Theatre of Transformation

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Greetings, Friends! Summer, 2010
LAST YEAR’S SEASON (2009-10) “Theatre of Transformation”
The Theatre Arts Department of Kalamazoo College presented the 46th season of Festival Playhouse, a season that entertained and educated with a unique combination of plays. In the Fall, we produced Eugene Ionesco’s Absurdist classic, RHINOCEROS, guest directed by professional theatre artist (and Kalamazoo College alumna) Liza Bielby in a very physical style reminiscent of her many years of training as a Fulbright Scholar in China. The production featured twenty-four very realistic rhinoceros heads designed by Costumer Elaine Kauffman. The Winter term saw the performance of one the funniest and most poignant plays we’ve done in years, THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN, by Martin McDonagh, and which included an authentic Irish dialect from our students and the work of another guest professional director, . We closed in the Spring 2011 term when our own Associate Professor of Theatre Karen Berthel directed Shakespeare’s final masterpiece, THE TEMPEST that received an outstanding review from the Kalamazoo Gazette, and also featured a free performance for area high schools. With spectacular effects in the opening storm scene, designed by , and actresses playing many of the male roles as women characters (such as Prospera,) the production was highlighted by Professor Berthel’s stellar ability to coach an exceedingly well-spoken, and lyrical text from our student cast. As always, the Dungeon Theatre housed our SENIOR PERFORMANCE SERIES, student directed one-acts of FRAUGHT, an original piece written & performed by Michael Chodos, TRAGEDY: A TRAGEDY by Will Eno, directed by Emilia LaPenta, Tennessee Williams’ SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER, directed by Michelle Myers, and THREE DAYS OF RAIN, by Richard Greenberg, co-directed by Georgia Knapp & Anna Simmons.

Liza Bielby, a professional community-based physical theatre artist, and 2002 alum , directed RHINOCEROS and taught Fundamentals of Acting. After several years of studying Chinese Opera on a Fulbright, she received her MFA in Ensemble-Based Physical Theatre from Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre. Liza also conducted a special Physical Theatre Workshop for theatre students at the end of the Fall term. … Darryl Davis, a doctoral candidate at Wayne State University, taught Introduction to African American Theatre in Fall to rave reviews. … Seniors Michael Chodos and Kelly Campbell collaborated on their Senior Individualized Projects; both performed in a workshop performance of FRAUGHT, which was written by Chodos and directed by Campbell. … Another professional director, Kevin Dodd, who has worked in both New York City and Kalamazoo, guest-directed the Winter production of THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN, by Martin McDonagh. … Professional dramaturg Janice Peron took time from her busy schedule at Sundance Theatre Lab to speak to students about careers in dramaturgy. … As usual, commedia dell’arte specialist Todd Espeland taught Fundamentals of Acting in Spring, but he also designed puppets and masks for THE TEMPEST. In addition, Todd taught a special Laban workshop for the Developing a Character class in Winter as well as teaching fire-eating in the Senior Seminar, and a commedia workshop to the Theatre History class in Spring. … Other professional guest artists who visited Senior Seminar included Kalamazoo College alumna , Managing Director of The Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, and Barb Harkins of the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo. … Winter and Spring term saw many accomplishments by Kalamazoo College student playwrights, especially in regard to working with constituents of the theatre community in greater Kalamazoo. In January, 2010 graduate ’s DEAD HOURS was chosen as a one-act regional finalist in the New Playwrights Program, and was given a staged reading at the Region III American College Theatre Festival at Saginaw State University. At the same ACTF, Alex Clothier (K’09) was invited to perform his one-man show, JUST KIDDING (another Senior Individualized Project) in the Late Night Fringe Festival. Another recent graduate, had her play THIS HOUSE IS NOT A HOME chosen for the Theatre Kalamazoo! Staged Reading Series at the of Kalamazoo. In April, senior Emilia LaPenta directed the one-act HANDICAPPING by WMU graduate student James Miranda in the TK Staged Reading Series on our campus. Finally, seniors Georgia Knapp, Vince Kusiak, and Emilia LaPenta had their respective plays, BETWEEN THE STACKS, NOVEMBER 1st, and ROOTED (all written for their Senior Individualized Projects) given staged readings in the Dungeon Theatre in March and June (LaPenta’s play ROOTED was also performed in June in the New Playwrights Project at WMU). … In Spring, we did a special free performance of THE TEMPEST for Kalamazoo area high schools – (the students loved the play, especially the Advanced Placement Literature students who were in the middle of reading the play)!
THE CURRENT SEASON (2010-11): “Lost and Found: Theatre and the Search for Identity” The 47th season of Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo College brings entertaining, dramatic, and humorous stories that highlight searching for identity in today’s complex fast-paced world. Most of the plays have never before been produced in Kalamazoo.
Fall 2010


November 4-7: Thursday Nov. 4 @7:30pm. Friday & Saturday Nov. 5 and 6, @ 8pm, Sunday matinee November 7 @ 2pm.

