Carson School of Theatre and Film dedication is Oct. 12

Released on 10/09/2007, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Friday, Oct. 12, 2007, through Oct. 14, 2007

WHERE: Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film, Temple Building, 12th and R Streets

Lincoln, Neb., October 9th, 2007 —
Johnny Carson as University of Nebraska student (photo copyright Carson Entertainment Group)
Johnny Carson as University of Nebraska student (photo copyright Carson Entertainment Group)

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln will dedicate the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film Oct. 12 during UNL's Homecoming Weekend.

"The Dedication pays homage to Nebraska's most prolific son, Johnny Carson," said Paul Steger, director of the Carson School. "The Temple Building was where Johnny spent much of his time while at the University of Nebraska. His generosity makes it possible for future generations of students to have opportunities they couldn't have anywhere else."

As part of the Dedication Weekend festivities, Johnny Carson's audio senior thesis, "How to Write Comedy for Radio," will be available for the first time through the UNL Libraries Digital Commons Web site. The thesis will be available at starting Oct. 12. The 45-minute recording was a scholarly examination of the techniques and devices that radio comedy writers used to construct the jokes and gags in comedy radio shows. Using bits from several well-known comedians, such as Jack Benny and Bob Hope, Carson illustrated the various techniques used to write comedy.

The UNL Homecoming parade, which celebrates the Homecoming theme "Big Red Studios: A Tribute to Johnny Carson," begins at 6 p.m. Oct. 12. The parade route ends at Temple Building, 12th and R streets. The parade is free and open to the public and will feature the UNL Cornhusker Marching Band and other floats and banners. In addition, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman has issued a proclamation that Friday, Oct. 12, 2007, will be "Johnny Carson Day" in Nebraska.

On Oct. 13, members of the Carson family will be introduced during the first-quarter break of Nebraska's Homecoming football game at Memorial Stadium.

A free open house will also be held at the Temple Building from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 13 so the public can tour the building during the dedication weekend and view the memorabilia that will be on display, including items on loan from the Elkhorn Valley Museum and Research Center in Carson's hometown of Norfolk.

"The Johnny Carson School is honored to have a variety of memorabilia on display for the enjoyment of our patrons and visitors," Steger said.

The weekend ends Oct. 14 with special alumni events. At 1 p.m. there will be an encore showing in Howell Theatre in the Temple Building of the student film on Johnny Carson that premieres on Friday night. This screening is free and open to the public; however, seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The film screening will be followed by a special event at the Temple Building to have selected alumni who are returning for the weekend share their stories about the Temple Building and their careers. The alumni event at the Temple Building at 1:30 p.m. is free and open to the public.

"We have a lot of things to be happy for and a lot of things to celebrate," Steger said.

Entertainment and television icon and University of Nebraska alumnus Johnny Carson announced in November 2004 a gift of $5.3 million to the University of Nebraska Foundation to support the renovation and expansion of the Temple Building, home to the Carson School, and to create an endowment to keep performance spaces equipped with the latest advances in lighting and sound technologies.

Following Carson's death in January 2005, the University of Nebraska Foundation received an additional gift of $5 million from Carson's estate for endowed support of programs in theatre, film and broadcasting. Annual income from the endowment provides support to the Carson School in the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts and the broadcast program in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

In August 2005, the University of Nebraska renamed the Department of Theatre Arts the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film.

The renovation project, which began in June 2006 and was completed in June 2007, is the first work done on the building in 25 years. The renovation included a new combination black box theatre and film sound stage for students to use in their productions, a newly remodeled and expanded scene shop and updated lighting facilities, new computer-aided design and theatre class lab space, enhanced storage facilities, and an updated lobby for Howell Theatre.

The new black box theatre has a state-of-the-art lighting grid custom designed by The Shalleck Collaborative of San Francisco and built and installed by StageCraft Industries of Portland, Ore. The grid features nine independently motorized studio lighting box trusses with integral lighting circuits and control that will provide professional level lighting capabilities for theatre performances, education, TV and film production, and is the only one of its kind in the Midwest.

Steger said the weekend will be a fitting tribute to Carson, who represents the epitome of excellence.

"This is an individual who was a regular five nights a week in everybody's home in the United States for 30 years. That's 4,000 shows, and each one was just as good as the last one. It always had to be fresh, and it always had to be on the mark. He was just tenacious in his pursuit of comedy," Steger said. "Hopefully some of our students will inherit that tenacity and persistence and realize that it's important and vital to being a creative artist."

CONTACT: Kathe Andersen, Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, (402) 472-9355