Get to Know: Dan Hays, Assistant Professor of Theatre

Dan Hays may be the new assistant professor of theatre at Nebraska Wesleyan, but he is definitely no stranger to the theatre department.

For the past seven years Hays has worked with various NWU theatre productions as a guest choreographer alongside his good friend and NWU theatre professor, Jack Parkhurst. Hays grew to love NWU and its theatre department so when Parkhurst mentioned a full-time job opening, Hays knew it was the perfect fit.

Hays graduated from the University of Nebraska-Kearney with a degree in vocal music performance and theater. He has worked as a professional actor, choreographer, and director since 1995, sharing his talents in Missouri, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Montana. Hays worked for the Nebraska Arts Council and completed his residencies while there. After college, Hays performed and headlined in many productions at the Omaha Upstairs Dinner Theatre.

For the past 20 years, Hays taught at both the high school and college levels including Blair High School, University of Nebraska-Kearney, Dana College, University of Nebraska-Omaha, and his most recent position at Elkhorn High School where he was the choir director.

Hays said he wants to bring his enthusiasm to Nebraska Wesleyan’s musical theatre department, and wants to utilize his skills to give students a personal experience.

“What I want to provide is a very unusual experience,” he said. “I want all of my students to be able to have studio time with me. I’m really looking forward to singing, acting, and focusing on piano skills on a one-on-one basis,” said Hays.

Hays said he looks forward to emphasizing the music aspect of theatre at NWU and providing students with personal focus and direction to polish their skills.

Favorite musical: Once On This Island

Favorite role Hays has played: Sancho in Man of La Mancha

Favorite NWU production: Rent 


Was so happy to hear of your new position at NWU! I was browsing for an art faculty position and stumbled upon this post! So glad you are still inspiring creative Nebraska students!

I am still at Holdrege (32 years now) and adjunct at UNK Art Department (19 years). I am looking for a full time position in studio art and/or art education at the university level. If you hear of any openings, please send me an email.

Take care! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wishing you and your family a Happy New Year!

Christy (Bunger) Kosmicki

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Dan Hays recently joined the Theatre Department as a new assistant professor.