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April 19, 2011
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Makeup hardly seems necessary for an actor about to perform nearly naked on stage. Roger J. Stricker, who attended Northwest Missouri State University from 1983 to 1987, begs to differ.
As hair and makeup supervisor for Cirque du Soleil's "Zumanity," where he applies makeup to scantily clad characters, he believes makeup and hair design help a character discover his or her identity.
Stricker's love of makeup design has found a variety of A-list stars in his makeup studio, including Cher, Shirley McLaine, Frank Sinatra, Madonna and Van Halen. Since his Northwest days as a theatre major, he has traveled with these stars around the world, finally settling in Las Vegas.
Recently, he visited Northwest for a reunion with the cast of the University's 1985 production of "Our Town." Stricker spent an afternoon sharing his experiences with current Northwest students and demonstrated the art of applying makeup.
Watch a video of Roger Stricker's presentation to Northwest students here.
"This place gave so much to me it's really important for me to give back to students," Stricker said during the visit. "If I didn't have teachers like I had at Northwest I wouldn't be doing what I am today. It's because of the foundations that I got here."
Reading Stricker's broad résumé shows snapshots of his career path. He has worked as a makeup and hair designer for Off-Broadway touring productions such as "The Producers," "Lion King" and "Rent," while his television credits include "Wings," "Frasier," "Cheers" and "Chelsea Lately." His work has appeared in Playboy and In Style magazines and has also been featured at the Tony Awards.
"They say it's who you know in this business, but it's not - it's who knows you," Stricker said. "I've always ended up being in the right place at the right time."
When Cirque du Soleil unveiled its risqué new Las Vegas show in 2003, Stricker was again in the right place at the right time and was offered the position. He has been makeup and hair supervisor for "Zumanity," a show he calls "a sensual candy store of sexuality," ever since.
"It's funny because this is the longest that I've ever had one job in my entire career," Stricker said. "It's not that I was ever fired or let go, it's just that a lot of jobs don't last that long."
Throughout his 27-year career, Stricker has found that makeup speed and efficiency, attention to detail and personal care for his subject make a difference.
"I was glad that I took psychology classes at Northwest," Stricker said. "When somebody sits in your chair, you're dealing with them stripped down and raw as a person. And part of my job is to act as a liaison between the look and the artist."
Stricker evens out his unique life experiences with humble appreciation of a steady job, which he never takes for granted.
"It's hard enough being in a transient career," Stricker said. "But if you're only looking for the next best thing, you've got a problem because you don't have any focus or balance in your life."
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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