Inspired by strange-but-true events, ALISON SHIELDS is a mystery, a memory play, a high school romance, and a coming-of-age story about a young woman unable -- or unwilling -- to grow up. Joe Tracz is a 2004 graduate of Kalamazoo College & a Brooklyn-based playwright whose plays include BOY WONDERS, IN THE WOODS WHERE WOLVES ARE & PHENOMENON OF DECLINE.  His work has been performed at Long Wharf Theatre, & Williamstown, among other theatres. A member of Ars Nova Play Group & a Playwrights Realm writing fellow, Joe has an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU Tisch.

Winter 2011


Feb. 17-20: Thursday Feb. 17 @7:30pm. Friday & Saturday Feb. 18 and 19, @ 8pm, Sunday matinee Feb. 20 @ 2pm.

Can mothers and daughters ever really know each other? Rescue pilot Maxine is hired by Dessa, a working class single mother to find a missing little girl, Charlotte, last seen in the Adirondacks. As Maxine searches, she begins to communicate with Evie, cool and wry spirit of her own mother, when she herself was a “lost little girl.” With haunting echoes of Amelia Earhart, and the lyric imagery of birds resounding throughout, TONGUE OF A BIRD is a poetic, funny, and ultimately moving play.


Staged Readings and Performances of Original Plays by our Students.

March 4-5.

We are proud to present OUR FOURTH STUDENT PLAYWRITING FESTIVAL, fully staged 10 minute plays and staged readings of one-act plays. We bring them to the stage as the highest gift we can ever offer to an audience: brand new work from the young artists of the future of our theatre.

Spring 2011

THE WHO’S TOMMY by Pete Townsend and Des McAnuff.


May 19-22: Thursday @7:30pm. Friday & Saturday May 20 and 21, @ 8pm, Sunday matinee May 22 @ 2pm

Nominated for 11 Tony Awards and winner of six (including Best Musical), this smash Broadway musical tells the simple fable of Tommy, who has been traumatized after his father’s murder, but finds his true self as an adolescent when it’s discovered he “sure plays a mean ball.” An iconic triumph of pop culture in music, stage, and film, and the first ever rock opera, THE WHO’S TOMMY pulsates with high energy and a classic rock score featuring such hits as It’s A Boy, I’m Free, Listening To You, and, of course, Pinball Wizard. For more information, call 269-337-7333 or visit


As always, we feature the work of our “best and the brightest” in the student-directed plays, young artists who support the great tradition at Kalamazoo College of students creating their own theatre.


Grace McGookey and Dwight Trice will perform the musical THE LAST FIVE YEARS by Jason Robert Brown for their SIP. Saturday February 26.


As part of the Directing II Class, juniors Sam Bertken and Hutch Pimentel will direct DOES THIS WOMAN HAVE A NAME? by Theresa Rebeck, and 4:48 PSYCHOSIS by Sarah Kane, May 5-8.

Grace McGookey directs DING DONG MY HYMEN'S GONE by Deflowered Memoirs June 2.
In addition, next year Senior Class will produce an all-senior production of BABY WITH THE BATHWATER by Christopher Durang in Week One or Two of Spring term.

