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UW-La Crosse professor Mary Leonard directs 70th — and final — show



The UW-La Crosse spring musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels opens this weekend and, although the show is filled with music and fun, it’s also a little bittersweet.

That’s because it is the final show that will be directed by theater professor Mary Leonard. For over 20 years, Leonard has worked at UW-L, capping a career with her 70th — and final — show.

Mary Leonard

Leonard, retiring at the end of this semester, says she’s been taking “little snapshots in my brain” of her final days at the university.

“All the students I have been so fortunate to work with over the years, all the shows, all the music, the comedy, tragedy, drama, that has happened on that stage that I’ve been a part of,” she said. “a little overwhelming to think about, and wonderful.”

Leonard added that she is glad that her last show is such a fun one. The theater department recently created a new dance minor, and it has been wanting to showcase a dance show.

“I had done the show back in 2010, and I just remember how much I absolutely loved it,” Leonard said. “It’s really so funny and so much fun to work on, but what I forgot is how difficult it is.”

The show has a big set, big dance numbers and a lot of moving parts. Leonard said that the bar has been set high and it’s been fun to see students rise to the challenge.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
April 21-22 and April 27-28 at 7:30 p.m.
April 23 and 30 at 2 p.m.
Tickets: https://uwltheatretickets.universitytickets.com

Although she is retiring, Leonard says she won’t be leaving theater.

“It’s something that has always been a part of me, but I don’t know what shape that will take,” she said. “We have a rich community here of arts, and I have a list of possibilities.”

Sam is a student at UW-La Crosse studying media communication and political science. She has lived in La Crosse for 5 years and loves everything about the community. When she’s not at school or work, you can find her outside hiking the state parks or watching Netflix with her two cats.

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