Graceland University Theatre Professor to Direct Professional Play at the Unicorn Theatre

Professor Gary Heisserer teaching a class

Gary Heisserer teaching a class at Graceland University.

Graceland University theatre professor Gary Heisserer has been chosen to direct “How to Steal a Picasso” at the Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri, showing later in January.

After directing a staged reading of the play “Mr. Perfect” at the Unicorn last year, the Producing Artistic Director of the theatre, Cynthia Levin, asked if Heisserer would direct one of the season’s shows, and he was happy to accept.

“How to Steal a Picasso” tells the story of the most revered Picasso of the Detroit Institute of the Arts going missing after they reveal their plan to sell it. This clever comedy follows a family of quirky artists with polarizing views on art and a mysterious theft.

The play is written by William Missouri Downs. Heisserer directed his play, “The Exit Interview” three years ago at Graceland and Downs did a workshop on campus with the Graceland cast. He also offered a playwriting workshop for students during the Fall 2015 semester.

A group of Graceland University theatre students will travel to Kansas City to see Heisserer direct the play. Through this professional development opportunity, Heisserer also expects to be able to bring something back to his classes and his direction at Graceland. After the rare experience of working with professional actors, he expects he will be better prepared to help Graceland students understand what it takes to make it in the profession and what life in the professional theatre is like.

“Frankly, I am pumped beyond words to do this,” Heisserer shared with us. “I love the play, I love the incredibly talented cast we’ve assembled, and I love the opportunity to share this production with the Unicorn audience.”

If you would like to see Heisserer direct “How to Steal a Picasso,” tickets are available on the Unicorn Theatre’s website at