Alan Shorter is an Associate Professor on the performance faculty in the Department of Theatre at Texas Christian University. Currently in his tenth year at TCU, Alan attended Moorhead State University, received his B.A. in Theatre & Drama from Indiana University – Bloomington, and holds an M.F.A. in Directing from Minnesota State University. He previously served as coordinator for the musical theatre BFA programs at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Alan’s work as composer, music director, stage director, actor, conductor, and pianist has been seen at numerous regional theatres and in national tours, including The 1940’s Radio Hour, The Desert Song, A Christmas Carol, and The Student Prince. In 2011, he was a winner of TCU’s prestigious Deans’ Award for Creativity & Research and a year later was a finalist for the Wassenich Award for Mentoring in the TCU Community. He is the Music Supervisor and an Artistic Associate for The Trinity Shakespeare Company. In July, 2015, Alan served as Music Supervisor for TCU’s Festival of American Song, which featured Jason Robert Brown.
Alan directed Circle Theatre’s production of Mass Appeal, as well as their critically acclaimed Opus, for which he received a Dallas/Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum Award for “Outstanding Direction” and two Fort Worth Weekly Best of 2010 awards: “Best Production Staged by a Local Theatre” and “Best Director.” At TCU, he has been the stage director for productions of Closer Than Ever, The Elephant Man, Doubt, And The World Goes ‘Round, The Laramie Project, and Anything Goes. Other stage direction credits include Wings, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Children of Eden, The Good Doctor, Tartuffe, … And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson, Nancy Drew: Girl Detective, The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars, Sylvia Plath: A Memoir, Antigone, The Diviners, Lonely Planet, and A Night in November.
Alan was music director and conductor for Lyric Stage’s production of Hello, Dolly! in Dallas, as well as served as their associate music director for Carousel. (Both productions received the Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum Awards for Best Ensemble.) He also provided music direction for the Theatre TCU/Circle Theatre co-production of The Fantasticks. Since 2010, he has composed, arranged, and recorded music for Trinity’s productions of King Lear, Love’s Labour’s Lost, The Tempest, The Taming of the Shrew, The Merry Wives of Windsor, As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, and Twelfth Night. A partial list of Alan’s other theatre credits includes Theatre Three, Stage West, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, The Cricket Theatre, The Ordway, Hey City Stage, and two Tony-Award-winning theatres: The Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis (where he was both Artistic Associate and Composer-in-Residence) and Theatre de la Jeune Lune. He has provided music direction for well over 100 professional and academic productions ranging from Sondheim’s A Little Night Music to Elton John’s Aida. His music direction for TCU has included Guys and Dolls, Spring Awakening, No, No, Nanette, Assassins, The Fantasticks, Oklahoma, Seussical: The Musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, A Chorus Line, We Need A little Christmas, and Little Women: The Musical.
As a composer, Alan has written over a dozen other original scores for the theatre, including Anatomy of Gray, Spinning into Butter, Hamlet, Dracula, The Hobbit, The Voice of the Prairie, The Troubles: Children of Belfast, Strega Nona, The Velveteen Rabbit, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (produced in Russian at the Central Children’s Theatre of Moscow). Alan’s adaptation of Tomie dePaola’s Oliver Button Is a Sissy for the concert stage has been performed by over fifty major choruses nationwide and was featured at Carnegie Hall in New York City and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. The concert work was also the centerpiece for the documentary “Oliver Button is a Star!” produced by Emmy Award winning producers Dan Hunt and John Scagliatti. The documentary aired nationally on PBS and has been given the National Association of Multicultural Education’s Media Award, Action for Media’s Pixi Award, the National Gay & Lesbian Journalist Association’s Excellence in Journalism Award, and Excellence in Media’s Silver Angel Award.
“Changing Hearts,” a work for men’s chorus, seven soloists, and small orchestra, debuted in Washington, DC, and Montreal by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC, and was featured in their 25th Anniversary Concert at The Kennedy Center. Individual songs from that work have been featured on several CDs. “The Great Ends of the Church,” one of Alan’s choral works, premiered in Dallas, TX, in June of 2003. That same year, the Heartland Chorus in Kansas City commissioned and performed “Country Angel Christmas.”
The GALA Association of Choruses has included “They Sang to Me” (from “Changing Hearts”) in their songbook SONGS OF COURAGE, a collection of the top twenty-five songs from twenty-five years of commissions by 185 GALA choruses. In 2009, Alan’s composition Pascha nostrum for mixed chorus and French horn was released on the CD “O Vierge, Sois Clémente” by the Chœr de Saint-Louis. In 2008, Bayou City Performing Arts commissioned Alan for three works, “Norm,” “Love’s Song,” and “The Gathering Storm,” and has performed the pieces in both Houston and Miami.
Alan has also written two short plays, The Best of Intentions and It’s Just the Way Things Are. Dealing with the issues of eldercare, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and end-of-life/quality-of-life issues, the plays were written to provide a stepping stone for panel discussions with experts in these fields and have received numerous performances in Fort Worth (featuring TCU actors), including the Tarrant County Academy of Medicine’s “Speak for Yourself” series attended by members of TCU’s Harris School of Nursing, Brite Divinity School, the University of North Texas Health Science Center, Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, Texas Health Resources, Community Hospice of Texas, Baylor All Saints Medical Center (Fort Worth), Tarrant Area Community of Churches, JPS Health Network, and North Texas Specialty Physicians.
As an actor, Alan Shorter played Father Stanley in Circle Theatre’s production of Hail, Mary! Other favorite roles include Noel Coward in Oh, Coward!, Hermann van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank, and Jimmy Powers in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill. He has also appeared on stage as Father Alan in the world premiere of Sister Amnesia’s Country Western Nunsense Jamboree (for which he was music director and pianist for the original cast recording) and Nunsense II: The Second Coming.
Alan is a member of the American Federation of Musicians (AF of M), Music Theatre Educators Alliance International (MTEA), and the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE).