“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”: Dr. Mary Leonard’s 70th and final show at UWL


Dr. Mary Leonard. Photo retrieved from www.uwlax.edu.

Jessica Fitzgerald, Arts & Entertainment Reporter

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Department of Theatre and Dance is proud to present “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” Based on the 1988 film of the same name, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” is about two con men in the French Riviera. After unsuccessfully attempting to work together, the men strike a deal: whoever fails to con $50,000 from a young woman has to leave town.

UWL’s production of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” is directed by theater professor Dr. Mary Leonard, and has a cast and crew composed of UWL staff and students. The remaining performances are April 27-29 at 7:30 p.m. with a Sunday matinee on April 30 at 2 p.m. in the Toland Theatre, Truman T. Lowe Center for the Arts.

Image retrieved from www.uwlax.edu.

“This show has a lot of unexpected turns,” said UWL senior Chloe Hart. “It will make you laugh in every scene, even in the heartfelt scenes there is usually a punchline somewhere. It’s a very entertaining show that is quick moving.”

Hart is playing the role of Christine Colgate, the young “Soap Queen” who becomes the target of the con men. She said her favorite part of putting “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” together was learning more about her character. She said, “Needing to find different ways that [Christine] speaks and acts was different from previous roles I have ever done. I enjoyed finding different voices and different ways that she walks and things like that.”

According to Hart, the most challenging part of putting “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” together was the magnitude of the show. She said there is a large ensemble cast with dance numbers, so they needed to make sure nothing stood out. “We needed to make sure that all of the working parts melded together beautifully,” she said. “It has been a really big challenge, but I feel like we have done a really great job.”

Dr. Mary Leonard credits the entire cast and crew working together for what the show has become. “It’s just all of these moving parts working together as a team,” she said. “It really does take a village, it’s not just me at all. It’s this wonderful group of people who came together to do really great work.”

“Where we started and where we are today is amazing. It feels like forever ago that we started, but it’s been a joy. It’s also been a challenge. There were days when we were all thinking ‘Wow, this is a big show’ But I have the best students in the world, and that’s the truth. They have worked really hard to make this special,” said Dr. Leonard.

Along with this being the final show of the 2022-2023 season, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” will be Dr. Mary Leonard’s 70th and final show at UWL.

Dr. Leonard said she felt like she was given a gift when she began her time at UWL. She said that with the help of various colleagues along the way, she was able to build the theater department by making decisions about what the class and curriculum structure should look like. “It was time for a big change and I was a part of that,” she said. “It feels really fantastic and a little daunting, but we did it and it’s grown and grown since then.”

“It feels like it’s time for my other lovely colleagues to take the torch and run with it,” said Dr. Leonard. After retiring from UWL, Dr. Leonard said she is excited to spend time with her family, grow a garden, do some volunteer work, and maybe do some acting of her own.

“I don’t know! I’m just going to close this chapter and then start a new one. I am cautiously excited,” she said.

About what message she would like to leave for the UWL Department of Theatre and Dance, Dr. Leonard said “I would say to my students that whatever they do, just make sure you follow your dreams and passions. Make it matter. Just say yes to the new possibilities. Each day is a new day and it’s got lots of possibilities. This is your time. Be easy on yourself.”

Hart said she chose to participate in the UWL Department of Theatre and Dance because of what she had heard about Dr. Leonard. “She is very well-loved by all of the alumni. They continue to say how much she still supports them. Hearing those things really made me want to be a part of the community. I can say that even with those high expectations, she has met and exceeded them. It’s a joy to work with her all of the time,” said Hart.

After 70 shows at UWL, Dr. Leonard said the highlight of her career was every final curtain call. “I can’t believe how the students have soared,” she said. “They soar like birds. It’s just fantastic.”

Dr. Leonard said she is excited to end her UWL theater career with “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”. She said, “It’s just so enjoyable and so funny. It’s not necessarily for little ones, for sure, but it’s such an enjoyable show. It’s a silly show, the music is fun and it’s delightful. It’s so much to take in and it’s a really great night of theater.”

Tickets for “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” are on sale online at www.uwlax.edu/theatre-arts. Tickets are also available for purchase in person at the box office in the lobby of the Truman T. Lowe Center for the Arts or by calling 608.785.6696. Box office hours are Monday through Friday 1-3 p.m. or one hour before each performance.


WHO: The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Department of Theatre and Dance

WHAT: “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”

WHEN: Apr. 27-29 at 7:30 p.m. with a Sunday matinee Apr. 30 at 2 p.m.

