This fund will be distributed at the direction of the Kalamzoo College Arts Theatre Arts Department, and will help cover expenses related to educational experiences, including but not limited to internships, SIPs, and regional and national theatre conferences & competitions. Awards will be considered on an individual basis based on need and merit and open to all theatre disciplines including directing, performance, stage management & backstage technical areas of interest. The fund may be used to support one student or multiple students each year.
If you are a student interested in receiving funding, contact Ren Pruis at Ren.Pruis@kzoo.edu for more information.
We invite you to join us in honoring Vincent Liff’s memory by donating to this fund. Go to Kalamazoo College’s Give to K page to send your tax-deductible donation online (be sure to indicate that this donation is for the “Vincent Liff Memorial Theatre Fund” or contact Matthew Brosco, Senior Associate Director of Gift Planning in the Kalamazoo College Advancement Office at Matthew.Brosco@kzoo.edu).
About Vincent Liff
Vincent Liff was an ideal example of what a degree in Theatre Arts from Kalamazoo College meant to students in the 70s. He, like his fellow Theatre Arts majors, enjoyed a hectic, experience-packed four years within Kalamazoo’s outstanding Theatre Arts department. For Vinnie, that meant taking a lead in the musical Celebration in his first year, a starring role in The Entertainer plus an internship at the New York Shakespeare with Joseph Papp and a summer of the Festival Playhouse in his second year, two quarters of his junior year abroad in Spain, and a Senior Independent Project with The Royal Shakespeare Theatre during its production of Richard II. It was a wonderful four years that fortunately was and continues to be the hallmark of the K Theatre Arts curriculum.
Although Vinnie Liff had a family connection to the professional theatre in his Uncle Biff who was a NYC stage manager, producer and agent, it was Vinnie’s collective experiences at K that gave him the footing to move to New York and embark on an exceptional career as a casting director. He first worked for Otto-Windsor Casting, one of New York’s casting agencies in the 1970’s who was responsible for the original productions of Grease, Over Here, and The Wiz among others. He then struck out on his own with a colleague to form Johnson-Liff Casting. Over his 30+ year career, he oversaw the casting of over 150 Broadway and touring productions such as Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Dreamgirls, Cats, Miss Saigon, and the revival of The Producers as well as the television miniseries The Holocaust. He mentored dozens of young actors and worked with a large number of outstanding directors and producers during his career. He additionally also had a deep respect for those who worked off-stage as stage managers, lighting and sound designers, costume designers, etc. Interestingly, he always remembered his own experiences at Kalamazoo College and offered NYC internships to a number of students over the years.
Vinnie clearly had an outstanding career in the theatre, which was cut short by his passing in 2002. But many of Kalamazoo’s Theatre Arts alum forged their own exceptional paths in theatre, film, TV and education. It was the recognition of how the total Kalamazoo College experience shaped and prepared for those career opportunities and the desire to see that future Theatre Arts students could access the full experience of a Theatre Arts major that has motivated a number of Theatre Arts alumni to create The Vincent Liff Memorial Theatre Fund.