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.”
Jon, who in addition to his duties as K’s director of technical theatre serves as Dalton Theatre manager, was honored with a 2015 Community Medal of Arts Award by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo. The award recognizes “an artist who is a leader in their field, has a significant body of creative activity, who has received local and/or national acclaim, and has impacted our community through art.” Congratulations, Jon!
Carrie recently appeared in the world premiere of The Summoners, a play staged at the C.O.W. in New York City, and in International Falls at the Roundabout Theatre Company, also in New York. After earning a B.A. in philosophy from K, Carrie received her M.F.A. degree from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where she received the Louise Lamont Award for Excellence as well as honors in all areas of performance. She has appeared off-Broadway and performed in the United Kingdom, Poland, Russia, and Malaysia. Among many other plays, she has acted in The Mystery Spot, directed by K alumna Holly Hughes ’77. Carrie is also a teaching artist with Roundabout. You can read more about her at her website.
Tyler is the assistant house manager for National Public Radio’s quiz show, “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.” in Chicago. He’s also events coordinator for all of public radio station WBEZ’s live events in Chicago and producer for “The Moth – Chicago StorySLAM.” At K he earned his B.A. degree in theatre arts. He also studied abroad at the University of London, Goldsmiths College and participated in an internship as a production assistant on an off-Broadway play in New York City directed by Terry Kinney, one of the original founders of Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. After graduating from K, Tyler spent a year teaching English in South Korea before moving to Chicago.
Ryan accepted a position as assistant professor of modern and contemporary drama at California Polytechnic University (San Luis Obispo). He will build the drama curriculum from the ground up and teach courses in contemporary avant-garde theater and performance as well as queer theory and psychoanalytic theory.
Megan was assistant stage manager for the recent Ann Arbor-based Performance Network Theatre production of the David Ives play, Venus in Fur. Megan earned a double minor in French and sociology/anthropology at K. Her Kalamazoo College Festival Playhouse directing résumé included: Bringing Home the Bones, director, and Into the Woods, assistant director. Her acting credits include Violet Venable in Suddenly Last Summer and Clara in Alison Shields (by K alumnus Joe Tracz ’04). She continues her apprenticeship at Performance Network Theatre. Her eventual career goal is to be the artistic director of a small theatre company. Founded in 1981, Performance Network Theatre reaches 40,000 theatre patrons and children each year through its Professional Series and the Children’s Theatre Network. Performance Network Theatre also presents the Fireside New Play Festival and a series of classes on theatre-related topics.
John has written, directed and executive-produced “Heroes on Deck: World War II on Lake Michigan,” a one-hour film documentary that had its world premiere at Kalamazoo College. Heroes tells the story of two makeshift U.S. aircraft carriers on Lake Michigan during WWII, more than 15,000 Navy pilots who practiced landings and takeoffs on their decks, and the pilots who lost their lives trying. The film also reveals recent efforts to recover and restore some of the more than 100 planes that crashed and sank to the bottom of the Lake, including two that are at the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo. “Heroes on Deck” will premiere nationally on public television during Memorial Day 2016 weekend.