The Department of Theatre is dedicated to fostering and strengthening relationships with first-class guest artists and organizations in order to provide diverse educational opportunities for our students, while creating well-rounded theatre artists prepared to enter a competitive work field. Our guest artists have designed productions and mentored students, taught master classes and workshops, and appeared in our annual cabaret preparing the Music Theatre Performance majors for their New York showcase.
OUR GUESTS ARTISTS
The University Theatre is thrilled to hold a professional partnership with Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier. Students in the Western Michigan University Theatre program travel to Chicago to learn first hand from the theater professionals in design, management and performance. Workshops are also held on campus with members of this Tony Award-winning company to enhance the classroom curriculum.
- Catherine Fitzmaurice
is a world-renowned coach in voice, speech, text, and dialect. She has had numerous articles published about her approach to voice, body and literature. She holds a Certificate from the International Phonetics Association; and holds Certificates of completion from several bodywork and healing energy trainings in addition to being a certified Somatic Therapist. Catherine taught a workshop to WMU students in the Fall of 2010.
- Nathan Mitchelle
is a Fight Choreographer and Stage Combat Artist. An alumnus of WMU and The University of Exeter, England he also has trained with the Moscow Art Theatre and has been a member of the Society of American Fight Directors for over five years where he was recognized as the best male advanced actor combatant. Nate became a Purple Rose Theatre Company associate artist and the company's resident Fight Choreographer for their 2009/2010 season. Nate taught a fight choreography class in the Spring of 2010 and comes back to WMU frequently to do fight choreography for our productions.
- Ken Leigh Rogers
is a native New Yorker who has directed and choreographed throughout the United States and Great Britain. Ken joined us in our 2010-2011 season as the director and choreographer of My One and Only. He was in the original production of the musical starring Tommy Tune and Twiggy.
- Rachel Keebler
of Cobalt Studios visited the WMU Theatre Department in the summer of 2011 for a scenic painting intensive. Rachel is the co-founder of Cobalt Studios, a well-known scenic painting studio based in Chicago dedicated to developing successful Scenic Artists with a positive commitment to their craft.
- SITI Company
is an ensemble-based theater company whose three ongoing components are the creation of new work, the training of young theater artists, and a commitment to international collaboration. SITI was founded to redefine and revitalize contemporary theater in the United States through an emphasis on international cultural exchange and collaboration. In the summer of 2011 the SITI Company came for a week long intensive with a group of our students.
- Donna Lynn Chaplin
has been seen on Broadway in Billy Elliot, Sweeney Todd and James Joyce’s The Dead. Off- Broadway performances include Dark at the Top of The Stairs, Master Class at the MET and Flight of the Lawnchair Man. She joined us in December 2010 to work in a week long intensive with our music theatre students that culminated with a performance in which our students shared the stage with this very funny and talented guest artist.
- Mary Zimmerman
the Tony Award-winning director, writer, and creator of Metamorphoses. Zimmerman is a prominent member of the Chicago theatre scene as a member of the Lookingglass Theatre Company and Artistic Associate of the Goodman Theatre. She is widely known for adapting literary texts for performance; when she visited WMU, she led a workshop in story theatre for our students.
The Tectonic Theater Project, the groundbreaking company that created The Laramie Project, I Am My Own Wife, and Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, came to campus this year to collaborate with WMU Theatre students on creating a brand new play, Good Death, which explores the subject of death and dying with the Kalamazoo community. While on campus, Tectonic company members lead classes in Moment Work, their unique approach to playwriting and creating new work.
- Leon Ingulsrud
helped found the illustrious and exploratory SITI Company with Anne Bogart. Additionally, Ingulsrud was a member of the Suzuki Company of Toga in Japan for seven years. He has visited WMU numerous times as a guest director and acting teacher, coaching our students in Suzuki and Viewpoints workshops.
- Paul Kelly
a world-class production designer, is responsible for the adaptation of the Phantom of the Opera’s scenic and production design for Las Vegas. He works in theatre, television, and has been the Art Director for more than fifteen films, including The Thomas Crowne Affair, The First Wives Club, Ladder 49, and The Forgotten. An alum of our program, Paul Kelly returned to WMU in 2006 to design our production of A Little Night Music and has joined us since as an adjunct professor in design.
- Robert D. Maverick
is a Department of Theatre alum and sought-after special effects makeup artist whose credits include Pirates of the Caribbean and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He came back to Kalamazoo to design the special effects and makeup for our productions of Frankenstein and Dracula.
- John Treacy Egan
is a Broadway veteran of The Producers and the original cast of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Hhe joined us for a week-long residency in Music Theatre Performance culminating with our production of Late Night Broadway.
- Leah Hocking
from the 1993 revival of Guys and Dolls, Hairspray, Jekyll and Hyde, Mamma Mia! She joined us for a week-long residency in Music Theatre Performance culminating with our production of Late Night Broadway.
- Nancy Anderson
of A Class Act, A Wonderful Life, the revival of Wonderful Town and Kiss Me, Kate on the West End joined our seniors in a week long master class and production of Late Night Broadway.
- Julia Murney
of Wicked and Broadway’s Wild Party joined us in 2008 for a week long residency and our performance of Late Night Broadway.
- Commedia Zuppa
is a Commedia Dell’Arte duo who taught workshops to our students on campus in movement improvisation and Commedia Dell’Arte.
This is only a sampling of the quality and diversity we strive to bring to campus through our guest artist program.