Assistant Teaching Professor of Theatre
Musical theatre, pianist
Jay Schwandt received his MM in Composition from Michigan State University in 1998 after having completed his undergraduate work at Albion College. He is the composer of the one-act opera Night in Sarajevo and the musical Crazy Mary Lincoln, both with lyrics by Jan Tranen. Crazy Mary Lincoln was a Richard Rodgers Award finalist in 2010 and a Helen Hayes recommended show in the 2017 production in Washington D.C. Schwandt contributed over 30 arrangements for the musical Doo-Dah! about the life of songwriter Stephen Foster. Doo-Dah! was conceived by choreographer Michael Lichtefeld and written by playwright Martin Casella and has had readings in Chicago and Stratford, Ontario. His collaboration with actor, writer, and husband John Vessels has produced four shows about the fictional television personality Lillian Baxter. An Evening with Lillian Baxter, A Very Lillian Baxter Christmas, and An Evening Lost with Lillian Baxter have all been produced around the country. Lillian Baxter and Friends: We Enjoy Being a Girl was produced by Actors Theatre of Indiana in a 2018 production. Most recently, Schwandt and Vessels have written the one-person show Life Hacks with Miss Havisham for actor and Ball State alum Jen Jurek. The show won best variety performance at the United Solo Festival in New York City in 2019.