Archives

Leslie Simmer ’82

Leslie was the editor and co-writer of the documentary The Homestretch, which last month received the News and Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting-Long Form. The film is about three homeless teens as they fight to stay in school, graduate, and build a future. The film follows these kids as they move through the milestones of high school while navigating a landscape of couch hopping, emergency shelters, transitional homes, street families and the Chicago Public Schools system. The film also explores their lives after high school graduation, that crucial transition when the structure of school vanishes and homeless youth struggle to find the support and community they need to survive and be independent. Leslie majored in theatre arts at K and studied abroad in the United Kingdom.

Lisa Kron ’83

Lisa was awarded the 2017 Kleban Prize for most promising musical theater librettist. Lisa won two Tony Awards (2015) for writing the book and lyrics of Fun Home, a play about a lesbian cartoonist coping with her father’s suicide. She also has written and performed the plays Well and 2.5 Minute Ride. At K Lisa majored in theatre arts and studied abroad in the United Kingdom. In other news about Lisa, she is featured in the third volume of The Legacy Project, a series of interviews that focus on prominent contemporary American playwrights. Lisa interviews writer and director James Lapine, who wrote the book for the musical Sunday in the Park With George, one of Lisa’s favorites. Stephen Sondheim did the lyrics and music. It’s a fascinating interview you can see on YouTube. The Legacy Project is produced by The Dramatists Guild.

Emily Harpe ’08

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.

Anjalee Deshpande Hutchinson ’95

Anjalee has published a book (Routledge) titled Acting Exercises for Non-Traditional Staging: Michael Chekhov Reimagined. The work offers a new set of exercises for coaching actors when working on productions that are non-traditionally staged in arenas, thrusts, or alleys. Anjalee is an Associate Professor of Theatre & Dance and the Department Chair at Bucknell University. She is a National Michael Chekhov Association Certified Teacher. At K Anjalee majored in theatre arts. In 2004 she returned to Kalamazoo College as guest director for Festival Playhouse’s production of Lanford Wilson’s “Balm in Gilead.”

Charles Langton ’83

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.

Ed Menta, the James A. B. Stone College Professor of Theatre Arts

Ed had an essay and article published this summer. His essay “Directing on the Thrust Stage: The Two Room vs. One Room Concept” is included in the new acting textbook Acting Exercises for Non-Traditional Staging published by Routledge Press and written by K theatre arts alumna Anjalee Deshpande Hutchinson ’95. His article “I Finally Saw the Greek Theatres: Impressions of Teaching Undergraduate Theatre History” can be found in the most recent issue of the academic journal Theatre Topics.

Dan Blustein ’06

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.

Paul Shapiro ’70

Paul’s performance in Sam Shepard’s play Fool For Love became a tribute to the actor-playwright’s life and legacy when Shepard died during the play’s run. Paul appeared in a production (ACT-A Contemporary Theatre, Seattle, Washington) that ran from July 29 through August 6. Paul is pictured in the poster’s background at right. Shepard wrote a total of 55 plays during his career.

Lisa Kron ’83

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.