Highlights from Theatre Reunion Weekend

During her keynote address, Steppenwolf Artistic Director and alum Anna D. Shapiro ’90, HDR ’15 discussed her mentor, the late longtime Theatre chair Sheldon Patinkin (1980-2009), on stage at the new Courtyard Theater at the newly renovated Getz Theater Center. Photo: Jonathan Mathias '10
Columbia welcomes alumni and supporters for a reunion celebration at the newly renovated Getz Theater Center. Mayor Rahm Emanuel proclaims October 19, 2018, as Columbia College Chicago Theatre in Chicago.

On October 19 and 20, Columbia College Chicago’s theatre community came together at the newly renovated Getz Theater Center to celebrate Theatre Reunion Weekend. More than 150 people attended, including distinguished alumni, faculty, staff, students, members of the Getz family, and the greater Chicago theatre community. The celebration included panel discussions and a special performance of the Mainstage season's opening play, Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad, directed by alum A.J. Ware ’09, and sponsored by former Theatre student Carol Cohen. Special remarks were also made by Jim Jacobs HDR ’14, who established the Jim Jacobs Musical Theatre Scholarship for Columbia students.

On the first night of the Theatre Reunion weekend, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) Commissioner and Columbia's former Vice President of Student Success Mark Kelly presented a proclamation on behalf of the Mayor of Chicago to President Kim. The Mayoral Proclamation declared October 19, 2018 as Columbia College Chicago Theatre Day in Chicago in recognition of the “indelible contributions that Columbia’s Theatre Department has made to theatre in the city of Chicago, across the United States, and around the world.”

On the second day of the event, Tony Award-winning director, Steppenwolf Artistic Director, Theatre alum, and Honorary Degree Recipient Anna D. Shapiro ’90, HDR ’15 gave the Keynote Address and shared how her career was impacted by her experience and education at Columbia. Shapiro also talked about her mentor, longtime Theatre Chair Sheldon Patinkin, and how she learned to be an authentic storyteller and develop her unique voice under his guidance.

Theatre Reunion Weekend was a successful collaboration between the Theatre Department and Development and Alumni Relations, created to celebrate student and alumni successes and reengage alumni with their departments and classmates. A special thanks to the Theatre Reunion Planning and Host Committees.

Mark Kelly and President Kim On behalf of the Mayor of Chicago, DCASE Commissioner and Columbia’s former Vice President of Student Success Mark Kelly (left) presents President Kim the official Mayoral Proclamation. Photo: Jordan Fuller '12

Theatre Reunion CommitteeTheatre Department faculty who were part of the Theatre Reunion Planning Committee included (L-R) Theatre Associate Chair Jacqueline Penrod, Albert Williams ’73, and Dawn Renee Jones. They are joined by Peter Carpenter (right), interim Allen and Lynn Turner chair of Theatre and Dance associate professor. Photo: Jordan Fuller '12

Chuck Smith from the Goodman TheatreMember of the Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees and Resident Director Chuck Smith (left), who is also a former faculty member, talks to Columbia faculty members Barbara Robertson (center) and Jason Buyer ’95 (right), who is also a Theatre alum. Photo Jordan Fuller '12

Getz FamilyMembers of the Getz family flank the bronze busts of Oscar and Emma Getz in the lobby of the newly renovated Getz Theater Center. (L-R) Michelle Goodrich, Marilyn Getz, Rick Getz, Julie Getz, Pam Getz, Morgan Getz, Florence Romano, Kim Getz, Randy Getz, and Michael Getz. Photo: Jordan Fuller '12

PanelistsThe Chicago Theatre panel featured alumni actively working in various areas of Chicago's theatre scene. (L-R): Alex Rhyan ’15, Alison Dornheggen ’01, Carol Cohen, Mandy Walsh ’99, Tiffany Keane Schaefer ’12, Almanya Narula ’16, Ilesa Duncan ’99, Rachel Damon ’05, and BrittneyLove Smith ’11. Not pictured: Theatre faculty member and moderator Stephanie Shaw ’92, MFA ’09. Photo: Jonathan Mathias '10

Playwrites discussing at a panel.Cassandra Rose ’10 (center) discusses playwriting with moderator and Associate Professor Paul Amandes (left) and Christopher M. Walsh (right) at the Playwriting/Writing for Performance panel. Not pictured: Preston Max Allen ’13, Alex Fortune ’17, and Aaron Muñoz ’01. Photo: Jonathan Mathias '10

Triunfo and JacobsStudent Ariel Triunfo (left), one of two recipients of the 2018-19 Jim Jacobs Musical Theatre Scholarship, is pictured with Jim Jacobs HDR ’14, co-writer of the musical Grease. Photo: Jonathan Mathias '10

Student recipient of Jim Jacobs awardStudent Quinn Rigg (right), one of two recipients of the 2018-19 Jim Jacobs Musical Theatre Scholarship, is pictured with Jim Jacobs HDR ’14. Photo: Jonathan Mathias '10

Anna D. Shapiro and President KimTony Award-winning director, Steppenwolf artistic Director, and Columbia alum Anna D. Shapiro ’90, HDR ’15 stands with President Kim. Photo: Jonathan Mathias '10

A copy of the Mayoral Proclamation:Mayoral Proclamation 

The Penelopiad runs through October 27. Tickets are available here.
A special thanks to Albert Williams '73 for his assistance on this story. For frequent updates on all things Theatre, visit The Green Room blog.