Joellen Bland
Theatre Director

P: (540) 464-7389

102 Marshall Hall
Center for Leadership & Ethics
Virginia Military Institute
Lexington, VA  24450

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Past Productions

The VMI Theatre dates from March 1970, when Act V, Scene II of Hamlet was produced by the Class of 1973 Freshman Honors English sections in Jackson Memorial Hall. Directed by Dr. James B. Davis and Col. Herbert N. Dillard, this production was the first theatrical endeavor in many years presented by cadets. They were encouraged to mount more shows and the VMI Theatre was born. Jim Davis guided the Theatre until 1976, when he turned the job over to Col. Michael S. Harris of VMI’s Department of Modern Languages.

Mike served as faculty advisor, performer, and friend until his sudden passing in September 2004. Colonel H. Francis Bush has ably stepped into the role of Faculty Advisor and works with us on stage and behind the scenes. Over the past thirty-eight years, under the guidance of eleven directors (the current director, Joellen K. Bland, has been on board since 1978), the VMI Theatre has flourished as an established, ongoing artistic outlet for cadets, faculty, and staff, who enjoy learning and working together as a team to bring a theatrical production to completion.

Community performers have worked with us over the years and enriched us with their talent and expertise. The Theatre is especially grateful to four VMI alumni who have generously supported us: Billy “Possum” Colonna, ‘14; Leslie Gillis, Jr. , ‘29; John Monks, Jr. , ‘32 (co-author of Brother Rat); and Colonel Royce E. Jones, ‘55.

Since 1970, the VMI Theatre has produced 146 dramas, comedies, revues, and favorites from the American musical theatre on our make-shift stages in Scott Shipp Hall, Cameron Hall, Moody Hall, Jackson Memorial Hall, Nichols Engineering Auditorium, and Lejeune Hall. Our dinner-theatre productions and summer theatre performances have enlivened Lexington’s theatrical scene. We are proud of our past and grateful to the hundreds of actors and singers, musicians and choreographers, crews and “techies, ” and faithful audiences who have helped us keep theatre alive at VMI.

VMI COMMUNITY THEATRE presents A MERRY MEDLEY OF SEASONAL STORIES featuring 2 New Original Plays "SNOW & MISTLETOE" by Piper Blouin Foley-Schultz (Love Wins the Day in a Family Christmas Homecoming) and "RETRO TINSEL UNPLUGGED by Sherri Holland (The Holidays CAN Happen Without Digitization!).

FRIDAY & SATURDAY - 11-12 December - 7:30 p.m.
SUNDAY - 13 December - 2:00 p.m.

The VMI Theatre will hold auditions for a HOLIDAY DOUBLE FEATURE of 2 original plays by local playwrights Piper Blouin Foley-Schultz and Sherri Holland at the Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall.

Christmas, Hanukka, and other holiday memories will be a part of the show.  Come read from a script, or share your personal seasonal stories and family recollections.

Roles for performers and singers of all ages.  Previous theatre experience is not necessary.  The VMI Community Theatre welcomes anyone at VMI or in the community who is interested in working on stage or behind the scenes in an amateur theatre production.

The VMI Theatre presents "THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST", a classical social comedy by Oscar Wilde which will be performed by an all-cadet cast. 

The VMI Theatre's 2015 July production was "The Curious Savage" a comedy by John Patrick in the Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall, Center for Leadership and Ethics.

The VMI Theatre’s 2015 spring production was  “A VMI Double-Feature” of comedy and drama in the Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall, Center for Leadership and Ethics.

Brother Rat,” VMI’s own classic comedy of cadet life by John Monks, Jr. ’32 and Fred F. Finklehoffe, ‘32, was presented at 7:00 p.m., followed at 9:00 p.m. by “Jonathan Myrick Daniels: The Martyr of Lowndes County,” on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 26, 27, 28 February. Matinee performances of both plays will be held at 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. on Sunday 1 March.
The Jonathan Daniels play was a special 50th anniversary tribute to VMI alumnus Jonathan Myrick Daniels, ’61, who was killed while working for civil rights in Hayneville, Alabama in August 1965. Written by Alabama author Marianne M. Weber, and adapted by VMI Theatre Director Joellen Bland, the play focuses on Daniels as an Episcopal seminary student who answered the call of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to help gain voting rights for African Americans in Lowndes County Alabama.

