KU News: KU to stage ‘Sweeney Todd, ’ opening Feb. 16

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KU to stage ‘Sweeney Todd,’ opening Feb. 16

LAWRENCE — Before the Broadway national tour begins, a local production of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, a Musical Thriller” will explore the psyche of the villain and bring Stephen Sondheim’s brilliant melodies to the community with the help of KU’s Opera and Symphony Orchestra. The show will open Feb. 16 at the University of Kansas. Kansas cast and crew members include students from Hays, Hutchinson, Lawrence, Newton, Olathe, Overland Park, Topeka and Wichita.

 

Study examines strategies to improve effect of parking time on last-mile deliveries

LAWRENCE — A newly published paper from a University of Kansas researcher explores solutions designed for urban and rural environments to help companies minimize the additional time that parking can add to delivery schedules. “With more people ordering online and e-commerce increasing, there will be more and more deliveries that need to be made. That’s going to further exacerbate this challenge of parking,” said author Sara Reed, assistant professor of business analytics, whose work appears in Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review.

 

University announces winner, finalists for Courtwright Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence

LAWRENCE – Logan Edmondson, a senior in behavioral neuroscience from Fairway, is the recipient of the Courtwright Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence through KU’s Center for Undergraduate Research. Finalists for the award are from Lawrence, Liberal and from Kansas City, Missouri.

 

KU Law graduate wins national writing prize

LAWRENCE – A recent graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law has won second place in a national writing competition for her paper on cryptocurrency regulations in international trade. Allie O’Neill, originally from Reston, Virginia, finished second in the 23rd annual Andrew P. Vance Memorial Writing Competition, which encourages students to explore current issues relevant to customs and international trade law.

 

Full stories below.

 

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Contact: Lisa Coble-Krings, Department of Theatre & Dance, 785-864-5685, [email protected], @KUTheatre

KU to stage ‘Sweeney Todd,’ opening Feb. 16

 

LAWRENCE — Before the Broadway national tour begins, a local production of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, a Musical Thriller” will explore the psyche of the villain and bring Stephen Sondheim’s brilliant melodies to the community with the help of KU’s Opera and Symphony Orchestra.

 

“Sweeney Todd” is a co-production of the University of Kansas Department of Theatre & Dance and School of Music. It is directed by Stella Markou, associate professor of voice & opera in the School of Music.

 

“It has been an extraordinary experience working with KU’s talented students, design, music and management teams as we have created an alternate dream world between horror and reality. Sondheim’s brilliant orchestration and sardonic use of text is a perfect foundation that catapults my vision of exploring even a darker side of humanity and its cruel injustices,” Markou said. “Although our anti-hero Sweeney is transfixed in a questionable journey of redemption through revenge, I promise our audiences a unique and unforgettable rendering of this Tony-winning and national touring production.”

 

Following an unjust exile, Sweeney Todd, a social outcast obsessed with revenge, returns to London in search of his family. Soon his barbershop becomes a front for murder, with help from his creative accomplice, Mrs. Lovett.

 

Performances are in the Crafton-Preyer Theatre at Murphy Hall. “Sweeney Todd” will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16, 20 and 21 and at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 18. Tickets are available for purchase on the KU Theatre production website, by calling 785-864-3982 or in person from noon to 5 p.m. weekdays at the box office in Murphy Hall.

 

A talk with Paul Laird, a KU professor of musicology who has published extensively on the topic of musical theatre, will begin 45 minutes before each performance in the Crafton-Preyer Theatre.

 

The Friends of Theatre & Dance are hosting a pre-show reception and inviting all KU staff members at 6 p.m. Feb. 16 in the Design Gallery hallway at Murphy Hall. Staff members interested in mixing and mingling prior to the show should RSVP by email to Jack Rischer by Feb. 7.

 

The creative team

Markou, who is also the coordinator of voice at KU, is a nationally recognized director of opera and musical theatre. She also is on faculty for the Festival of International Opera. Her directing and productions have garnered top recognitions. “The Clever Artifice of Harriet and Margaret” (2021) and “The Pirates of Penzance” (2019) won first place in the NOA’s opera competition, and her production of “The Medium” (2021) won first prize in The American Prize competition. Learn more about Markou.

 

The show’s maestro is Creston Herron, who serves as the director of orchestral activities for KU and serves on the faculty of the Interlochen Arts Camp as the coordinator of orchestras. Herron has enjoyed national recognition as a conductor and educator with ensembles earning numerous national titles under his direction. Learn more about Herron.

 

Joining them on the creative team are theatre & dance department faculty members Dennis Christilles, scenic designer; Ann Sitzman, lighting designer; and Jenna Link, stage manager. Knox McClendon, a senior in theatre design from Topeka, is the costume designer.

 

Reed Schenkel, recent alumnus of the School of Music, will perform as Sweeney Todd.

