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.
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.
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.
June has published, at age 90, From the Inside: A Look at Nursing Homes and Their Patients in Today’s Elder Care System. The book provides her insider look at the day-to-day happenings of nursing homes both as a resident and a friend to residents. Central to those observations is her unique mix of humor, introspection, and occasional depression as she faced the work of getting well and coping with pain.
During the last decade June spent nine months in three different nursing homes in Montana and the Midwest. “People need to know what it’s like to be in a nursing home,” she said.
Though it occurred decades ago, her father’s nursing home stay in New York remains seared into her memory, and was the impetus for the book. “I was so furious,” she remembers. “It was so negative. To be in a nursing home is to truly be someone different.” But, over the years, she says, she learned that “Nursing homes are NOT the worst thing in the world. I came to scorn and stayed to praise,” she concludes.
June enrolled in Kalamazoo College at the age of 16. She majored in English and theatre. The latter may not be surprising, given the fact that she had been a child performer at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. During her student days at K, a weekly campus segment she did on the local radio station eventually became a full-time job with CBS-WKZO in Kalamazoo. She worked on a feature called “News of Women Today,” which carried stories on women’s responses to World War II throughout the world and the effect the war had on women’s status and work.
June and her husband, Wayne, have lived near Whitehall, Montana for 20 years. They spent most of their marriage in East Aurora, N.Y., where Wayne worked for Fisher-Price. June earned her M.A. at Syracuse University and taught there. She also directed plays at both the Buffalo and the East Aurora theaters. And she performed her own material in a series of one-woman shows. She and Wayne eventually moved west to be closer to their two sons and five grandchildren. She helped establish a theatre group in Whitehall. For four years, “Jefferson Valley Presents” staged an outdoor dinner theatre production on the Lewis and Clark expedition. June wrote the script, performed, and helped with the costuming.
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.