Missouri State to host open house for new John Goodman Amphitheatre this weekend

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Missouri State University is set to host an open house this weekend to showcase the new John Goodman Amphitheatre.

The campus broke ground on the state-of-the-art facility in April 2021. It is now part of the Judith Enyeart Reynolds Arts Park located adjacent to Craig Hall. The project was named after and headed by acclaimed actor, MSU alumnus and Onward, Upward campaign chair John Goodman. Onward, Upward is MSU’s largest fundraising campaign in university history.

MSU is hosting a drop-in open house Sunday from 2-4 p.m. to allow guests to explore the 7,700-square-foot open-air facility. Rendering and design for the amphitheater was put together by Patterhn Ives LLC, an architecture group out of St. Louis.

The university is celebrating 60 seasons of its Tent Theatre stage productions, which will now hold court in the new John Goodman Amphitheatre. The unique experience of MSU’s theater and stage entertainment has touched the hearts of students and fans through a combination of acts over the years, the university says.

“We’re really pleased to be welcoming the community to an open house this coming Sunday afternoon,” Shawn Wahl, dean of the Judith Enyeart Reynolds College of Arts and Letters, told The Heartlander. “We’re super fired up about the reveal and what this can do for the Missouri State community and beyond. I think this will be an additional space on campus that makes the university memorable.”

Wahl says the facility can handle a broad range of acts from comedy to music and even poetry readings. The new amphitheater also will double as an outdoor classroom, available to all academic programs and study groups at MSU. 

The amphitheater was inspired in part by former MSU professors of theater such as Dr. Howard Orms and Byrne Blackwood. It will be officially unveiled and dedicated to Goodman on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 1 p.m. during MSU’s Homecoming.

“I don’t believe we would have a facility like this if it wouldn’t have been for those professors who inspired John Goodman, Tess Harper, Kathleen Turner and so many of the alumni who are in our theater and dance,” Wahl said. “That’s part of the inspiration of the gift.

“John Goodman would agree, this is about giving tribute and building on the legacy of 60 plus years in tribute to great people.”

Goodman will host an Onward, Upward celebration at Great Southern Bank Arena Saturday evening at 7 p.m. Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Tori Kelly and award-winning Kansas City party band KC Flo will rock the house with music performances. Musical guests will also collaborate with MSU’s Grand Chorus, MSU Pride Band and the color guard.

No ticket is required to enter the event, and seats are first-come, first-serve. Free merchandise will be available to the first 2,500 guests. To view additional details, visit MSU’s website.

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