Through funding provided by the Van Gorden endowment, professional director Kevin Leary will be brought to the Houghton College campus for a four-week residency, concluding with the performance of Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” in early February of 2016.
This opportunity is a result of collaboration between the Department of Communication and the Department of English and Writing.
According to Dr. Douglas Gaerte, chair of the communication department at Houghton, “the purpose of this course is to create more theater opportunities for students.”
Leary will be visiting Houghton in the fall semester to hold auditions and begin the casting process.
Leary graduated from Wright State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting/Musical Theater and from the State University of New York at Buffalo with a Master of Arts in Humanities-Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Theater and Arts Management.
Recently, he has been involved in the first National Tour and Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma productions of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” for which he filled the roles of assistant director, dance captain, and swing. He was also the assistant director for the performance of “Singin’ in the Rain” at Goodspeed Opera House and director for “Hedda Gabler” at the University at Buffalo.
Leary was also the resident choreographer at the Lancaster Opera House for productions of “Damn Yankees,” “Promises, Promises,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Oklahoma!,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” and “Spamalot” and was the director for “Two by Two” and “The Glass Menagerie.”
About the upcoming course and performance, Leary stated, “I am excited at the prospect of directing this iconic classic with Houghton students and look forward to shaping a show that is relevant for today’s audiences. Henrik Ibsen’s ‘A Doll House’ provides a perfect setting to debate contemporary women’s rights issues. Unequal pay, objectification/body shaming and reproductive rights provide today’s contextual wrinkles in Nora’s search for equality and independence.”
“We are very excited to give Houghton students the opportunity to work with a professional director of Mr. Leary's caliber,” said Houghton College professor Susan Bruxvoort Lipscomb, chair of the English and Writing Department. “We hope that this will be the start of many more opportunities for students to be involved in high-quality theater productions.”
Currently, Houghton College has funding to offer this course for three years.