Dr. Jonathan Rhoad is a chemistry professor here at Missouri Western State University. In his free time he enjoys doing theatre on and off campus.
Rhoad started acting at an early age in elementary school and continued his passion throughout middle and high school. He then went to William Jewell College where a friend of his needed extras for a play. He ended up auditioning for the next play and got the lead role.
“I did 7 shows in college. When I graduated, I thought I would be done, but while I was in college I met my wife and then went to graduate school,” Rhoad said. “While at graduate school, we joined a church and did more theatre shows.”
After graduate school, Rhoad thought he would be done acting, but in 2011 one of the theatre and music professors here at Missouri Western was looking for extras for their chorus to do a big musical. They reached out to faculty and staff looking for more people and he decided to try out.
Now, Rhoad has completed 16 shows in community theatre with Missouri Western, Ruby Theatre, and Summit Theatre group.
“My favorite role was at Missouri Western. I played the pirate king in The Pirates of Penzance, It’s such a fun role,” Rhoad said.
“A couple of my other favorite roles have been down at Ruby Theatre. I played William Gillette in the Games Afoot, and then I played the Reverend David Marshall Lee in The Foreigner. That was one of my favorite roles because it is not at all who I am so it was interesting trying to portray that person convincingly” Rhoad said.
Executive Administrative Associate for Missouri Western, Jessica Agnew, also shares the same passion for acting as Rhoad. The two first met through local community theatre and both happen to work at Missouri Western.
“What I admire most about Jon is that he's able to balance. There is a difference between what he teaches here, doing theatre, and home life,” Agnew said. “Getting to work with him in shows, watching his ability to have that release and doing it really well is so fun watching his strengths shine in another way.”
Many people grow so close to the rest of the cast, it becomes like family. But for Rhoad, sometimes his family becomes the cast.
“His children are so much fun! He got to do a show with his entire family, which is very admirable because I also have a theatre background and so I know how much it has meant to me having family in a show. Knowing that he's been able to do that has been wonderful,” Agnew said.
Being a chemistry professor, an actor and having a family life is a lot but it seems like Rhoad balances his busy schedule the best he can and he does it well.
“He shines and he has passion for whatever he's doing. He has passion for his job, he has passion for his students, he has passion for his family and has passion for the theatre. It's very admirable because I feel inspired about what he does,” Agnew said.