OK – let’s get to those K Theatre Alumni Network updates!
00s: LET'S START WITH OUR RECENT GRADUATING CLASS of 2010: After such a great URTA audition, Kelly Campbell will enter the MFA Acting program at The Asolo Conservatory at Florida State Univ. in Fall ... Michael Chodos also had an excellent URTA audition and also received some offers but has chosen not begin grad school this Fall (In fact, he’ll be in Montana, which sounds pretty cool to us!) ... Laura Fox will work next year for the Teaching Assistants Program in France, sponsored by the French government. Laura also worked this summer as a carpenter for the Mason Street Warehouse Theatre in Saugatuck, MI ... Georgia Knapp has been hired as a National Park Ranger on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina ... Vince Kusiak will teach English in Japan next year for the JET program ... Emilia LaPenta will be the literary intern at McCarter Theatre next year and will serve as House Manager for The Weston Playhouse in VT this summer. ... Anna Simmons is one of only two full-time apprentices hired for next season by The Performance Network in Ann Arbor. Anna also worked as Carpenter for Mason Street Theatre … 09: Clif Ballard returned to The Mason Street Warehouse Theatre in Saugatuck, MI this summer as an ASM, earning points toward his Equity card … Terry Cangelosi had a terrific year in his apprenticeship at the Imagination Stage in Washington, DC … Alex Clothier was invited to perform his SIP show, JUST KIDDING (originally directed by Ben Harpe) in the Fringe Festival at ACTF this past January at Saginaw State – and they flew him out from NYC for the occasion! Alex had a very busy year in improv in NYC, performing with several groups, and has just been accepted into the Advanced Program at Upright Citizen’s Brigade … Ben Harpe is in Chicago, writing for Jellyvision on a computer pop culture trivia game called “You Don’t Know Jack.” Ben is also performing sketch comedy in the show, “365 Sketches” Joan Michelle Miller just completed a very successful first year in the MFA Dramatic Writing Program at the Savannah School of Art & Design… Allie Semperger has been accepted into the Professional Program in Screenwriting at UCLA … It was really tremendous to meet Cait Sherman for lunch when I was down at University of Illinois Champaign- Urbana. Cait had a great first year at University of Illinois Law School (she also bought me lunch) … We heard that Chris Simon really enjoyed his first year in the MFA Acting program at the University of Tennessee … Nina Young’s SIP play, THIS HOUSE IS NOT A HOME succeeded quite well in the Theatre Kalamazoo! Staged Reading Series in March at the Black Arts & Cultural Center in Kalamazoo in March … 08: Jeff Crapko not only had a great second year at University of Chicago Law School, he also worked for the International Criminal Tribunal in Tanzania, co-directed a play with the Neighbors Mentoring Program at U of C Law, and even found time to return to K in January and give a presentation on Rwandian genocide … We hear that Emily Harpe is still improvising up a storm in Chicago … Lee O’Reilly worked for a second consecutive year at Spoleto Arts Festival in NC, also worked for Ariel Angels in K’zoo, in addition to her work as Production Manager and Props Master at Mason Street … Emma Perry reports she passed her first Oral Exam with Distinction in the Doctoral Program in Comparative Literature at Boston College: “My exam covered Restoration and Early 18th C. Drama from 1660-1737. It was full of fops, fashion, and fluttering fans.” I also had the privilege of witnessing Emma present her paper “Stripping Cibber’s Fop on the 18th Century Cultural Stage” in the Theatre History Debut Panel at the ATHE annual conference last summer in NYC (nothing makes an old geezer professor feel better than watching former students succeed in such a superior fashion)! … Paul Whitehouse taught with another K Theatre alum (Megan Carney) in the General Theatre Studies Program at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago … 07: Last summer, Chris Froseth played Buddy Holly at Timberlake Playhouse in Mt. Carroll, IL, and returns this summer to play Leaf Coneybear in PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLLING BEE. He also played Roger in Nightblue’s production of RENT at The Theatre Building in Chicago, wrote promo music for a Dr. Pepper/NBC Universal campaign featuring Chris Parnell of 30 ROCK, and filmed a US Army industrial in MO … Tyler Greene returned to the States after a year in Changwon, South Korea and immediately became the Artistic Intern at the About Face Theatre Company in Chicago where he worked with K alums Megan Carney and Holly Hughes on LET THEM EAT CAKE, an acclaimed new piece about gay marriage. Tyler also assistant directed SWEET TEA, E. Patrick Johnson’s adaptation of his book about black gay men of the South … 06: Lauren Russo graduated from Michigan State University Law School in May, where she was also Managing Editor of the Michigan State Law Review … Mike Sabourin wrote: “I’m in Wichita, KS working summer stock as a scenic welder. Work has been steady since college – I’ve been in Florida, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Michigan, and now Kansas working as (in no particular order: Master Carpenter, Props Master, Shop Foreman, and TD … Jessica Steunkel graduated this Spring with a Masters of Architecture from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco – yay Jess! … 05: Mark Becker checked in: “Life? Yes. Love? Married almost two years. Liberty? Still paying taxes in U.S.” … It was wonderful to spend some time with Taras Berezowsky at Barsoum’s wedding in October. Taras is currently finishing his Masters of Science in Journalism at Northwestern University … Robert Brown continued to design lights at Imagination Stage in DC, and was a huge help to another theatre alum, apprentice Terry Cangelosi. Robert begins the MFA in Lighting Design at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign this Fall … Betsy King now performs with Crawlspace Eviction, Kalamazoo’s improv group extraordinaire … What a year for Steve Yeun! He moved from Chicago to LA, began working in TV and film, and currently has a major role (Glen) in the new AMC series “The Walking Dead.” Steve will be in Atlanta all summer shooting the first six episodes and it will premiere this Fall … 04: Always terrific to hear from Jack Cardinal, now Constituent Relations & Legislative Director to Michigan State Senator Gilda Jacobs in Lansing … Ali Beauvais Carris celebrates not only the second anniversary of marriage husband, Nathan Carris, she also completed her second year in the dual degree behavioral psych graduate program at the Chicago School of Psychology. Ali works as a behavior therapist for adults and adolescents in downtown Joliet, and also began an open mic series of spoken word and music as part of an art therapy extension program. “Always keeping the dream alive!” Ali notes … At Barsoum’s wedding in October, Emily Campbell told me she was really enjoying her first year in the MFA Directing Program at Northwestern … Saw PhD candidate in Political Philosophy at Northwestern Max Cherem for five seconds at Professor Chris Latiolais’s Lucasse Teaching Award Ceremony in May. Sorry we didn’t meet up after, Max! Drop a line when you can … Marla Hahn finished her MBA in Arts Administration from Univ. of Wisconsin and now works at the Overture Center for Arts in Madison … Heard from another PhD candidate, this one in anthropology at U of M- Nora Hauk, who described a beautiful traditional Korean storytelling performance called pansoriShena Mathew now teaches 6th grade math in Aurora, CO … The Ruckus Theatre Company in Chicago welcomed two K theatre alums into their company: and Timo Aker. Brian directed THE GODS ARE CRAZY BLIND and LAST DATE for The Ruckus. Other directing credits in Chicago include K alum Joe Tracz’s PHENOMENON OF DECLINE! … And speaking of playwright Joe Tracz, he was named a Playwrights Realm writing fellow. His SONG FOR A FUTURE GENERATION had its world premiere earlier this year with Lights Out Theater Company in Chicago, and its off-Broadway premiere with The Management. Currently, he’s writing for the TV series “Lights Out” which will premiere on FX in January, 2011. Best of all, Joe will be coming back to K this Fall as we stage the world premiere of his first play, ALISON SHIELDS! … 03: In addition to being a member of the Ruckus Theatre, we hear Timo Aker had a good first year in the emerging Chicago group, the Filament Theatre Ensemble … Great to hear from Lisa Bleyaert, Audience Coordinator of The Tonight Show … Nice to be in touch with Wa-Louisa Hubbard who continues to direct at The Blackbird Theatre in Ann Arbor. Hope to see a show there soon, Wa! Man, what a great wedding in October when Sue Semaan married George Barsoum! The ceremony, the dancing, the food, the SPIRIT of this traditional wedding was joyous! … 02: Liza Bielby did a fantastic job teaching Fundamentals of Acting and directing Ionesco’s RHINOCEROS for us last Fall (in fact, some students wondered aloud if Liza could stay at K, and I