WHERE: Toland Theater, Center for the Arts, 333 N. 16th Street, La Crosse, WI 54601

COST: Tickets are $22 for adults; $20 for seniors and non-UWL students, and $8 for UWL students with ID. Tickets purchased/printed at the box office or over the phone will have additional fees. Tickets for “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” are on sale online at www.uwlax.edu/theatre-arts.

CAST: Erik Berg, Adam Bloom, Chloe Hart, Mason Laney, Tracie Hodgdon, Emily Babcock, Ryan Hustedt, Jake Gesteland, Josh Kaiser, Will Nysse, Eddie Doerr, Jaden Moore, Kenadi Tossing, Taylor Rammer, Paige Verbsky, Ellie Hemming, Anna Kral, Kaitlyn Pyburn, Paige Edge, Linnea Lerwick, Alyssa Meissner, Anna Montgomery, Gavin Muller, Caroline Thompson

CREATIVE TEAM: Mary Leonard (director), Kathryn Moran (musical director), Ashley Dobrogosz (choreographer), Carson Kreger (stage manager), Megan Morey (scenic designer, technical director), Tracy Joe (lighting designer), Ben Golden (sound designer), Joe Anderson (costume and makeup designer), Mandy Kolbe (props designer)

ORCHESTRA: Kathryn Moran (conductor), Paul Jewson (bass), Kathy Boarman (cello), Aaron Frost (drums), Kyle Renfro (guitar), Bonny Fish (horn), Matt Salvo (keyboard 1), Vicki Riness (keyboard 2), Sue Retzlaff (percussion), Steve Mann (reed 1), Stephanie Brookman (reed 2), Jake Erickson (reed 3), Tom Jensen (trombone), Amy Hatlevig (violin), Michael Derhammer (trumpet 1), Leo Chavolla, Bix Swerman (trumpet 2), Matt Salvo (rehearsal pianist)

PRODUCTION TEAM: Amber Meyers, Angela Stadler, Avery Weston (assistant stage managers), August Jennings (assistant scenic designer), T Mentjes (costume design assistant), Kenadi Tossing (dance captain), Brodyn Byington (sound engineer), Nic Barilar (accent coach), Megan Morey (scene shop supervisor), Ben Golden (lighting/sound supervisor), Laurie Kincman (production manager), Michelle Collyar (costume shop manager), River Podjasek (light board operator), Paige Huling, Amanda Visger (spot operators), Paige Subra (sound board operator), Brodyn Byington (master electrician), Dawson copley, Olivia Lawvery, Nicole Mikkola, Riley Micholson, Christopher Schoder, Rory Tierney-Osterlo, Mikayla Ullman (run crew), Molly Frey, Kira Hirsch, Grace Howard (costume run crew), Laura Felde, Kaj Jensen, Carson Kreger, T Mentjes, Jess Miller (props/paint staff), Esther Hammen (props/paint crew), Sage Goetsch (house manager), Hayley Bach, Avery Johnson, Eva Johnson, Al McKarns, Alivia Mendez, Keyara Perkins, Julia Schmit (front of house), Caitlin Elenteny, Chloe Hart, Emma Kohl (box office), Sage Goetsch, August Jennings, Linnea Lerwick, T Mentjes, Irene Swain, Elin Voegeli (costume shop staff), Serena Fincher, Martha Franke, Katie Glazer, Kelly Heinzen, Alayna Litz, Julia Maynard, Rachel Steffen, Gabriela Wooldridge (costume shop crew), Joe Anderson (poster design/cast photos), Krista Shulka (lobby display), Adam Bloom, Brodyn Byington, August Jennings, Tracy Joe, Sam Kallis (scene shop staff), Katelyn Babcock, Julia Broadrick, Hailey Cole, Laura Flaherty, Nathan Fremgen, Kylee Goodrich, Emma Heinert, Ryan Holmstrom, Kaj Jensen, Auna Johnson, Kieran Keller, Hailey Kluck, Jaiden Lauer, Laurie Leick, Chloe Lor, River Podjasek, Gus Richter, Madelyn Robel, Carlie Tesch, Jordan Walsh (scene shop crew), Brodyn Byington, Leo Chavolla, Tracy joe, Linnea Lerwick (light/sound shop staff), MJ Baumann, Dylan Boerner, Payton Carothers, Matt Chavez, Kasey Hammill, Ariel Hartleben, Angela Heck, Daniel Kelly Jr., Brooks Kraus, Daniel Krause, Connor Pangburn, Finley Richgels, Nick Wenger (light crew), Alexis Miller, Alec Taylor, Tyler Zdziarski (publicity crew)