Michael Callaway - Designer and Technical Director

Michael Callaway graduated from Marshall High School, Marshall, Missouri in 1978.  He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Education with emphasis in Theater/Speech Communication and Art from Central Missouri State University (now the University of Central Missouri) in 1983.  During his time at CMSU, his focus shifted from acting to design and technical direction.  Making the switch allowed the experience of working the ‘change over’ crew for productions at Waldo Astoria and Tiffany’s Attic (now The New Theater) in Kansas City, Missouri. This exposure led to summer employment as a Carpenter/Scenic Artist.  After finishing his degree at CMSU, he accepted a position as a Resident Technician at Tiffany’s Attic where he he worked until accepting the position of Stagecraft Instructor at Topeka West High School, Topeka Public Schools, Topeka Kansas.  

Michael’s first season at Topeka West High School included GODSPELL, DARK OF THE MOON, and CAMELOT. It also saw the beginning of a twenty-seven year working relationship with his mentor and friend, Doug Goheen.  His directorial debut was Neil Simon’s THE GOOD DOCTOR followed the next year with the thriller, NIGHTWATCH.  Memorable shows during the first ten years included LITTLE MOON OF ALBAN, FUNNY GIRL, THE GOOD WOMAN OF SETZUAN, THE LION IN WINTER, GREASE, STEEL MAGNOLIAS, and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF.

It was also during this period that Michael served as Designer/Technical Director for Ballet Midwest of Topeka.  He designed scenery for THE NUTCRACKER, SLEEPING BEAUTY, GISELLE, and LA FILLE MAL GARDEE.

In the summer of 1989 Michael was offered the opportunity to work as Assistant Stage Manager on the original Off-Broadway production of TONY AND TINA’S WEDDING.  While in the Big Apple he used his free time to enjoy the Museums and view every Broadway show that TKTS would allow.

The 1990’s were an exciting period of change at Topeka West High School.  The production of 42nd Street saw the first use of steel scenic units.  He worked with Doug Goheen to mount an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s, DRACULA. The lighting and sound systems were updated. Doug and Michael were fortunate to have a major design role for the new scene shop, classroom, dressing room and costume storage that were constructed.  The new scene shop gave Michael the ability to expand on the size and complexity of his scenic designs.  He closed out the decade and the millennium with MAN OF LA MANCHA.  

The next ten years saw the creation of Michael’s favorite productions and production designs:  WEST SIDE STORY, LES MISERABLES, CABARET and URINETOWN.

In 2009 Doug Goheen retired and his position was filled by Ryan J. McCoy, Topeka West Alumus.  Michael continues his love of theater and design.  He is excited to offer new creative challenges to himself and his crew of ‘stagecraftians’.    

In 2016, Michael designed and created his 100th production  at Topeka West.

Ryan J. McCoy - Director

Ryan J. McCoy graduated from Topeka West in 1999.  He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Education with emphasis in English, Speech, and Drama from Kansas State University in 2003 and his Master of Liberal Studies Degree from Washburn University in 2018.  After a few teaching and coaching positions at Emporia, Shawnee Heights, and United High School in Monmouth, Illinois, Ryan was thrilled to rejoin his former teachers as a colleague in 2007.  

After co-directing THE GOOD DOCTOR with mentors Douglas Goheen and Michael Callaway and directing OVER THE TAVERN in the spring of 2009, Ryan took over the Topeka West Theatre full time in the fall of 2009 with the Mary Zimmerman adaptation of Homer's THE ODYSSEY.  It was an appropriate piece for the students, directors, and audience alike--a classic work representing the excellent tradition that is Topeka West Theatre and an embrace of the future with a movement based modern translation of a classic work.

In the years that followed, Topeka West Theatre continued to embrace the past and the present with classic works like OKLAHOMA!, GUYS & DOLLS, BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS, TWELFTH NIGHT, ANTIGONE, and NOISES OFF, while striving to share contemporary works like THE ARABIAN NIGHTS, THE SPARROW, CHILDREN OF EDEN, PARADE, and THE LIBRARY.

Under Ryan's guidance, Topeka West Theatre has reinstated Thespian Troupe #3061, updated sound equipment through grants and individual donations, toured two children's shows to local elementary schools, and directed multiple TPAC Young Artist Award recipients. 

Ryan has performed in Topeka community theatre as Romeo in ROMEO & JULIET, Laertes in HAMLET, Zach in A CHORUS LINE, and Thomas Jefferson in 1776.  He has also guest directed the musical BARE and guest directed the musical HEATHERS at Topeka Civic Theatre.

In his free time Ryan enjoys paddling the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, geocaching, and trail running with his wife Amanda and their energetic pup, Juno Pockets.