Winter ’23 Weekly Newsletters

Dear Friend of Festival Playhouse,

Welcome to Week 8!  You got this…..

And now, onto the news…..

  • Come to The Mountaintop!  Directed by Dr. Quincy Thomas, featuring Milan Levy in the role of Camae and Jared Pitman in the role of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this play is a dramatization of the final night of MLK in room 306 at the Lorraine Hotel.  Please join us and celebrate the amazing work of our students. Do NOT miss it.
  • Can’t make it to The Playhouse?  Purchase Livestream HERE
  • Tickets for The Mountaintop HERE  |  Information on the play HERE  |  See Jared Pittman’s interview with Wood TV HERE
  • We have enjoyed spending time with TyLie Shider this week!  Thank you TyLie for coming and supporting our work of The Mountaintop!
  • We are absolutely THRILLED to announce….. Stacy Bartell has accepted our offer to become the Director of Technical Theatre for Festival Playhouse and the Department of Theatre.  We can’t wait to get started with Stacy who will begin as the TD at the beginning of next academic year.  If you see Stacy, give her a big huzzah!
  • Production applications are being accepted for Next to Normal.  You can apply HERE.
  • Pit (musician) positions are being accepted for Next to Normal.  If you’re interested, I can put you in touch with Matt Shabala, our Music Director.  We need you!!!
  • N2N will be directed by award winning director and choreographer Anthony Hamilton, auditions will be held in Week One, Spring Term.  You do NOT want to miss a chance to work with Anthony Hamilton!
  • Steven Yeun update…. (you know that guy? K Theatre alum? Oscar nomination? Monkapault afficionado? Walking Dead star?).  This just in, Steve will now be a part of the Marvel Universe.
  • Coming to an inbox near you soon…. Details on next season!
  • A reminder that we also want to celebrate student work.  Proposals are due no later than Friday, Week 8, of SPRING term.  More details to follow, and, I just wanted to get this on your radar.  Student productions are either fall, and/or winter, and perform in Week 6.

That isn’t ALL the news.  But, it’s enough.

Happy 8th Week.  Know that we appreciate you, and your work.



Week 6 Newsletter!

Q:  What’s been happening in Theatre Arts and Festival Playhouse?

A:  Lots!

  • The Mountaintop will be produced on the Festival Playhouse stage in Week 8.  You do NOT want to miss this production.  You DO want to tell everyone to see this production.  Share on your social media and get as many people as possible to enjoy this important work.  Tickets here.  
  • Read a great article about The Mountaintop and insights by Dr. Thomas on the work with THIS NEWS ARTICLE.  Check out the publicity photo of Milan Levy and Jarred Pitman doing amazing work.  You can also see some pics where members of The Mountaintop production team traveled to Memphis and met civil rights legend and activist Jacqueline Smith.
  • Production applications are now being accepted for Next to Normal, directed by award winning artist Anthony Hamilton with music direction by Matt Shabala.  Production applications HERE.
  • Pit Musicians are needed for Next to Normal.  Bass, Cello, Drums, Percussions, Guitar, Violin/Keys.  Contact Lanny and I will put you in touch with Matt Shabala.  This is a GREAT score btw. 
  • Thank you to Kate Koskinen.  We would like to acknowledge the great work of Kate Koskinen who has recently left the college for other pursuits.  We plan to keep the Costume and Makeup Course on the books (stay tuned), and we will seek a Costume Designer for Next to Normal.
  • TyLie Shider is coming!  Whaaaaaat did you say?  Yes, TyLie Shider will be doing a ½ week residency with us.  He will be visiting with students for lunch, attending the Senior Seminar Class, attending the Playwriting Class, stopping by a rehearsal, and he is coming to see our production of The Mountaintop.  Huzzah!  TyLie Shider is an American writer and playwright in residence at ArtYard. A 2022-23 McKnight Fellow in Playwriting at the Playwrights’ Center (PWC), he is a recipient of Premiere Stages’ Liberty Live commission, two consecutive Jerome Fellowships (PWC), and an I Am Soul playwright in residence at the National Black Theatre (NBT).
  • Please attend a public presentation for our Technical Director Candidate.  Stacy Bartell, currently teaching Stagecraft, is a candidate for our Director of Technical Theatre position. Stacy will provide a public presentation, Tuesday, February 14th (7th week) in the Playhouse Lobby.  She will be responding to the following prompt: “How can the position of the Technical Director at Kalamazoo College contribute to accessibility and promote inclusivity for the department and our production environment?”  She will have a Q&A for any in attendance after her presentation.  All members of Festival Playhouse are encouraged to attend.
  • Speaking of Declaration of Major Day!!!  
  • Current Sophomore Theatre Majors… HUZZAH!!!  HUZZAH!  HUZZAH!
    • Raven Montagna
    • Caleb Allen
    • Addison Peter
    • Davis Henderson
    • Jadon Weber
    • Maxwell Joos
    • Megan Herbst
    • Grace Cancro
    • And new Junior Major Adriana Perez Herrero
  • And current Sophomore Theatre Majors (can I have another round of Huzzahs!!)
    • Mabel Bowdle
    • Silvia Gaete Lagos
    • Michael Robertson
    • Audrey Schulz
  • To get on this list (and receive Lanny’s drivel) – I have had a few students remark that they would like to be on the Festival Playhouse list.  This alias is an “opt in” (and “opt out”) list, and any student wishing to be on the list should contact company manager

