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,
“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
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