Physics professor discovers artistic side

Physics Professor Tad Thurston is leading a double life.

During the day, his students know the mild-mannered Thurston as a witty and charismatic teacher who is a self-professed geek.

After hours, however, there’s really no telling who he will be.

Most recently, he assumed the character of Macaulay “Mike” Conner, in Philip Berry’s comedy, “The Philadelphia Story,” performed at the Jewel Box Theatre in Oklahoma City.

The role was famously played by Jimmy Stewart in the 1941 movie starring Audrey Hepburn.

Alongside Thurston in “The Philadelphia Story,” playing the part of Uncle Willie, was OCCC graduate Paul Tomlin.

The curtain came down on that show Sept. 15.

In December Thurston has already committed to the role of Bob Cratchit in “A Christmas Carol.”

The discovery of his artistic side is a relatively recent development for the science professor.

A year and a half ago, Thurston said, he set out in search of fun and adventure.

While doing so, he found himself playing the part of John Stapleton in a stage adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Hound of The Baskervilles.”

Thurston said he auditioned for a part in the play being produced by the Jewel Box Theatre in Oklahoma City because he enjoys being a part of the story.

Since then, he has done six productions including the farce, “Dilemmas with Dinner.”

Rehearsals for each new production last about four weeks, running from 7 to 10 p.m. each weeknight, Thurston said.

Following rehearsals, the play itself also runs about four weeks.

“If it’s fun enough, you make time,” Thurston said of the demanding schedule.

And Thurston should make time.

Production Director Chuck Tweed said Thurston was voted best actor last season by Jewel Box patrons who had seen all six plays.

“He is very natural on stage,” Tweed said.

While he has yet to perform at OCCC, Thurston said it is on his to do-list and that he hopes to be able to this coming spring.

For the time being, students interested in discovering who Thurston becomes after class can see him in the upcoming Jewel Box Theatre production of the Charles Dickens classic over the holiday season.

The show runs from Nov. 14 to Dec. 8. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors age 65 and up.

For more information about Jewel Box Theatre visit or call 405-521-1786.

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