Kickapoo Theatre Hall of Fame Members
CHRISTIAN EDWIN COOK
In his time at KHS, Christian Edwin Cook was an eager student of theatre, and enjoyed sharing the stage with his brother, Nathan. He was a member of KHS Concert and Chamber Choirs, and sang in MMEA’s Missouri All-State Choir in 2008 and 2009. Christian was also active in Springfield Little Theatre’s Young Entertainment Series Troupe at the Landers Theatre.
Christian went on to Drury University, where he studied under Robert Westenberg and earned a B.A. in Theatre with Minors in Global Studies and Philosophy. Christian spent three undergraduate summers working with Tent Theatre at Missouri State University. After Drury, Christian moved to Chicago to pursue an M.F.A. in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University, and upon graduating signed with Shirley Hamilton Talent.
Christian has performed with theatre companies throughout Chicago’s vibrant theatre scene. In early 2020, he was a part of the award-winning ensemble of Windy City Playhouse’s immersive production of Mart Crowley's The Boys In The Band.
Class of ‘07. Nathan Cook was an active member of the theatre and choral programs during his time at KHS, and enjoyed working alongside his brother, Christian. He participated in KHS Concert and Chamber Choirs, honors music ensembles, mainstage theatrical productions, and Springfield Little Theatre’s Young Entertainment Series Troupe. Through his experience at KHS and his involvement in the arts, Nathan saw the unique opportunity a teacher has to make a positive difference in the life of a student, which led to his pursuit of music education.
Nathan attended the University of Arkansas, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education, with an emphasis in Choral Conducting. He then taught music and drama at Grace International School in Chiang Mai, Thailand where he founded and conducted the Grace Children’s Choir and the Grace Community Choir. Nathan later continued his study of choral conducting in Vancouver, Canada at the University of British Columbia and received his Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from Missouri State University.
Nathan currently teaches choirs, musical theatre, and AP Music Theory at Parkview High School in Springfield, MO. He is active as a clinician, music director, and accompanist in the area. Nathan is grateful to have the chance to work with so many hard working, passionate, and kind hearted performers every day in the classroom and on the stage.
JAY KENNETH JOHNSON
He grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, and participated in theatre throughout junior high, high school and college. Before he transferred to Springfield, he starred in “West Side Story” in the “Theatre Under the Stars” program, with academy award winner, Chris Cooper as his co-star. While in Springfield, he trained at SMSU and performed in Tent Theatre as “Sancho” in “Man of La Mancha” and “Val” in “Babes in Arms.” He performed and directed many Springfield Little Theatre productions. After SMSU graduation, he was hired to teach at Kickapoo High School and worked with many stage productions as well as directed many of the Student Talent Shows. He taught Drama for two years and taught overload theatre classes when needed and played Charile Brown in two faculty musicals. Tony loved students and cared about their dreams. He is in constant contact with many of those graduates and will proudly say “ I had that kid in classes a long time ago.” Anyone can be a friend, but not everyone can be a teacher.
JO ALICE GILLIHAN
Mrs. Jo Alice Gillihan first led drama at Springfield's Central High School, where she taught students to fly in Peter Pan. After seeing the performance local elementary students tried "flying" from the steps of Central Auditorium's entrance. She encouraged greater student participation by recruiting unlikely stage hands from seventh period study hall. Moving to Kickapoo in 1974, Mrs. Gillihan directed productions such as South Pacific and Bye, Bye Birdie. Later she taught English and Humanities at KHS.
DR. SANDRA HOUSE
Dr. Sandra House taught drama in high school for 23 years, seven at Kickapoo. While at Kickapoo, she directed The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, Guys and Dolls (twice), Oklahoma, Annie, and Bye, Bye Birdie. She has directed more than 30 musicals and numerous plays in schools and churches, as well as acting in television and radio commercials. She received her doctorate from Tulsa University, has taught speech at MSU for 8 years, and received Missouri's Outstanding Teacher Award from the Speech Association of Missouri.
Providing experience in all aspects of theatre was an important part of Janice Johnson's tenure at KHS. She directed musicals Oklahoma, Lil' Abner, Carousel, The Music Man, Oklahoma, Anything Goes, and You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, as well as many plays. Under her guidance, the drama department staged 6 productions each year and even toured with children's shows her students wrote. Ms. Johnson has performed in a wide variety of television shows, films, commercials, and theater productions across the United States.
Born in Springfield, MO in 1988, Stephanie Stockstill began taking music lessons at the age of 5, studying piano, voice, and violin. She participated in honors music ensembles, the Landers Theatre's Young Entertainment Series Troupe, and many community and high school theatre productions before attending the Voice and Opera Program at Northwestern University where she was also accepted into the Music Theater Certificate program. Since receiving her bachelor's degree, Stephanie has been performing in Chicago's thriving theatre community. Some of her favorite roles include Anne in A Little Night Music (Circle Theatre), Princess Margaret in The Student Prince (Light Opera Works), and Susy in Wait Until Dark (Jedlicka Performing Arts Center). Stephanie has also participated in staged readings of four new musicals and was the featured actress in Steve Grand's music video Back to California in early 2014.
PURPOSE OF THE HALL OF FAME
ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR THE HALL OF FAME NOMINEES
1. Former Student: Former Kickapoo students who have achieved post-high school accomplishments in the field of performing arts education, television, film, and stage. Nominees must be Kickapoo graduates.
2. Booster: Private citizens who have been great theatre boosters and have made outstanding contributions to the theatre program at Kickapoo High School.
3. Educator: Individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the Kickapoo High School Theatre Program-Such as: administrators, teachers, directors, etc. Nominees must be retired before consideration.