now. Standing no chance against the North Dakota winds, construction on an amphitheater began. In 1971, the theatre held its first performance, and in 1982, Neuharth took it over.

“The core of everything that I do is really based on all the things that I learned working with and for Kevin,” said Chad Gifford, artistic director of the MSU Summer Theatre.

For alumni like Peg Morris, who oversaw fundraising for the green room renovations, Neuharth quickly became a father figure.

“He’s important to any student he’s ever had, and he touches lives in ways that I think most professors and teachers don’t get to know,” said Morris.

Everyone involved with this story shared Neuharth was too humble to interview with us, but after some coaxing from his wife, he agreed to talk. Neuharth shared that he doesn’t want any of the credit for his time spent with summer theater.

“Without my family, I would have never been able to do the things that I did during summer theatre which were, you know, eight o’clock in the morning, maybe before, until midnight, many, many nights for all those years,” said Neuharth.

From the 275 shows he impacted in his career to the love he invested within the theatre community at MSU, Neuharth will forever be commemorated in the green room and in the hearts of everyone in the summer theatre family.

The first show of the MSU Summer Theatre’s 58th season, “Jimmy Buffet’s Escape to Margaritaville,” is set for June 13-18. Tickets go on sale June 1 at 9 a.m. and can be purchased on the Summer Theatre page on Minot State University’s website.