November 3 - November 5, 2017
20th Anniversary Theatre Forum
Sonja Bruzauskas, Tom Foral,
Chesley Santoro Krohn,
Felicia Hardison Londré,
Kate Pogue, Vern Sutton,
Ann Thompson
August to April Series


Theatre Forum Brochure Cover
20th Anniversary Theatre Forum: Celebrating the Stage!
   Friday November 3 - Sunday November 5, 2017

The 20th Anniversary Theatre Forum "celebrates the stage" with a look back over its 20-year history at Festival Hill in Round Top. The milestone event also celebrates the 20-year career of Kate Pogue who is retiring this year as producer of the Forum.

     Forum Titles: 20 Years

The 2017 program honors all genres of theatrical presentations: drama, comedy, musical theatre as seen in opera and cabaret, plays with political agendas, plays which address and reflect current issues, and, in its closing event, performances by great actors. Performances, recitals, lectures and talks presented over the three-day weekend are listed below.

     Click here to view and print downloadable brochure.
        To request a brochure by mail, email
        or call 979-249-3129.

Presenters from all over the country include Tom Foral, Felicia Hardison Londré, Vern Sutton, Ann Thompson, Sonja Bruzauskas, Chesley Santoro Krohn, and Kate Pogue. See bios below.

Taking full advantage of the picturesque Festival Hill Campus, the three-day Theatre Forum also offers a tour of grounds and buildings, morning walks with Ann Thompson, and appetizing meals in the Victorian-style Menke House dining hall, as well as an open-air lunch in the lush Menke gardens on Saturday. Though casual dress is the norm for events, formal dress is encouraged for the Saturday evening reception in the Menke House Parlours followed by a gourmet dinner in the dining hall.

Overnight accommodations are available. Complimentary breakfast is included. Please call the office or email to check availability and make reservations.

Refund/Cancellation Policy: A 20% cancellation fee for registration, meals and lodging applies until October 20. No refunds will be issued after October 20.

Office/Information/Reservations: 979-249-3129

Location information below

Performances, Recitals, Lectures and Talks

Lecture Performance: Immigration and Assimilation: Yankee Doodle Paddy
     Hearkening back to one of his favorite presentations at Festival Hill, a performance called Yankee Doodle Paddy, Vern Sutton will broaden his focus to address the subject of immigration and assimilation as reflected in the theatre.
    - Friday at 7:30 p.m., featuring Vern Sutton, Edythe Bates Old Chapel

Lecture: Unknown Gems: Plays, Players and Theatres of Eastern Europe
     Felicia Londré will draw on a specialty of hers to fill us in on a theatrical tradition hugely important in the mid-20th century but virtually unknown in this country--the amazingly vibrant theatre of Eastern Europe.
    - Saturday at 9:30 a.m., featuring Felicia Londré, Edythe Bates Old Chapel

Symposium: Thanks for the Memories: 20 years at the Theatre Forum
     The Forum Presenters join to recollect memories of performances, plays, musicals, lectures, talks, and moments of serious drama and outright hilarity over the last two decades at Festival Hill, and pay tribute to Kate Pogue, who has produced all twenty forums.
    - Saturday at 11:00 a.m., featuring the Forum Presenters, Concert Hall Stage

Talk: Opera: The Big Bang and the Inner Space
     With a special love and enthusiasm for opera, Ann Thompson discusses theatre, opera and the mystical significance of their inner and outer spaces, combining the Big Bang with the space from the earliest threshing circles in the Pelopponnesus to today's palaces of culture in every big city--inner and outer spaces from ancient threshing floors to the new opera house designed for Rice University.
    - Saturday at 1:30 p.m., featuring Ann Thompson, Edythe Bates Old Chapel

Performance: At the Algonquin: American Wit and Wisdom
     The performance stages scenes from American comedic plays, including a performance recreation of the Algonquin Round Table featuring Dorothy Parker and her famous group of the 1930s.
    - Saturday at 3:30 p.m.; featuring Chesley Krohn, Kate Pogue, Tom Foral, Vern Sutton; Concert Hall Stage

Recital/Lecture: BRETTL to BREL, Cabaret in the 20th century
     Sonja Bruzauskas draws on her musical and dramatic skills to bring to life the cabaret theatre of Schoenberg and Weill to Brel.
    - Saturday at 8:30 p.m., featuring Sonja Bruzauskas, Edythe Bates Old Chapel

Performance: Noel Coward in Las Vegas
     Tom Foral will close the weekend with a one act play, Noel Coward in Las Vegas, taking on the recreation of an iconic performance by one of the world’s great playwright performers.
    - Sunday at 10:00 a.m., featuring Tom Foral, Edythe Bates Old Chapel


Sonja Bruzauskas
Sonja Bruzauskas - Born and raised in Germany, Sonja was trained on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Besides her expansive stage career in Musical Theater, Opera and Operetta, Sonja is a well established concert singer and recitalist, focusing on German Art Song and contemporary music. Appearances include the Staatsoperette Dresden, where Sonja was under full contract for several years before moving to the United States, the Santa Fe Opera, Volkstheater Rostock, Nordharzer Staedtebundtheater, Babelsberger Filmorchester, Bochumer Symphoniker, Baton Rouge Symphony , Da Camera, the Bach Society Houston, Mercury, the Greenbriar Consortium, the Houston Chamber Orchestra, the Houston Chamber Choir, ROCO, Round Top Festival Institute and Ars Lyrica. Sonja's talks about Creativity and her creative approaches to teaching have taken her to CSSSA at CalArts, Rice University, the University of Houston, Vanderbilt and LSU.

