Student of Promise
Hali Liles is a junior pursuing a musical theatre major and an art minor at Culver-Stockton College. Liles is from a small border town of Mountain View, Missouri and enjoys theatre, music, art and origami. On campus, Liles is involved in theatre, in the alto section of the choir, a member of Tri-Sigma and the president of Theta Alpha Phi, C-SC’s Theatre Fraternity.
Liles is very partial to musicals, but also enjoys playing very serious roles in other productions. Her favorite role was the character Jerry Pyle in the play War is Coming, Ernie Pyle! “I got to be the first one to ever be Jerry so that was exciting,” Liles reminisced. Liles also recalled some of her experiences as her second favorite role, Morticia, on the sets of C-SC’s productions of The Addams Family. When she walked into what she thought would be a normal rehearsal, she was greeted by the usual spooky decor. However, there were a few surprise members added to the cast that day. “I walked in and directly in front of me there was this mounted deer head that had gloves on his little hoof hands!” Liles described. “There was one in another corner that was upside down... I think it just speaks to how wacky the theatre is.”
Liles has her future goals set for herself, with joining a regional theatre being the start of her continuing journey towards Broadway. “After graduating I’m really hoping to get started in a regional theatre,” Liles explained. “From there, hopefully move onto a touring company so I can go around the country and see all the sights and still be able to do what I love. Of course, the end game is always Broadway.”
Coming from a small town, Liles had a tough time deciding where she would spend her college years. For her, both the size of school and theatre programs were important to her. Her ultimate goal was to not “go off to something crazy big” where she could get lost. The homier, cozy feel is one of the main reasons C-SC stood out. The other main draw to Culver-Stockton was the lack of a “freshman freeze” Liles heard other colleges’ theatre programs have. “Other colleges, they have something called a freshman freeze which is where freshman aren’t allowed to be in shows” Liles explained. Although it’s said to be more of a learning period, she believes it’s much easier to learn by doing. “It was really nice to be able to have that opportunity to just get right into it.”
When Liles is not on stage, she is always close behind. During her time at C-SC, she’s had the opportunity to stage manage Harvey and even design and sew costumes for other shows as well. In January, the C-SC theatre was invited to perform a selected scene from War is Coming, Ernie Pyle! at the KC/ACTF Region V Festival in Des Moines, Iowa. Liles was also specifically invited to showcase her original costume design from The Addams Family musical.
Liles is not only a star on and behind stage, but also in the classroom. One of her favorite courses she has taken at C-SC was Tudor Britain, a simulation-heavy history course taken in the three week that gives students the opportunity to live as if they were part of the parliament of early 16th Century England during the reign of King Henry VIII.
Although Liles considers herself “socially awkward,” she explained how thankful she is that her experiences in theatre at C-SC have brought her out of her shell and helped her find new passions she never knew she had. “It’s given me a lot of opportunities and that’s one thing I’m definitely thankful for.” To future students, Liles offered her best advice, “Just go for it!” She believes everyone is equally nervous about the transition from high school to college. However, Liles is very relieved that Culver-Stockton College is where she had her experience.