Audition ‘joke’ leads Klein to theater life

Audition joke leads Klein to theater life

Audition ‘joke’ leads Klein to theater life

Dani White

From detention to direction, associate professor of theater Tim Klein’s path was not an easy one to take.

“My friend and I decided to audition for the play as a joke to make fun of the theater kids,” Klein said. “They gave me the lead so I guess the joke was on us.”

That joke has led Klein across the country and to Missouri Southern to teach acting and directing in a renovated storage room made for two.

“We call each other roomie,” Klein said.

Klein shares his office with Brenda Jackson, another associate professor.

The moment that changed Klein’s plan from being a “stay at home dad who writes novels” to a professional actor was getting into acting school.

“You really have to commit to it after that,” he said.

Klein has performed in North Carolina, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles before deciding to focus on teaching.

“Students are more like-minded and more fulfilling to be around,” Klein said. “They are still excited and are more fun than the old pros who aren’t excited about theater anymore.”

Klein believes coming to MSSU will be the last change for a while.

“I lucked out with fantastic students and colleagues,” Klein said. “At other universities, the faculty has a competitive edge, and they are so open and welcoming here.”

As part of a well-rounded department, Klein brings a different perspective to the table.

“Some teachers don’t get out and do professional theater before they start teaching and I bring that experience,” he said.

His biggest future opportunity is to choose the plays he wants to do and have the students learn from them.

“Not many classics get performed here,” Klein said.

His first opportunity to direct a play will be during the next school year after he has had time to settle in. That settling into Joplin has been a small challenge for Klein.

“It’s kind of a culture shock after Los Angeles and Chicago,” he said. “There aren’t really a lot of people my age here. I have to find ways to entertain myself.”