Tom Foral
Tom Foral - Tom returns from Pennsylvania for his nineteenth annual Theatre Forum. Tom's undergraduate degree is from Northwestern and he holds an MFA in theatre from Penn State. His performing experience includes shows on Broadway, off-Broadway and in regional theatre, plus film and television. A painter and designer, Tom specializes in portraiture and figurative works. As a portraitist, Tom has painted among others, H.S.H. Princess Grace of Monaco, Audrey Hepburn, Bill Blass and Eudora Welty. He has been showing his work in New York and Bucks County, Pennsylvania, including two new series of paintings on the circus and the ballet. To see his work, visit or

Chesley Santoro Krohn
Chesley Santoro Krohn - An actress, choreographer, director and producer, Chesley trained as a dancer and was a member of Houston's Allegro Ballet Company. She studied in New York City with Luigi and appeared on Broadway in A Chorus Line. In Houston, she has played leading roles with Alley Theatre, Theatre Under The Stars and Theatre Inc., among others. She has taught, directed, and coached young professionals at Houston High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She received a Best Director nomination from the Tommy Tune Awards for the school's recent production of A Man of No Importance and directed A Little Night Music and Pippin there. She recently directed the new play, A Heroine Free Summer, by Janet Lowery at Mildred's Umbrella Theatre, Houston, and has been cast to play Berthe in Houston's Theatre Under the Stars production of Pippin in Summer 2017.

Felicia Hardison Londre
Felicia Hardison Londré - Felicia is Curators' Distinguished Professor of Theatre at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where she teaches theatre history and dramaturgy. She earned her B.A. in French at the University of Montana, then, following a Fulbright year at the Université de Caen in Normandy, France, she earned her M.A. in Romance Languages at the University of Washington and her Ph.D. in Speech/Theatre at the University of Wisconsin. She received the ATHE Outstanding Teacher of Theatre in Higher Education Award in 2001. She is the author of fifteen books, the twelfth of which, The Enchanted Years of the Stage: Kansas City at the Crossroads of American Theater, 1870-1930 (University of Missouri Press, 2007), won the prestigious George Freedley Memorial Book Award for 2008. Felicia was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre in 1999 and served as Dean of the College (2012-14).

Kate Pogue
Kate Pogue - Producer of all twenty Theatre Forums, Kate retires this year. She is a playwright, librettist and theatre director. She received an undergraduate degree in theatre from Northwestern and an M.A. from the University of Minnesota. For ten years she was Artistic Director of both Opera to Go and The Shakespeare by the Book Festival, for which she directed numerous productions. Her book Shakespeare's Friends was published in January 2006 by Praeger and a companion volume, Shakespeare's Family, came out in June 2008. Her most recent Shakespeare books involve his training and include Shakespeare's Figures of Speech (2010) and Shakespeare’s Education (2012). Her most recent project involved directing Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in the original pronunciation.

Vern Sutton
Vern Sutton - Gifted teacher, lecturer, singer and actor, Vern returns for his nineteenth appearance at the annual Theatre Forum weekend. Longtime resident of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Vern is a retired Director of the School of Music at the University of Minnesota where he also directed the Opera Theater program for 32 years. His performances in the Twin Cities include work with the Plymouth Music Series/VocalEssence, Center Opera/Minnesota Opera, St. Paul Opera, Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Schubert Club, Guthrie Theatre, the Minneapolis Children’s Theatre, and A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. His special interests include Florenz Ziegfeld and the music used to create the scores for the Ziegfeld Follies as well as early styles and techniques of singing and performance.

Ann Thompson
Ann Thompson - Born in Indonesia and educated in Switzerland, Ann developed strong cultural interests early on with a special love and enthusiasm for opera. Her series called Let's Go to the Opera includes booklets and audiotapes giving background to a hundred and twenty operas which the Library of Congress stocks for use by the visually handicapped. She gives pre-concert talks for The Brazos Valley Symphony and for years provided introductory lectures to audiences and descriptive services for blind patrons for Houston Grand Opera. For fifteen years she has inspired Houston operagoers with her weekly talks at the West University Senior Center and classes at the Houston Women’s Institute.

Location Information

Festival Hill Campus Location (one-half mile north of Round Top on State Highway 237): 248 Jaster Rd, Round Top, TX 78954 Google Map
Service Building Location: #22 on Campus Map
Edythe Bates Old Chapel Location: #8 on Campus Map
Concert Hall Location: #6 on Campus Map
Menke House Location: 141 Jaster Rd, Round Top, TX 78954 #16 on Campus Map