 

Kansas and Kansas City area cast members (complete cast list online):

Grace Steiner, second-year doctoral student in voice from Hays, as Mrs. Lovett; Colin Bradt, senior in theatre & voice from Lawrence, as Anthony Hope; Eli Panek, master’s student in music from Kansas City, Missouri, as Judge Turpin; Zach Newkirk, freshman in journalism from Overland Park, as Beadle Bamford; and Brandon Heflin, sophomore in microbiology and pre-medicine from Olathe, as Tobias Ragg. Ensemble members: Parker Bennett, sophomore in theatre & voice from Kansas City, Missouri; Seth Bruey, sophomore in theatre performance from Newton; Callee Harris, junior in psychology and social welfare from Hutchinson; Cooper Holmes, sophomore in theatre performance from Overland Park; Samuel Leopold, freshman in voice from Wichita; Caden Moffitt, freshman in journalism from Overland Park; Canton Schenk, sophomore in theatre from Topeka; Natalie Sledd, junior in voice from Kansas City, Missouri; Dymphna Watkins, sophomore in music composition from Overland Park; Elizabeth Wellman, sophomore in dance from Lawrence; and Ella Widen, sophomore in voice and speech, language & hearing from Topeka.

 

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Contact: Jon Niccum, KU News Service, 785-864-7633, [email protected]

Study examines strategies to improve effect of parking time on last-mile deliveries

 

LAWRENCE — Parking is often a hassle. But what if your job relies on it, as it does for any number of delivery-based occupations?

 

“With more people ordering online and e-commerce increasing, there will be more and more deliveries that need to be made. That’s going to further exacerbate this challenge of parking,” said Sara Reed, assistant professor of business analytics at the University of Kansas.

 

Her paper “Does parking matter? The impact of parking time on last-mile delivery optimization” analyzes strategies that could improve routing such activities. The results show how in urban environments, where customers are close together, short parking windows affect optimal routing decisions, modeled by CDPP (Capacitated Delivery Problem with Parking.) However, in rural environments where parking is more readily available, a parking solution that serves each customer individually may be sufficient.

 

It appears in Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review.

 

Reed, who co-wrote the paper with Ann Melissa Campbell and Barrett Thomas of the University of Iowa, said that delivery jobs entail a dynamic combination of walking and driving.

 

“Our research is thinking about this from a tactical perspective of how parking time should be factored in when doing the routing,” she said. “And if we do include parking time, how does that change delivery routes? Companies should be interested because if they’re not including it, are they really representing what their drivers are doing? Are they estimating the delivery times correctly?”

 

By modeling this problem on a grid, which is usually representative of an urban environment, Reed showed that searching for parking only has to be 1.6 minutes to affect the structure of the optimal solution.

 

“That’s not much time,” she said. “A recent study in Seattle finds that drivers typically spend 5.8 minutes – and that is a whole lot more than one minute.”

 

This accounts for 28% of the total trip between parking locations being consumed by parking, according to the researchers. Even if delivery drivers practice illegal methods (double parking, stopping in restricted areas), parking still takes time due to safety concerns, avoiding conflict with traffic and cooperating with other drivers.

 

“A lot of people assume delivery drivers double park. But in recent years, some companies require the driver to pay the fine, which disincentivizes them from doing that. In particular with crowdsourced deliveries, the company doesn’t always pay for it,” Reed said.

 

The crucial component of “where” the delivery takes place factors into how this information can be processed.

 

“The paper itself looks at the challenge of parking on the urban to rural continuum,” she said.

 

“In urban areas, we expect customers to be dense, whereas in rural areas, customers are farther apart. Parking challenges are also different. We expect it to be difficult to find parking in urban areas. Rural areas, not so much. What we show is in rural areas, driving to every customer is the best way to route the vehicle. But along that continuum, where does parking time make an impact? For an urban environment, it only has to be 1.6 minutes.”

 

Reed’s previous paper, “Impact of Autonomous Vehicle Assisted Last-Mile Delivery in Urban to Rural Settings,” determined that this technology reduces the completion time of delivery tours and provides the most cost-effective business model.

 

Working on that piece inspired her latest publication.

 

“It became very clear that not a lot of people were thinking about parking in traditional delivery practices,” she said. “What sparked my interest is that this is a way to improve things right now. If the company has a sense of how difficult it is to find parking in an area, including parking time in routing can improve operations today versus relying on some sort of ‘futuristic technology.’”

 

As for Reed’s own future endeavors, this new paper represents a key component of her ongoing research agenda involving last-mile delivery.

 

“Another line of my work considers how drivers could utilize real-time information on parking availability from sensors.

 

There’s been some studies and pilot programs that have implemented this in cities. With better technology, parking enforcement will accompany that, and parking will continue to be an operational challenge for companies,” said Reed, who is now in her third year at KU while specializing in transportation logistics.