So, we’ve been up to a few things here and there.  I’m super excited to go into technical rehearsals this weekend (the production, management, and design teams have been doing great work), and I know that everyone is doing great work.  Whether you are away across the world, in NYC, or nearby, know that we value your work.  Thank you for it.



Lots of theatre and Theatre People news this week!

  1. Interested in going to Memphis, TN next weekend to visit the National Civil Rights Museum and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music ? Contact Lanny ASAP. We’re gauging interest now—and if we cannot make this happen next weekend, we will be looking to in the future. Stay tuned!
  2. We need YOU to support your art—and that of others! Please come to the chapel tomorrow at 11:00 for a very special presentation by Julia Holt’24 (Art), DSA Mikki Wong’23 (Music) and DSA Sedona Coleman’23 (Theatre Art students) about Why We Create. This is for both prospective students and their families as well as the K-community at large! Join us! Note: there are donuts afterward!
  3. There’s hardly ever a weekend where you cannot find great theatre in Kalamazoo! Next up: Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea by Nathan Alan Davis, directed by Marissa Harrington, will open at WMU’s Williams Theatre. Co-produced with FaceOff Theatre, the show runs Jan. 27-Feb. 5. Ticket info. here.
  4. Week 6, Feb. 7—Director Anthony J. Hamilton will speak to the KIA about A Raisin in the Sun, fresh off of the run of his beautiful production of this play at the Civic Theatre! Interested and need a ride? Contact Laura. The exhibit, Art, Music & Feminism in the 1950s is running concurrently. More info:
  5. Clybourne Park opens at the Civic Feb. 3. The companion play to the classic, A Raisin in the Sun recently directed by Anthony Hamilton, this show runs two weekends. More information here.
  6. Every so often we get an update from an alum—and this week, we heard from Aly Homminga ’20! Aly is directing two upcoming plays in NYC during the month of February: 

When You Can Get the Milk for Free at The Gallery Players in Park Slope, Brooklyn, Feb. 2-4.

As part of the 26th Annual Black Box Theater Festival, Aly is directing a comedic short play that follows the Death of a Salesman-esque downfall of a washed up TV Actres as one of six short plays

Moon School by Victor Jones performed in Manhattan, February 22-24. Aly not only is directing this staged reading, but has worked with the film screen writer to adapt his story to the stage. Go Aly!7Have friends living in NYC now doing the GLCA NY Arts Program? Tell them to stay tuned for the first annual K-NYA and K-Alumni gathering coming up Week 8! A great opportunity for them to meet other K alumni doing their thing in the Big Apple! Aly Homminga’20 and Kate Kreiss’19 will be organizing. More details forthcoming!

That’s it folks! See you in the Chapel!


Dear Festival Playhouse Fan…. Here’s the news for Week Three!

Festival Playhouse News

  • ACTF 1:  The Report.  Two faculty and 4 students traveled to the American College Theatre Festival this past week.  Milan Levy received the top award for DesignStorm – a collaborative play producing project that resembles our final exam for Stagecraft.  Elena Truman and team received an honorable mention. That’s – the two teams that received recognition had “K” students on board.  Coincidence?  I think not…. Meanwhile, Marilu Bueno had a firm hand on the helm of producing a brand new play written by Dr. Quincy Thomas The Whites Explain it All.  Marilu as stage manager handled all the logistics (casting the show several times as members in the company continued to progress through Irene Ryans).  The play received lots of positive praise from the national playwriting response team, including TyLie Shider, Miguel Torres Cruz, Emmanuel Wilson, and Jim Holmes.  It was really special.
  • ACTF 2:  The Expectation.  And, for next year?  We would like to see 12-20 students attend the ACTF conference. Speak to any faculty, staff, Milan Levy, Elena Truman, Addison Peters, or Marilu Bueno for details.
  • The Mountaintop House Manager Sierra Hieshetter has begun the process of building our usher team for The Mountaintop.  Sign up here: Usher for Mountaintop  Questions?
  • The Moutaintop is coming, and you AND anyone you know need to come to The Mountaintop.  Please plan NOW on seeing this remarkable play by Katori Hall.  We may sell out Friday and Saturday and possibly Sunday, so, don’t wait.
  • Next to Normal –  is our spring musical.  Begin NOW to get people excited about auditions and playing in the pit orchestra.  Directed by the award winning Anthony Hamilton!
  • Next Season.  Yup.  We got one.  We’ll probably have a special announcement in the next several weeks.  Standby for punch and cookies!
  • Alumna Spotlight:  Sarah Furhman 