could just not come back from sabbatical)! Seriously, the students loved her, and she especially had a big effect on our senior directors. After her gig at K, Liza went to Milwaukee where she worked with new experimental theatre group, The Hinterlands. They re-mounted their piece on Isaac Newton and also opened a new piece about the myth of the American West, THE DEAD ROAD. Check out the company’s website: http://www.thehinterlandsensemble.orgJoe Hamlin married Jamie Thoma on October 10, 2009 in Malibu. Congratulations, Joe & Jamie! As TD of the Mark Taper Forum in LA, Joe worked on OLEANNA (which transferred to Broadway), the Donmar Warehouse’s (London) production of PARADE, plus our own Lisa Kron’s THE WAKE, among many others … A piece of old news: in case you didn’t know, Jessica Hoff Berzac, and husband Chris, welcomed son Oliver into the world on May 18, 2009! Jess sent a wonderful holiday newsletter. … Adam Karell’s LA improv and sketch comedy group, Rigor Tortoise (with Paul Natonek, K’03) performed in Dallas, and at the Chicago Improv Festival. Adam also did a pretty funny TV commercial for Wendy’s and here’s an even funnier short film he did with two-time Emmy nominated actress Emily O’Brien: … Still kicking myself for missing Eddie Parker’s wedding (already two summers ago?) but his mom & dad sent me a great Thanksgiving photo of the entire Parker clan meeting at Eddie’s place in Portland, OR … Kristala Pouncy had a great first year in the MFA Theatre for the Young Program at Eastern Michigan Univ., where she did many plays, including FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM & JONATHAN LIVINGSTONE SEAGULL. Kristala also performed in an original piece, ASHES & HOPE (about the Detroit riots), directed her nieces and nephews in her own adaptation of YOLONDA’S GENIUS, TAed for the Play and Human Experience class, and created an Independent Study for developing an annotated bibliography of African American plays for young audiences. Wow!… 01: It was an absolute thrill for Tina and I to be at Margie Cangelosi’s wedding to Chicago actor John Crowley last August 15! Great family, great food, - and a very moving ceremony! Plus there I saw Carla Kaiser who works at a foodbank in NYC and Joe St. Jean, who teaches in Japan (and still does occasional stand-up) … Saw Sarah Huckabay at her sister’s graduation from K and she told me she and Aaron Lipke (K’98) will marry on August 7, 2010 – congrats! … Absolutely lovely to catch up with Cassandra Johnson Csencsitz at Sue Semaan Barsoum’s wedding. … I took this right off the web page of the Big Ten Network’s comedy/sports series "Friday Night Tailgate”: Jordan Klepper is in his third season as a correspondent. In addition to FNT, he is a comedian in Chicago who performs regularly at the world famous I.O. Theater, where his sketch comedy show, "Steve and Jordan, Respectively" recently ended its three-month run. Jordan has also written multiple sketch revues in Chicago along with working as a writer for NBC's Dot Comedy project. He improvises regularly in Chicago, and has been a part of such shows as "The Second City Improv All-Stars," "The Armando Diaz Experience," as well as hosting the weekly talk show, "The Late Night Late Show… Had breakfast with Allen Krause after he returned from his Foreign Service assignment in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Next assignment for Allen is as Economic Officer in Casablanca, Morocco (of all the gin joints in all the world …) … If you haven’t already, check out Jeff Lung’s & Allen Krause’s mlblog “Red State Blue State” at… As I write this, Rocky Russo’s full-length feature comedy film UNTITLED COMEDY is in post-production. Rocky co-wrote the screenplay and also acts in the film with Kate Winslet! Check it out at Thomas continues to design & teach up a storm as Assistant Professor of Theatre at Grinnell College. Justin’s recent work has also been produced by the Volkov National Theatre (Yaroslavl, Russia), and the American Film Institute … 00: Devin Brain had another terrifically busy year, his second in the MFA Directing program at the Yale Drama School. Among many other projects, he ran the famous Yale Cabaret this past year - 20 shows, two of which he directed. (Devin’s kind email to me in Spring just about saved my life this year!) … Felicity HunzekerHesed & husband Drew welcomed Giovanni Pietro HunzekerHesed into the world June 6, 2010, checking in at 8 lbs, and 12oz. and 21.5 inches long – bet he’ll be a great circus performer like his folks! … Megan Martin finished her Fulbright almost two years ago, but chose to remain in Oaxaca, Mexico for much of the last year to finish up many projects. Just a few: a series of youth radio production courses for high school kids who live in small villages surrounding the Oaxaca Valley; an interactive media map of Xochimilco, Megan’s neighborhood; and also serving on the start-up team for a Hub space in Oaxaca …Always a treat to hear from Sarah Ovink who wrote that she will be finishing her Ph.D. in Sociology at UC Davis (right about now, I would say?) but more importantly, her daughter Kiely (who will turn 3 on August 1) is still the smartest and cutest little girl around! … Also saw Mary Vowell at ’s wedding in October (man, that was a happening event)!
90s: 99: As he has done for the last several years, John Witzke continues to work with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Community Out of the Darkness program in Louisville … 98: Always great to get a holiday card from Lizzie Kostielney and her husband Paul … Playwrights Annie Martin & Suzy Regan collaborated on a new play, HOME: VOICES FROM FAMILIES OF THE MIDWEST, at the Williamston Theatre in MI, which got great reviews. Click on Nicole McIlroy Steeves is now a Librarian at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago … 97: Tom Bourguignon , wife Gail, & Son Felix introduced Woodrow Clyde Bourguignon to the world on October 14, 2009! YAY BOURGUIGNON FAMILY! … Always a wonderful day when I have lunch with Jennie Goodlander! Jennie directed SHRIEK, her shadow puppet piece at the Looking Glass Theatre in NYC (after spending almost a year in Bali on a Fulbright studying wayang kulit). But the big news is come Fall, Jennie will be a tenure-track Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky, where she will teach Asian Theatre, World Drama, graduate seminars, plus direct… Matt Priest, continues to tear up the Chicago music scene with his band Canasta. On July 10, they’ll perform at Millennium Park in Wrigleyville as part of the “Great Bands of Illinois 2101.” More at Stacy Shafer Peterson and husband Kevin are still living in Chicago and doing great … 95: Jeff Daly reports from Hollywood : “Just finished a short film called STUCK. View it on YouTube . I’m also on the feature film, ROCK N’ROLL: THE MOVIE and shot a pilot called “Ghost Recon!” Way to go, Jeff! … Anjalee Deshpande Hutchinson had a super second year as professor of theatre at Bucknell University, where she directed FIVE WOMEN WEARING THE SAME DRESS, and continues to teach Acting, Directing, Chekhov Acting, and Devising. And what a great first holiday newsletter from the Hutchinsons! . … Jenn Rae Moore continues to stage manage in NYC and also at the Chautauqua Institute … Jasen Schrock and wife Stephanie welcomed their daughter Isadora Raquel Gillespie Schrock on Nov. 17, 2009, checking in at 8lbs 5oz and 19 and ¾ inches. YAY SCHROCK FAMILY! … 94: Managing Director, Kristen Chesak lead the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre thru another great season. Kristen returned to us in Winter term to speak to our Senior Seminar, and she also is the best reason to look forward to Theatre Kalamazoo! meetings … 93: Some really old news (but maybe new to some of you out there): Mindy Bepko and husband Victor had their second son, Griffin Rhys who’s probably just about one year old today! Mindy and Victor are still practicing law in NYC … 92: Megan Carney sent another lifesaving email to me back in December (guess I really needed them this year)! Among many other projects in a busy directing year were DOMINO EFECT for the Goodman Theatre General Studies Program, a new play by Lisa Dillman that premiered at the Steppenwolf Garage Space and was nominated for a Chicago Jeff Award for Best Play, a devised piece about the legacy of the steel industry in Megan’s hometown of Pittsburgh, and, best of all, (for me, anyway), co-created with fellow K alum Holly Hughes and Maureen Angelos LET THEM EAT CAKE, a new piece about gay marriage, – a “very K” production (another K grad, Tyler Greene, interned on the show when it workshopped at the About Face Theatre in Chicago last October)! … Ulric Dihle manages to keep his hand in acting in Seattle, doing voiceover for TV and commercial work, but wrote that most of his spare time goes to ballroom dancing! … Kate Warner had an outstanding inaugural season as Artistic Director at The New Repertory Theatre in Watertown, MA, topping it off with her own direction of the Gilbert and Sullivan spoof HOT MIKADO. Here’s a link to New Rep so you can check out some of Kate’s thoughts on her first year heading the company:

but I also want to thank Kate personally for the lovely program essay she wrote for the company’s first show, Lisa Kron’s 2.5 MINUTE RIDE (starring former K Theatre professor, Adrienne Krstansky): “ The women who come from Kalamazoo College have the reputation of being particularly interesting, outgoing, strong, vibrant, and outspoken … I think it’s because of the incredible professors we have there, including ” – Kate, you continue to make us so proud! … 91: Got the customary lovely and wise New Year’s card from Lynda Berge. Lynda got some producing experience at The Workshop Theater in NYC, and also played Dorine in TARTUFFE. … Rich Hutchman’s The Buzzworks Theatre Company in LA received a number of awards in April for their production of Kim Porter’s MUNCHED… We hear that Christa Schubert now teaches middle school French & Spanish in Bay City, MI and also runs the “Hell’s Half Mile Film Festival” … We also hear that Joe Stoltman had a good first year in the MFA Technical Design & Production Program at the Yale School of Drama … Always good to get that holiday card from Brian Timmer featuring wife Beth, and sons Noah & Ellis … 90: Kristi Bierschbach and daughters Dinah, Ella, and Tess send their usual lovely holiday card (the girls are ages 9, 7, and 4 respectively – wow)! … Katy Stahl Loebrich, is still directing the nightly news-magazine show of the PBS TV affiliate in Durham, NC, but she also has really branched out professionally this past year: doing voiceover work for both commercials and promos and undercredits for her own station. On top of all that, she also now does some feature stories as a reporter!