 

Ultimately, she said she believed insights into how parking affects last-mile delivery is not only important from a business perspective but from an urban planning one as well.

 

She said, “We want to account for what can be done to make parking better for companies and better for society.”

 

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Contact: Erin Wolfram, Academic Success, 785-864-2308, [email protected]

University announces winner, finalists for Courtwright Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence

 

LAWRENCE – A University of Kansas student who is researching the effects of lay eschatological messaging on temporal horizons is the recipient of the Courtwright Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence through KU’s Center for Undergraduate Research.

 

Logan Edmondson is a senior in behavioral neuroscience from Fairway. He is mentored by Mark Landau, professor of psychology.

 

“Misinformation is a growing threat in online discourse, especially discourse surrounding climate change,” Edmondson said. “My project examines the motivational consequences of exposure to sensationalized messaging about this issue. The long-term goal of this research is to influence how existential issues are presented by the media and inform policy related to the spread of misinformation.”

 

A poster titled “The Effects of End-Times Discourse on Temporal Horizons” about his research will be presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s 2024 annual conference.

 

The Courtwright Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence was established at KU Endowment in 2020 through the contributions of David (class of 1974) and Chris Courtwright (class of 1983). The Courtwright Award seeks to recognize undergraduate students with majors in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences whose research and creative work stand to make meaningful contributions to their fields of study.

 

Courtwright Award finalists are selected from applications for the Undergraduate Research Awards each semester. This is the sixth iteration of this award.

 

Summer/fall 2023 finalists:

Jenna Bellemere, a senior in anthropology and women, gender & sexuality studies from Lawrence, “Becoming, Teleology, and the Transition Narrative,” mentored by Marta Vicente, professor of history.
Brandon Nguyen, a junior in chemistry with a minor in mathematics from Liberal, “Reactivity of Manganese(III)-Hydroxo Complexes with Acidic Phenols,” mentored by Timothy Jackson, professor of chemistry.
Allyson Scribner, a senior in psychology with minors in applied behavioral science and visual art from Kansas City, Missouri, “Little Free Art Mart,” mentored by Francisca Maria Velasco, professor of visual art.

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Don’t miss new episodes of “When Experts Attack!,”

a KU News Service podcast hosted by Kansas Public Radio.

 

https://kansaspublicradio.org/when-experts-attack

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Contact: Emma Herrman, School of Law, [email protected], @kulawschool

KU Law graduate wins national writing prize

 

LAWRENCE – A recent graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law has won second place in a national writing competition for her paper on cryptocurrency regulations in international trade.

 

Allie O’Neill, class of 2023, finished second in the 23rd annual Andrew P. Vance Memorial Writing Competition, which encourages students to explore current issues relevant to customs and international trade law. The competition, sponsored by the Customs and International Trade Bar Association (CITBA) and the University of Miami School of Law, was open to students enrolled in a juris doctor or master of laws program at any U.S. law school during the 2022-23 school year.

 

O’Neill’s paper explores digitizing the international trade and finance industry by utilizing the technology enabling cryptocurrency and blockchain, the implications of lack of regulation as financial technology (fintech) matures and a proposal for multilateral regulation in the global sphere as the underlying technology continues to evolve from white paper states to futuristic quantum. This field has interested O’Neill since her undergraduate days studying both economics and finance.

 

“My interest in emerging tech began when I was studying abroad in Dublin,” O’Neill said. “I was exposed to the concept of environmental sustainability and governance, which introduced me to sustainability concepts and frameworks. There are so many implications when it comes to the underlying technology in fintech and what it touches from intellectual property to copyright infringement to trade, criminal law and more.”

 

O’Neill is the fifth KU Law student in 16 years to take first or second place in this national competition. She received a $500 prize from the CITBA.

 

“The award is very validating because I didn’t expect anything from it,” O’Neill said. “It makes me want to write another paper because technology is constantly developing. Anything you write after three months is outdated.”

 

Originally from Reston, Virginia, O’Neill attended KU for both her undergraduate and law degrees. After her graduation from KU Law in May 2023 and her bar passage, O’Neill moved to Texas to serve as an associate at the regional corporate headquarters of JP Morgan Chase & Co, where she focuses on artificial intelligence and emerging tech, learning operational risk, strategy and governance.

 

“I want to stay in this space as long as I can,” O’Neill said. “JP Morgan is a bank, but it’s also a tech company. I have the unique opportunity to experience an interconnection between business, tech and law. It’s very niche.”

 

Past KU Law winners of the Andrew P. Vance Memorial Writing Competition:

2018: Elliot Brewer, class of 2019, second place
2016: Cody Wood, class of 2017, first place
2007: Justin Waggoner, class of 2008, first place
2007: Owen Grieb, class of 2008, second place.

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Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, director of news and media relations, [email protected]

 

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