In the Community and Profession

  • AS SOON AS YOU CAN, get tickets to see Raisin in the Sun at the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre.  Ticket Info Here.  Directed by the brilliant Anthony Hamilton, with Xavier Bolden (who played Othello in our production of Othello) in the lead role of Walter.  The last person to play Walter on the Kalamazoo College stage is none other than HBO sensation Quincy Isaiah.  Go see this Pulitzer Prize winning work.
  • Want to see a NEW play at our local AEA (Equity) theatre?  Farmers Alley Theatre is offering $10.00 student tiks for the run of The Great Leap.   
  • Want to know what’s happening in the arts?  Theatre Kalamazoo
  • Professional Work.  We, as a department, expect that you, as a young arts professional, are SEEKING to work in some capacity in the arts or a non-profit organization.  Almost all live event (theatre, summer stock, entertainment centers) COMPLETE their hiring process at the end of March.  Which means, YOU need to submit resume and cover letter to organizations by mid-February.  SETC – the largest job hiring conference in the industry for performance and technical talent – is always the first full weekend in March.  USITT – the largest design and technical conference in the world – is always the second full weekend in March.  Once those two conferences conclude, jobs are available, but they are few.  If you have questions or seek guidance for how to obtain professional work, you should SEE LANNY.  You should be using ArtSearch (contact Lanny for logon credentials) and Offstage Jobs as your databases, have a resume tailored to your specific position, and look at our KTAN (K Theatre Alumni Network) for additional opportunities.  The time to start all of this is NOW.  If you wait until March, it will be too late.
  • Speaking of professional opportunities.  We’ve been contacted by Dunes Summer Theatre specifically to have our students apply and audition.

If you don’t want to read all of that, here’s the summary:  Happy New Year.  Welcome back.  Do theatre.  Plan to do more theatre.  Plan to do theatre somewhere else.  Plan to go see some theatre.  And, see you at the theatre.

Thanks for all you do, and let us in the program know how we can help you in any way.  #lovewhatyoudo

With deep appreciation,


Week 2 Newsletter: Jan. 13, 2023! 

Seriously? We’re at the end of Week 2? Yes, indeed we are! Things are moving fast! Want inspiration? Check out these movers and shakers: 

1.     Dr. Quincy Thomas’s play, The Whites Explain It All, is being produced at ACTF tonight! (Congrats, Quincy!) The production at ACTF features Milan Levy’23. Be sure to give high fives next week when you see them!

2.     Congratulations to Milan Levy’23 (again!) and Jared Pittman’20 for being cast in The Mountaintop by Katori Hall, directed by Dr. Quincy Thomas. If you’d like to be involved in this excellent play, contact Dr. Thomas or Lanny Potts. You’ll be more than glad you did!  

3.     If you’re wondering what to do this weekend (or next!), get out and see some live theatre in town! All these shows are within a 15 min. walk from campus: 

a.     A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry, directed by Anthony J. Hamilton! (Yes, he’s directing another show on top of teaching Community Dialogue and Fundamentals of Acting here at K!). The show opens tonight, and runs through Jan. 22. Stacy Bartell, teaching Stagecraft this term, is Props Master for the show! Note: Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris is a spin-off and runs runs Jan. 27-Feb. 5 also at The Civic. For more information and tickets, click here. 

b.     FaceOff Theatre is collaborating with WMU Theatre to produce Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea by Nathan Alan Davis, directed by Marissa Harrington. The show runs Jan. 27-Feb. 5. For more info. and tickets, click here. 

c.     Farmers Alley Theatre will produce The Great Leap written by Chinese-American playwright Lauren Yee. The show runs Jan. 27-Feb. 21. Student tickets are being offered at a discount for $10 (normally $15). For more info. click here. 

d.     For even more information about plays in our area visit Theatre Kalamazoo.  

4.     Needed: wardrobe crew The Mountaintop. Please see Kate Koskinen to learn how you or your friends can get involved:

5.     Mark your calendars: join us and prospective students for Why We Create, a community reflection on Friday, Jan. 27, 10:55 in the chapel. Featuring DSA Sedona Coleman’23! Support the arts and your peers by attending this thoughtful commentary on why we do arts—of all kinds—at K.  

6.     Did you travel abroad last term or over the holidays? Please share some photos! Send to Laura to post on the website! Among others, look for one from Sally Eggleston’26 who was in Australia!

7.     In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., please consider volunteering on Monday or participating in a special event celebrating Dr. King’s legacy.  

Thanks for reading and please share with friends: it pays off to read emails from FP—fun and food to be found always! (Tacos on Tuesday were great, weren’t they?!) 

Have a great weekend!