Profile on Morris Burns

Nov 032004
Authors: Joanna Larez

Professor Morris Burns, a CSU legend in the theatre department,

will say farewell to the university by directing “To Kill a

Mockingbird,” an American classic.

Burns has taught at CSU since 1970, and he’s ready for a change

of scenery in his life.

“I’ll be 65 in December,” Burns said. “I want to have enough

quality life to experience life in a different way.”

Life away from the education system will be new, and Burns is


“Life is a never-ending series of renewals,” Burns said. “I’m

excited for the next phase.”

Burns is excited for his new experiences, but he will be missed.

He has influenced many people as a teacher and director. He said he

has directed close to 100 plays at CSU.

Nic Roberts, a senior theatre major, plays Judge Taylor in “To

Kill a Mockingbird.” This is Roberts’ third show with Burns.

Roberts said he likes Burns’ involvement with the actors he


“He’s very involved; he gives positive and negative responses,”

Roberts said. “He’s very concerned with what the actor feels is

right for the situation.”

Burns has touched lives off-stage as well. Molly Weiler, a

senior theatre major, plays the older Jean Louise Finch in the

play, also known as Scout. She said Burns has taught her about

theater, life and family.

“Morris is like my mentor; he has taught me so much,” Weiler

said. “Every time I talk to him he teaches me so much, but I know

there is so much more that he has to offer.”

Burns said he will miss his contact with students in everyday

life, and the frequent run-ins in the halls.

“Students keep you young in a very practical way,” Burns said.

“It’s impossible to replace.”

His style is part of what makes him a legend at CSU. It is

something that can be seen in the plays he has directed.

“When anybody sees his style they will know it,” Weiler said.

“His style is honest, realistic and whole from front to back.

Everything is precisely figured out and rehearsed.”

Words cannot describe exactly what Burns adds to his shows,

Weiler said.

“His spirit is in his work,” Weiler said. “That’s his signature,

and you can see it on the stage.”

The signature has given Burns a legendary reputation in the


“His history at CSU is immortal,” said Nathan Young, who plays

Atticus Finch in the play.

“When you first get here everyone tells you that you have to

work with Morris.”

Burns said he chose to direct “To Kill a Mockingbird,” because

it deals with the issues of race and nurturing of self and

community. He said these issues are still relevant in today’s

society, and he said he wanted to touch on social issues.

Burns has touched many lives leading up to his final show.

“He’s like the meat of the theatre department,” Weiler said.

“He’s the glue that holds the department together.”

The cast is honored to work with Burns in his final show, and

they have worked hard for that reason, Weiler said.

Jesse Luken, a senior wildlife biology major, is working with

Burns in a show for the first time. This is Luken’s fourth show at

CSU, and he has noticed a difference in the cast. He attributes the

difference to the farewell to Burns.

“This is the first time I’ve seen everyone do this,” Luken said.

“It’s like we’re all a bunch of kids making our dad proud. He’s the

dad of the department.”


“To Kill a Mockingbird”

Johnson Hall Mainstage

8 p.m.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Ticket price: $6, $10 and $14

To purchase tickets

Campus Box Office in the University

Center for the Arts Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Campus Box Office in the Lory

Student Center, on the main level next to the Campus Information

Center, Monday to Friday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 12 p.m. to 2

p.m. and one hour before the show.

Box office at Johnson Hall one hour

before the show for that day’s show

Call 491-4849 to purchase with a

MasterCard or Visa.

For special packages, group rates or

donations call Alana Minor at 491-4042

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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