Lance Brockman Honored With Showboat Scholarship
C. Lance Brockman, USITT Fellow
and member of the Board of Directors, was honored
August 28 at an awards ceremony by having a scholarship
named after him.
The C. Lance Brockman Showboat Scholarship was
created and named for Mr. Brockman in tribute
to his ongoing commitment to teaching and his
leadership of the Minnesota Centennial Showboat
The Showboat is the summer
theatre venue for the University of Minnesota's
Department of Theatre Arts and Dance. Opened in
1958 in celebration of the state's Centennial,
the Showboat became both a nationally-recognized
theatre space on the Mississippi River and an
integral training program for hundreds of U of
M student actors, designers, technicians, and
stage and business managers. For many, it was
a first taste of paid, professional-like theatre,
presenting 80 to 100 shows each summer season.
of these productions were melodramas or melodramatic
interpretations of period plays and always featured olios – Victorian
entré-acts – that quickly became
the signature piece of every Minnesota Centennial
In 1993, the Showboat's original
structure was nearing 100 years old. It was
closed for repairs and ADA compliance measures.
Over the course of six years, the Showboat went
through a flurry of design drawings, fundraising
campaigns, and contract bids until October 1999,
when the money needed was raised and a contractor
was selected. Tragically, during the early months
of renovation in 2000, the Showboat was totally
destroyed by a construction fire.
During all this
time, Mr. Brockman worked diligently through the
real-life melodrama of this project, and his tenacity
did not stop with the destruction of the old Showboat.
Scores of alumni called or sent notes and e-mails
during those first days of shock and disbelief,
and they all said the same thing: "Save
our Showboat." And he did.
With the help of theatre department
faculty and staff, alumni, the university, the
City of Saint Paul, and a private riverboat company
Padelford Riverboats, a new dream and a new Showboat
was designed and built.
With this ideal in mind
(the collaboration of many organizations working
together to achieve a common goal), the Padelford
Education Endowment Fund was established and
two scholarships created: one to be awarded to
a college staff member of the Padelford Riverboat
company and another for a U of M Showboat company
member. With everything Professor Brockman had
done to save the Showboat project from certain
extinction, he was the Scholarship Committee's
unanimous choice as honoree.
To add to the element
of surprise and overall celebration, the naming
of the scholarship was kept from Mr. Brockman
until the awards ceremony. Invited to the dinner
as a supporter of the Showboat, he was astonished
to find friend and fellow USITT member Larry
Hill, as well as his brother, Bruce Brockman,
part of the audience. Along with family and friends
from all over the country, fellow University of
Minnesota colleagues and USITT members Jean Montgomery
and Kathy Stewart were also a big part of the
Professor Brockman was rendered
somewhat speechless (not an easy task, as many
who know him would fondly confess), convincing
everyone assembled that they had truly pulled
off a surprise.
"What a wonderful honor," Mr. Brockman
said during his acceptance, "and what a truly
perfect way to be honored. As a teacher, for me,
it has always been about the students. Creating
a scholarship is the best tribute I could imagine."
Because of the surprise, the
announcement of the fund could not be revealed
previously through USITT publications. However,
to date the campaign has raised almost $25,000
in individual support in just three months of
active fundraising. The goal is $100,000.
interested in contributing to the Brockman
Showboat Scholarship can do so by sending a check
made payable to the Padelford Education Fund,
c/o Sherry Wagner-Henry, 110 Rarig Center, 330
21st Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455 or write
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Professor C. Lance Brockman stands
with Nick Harazin, the first Brockman Showboat Scholarship
winner, during a special evening when Mr. Brockman
learned the scholarship would be named in his honor.