The Odyssey gets KCACTF noms

Northeast State Theatre has learned their recent production of “The Odyssey Abridged: A Puppet Journey of Epic Proportions” received several nominations of theatre students and the play’s director for the Region IV Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

The play’s writer/director Brad McKenzie earned a nomination for Directing.   McKenzie serves an adjunct theatre faculty member and Northeast State Theatre’s technical director.

Irene Ryan Acting nominations went to Hannah Duncan for her portrayal of the goddess Athena and to Michelle Goodwin for her role as Eumaeus.

In the design and technical categories, Will Lambert earned a nomination for his work as the play’s Lighting Designer.   Richard Curtis earned a nomination for his work as Scenic Artist and Puppet Designer.   Kevin Carrier picked up a nomination as the play’s Stage Manager.  Lambert and Curtis previously earned KCACTF nominations for their work at Northeast State.

This marks the third consecutive year a Northeast State Theatre production has earned one or more nominations from KCACTF Region IV judges.  Congratulations to all the nominees and the play’s entire cast and crew!

Northeast State Singers perform Christmas concert Dec. 3

Get your holiday season started off right when the Northeast State Singers perform their annual Christmas concert on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium (A202) on the main campus in Blountville.

NE State Singers Nov 2013 2The concert titled, “A Winter Wonderland” features performances of the grand Christmas and seasonal classics and some modern tunes that will start your holiday season off right.  The Northeast State Singers also welcome special guests “The Hills Are Alive” Sweet Adelines International Chorus.

The Sweet Adelines Chorus has graciously agreed to support the Northeast State’s Music Department’s fundraiser for their Performing Arts Annual Scholarship for Music.  The concert is free, but donations will be accepted at the door.  All contributions made will help support the music department.

The concert begins at 7 p.m.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The concert is open to the public.  For more information, contact 423.354.2474 or

Mars rover scientist Dr. Melissa Rice lectures Nov. 26

When NASA successfully landed an exploration vehicle on the planet Mars in August 2012, the mission achieved an extraordinary feat of exploration in our galaxy. The land also meant that the work of dozens of scientists involved in the project only had only begun.

One of those scientists was Kingsport native and Dr. Melissa Rice, a member of the Mars exploration team, who will visit Northeast State Community College this month to share her fascinating experiences and take her audience on a voyage to the Red Planet.

Dr. Melissa Rice and the MSL Rover
Dr. Melissa Rice and the MSL Rover

Northeast State invites the public to her presentation, “Exploring Mars with NASA’s Opportunity and Curiosity Rovers” on Tuesday, Nov. 26, at 1:30 p.m. in the Northeast State Auditorium (A202) on the main campus. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Rice is a Science Team Collaborator on NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover and a faculty member at the California Institute of Technology.  She was involved in the landing site selection process for MSL rover and worked to assess the science potential of the planet’s Eberswalde Crater.  She has worked on mission operations for the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) Spirit and Opportunity since 2007.

As part of her research, Rice compiled data from the rover’s 17 cameras to interpret the mineralogy, sedimentology and stratigraphy of Rover’s landing site on Mars in Gale Crater.  She is currently working with Dr. John Grotzinger on interpreting the stratigraphy and mineralogy of significant sections on Mars.

This research seeks to help constrain the habitability of ancient environments on Mars. Rice received her Ph.D. in January of 2012 in the Department of Astronomy at Cornell University, with minor concentrations in Geology and Science Communication.

A look at The Odyssey’s influence on pop culture

In one way or another, almost everyone has been exposed to The Odyssey – the epic Greek poem about Odysseus’ journey home after the fall of Troy. The Odyssey is a high school English staple, the basis for the film, O Brother, Where Art Thou, and origin of countless references ranging from The Simpsons to James Joyce to Xena: The Warrior Princess.

Stephanie Murray, an education specialist with a passion for mythology, will explore the poem’s continuing clout with pop culture with two presentations Nov. 21 at Northeast State’s Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts.

The Odyssey resonates to the modern world.
The Odyssey resonates to the modern world.

The presentations – slated for 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. – are a special tie-in with the Theatre Department’s production of The Odyssey Abridged: A Puppet Journey of Epic Proportions. Murray will provide an entertaining look at how Greek literature and mythology is firmly embedded in today’s pop culture.

Murray holds a bachelor’s degree in Literature and Religious Studies from Lees-McRae College. She currently serves as an educational advisor for adult learners in North Carolina.

The performing arts center is located at 2425 Highway 75, adjacent to the Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

Both presentations are free and open to the public. For more information, visit or contact 423.279.7669 or

The Odyssey Abridged performances are Nov. 14-16 and Nov. 21-23 at 7:30 p.m. with two matinée showings at 2 p.m. on Nov. 16 and Nov. 24. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online now at Tickets are free to Northeast State students with valid student identification.

Northeast State welcomes JFK assassination historian

Regarded as one of the great turning points in American history and culture, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy happened 50 years ago this month.

Northeast State welcomes former Kingsport educator and coach Tom Williams to campus to discuss his lifelong research into this tragic event and the controversial theories surrounding the Kennedy assassination.

President Kennedy and the First Lady in Dallas, Nov. 22, 1963
President Kennedy and the First Lady in Dallas, Nov. 22, 1963

Williams will lecture on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at noon and 7 p.m. in the Northeast State Auditorium (A202) on the main campus in Blountville.  Williams’ presentation entitled “THE JFK ASSASSINATION: FIFTY YEARS OF CONTROVERSY” details his passion for collecting memorabilia and information about one of the most researched and controversial subjects in American history.

Williams lecture includes details of the Warren Report, the Kennedy family’s political connections, and the mysterious figure of Lee Harvey Oswald.  Conspiracy researchers have attempted to link Kennedy’s killing to everyone from the Cuban government and the American mafia to the CIA and the Soviet Union.

Both lectures are free.  Conspiracy theorists, historians, and political junkies are invited to attend the evening event.  For more information, contact 423.279.7669 or e-mail