VMI cadets, faculty and staff, and members of the VMI family portrayed the characters in both plays.



VMI THEATRE will present "HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS" - will feature a selection of short holiday plays and music.  Performance dates:  Friday and Saturday, December 12 and 13, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. in the Gillis Theater. 

VMI THEATRE presents "THE MATCHMAKER" - A classic comedy by Thornton Wilder.  Performances:  Thursday, 16 October - 8:00 p.m. Friday, 17 October - 8:00 p.m. Saturday, 18 October - 8:00 p.m. Sunday, 19 October - 2:00 p.m.  

VMI THEATRE will present HEART OF THE WEST, a show featuring timeless tales of the old American West, and toe-tapping traditional western-folk music on June 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, and 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall, at VMI.  The whole family will enjoy this lively show full of colorful western characters, humor, and romance.

Thursday, 19 June - 7:30 p.m.; Friday, 20 June - 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 21 June - 7:30 p.m.;Thursday, 26 June - 7:30 p.m.; Friday, 27 June - 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 28 June - 7:30 p.m.

Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall

 VMI THEATRE presents INHERIT THE WIND, a dynamic courtroom drama by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, based on the famous Scopes (Monkey) Trial of 1925, where the teaching of Creationism as recorded in the Holy Bible came head to head with Charles Darwin's scientific theory of Evolution.  

VMI Community Theatre presents:  "A HOLIDAY POTPOURRI". Featuring 3 Holiday Plays: "CHRISTMAS EVERY DAY", "SHERLOCK HOLMES'S CHRISTMAS GOOSE", and "THE CHRISTMAS MISER". Plus stories of Hanukkah, Holiday Humor, and Traditional Carols.

December 13 & 14 at 7:30 p.m.
December 15 at 2:00 p.m.

Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall, VMI

VMI Community Theatre presents: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING --in an abridged production of ninety minutes or less by William Shakespeare

October 11 & 12 at 8:00 p.m.
October 13 at 2:00 p.m.

Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall, VMI

VMI Community Theatre presents:  HARVEY --The Classic "Rabbit" Comedy by Mary Chase

June 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 at 7:00 p.m.
June 23 at 2:00 p.m.

Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall, VMI

VMI Community Theatre presents: PIPPIN (This Tony-Award-winning musical tells the story of Pippin, son of the Holy Roman Emperor Chrlemagne, who searches for an extraordinary life in a very ordinary world.

Wednesday and Thursday, 27-28 February at 8:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 1-2 March at 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, 3 March at 2:00 p.m.

Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall, VMI

VMI Community Theatre presents:  A HOLIDAY CELEBRATION OF CHRISTMAS, HANUKKAH AND THE WINTER SEASON in stories, plays, music and verse.

Friday and Saturday, 7-8 December at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, 9 December at 2:00 p.m.

Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall, VMI

VMI Community Theatre presents:  IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY (A Nonsensical British Comedy)

October 17, 18, 20 at 8:00 p.m.
October 19 at 8:30 p.m.
October 21 at 2:00 p.m.

Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall, VMI

VMI Community Theatre presents:   IT'S A MYSTERY! Classic Tales of Mystery, Suspense, and Intrigue


July 13, 14, 19, 20 - at 7:30 p.m.

Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall, VMI

VMI Community Theatre presents:  THE LIGHTER SIDE OF LOVE & MARRIAGE  


June 13, 14, 15, 16 - at 7:30 p.m.

Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall, VMI

VMI Theatre invites all Faculty and Staff to join the Cadets in:   A NIGHT OF IMPROV


Friday, 13 April 2002

Theatre experience is not necessary.

Join in the "IMPROV" performances or be an audience for the performers.

Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall, VMI



Characters from Rockbridge County History

From the New Book: "The Store of a Virginia County"

By: Dr. Charles A. Bodie

Published by the Rockbridge Historical Society

Monday, 5 December 2011 - 8:00 p.m.

Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall, VMI

VMI Theatre Presents:  "A TRIPLE-HEADER OF ONE-ACT PLAYS Including"


  • WAITING FOR LEFTY (A Depression-Era Drama by Clifford Odets)
  • THE ACTOR'S NIGHTMARE (A Dark Comedy by Christopher Durang)
  • A TURN-OF-THE 20th CENTURY MUSICAL TOUR (Historical & Musical Highlights - 1900-1920)

October 12, 13, 14, 15 - Wednesday, Thursday, & Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and October 16 - Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall, VMI

VMI Theatre Presents:  "The Scarlet Pimpernel"


Friday and Saturday, February 25th and 26th at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, February 27th at 2:00 p.m.

Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall, VMI

VMI Theatre Presents:  "Cadets on Stage for the Holidays"


 including "A VMI Christmas Carol" and other short holiday plays

Friday and Saturday, December 3rd and 4th, at 8:00 p.m.

Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall, Center for Leadership & Ethics

VMI Theatre Presents:  40th Anniversary Showcase


Featuring favorite characters in scenes from favorite shows produced by the VMI Theatre since 1970.

Friday and Saturday, Oct. 15 and 16, at 8 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 17, at 2 p.m.

Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall



Characters from Rockbridge County History
From the forthcoming book: 
"Remarkable Rockbridge:  A Story of a Virginia County"
By Dr. Charles A. Bodie

Sponsored by the Rockbridge Historical Society

Monday 26 April at 8:00 p.m.

Gillis Theater - Marshall Hall - VMI Center for Leadership & Ethics

VMI Theatre Presents:  SHENANDOAH!


A Civil War Melodrama

Thursday - Saturday - February 25-27 at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday - February 28 at 2:00 p.m.

Gillis Theater - Marshall Hall - VMI



A Holiday Show the entire family will enjoy featuring music, short plays, stories and verse in celebration of Christmas and the winter season.

Friday & Saturday - December 4-5 - 7:30 p.m.

Sunday - December 6 - 2:00 p.m.

Gillis Theater - Marshall Hall - VMI

VMI Theatre Presents:  THE HASTY HEART


A heart-warming World Ward II comedy-drama by John Patrick

October 15, 16, 17, 2009 - 8:00 p.m.
October 18, 2009 - 2:00 p.m.
Reservations Not Required

DINNER THEATRE Friday, October 16 & Saturday, October 17
Buffet - 6:30 p.m. and Play - 8:00 p.m.


VMI Theatre Presents:   MOUSETRAP

(A classic murder-mystery by Agatha Christie) 

July 15, 16, 17, 18, 2009 - 7:30 p.m.
Reservations Not Required


VMI Theatre Presents:  The Importance of Being Earnest  By Oscar Wilde

June 2009

“The Importance Of Being Earnest,” is the first summer production and began June 10, and ran through June 13.

Wilde described the play as a "trivial comedy for serious people." This classic social comedy was first presented in London in 1895, and has continued to delight audiences ever since. A parody of Victorian manners, the play's witty but superficial characters pursue mistaken identities, marriage, and aristocratic pleasures, all depending on the absurd "importance of being earnest."

Heading the cast are cadets Shayn Tierney as Jack Worthing; Terrance Bishop as Algernon Moncrieff; Jennifer Cook as Gwendolen Fairfax, and Emily Neumann as Cecily Cardew. Lady Bracknell will be played by Theatre Director Joellen Bland, with VMI Information Technology technician Michael Brickler, as Reverend Chasuble; Melou Piegari as Miss Prism; Tom Oxendine as Algernon's manservant, Lane; and cadet Jeremy O'Brien as Worthing's butler, Merriman.

Show dates are June 10, 11, 12, and 13 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens, with cadets admitted free. Reservations are not required.

On Saturday June 13, Dinner Theatre will be offered with a buffet at 6 p.m., followed by the play at 7:30 p.m. Dinner Theatre admission is $30 for adults, $25 for students and senior citizens, and $15 for cadets. Advance reservations are required for the Dinner Theatre, cash or check only, due by June 8. Checks may be sent to VMI Theatre, Marshall Hall, VMI, Lexington, Va 24450. The Theatre box office in the Marshall Hall lobby will be open between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on weekdays.

