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CSS Receives Major Gift for Theatre

April 26, 2019
Luke W. '19 and Whitney R. '21 rehearse Friday for OKLAHOMA!
As Upper School performs OKLAHOMA! this week, both students and the audience will begin feeling the benefits of a $20,000 gift to the Louisa Performing Arts Center that enhances sound and lighting.

The Kunstle/Landrum Family made the donation after thoughtful consideration of how transformational theatre can be in the lives of our students.

Our family could not be more pleased to have the opportunity to support the fabulous creative work accomplished by the CSS Upstagers under the dedicated, professional and heartfelt direction of Ms. Sandy Bray,” said Amy Kunstle P’17, P’21. “We are honored to be part of the body of parents, faculty and community members recognizing and supporting the shining jewel of fine arts education that is so much a part of the enrichment across all ages at The Colorado Springs School.”

This is the first major gift to the theatre since it was built in 1994. It will enhance all shows and presentations in the theatre, including signature programs such as Dessert Theatre, Holiday Tea, and Revue, as well as concerts, performances, and presentations.

New sound equipment that was purchased includes two additional wireless body microphones, two floor mics, and five hanging choir mics. In addition, new LED and DMX runs will modernize the conventional lighting system giving more control and creative access to the theatre’s lighting needs.

We will paint with lights in the upcoming musical,” Bray said. “It will be magical.”

All of the new elements purchased with the gift will be fully in place by the beginning of next school year. Those who attend the Upper School’s Spring musical OKLAHOMA! will experience the new LED lights and more actors than ever will be be wearing body mics. This musical is supported heavily by our talented musicians comprising the orchestra. A special mic dedicated to the fiddle will add a special touch.

Additional money from the Kunstle/Landrum Family gift will go toward a multi-phased approach for acoustics and sounds upgrades, with an eye on a new soundboard for the booth. Additional resources will be needed to assess and make sustainable upgrades.

The new lighting and sound additions open opportunities for more students to be engaged in learning the art of theatrical lighting and allow them to learn about digital and programmable lights.

OKLAHOMA! is set in a Western Indian territory just after the turn of the century. The high-spirited rivalry between the local farmers and cowboys provides the colorful background against which Curly, a handsome cowboy, and Laurey, a winsome farm girl, play out their love story. They learn the road to true love never runs smooth.

It’s an energetic, dance-driven musical,” said Reese W. ‘19, who performs in the show. “We’re used to singing and acting, but having more ensemble parts with dance is new. It’s a very different show than we’re used to. It’s emotional at some points, but it’s a musical that’s been known for along time.”

Reese appreciates how inclusive the show is for all students who are in it.

Some shows have been more focused on main characters,” she said. “Everyone has their own part or character, even if it’s not a named character. My character doesn’t have a name, but I play the sassy leader.”

The musical will be bittersweet for both Reese and Hannah G. ‘19. The two have been at CSS since pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. It’s their last show together before graduation.

I’m kind of sad,” said Hannah, who plays Laurey. “I’ve done theatre since the beginning here. I’ve been in every production, except one when I did hair and makeup. I’ve always loved theatre. It’s a part of who I am here, so it’s going to be a big change.”

Luke T. ‘20 encourages families to enjoy the musical while supporting him and his fellow thespians.

I think this is the best set we’ve had,” said Luke, who plays cowboy Will Parker. “It’s a really family-friendly show. There’s a lot of dancing. It’s a fun-loving story.”

Shows are at 7:00 p.m. today, April 26, and tomorrow, April 27.

If you are inspired to learn more about philanthropic giving and how to impact signature programs at The Colorado Springs School, please contact Jessica James, CSS Director of Communications and Advancement, at (719) 434-3506 or

Upper School Spring Musical OKLAHOMA!
Luke W. '19 and Whitney R. '21 rehearse Friday for OKLAHOMA!
Upper School Spring Musical OKLAHOMA!