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Marc Bauer gets his head in the game with Crane River Theatre

Athletic director, Marc Bauer, played the role of Coach Bolton in High School Musical, photo provided by Grace McDonald / Antelope Staff

Marc Bauer traded Loper blue for Wildcat red in Crane River Theater’s production of High School Musical. The UNK athletic director played Coach Jack Bolton at Yanney Heritage Park. 

 “I hesitated, obviously,” Marc said. “Primarily because I didn’t know if I’d have the time to do it, and so I kind of needed to know what the time commitment would look like.” 

Steve Barth, the Crane River Theater director, convinced the former wrestling coach to act.  

“(Marc) has such a mentality of supporting the community,” Barth said. “He does it with all of his athletes and UNK athletic program. And so he really jumped in by leading by example, getting actively involved in the production and in the community and putting himself out there.”

Beth Bauer, Marc’s wife, would practice his lines with him during a roadtrip to Texas. 

“I’ve seen High School Musical 5,000 times with my kids, so obviously I was familiar with the script,” Beth said. Beth and Marc would discuss how the shows went afterward. 

“In one of the shows, I made five mistakes. I was keeping track,” Marc laughed. “And then I was talking to one of the audience members afterward, and they were like, ‘I didn’t know you made any.’”

High School Musical is based on a Disney Channel original movie about basketball star Troy Bolton who falls for nerdy beauty Gabriella Montez. Both grapple with their identities when they audition for the school musical. 

Mrs. Darbis was played by Kandi Stelling, a Kearney Public Schools music teacher, and the Wildcat chemistry teacher was played by Julie Larson who taught at Kearney State College for 41 years.

Alongside them were UNK alumni, Hannah and Bekah Petersen, students Steve Boldt and TruLee White, and Track and Field athlete, Richard Harbols.

Similarly to Troy Bolton, Marc sees the benefits of being involved athletics and the arts. 

In fourth grade, Marc played Curt Von Trapp in a production of the Sound of Music in Manhattan. 

His father, Dr. David Bauer directed at UNK for 35 years, while his mother, Anne, is still heavily involved in Crane River Theater and is on the board as a supportive member. 

Marc also plays the violin and piano, and he encourages his own four children in their musical endeavors. 

“I feel like as a parent, I was actually a good role model for my kids,” Bauer said. “So my kids have been very involved in the arts as well. Hopefully, I was a good role model for them that you can be both in sports and both arts.”  

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