New theater teacher makes MCC debut

Yasmine Cruz, Calumet journalist

Muscatine Community College theater instructor Alyssa Oltmanns meets with students in her Strahan Hall office.

By Yasmine Cruz

“Things like that just kept happening. People would find out my interest and background in theater and ask me to do this or do that.” — Alyssa Oltmanns

She’s obsessed with batman, she loves dogs and she’s a big fan of the musical, “Dear Evan Hansen.” Please welcome Alyssa Oltmanns as Muscatine Community College’s new theater teacher.
The school year has started and with a new school year comes new staff and Oltmanns is one of those new staff members.
Originally from Sterling, Ill., Oltmanns grew up loving theater. From the age of 7 she was involved in music and theater in high school. Graduation came and Oltmanns decided to attend University of Illinois as a music major, hoping to get music scholarships. After a semester she changed her major to English, but still it was not what she truly enjoyed.
Alyssa’s true passion had always been theater and when she transferred to the Chicago campus, she decided to apply as a theater major. Unfortunately, she was sick the day of the auditions and the theater directors would not let her reschedule the audition date. So Oltmanns continued on and completed her English major.
After graduation, Oltmanns started teaching at Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa. She ran the tutoring center there and when the theater director found out about her background, he asked her to take his place when he stepped down.
Oltmanns said, ç
Woodlawn Arts Academy in Sterling, Iowa, called to ask her to give a student musical theater lessons and coach students who were heading off into college for theater.
Even though she had a busy life, Oltmanns was really close with her family. Growing up as an only child, she was quite close with her parents and grandparents and often acted very mature for her age.
“Something special about me is that I’m a huge advocate for mental health and LGBT rights,” she said.
Not only has she worked professionally in both areas, but she also offers a listening ear for anyone who wants to talk about life or just needs a space to build community for themselves.
“And dogs,” she says, “we could literally just talk about dogs too. Oh, and ‘Dear Evan Hansen.’”
Oltmanns has a personality like no other and students see it as well. Just a few weeks into the school year and already students are saying great things about her. Mason Skye says, “Well she is definitely a part of the LGBT alliance and that is something I find really cool, she’s fun to talk to.”
Mika Rangel said Oltmanns makes her feel welcomed. “Everyone who loves theater whether on stage or off, she makes them feel welcomed and encourages them to help with productions coming up,” Rangel says.
The MCC students and staff will miss David Lane, the previous theater teacher, but Alyssa Oltmanns is here and is ready to teach theater to everyone here.