80s: 89: Stephanie Hakim is very involved in Walk for the Animals in Grand Rapids, MI … A lovely holiday card from a lovely family Laura, Peter, Mary Lee, & Vincent Livingstone-McNelis … One of the distinct pleasures of being in Urbana-Champaign this past Fall was having lunch with Andrea Rundell and her son Asher. Andrea is Director of External & Agency Relations at the Eastern Illinois Foodbank … Trish Wagner wrote that she is in her 6th academic year in Monteverde, Costa Rica, teaching at two schools in the last two years, but also doing Theatre of the Oppressed Work in the community … 88: Another great holiday newsletter from Glenn Childs and family from WI. Check their blog Delia Mack and children Jason & Rebecca are always in the running for Cutest Holiday Card… Michael Shutt was in the world premiere of SONG OF EXTINCTION, which won several awards, including The Steinberg Award (best play premiering outside NYC) chosen by the American Theatre Critics Association. The play was also published in “Best Plays of 2009-10” and also in the February issue of Dramatics Magazine … 87: Charlie Langton, President of Langton & Associates PC in Sterling Heights, MI, enjoyed meeting with K students interested in law in March, & noted “I have put my theatre training to good use lately. As the legal analyst for Fox 2 TV and WWJ Radio, I’m very busy!”(What Charlie didn’t note, is that he’s a 4 time Emmy winner, a 3 time recipient of the Wade H. McCree Jr. award from the State Bar for excellence in legal journalism, and a multiple winner from the Michigan Association of Broadcasting. Pretty awesome, Charlie!) … 86: It was really tremendous that Barb Koremenos took time out of her busy schedule as professor of political science at Univ of Michigan to come and see our Fall production of RHINOCEROS … Always nice to get a holiday card from Cameron MacMartin85: Tom Meyers and daughter Rebecca visited K this past Spring as part of the “high school junior year college tour” (Tom & I are keeping our fingers crossed that Rebecca will choose K next year!) … Mary Ryan-Karges (K’85) once again has the Happiest Family Holiday Card, with husband Chris, & children, Lily, Michael, &Will, & Millie the Dog … 83: Lisa Kron’s new play THE WAKE, which revisits the 2000 presidential election & 9/11, opened in March at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles. Here’s a great interview w/ Lisa in the LA Times:

81: I got to see West Nelson twice this year! Once, as usual at graduation (West is on the Board of Trustees for us), but also at the Black Student Reunion in April, which was a beautiful event!

70s & 60s: A very special event took place last May 22 at Barbara Ostroth’s home in Teaneck, NJ – a reunion of theatre alumni from 1971-76! In attendance were Tim House and wife Ann Gary (K’76), Jane Ann Crumm (K’73), R. Paul Hamilton (K’74), Barb, of course, (K’74), Kenneth Winter (K’74), Joseph Bigelow (K’74), Ed Ungemach (K’75), Thomas Cooperman (K74), Ricki Klein Singer (K’76), Beth Towner Morrell (K’75), and Dave Fultz (K’74) – AND - Clair Myers and Larry Gamble! WOW! Barbara wrote “Besides getting reconnected and updated on each other’s lives, we also took time to sit in a circle and talk about those dear friends from that period of our lives who have passed away in recent years – Vincent Liff (K’73), Randy Knolle (K’74), and Martha Dewey (K’76). Man, this sound like a truly beautiful time – thanks for sharing it with me, Barbara and Paul and a special tip of the cap to Jane Ann and Barb who worked so hard to organize it. … What a tremendous article on Tom Hennes (K’78) and his company Thinc Design, out of NYC where Tom is based. But this article is about Tom’s museum exhibit at Discovery park in Union, TN. Here’s the link to article:

and here’s the link to Tom’s company: … We’re looking forward to seeing Pam Marsden Siragusa (K’78) at the Alumni reception for The Posse this August in LA … University of Michigan Professor Holly Hughes (K’77) recently received a 2010-11 Guggenheim Fellowship for “her exceptional creative ability in the arts!” Here’s the skinny: YAY HOLLY! And the best thing is that Holly will probably use the award to further develop her piece on gay marriage, LET THEM EAT CAKE, which she co-created with fellow K alum Megan Carney, and Maureen Angelos (Another K theatre alum, Tyler Greene interned on the project when it workshopped at the About Face Theatre in Chicago) … John Davies’ (K-75) new documentary, PHUNNY BUSINESS: THE RISE AND FALL OF ALL JOKES ASIDE, about African American comics, got a tremendous review from the Chicago Sun-Times when it was screened in November, 2009. John co-produced and co-wrote and it features such big names as Jamie Foxx, Dave Chapelle, and Chris Rock, among many others. The film will be entered in Sundance, and then broadcast on Showtime in Feb. 2011 for Black History Month … Terrific to hear from Debra Orselet Marsteller who now runs a home staging and room design business called “Rooms Staged Right.” In the summers, she runs the Lancaster County Baking Stand at the Blue Hill Farmers’ Market in ME. Debra does all the baking and even hosted a K extern last summer … It’s fantastic that we now have Paul Hamilton (K’74) on KTAN! Paul lives in NYC and just in the past 18 months has appeared in Boomerang Theatre’s AS YOU LIKE IT in Central Park, at the Riverside Theatre in a well-received production of THREEPENNY OPERA, and at the Columbia Grad Program in CHERRY ORCHARD & KING LEAR … … Regan Smith (K’60) never stops acting! This year’s roles include several in THE LARAMIE PROJECT at the Hogland Center in Springfield, IL.
HEY- WHAT ABOUT THE FACULTY? KAREN BERTHEL (Associate Professor and Chair of Theatre Arts): In addition to directing a superb production of THE TEMPEST, Karen chaired the Women’s Studies program last year (while also serving as Director of Theatre in Fall). This summer in NYC, Karen continues her training in Fitzmaurice Voicework Certification … MICHELLE CONNOLLY (Theatre Arts Coordinator): As well supervising all of the publicity & front-of-house needs for all Festival Playhouse & Senior Performance Series shows, she has continued volunteer work with the Vine Neighborhood Association & local animal rescues. Michelle also helps “starving artists” find and apply for grants (free of charge) using her background in Public Administration and Non-Profit Organizations … LANNY POTTS (Professor of Theatre and Associate Provost): Lanny served his sixth year as Associate Provost (he will serve through the 10-11 academic year). He continues to chair the Classics program and coach Ultimate Frisbee (as well as Little League). He designed the lights for the critically acclaimed and sold-out production of PARADE for Farmers Alley Theatre in downtown K’zoo, as well as still teaching Lighting Design for us! … JON REEVES (Visiting Instructor & Director of Technical Theatre and Dalton Auditorium Director): In his sixth year, Jon not only designed lights, set, and sound for every mainstage Festival Playhouse show (and also most of the ones in the Dungeon Theatre), but also scenic design for ALL IN THE TIMING and SPEECH & DEBATE at Farmers Alley, Production Design for Western Michigan Univ. Opera and the Regional Dance Festival at Wellspring Dance Company. Jon also taught at Smart Shop Metal Arts Center in Kalamazoo this Fall, and now does the same at the KIA. And if all that weren't enough, he begins his third summer as TD at The Mason St. Warehouse Theatre in Saugatuck, MI, where he will design THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES and, as always, has lined up many technical theatre and production jobs for our students and recent graduate. Here is that complete list: Clif Ballard (K’09) – ASM, Lee O’Reilly (K’08) - Production Manager\Props master, Laura Fox & Anna Simmons (K’10) -Carpenters, as well as current students Rosie Stewart (Scenic Charge), Hannah Holmes-Robbins (Management Intern), and Eeva Sharp, Kyle McCord, and Dwight Trice (Carpenters) … ED MENTA (Professor and Director of Theatre): I had a nice sabbatical leave in Fall 2009 (this meant I got to watch very pitch of the Series). Projects included directing AT NIGHT IN PRAHA in the New Play wrights Development Workshop at the ATHE Conference in NYC, directing MOONCHILDREN & teaching in the BFA Acting program at the Univ. of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, converting & consolidating current Theatre History courses into new Sophomore Seminars, & revising my plays: SIX WHTE HORSES: A Working Class Family Trilogy.
That’s it! PLEASE send your notes to me via email, otherwise I don’t know what you’re up to -I WANT TO PUT YOU IN THIS NEWSLETTER BUT I CAN'T IF I DON'T HEAR FROM YOU! As always, we want to share the good things that are happening to us, because we consider you folks, who have given so much to this program, to have had a strong hand in making it the success it continues to be for our students. Remember that you are always welcome back here – as artists, and as people.
Ed Menta, Ph.D.

Professor & Director of Theatre

Email: Please notify us of address changes, especially email!
HOMECOMING FALL 10: Hey you class members of 05, 00, 95, 90, 85, etc! The usual reception for Theatre Alumni is Saturday, Oct.16 at 1pm in the Nelda K. Balch Playhouse.

  1. Join us on Facebook! The Festival Playhouse Facebook page is

  1. CALLING ALL THEATRE ALUMS in THE LOS ANGELES AREA: Come to the K Alumni Reception for The LA Posse on Wednesday August 4 @ 6pm to see your fellow alumni and learn more about this great organization. Check it out at For more info, contact LA Posse Program Director Ms. at

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