All performances are in the new Gillis Theater in Marshall Hall, Center for Leadership and Ethics at VMI. The buffet on Saturday, June 13, will be served in the Hall of Valor in Marshall Hall.

VMI Theatre Presents:  The Detective Story By Sidney Kingsley

March 2008

“The scene is the squad room and office in a New York police station. The playwright presents a fascinatingly realistic picture of routine cases brought into a metropolitan police station in the course of a day. Out of the welter of human misery, vice and stupidity there emerges the tragic and moving case of a decent young fellow who has stolen money from his employer. Though a woman who is in love with him comes to his help and the employer is offered everything that has been taken from him, the case has fallen into the hands of McLeod, a hardworking detective whose experience in police work has developed in him a mania for punishing all law breakers, whom he regards as incorrigibles. Nothing will satisfy him but brutal punishment. He is at work at the same time on a case involving an abortionist whose attorney, failing to move him by other means, forces McLeod’s wife to confess to her husband that she had herself some years before made use of the services of the abortionist in question. Since McLeod worships his wife and finds in her the only happiness of his existence, his world collapses about him. The climax comes when McLeod gets involved with the aid of a revolver taken from one of the detectives McLeod is shot and killed. This climax is a fitting end to McLeod’s career. To the last, he had been bent upon doing what he considered his duty—in seeing that criminals obeyed the letter of the law at no matter what cost.”-Dramatists Play 

VMI Theatre Presents:  The Three Musketeers Adapted by Peter Raby from Dumas' popular novel

March 2009

"The Three Musketeers," the swash-buckling, 17th-century romantic adventure by Alexandre Dumas, as the first production in VMI's new Leslie Gillis, Jr. '29 Theatre in Marshall Hall, Center for Leadership and Ethics.

Adapted by Peter Raby from Dumas' popular novel, and directed by VMI Theatre Director Joellen Bland, the play follows the adventures of Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D'Artagnan as they fight for king and country, with frequent detours involving wine, women, trickery, politics, violence, murder, love, plots, and counterplots, all leading to the final triumph of virtue over the forces of evil.

Heading the cast are cadets Thomas M. Saunders as D'Artagnan; Christian Cortes as Athos; John T. Alexander as Porthos; Shayn P. Tierney as Aramis; Maria N. Franchella as Milady deWinter; Sara L. Hanson as Constance Bonacieux; Domonique R. Baker as Queen Anne of Austria; Ryan P. Schade as King Louis XIII; Travis A. Edwards as the Duke of Buckingham; and Steven H. Nash as the Comte de Rochefort.

Lexington actor Tom Oxendine will portray Cardinal Richilieu, with VMI Information Technology staffer Michael Brickler in the double roles of Monsieur Bonacieux and Monsieur deTreville.

Other cadets in the cast and crew, who often play double or triple roles, include Jeremy A. O'Brien, Edmund C. Preisser, Jonathan J. Kim, Ross W. Hussmann, Terrance W. Bishop, Jared C. Lawson, Colin A. Sexton, C. Bryan Mayberry, Martin R. Tucker, Paul A. Jokiel, Ahad F. Ahmed, Dana J. Hlavaty, Bryant J. Martin, Michael R. McGann, Albert J. Bowker, Matthew J. Glomb, Jennifer A. Cook, Kelly F. Maggio, Emily R. Neumann, Lindsey L. Parkman, Cierra A. Reaves, and Kylie M. Turner.

VMI faculty and staff cast members include Col. H. Francis Bush, Leslie Casteel, Helen Cox, and Ashley Hamilton. Other community performers are Linda Gorman and Laura Holt. 


