Monday, August 11, 2008

What a Week for Monmouth College Theatre Alums!

First there was a delightful article by Barry McNamara on alum Jeff Day, who has just completed an MFA in theatre at Western Illinois University and is heading off to Texas Tech Univeristy to start on his PHD. You can follow up with alum Matt Fotis (MFA in Playwritng from Illinois State University) who will be beginning his PhD at the University of Missouri this fall.

You can then run up Hwy 67 to Rock Island where alum Melissa Anderson Clark has been appearing in a production of Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins and garnered a review any actress would kill for. (Pun definitely acknowledged.) The critical paragraph goes: “But the most real of any peformance in this production is Melissa Anderson Clark’s Squeaky Fromme. She was so good, I couldn’t believe it. I actually watched her closely to spot the moment she dropped character, the moment she’d drop Fromme’s conviction and motivation. To my delight, she didn’t. Her portrayal of Fromme is breathtaking and perhaps the best performance I’ve yet to see on a Quad Cities stage. Ever.” The full review is at My wife and I saw the show Sunday afternoon and it is worthy of all the accolades from the reviewers. Another tidbit is that Lou Hare, who played John Wilkes Booth in the show, has an MFA from Western Illinois in theatre and is the son of our local congressman Phil Hare.

Pop over to Chicago from the Quad Cities for an article in the Sunday Chicago Tribune in which Chris Jones, the drama critic, was talking about the rehabilitation of the old Studebaker Theatre on Michigan Avenue. Set to occupy the smaller theatre in the complex is the off-loop Prop Theatre whose enthusiastic artistic director is Monmouth alum Scott Vehill. Vehill is quoted in the story and says: "If you are an off-Loop theater and you strike lightning, this would become the place where you take your show." You can read the whole story at:,0,6219198.story

From Chicago take a ride even further north to Minneapolis. I got this from my son David last night. Mike Fotis, (gee another alum) has been nominated for a “Fringie” in this year’s Minneapolis Fringe Festival for his show called An Intimate Evening with Mike Fotis—Part II. You can see some of his reviews at

And all this does not even include that Doug Rankin, another pretty well known Monmouth alum, (He is a local product of Monmouth High School and has been the resident Designer and Professor in the Monmouth College Theatre Department for a number of years now) was the scene and lighting designer for last weekend’s world premiere of the new Carl Sandburg musical Dust and Dreams at Galesburg’s Orpheum Theatre.

It was a long tough pull at the Little Red Barn and the Wells Theatre, but thanks to the extraordinary effors and service of Mike Lincoln, Bill McCarthy, Bil Pfuderer, Amy Williams, Bill Wallace, and Doug Rankin, it has been a most fulfilling one.

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