Steve Taft

Department of Theatre
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614-0371
Office e-mail:  Steve.Taft@uni.edu
Office phone:  319-273-2543

Taft Photo Gallery
Marc Breaux Home
Arts, Ethics and 
the Athlete
FDR Speaks
Austin Taft
Cindy Taft's
Children's Stories
Tutors to Panthers
Interview with Actor, 
Stephen Lang
Storybook Christmas: 
A Musical Christmas Carol
Aaron Listen 

I'm on a Professional Development Assignment (sabbatical) during the spring 2017 semester as I continue work on an Introduction to Theatre textbook titled, The Theatre in You.  In the meantime, I've developed a new web site (www.maycliffshores.com) which is now available. It's purpose is to promote various creative personal projects and the work of other creative artists I believe in, as well as the creative work of select students.  During the next few months I'll be focused primarily on the book and traveling to conduct interviews with former students, former classmates and colleagues working as professionals in the theatre and entertainment industry. 

In February of 2017, I'll be serving as a judge for the IHSSA Large Group All-State Festival (Ensemble Acting) in Ames, Iowa. In March ,I'll travel to serve as an adjudicator at the Iowa State Community Theatre Festival (IACT) hosted by the good folks in Marshalltown, Iowa and present a couple of Directing workshops as well. I look forward to reconnecting with talented high school students and community theatre organizations from around the state.

A recording of all the songs in Storybook Christmas is now available to potential producing organizations featuring several cast members and guests. To listen to a medley of the songs, click here

I'm looking forward to a very productive 2017 and ideally creating a routine of physical activity to continue leading a healthy life (not easy to do in Iowa winters). 

Steve Taft is an Associate Professor and faculty member in the Department of Theatre in his 16th year at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) located in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  With fourteen years of administrative experience, he has previously served UNI as Head of the Department of Theatre, Acting Head of the Department of Art and as Director of Education and Special Projects for the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center.  Other leadership positions have included Head of the Performing Arts Department (Theatre and Dance) at The University of Louisiana-Lafayette and as Chair of the Department of Theatre at LaGrange College.   Steve received a Ph.D. in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Theatre with concentrations in Arts Management and Directing from Texas Tech University, a Master of Arts in Theatre from Missouri State University and a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Central Missouri majoring in Theatre and Speech with a minor in Dance. 

His artistic skills and interests have allowed him to work as an actor, director and designer.   Although his career has been devoted to leading university academic departments and being a member of the faculty, Steve has had the pleasure of working professionally from time to time.  One of his fondest experiences was in the portrayal of Harry Mitchell in the Atlanta premiere of The Sum of Us  for which he was nominated for Best Actor by the Atlanta publication, Creative Loafing.   Since arriving in Iowa in the fall of 2000 he has worked at the The Old Creamery Theatre Company acting in Amadues, Tuesdays with Morrie and Greater Tuna, directing Nobody Don't Like Yogi, Broadway Bound, Rounding Third and The Odd Couple and serving as light and sound designer for a variety of productions.

Steve has also worked with the Stephen's College Okoboji Summer Theatre and their talented BFA students and fellow guest professionals portraying Mr. Kraler in The Diary of Anne Frank (2016), Mayor Meekly in Unnecessary Farce (2010 & 2015), Dad in Leaving Iowa (2008) and also directing A.R. Gurney's What I Did Last Summer  (2009) and the classic British farce, See How They Run (2010). Other artistic ventures since moving to Iowa include working with the Vox Nova Theatre Company in San Diego and Theatre L'Homme Dieu in Minnesota.  His varied career has allowed him to work in radio, independent films, industrial films, and on various commercials including serving as the principal spokesperson for O'Reilly Automotive.  And if you hit the pause button, you may be able to catch a glimpse of him in the films Sweet Dreams and The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All.

Having a deep respect and curiosity for all aspects of theatre, most recently Steve has focused on the task of playwriting and reigniting his passion for songwriting creating the holiday musical, Storybook Christmas: A Musical Christmas Carol and Hope the Firefly, a children's play  based on the children's stories, "Hope the Firefly" and "Dancing with Daisy" by his best friend and wife of 35 years, Cindy (Urban) Taft. He is a member of ASCAP and President of MAYCLIFF MUSIC GROUP (ASCAP).

In the early part of his academic career at LaGrange College (Georgia), Steve served as Artistic Director of Fredrich Durrenmatt's The Visit, presented in conjunction with the "Leaders of Humanity" seminars conducted by Mr. Zigmunt Nagorski, President of the Center for International Leadership located in Washington, D.C. Presented as a LaGrange College interdisciplinary project in collaboration between the Department of Theatre and The Department of Business and Economics, Steve teamed with Dr. George Dupuy, Professor of Management, to produce the edited, yet thought-provoking and interactive drama at over forty seminars for such clients as:  The Bell South Corporation, Capital Holding Corporation, Dun and Bradstreet, The Southeast Regional Education Board and the Global Leaders of the South. The program received The Southern Business Administration Association Teaching Innovation Award and the Leavey Award for Excellence in Private Enterprise Education from the Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge.

Inspired by his experiences with the "Leaders of Humanity" seminars, Steve's interdisciplinary interests continued with the development of a new course entitled, "Arts, Ethics, and the Athlete" at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. in 1999-2000 he focused his research on dancer, choreographer, director and friend, Marc Breaux (1924-2013).  The work includes interviews with friends and collaborators such as Dick Van Dyke, Richard Sherman, Lesley Ann Warren, Michael Kidd, Andy Williams, Kaye Ballard, and others.   A veteran of Broadway, television and film, Marc Breaux is best known for his choreographic work in such films as Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, The Happiest Millionaire, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and a host of television and Broadway productions.

Steve has served on the Executive Board of the Southwest Theatre Association as Vice-President of Membership, as editor of Southwest Reports, and as Vice-Chair of Strategic Planning.  On the state level, he has served as President of Theatres of Louisiana and as Chair of the College / University Division.  In Georgia, he served the Georgia Theatre Conference as Vice-President of Membership, Chair of the College/University Division, and newsletter editor.  He is a member of the Mid-America Theatre Conference and the Southeastern Theatre Conference and an active presenter.  Steve has also had the pleasure to serve as an adjudicator for the American College Theatre Festival (ACTF), the Iowa Association of Community Theatre State Festival and Regional AACT/FEST, the Iowa High School Speech Association (IHSSA) and the Iowa Thespian Festival.   He is an active member of United Faculty at UNI and served for a number of year on the UF Central Committee and others.

Representative directing credits include: Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Lost in Yonkers, the world premiere of the award-winning play Guernica (by Cody Daigle), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Miracle Worker, Lend Me a Tenor, Picnic, On Golden Pond, The Cemetery Club, The Shadow Box, Blithe Spirit, Nunsense, Godspell, West Side Story, Working, Dancing at Lughnasa, Other People's Money, The House of Blue Leaves, Mauritius, The Sweetest Swing in Baseball, Independence and more . In the spring of 2018 he'll be directing Doubt  by John Patrick Shanley for Theatre UNI.

(photo by K. Groninga)


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