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.
Jennifer has published a book titled Women in the Shadows: Gender, Puppets, and the Power of Tradition in Bali. The book chronicles her studies to become a dalang, a Balinese shadow-master, narrator, and puppeteer who uses song, dramatization, puppet manipulation, music, and humor to present stories. Only a few Balinese dalangs are women. Jennifer is an assistant professor in the department of theatre, drama, and dance at Indiana University. She has performed Balinese shadow puppetry in China, Indonesia, and around the United States. Her research focuses on the relationship between tradition and modernity as expressed through puppetry in Southeast Asia. At K Jennifer majored in theatre arts and studied abroad in London, England. she earned a M.F.A. in theatre at the University of Hawaii.
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.”
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.