  • 1970-1971 - Hamlet, Act V, Scene 2; Barefoot In The Park; The Sandbox; The Shelf;
  • Pyramus & Thisby; Spoon River Anthology; The Firebugs
  • 1972-1973 - Purgatory; The Leader; The Tinker’s Wedding; A Day of Surprises; You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; The Brick and the Rose; The Fantasticks; AMan For All Seasons
  • 1974-1975 - Ten Little Indians; Enter A Free Man; Happy Birthday, Wanda June; White Liars and Black Comedy
  • 1976-1977 - Third Class Follies; Godspell; The Real Inspector Hound; Marat-Sade; Zoo Story; The American Dream
  • 1978-1979 - Canterbury Tales; Knock-Knock; Brother Rat; Barefoot In The Park
  • 1980-1981 - Luv; Stalag 17; God’s Favorite; One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
  • 1982-1983 - The Rainmaker; Twelve Angry Men; The Lion In Winter; Shenandoah (First Musical Production in Cameron Hall); Classics Onstage
  • 1984-1985 - Mister Roberts; The Night Thoreau Spent In Jail; Guys and Dolls; The Andersonville Trial
  • 1986-1987 - The Odd Couple (First Dinner Theatre); War-Time One- Acts: In The Zone, Next, Final Play, Botticelli; Give My Regards To Broadway; Our Constitution: A Great Beginning (Presented to area school children); Ordinary People
  • 1988-1989 - The Lighter Side of Courtship and Marriage; Oklahoma!; Volpone; You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown; The Lighter Side of Military Life; Brother Rat; The Star-Spangled Girl & Bus Stop (First Summer Theatre Productions); Stalag 17
  • 1990-1991 - One-Act Plays: Chinamen, Ile, The Exhibition, Visitor From Forest Hills; South Pacific; Spoon River Anthology; Doubles; The Diviners; Catch Me If You Can; Celebration Showcase (Celebrating 20 Years of VMI Theatre); A Streetcar Named Desire; Sing Out, Sweet Land; The Importance Of Being Earnest
  • 1992-1993 - Dracula; A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court & TomSawyer, His Own Story (Toured to Area Elementary Schools); Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (16 Performances!); Rags To Riches; The Good Doctor; Home Of The Brave; Big River; The Drunkard; The Boys Next Door
  • 1994-1995 - A Sleep of Prisoners; Shenandoah; The Lighter Side of Military Life; Whose Life Is It Anyway? AWinter Festival of Short Plays: Box and Cox, Adrift In New York, The Shewing-up Of Blanco Posnet; Silver Anniversary Showcase (Celebrating 25 Years of VMI Theatre); A Summer Festival of Comedy Classics; The Matchmaker; Stocking Stuffers ’95 (First Christmas Show)
  • 1996-1997 - Pippin; Cliffhanger; The Lighter Side of Military Life; My Three Angels; Stocking Stuffers ’96; Brother Rat; The Silver King; Laughter On The 23rd Floor; Stocking Stuffers ’97
  • 1998-1999 - Kiss Me, Kate; Alky (Alcohol Awareness Sketch); The Incredible Years; Stocking Stuffers ’98; A Thurber Carnival; Our American Cousin; It Runs In The Family; Stocking Stuffers ’99
  • 2000-2001 - Our Country’s Good; The Lighter Side of Love & Marriage (30th Anniversary Celebration); The Odd Couple; All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten; The Playboy Of The Western World; The Solid Gold Cadillac; Reynard The Fox; Stocking Stuffers ’01
  • 2002-2003 - One For The Pot; American Tales; The Boys Next Door; Stocking Stuffers ’02; The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd; The Lighter Side of Military Life; Jookalorum!; The Unexpected Guest; Stocking Stuffers ‘03
  • 2003-2004 - Androcles and the Lion; Twain-A-Mania; The Giants’ Dance; Stocking Stuffers ‘04
  • 2005-2006 - Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Celebrating 35 Years of VMI Theatre); The Good Doctor; Stand-Outs & Show-Stoppers; Stocking Stuffers ‘05; The Outsiders; The Lighter Side of Military Life (Encore Production); One-Act Wonders, Stocking Stuffers ‘06
  • 2007-2008 - Mister Roberts; The Silver King; The Lady’s Not For Burning; Stocking Stuffers ‘07; Detective Story