Two Muses Theatre (West Bloomfield, Mich.) presents the award-winning play Love, Loss, and What I Wore (by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron), May 30 through June 15, and Lila (in the role of Gingy) will headline the cast of the production’s second weekend. Each weekend’s performance features a unique cast with a local celebrity. A former news anchor, Lila runs a production company, Lila Productions, and currently hosts the award-winning Discover Remarkable series on WXYZ. The Two Muses stagings are a collaboration with Closet NV to raise clothing donations for Dress for Success, a worldwide organization whose mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire to help them thrive in work and in life. Lila is no stranger to hard work on behalf of important causes. She swam the Straits of Mackinac (a 5-mile swim) to raise money and awareness for Mentor Michigan, and each fall she climbs from one end of the Grand Canyon to the other (21 miles) and back again. In 2007, she was appointed to the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness. An avid motorcyclist, Lila was recently named Michigan’s Ambassador of Motorcycle Safety. She is active in many community and charitable organizations, serves on multiple boards, and is currently President of Kids Kicking Cancer. She’s also very involved with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization. She’s been a Big Sister for 20 years.
Phoebe is the deck manager at Indiana Repertory Theater in Indianapolis. IRT is the state’s largest equity theater.
Emily played Elizabeth Bennet in the Jon Jory stage adaptation of Jane’s Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The play was performed last November at Indiana University’s Ruth N. Halls Theater. Emily is a third-year graduate student in acting at IU. She was a theatre arts major at K, and she studied abroad in India. An enthusiastic Monkapult improvisational artist, Emily also was a frequent performer for Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo College. Among her most prominent roles was Hamlet in Festival Playhouse’s all-female version of Shakespeare’s play, and she played the role of fellow alumna Lisa Kron ’83 in the latter’s Tony-nominated play Well.
Charles is legal analyst, reporter, weekend morning anchor, and a co-host at FOX 2 (WJBK) in Southfield, Michigan. He also is a practicing attorney with his own law firm. At K he earned his bachelor’s degree in theatre arts, studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France, and won a best supporting actor award for a Festival Playhouse role in William Inge’s play Picnic. He earned his law degree from the Detroit College of Law and later enrolled at (and graduated first in his class from) the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts. Since then he has worked in several radio and television positions and has won four Emmys and three Wade McCree Jr. awards for excellence in legal journalism presented by the State Bar of Michigan.
Dan is the subject of “Member Spotlight” for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The article (by Laura Petersen) is titled “Dan Blustein journeys from marine biology to Hollywood and back again,” and it’s a good read, chronicling his interesting forays in the saga explicit in the title–though “back again” might more accurately refer to “marine robotics” rather than marine biology. Of particular note is the reference to Dan’s opportunities in K’s externship program. Those two experiences, one with octopi at the Seattle Aquarium and the other job-shadowing a physician, helped clarify what he wanted to do. Of course the article showcases that Dan’s path has been more spiral than straight line. How cool (and liberal arts!) is that.
Lisa’s latest theatrical project, the Broadway show Fun Home, has drawn rave reviews. (The New York Times called it a “deeply moving triumph.” And critic Ben Brantley lauded it as extraordinary, pumping “oxygenating fresh air into the culture recycling center that is Broadway.”) The musical is an adaptation from Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel about growing up in a funeral home with a closeted gay dad who suffers an untimely death. Lisa wrote an accompanying book and the lyrics for the musical.
Ryan leads the acoustics, audiovisual, and theatre consulting practice at Arup, a multidisciplinary engineering and consulting firm. Ryan works in the company’s Chicago office. At K, he majored in physics and economics. He earned a master’s degree in sound and vibration studies from the University of Southampton. Since joining Arup in 2005, Ryan has been involved in providing technical expertise and project management skills for various building types. He is an active proponent of performance-based design, constantly evaluating the prescribed criteria and standards for different facilities whose users’ needs and requirements are incorporated into the project. He strives to implement integrated acoustic and audiovisual solutions into the design using innovative tools and techniques. Some of his projects include the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens, Greece; the St. Louis Art Museum Expansion in St. Louis, Missouri; and the public address system redesign for the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois.
John returned to the Kalamazoo College campus (and stage) in late February. The timing was fortuitous. John played the role of a fireman in the 1964 production of Max Frisch’s The Firebugs, directed by Nelda Balch. Fifty years later, to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo College (founded by Balch), Ed Menta staged a reprise of The Firebugs. John returned to campus to meet with the 2014 cast and crew before opening night. He also was part of an audience-performer conversation that occurred after the opening night performance. John (left) is pictured with Menta, the James B. Stone College Professor of Theatre Arts.
Gail joined two other Kalamazoo writers in a recent issue of the journal Quarter Past Eight. It was the first time that longtime colleagues and fellow writers Gail and Di Seuss ’78 appeared in print together. Di is Writer-in-Residence and a professor in the English department. The two colleagues were joined in print by Hadley Moore ’99, a short story of whose appeared in that issue of the journal. Di’s piece won the journal’s Short Prose Contest. Gail’s two pieces were both finalists.
In other “English” news, Gail may have retired, but she keeps a close eye on K graduates in the arts. She sent us the following note:
“Lisa Kron ’83 is almost sure to win the Tony Award for the book associated with the Broadway hit Fun Home, and possibly share the Tony for lyrics as well. Joe Tracz ’04 was just nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award (off-Broadway) for the musical The Lightning Thief. David France ’81, of course, received an Oscar nomination for his documentary film How to Survive a Plague, and it’s being turned into a series on F/X. It’s interesting to me that Lisa was a theatre arts major, Joe an English major, and David a political science major. And then there’s Jordan Klepper ’01 (a math major!) of The Daily Show fame and Steven Yeun ’05 (psychology) who plays Glen on the The Walking Dead. What a crop of media stars from K! And the breadth of their liberal arts journeys is incredible.”