Catching up with Alan Ball: Alumni Blog 2013 #1

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Well, it’s been about a year and a half since I last checked in. I thought I should let folks know what kind of trouble I’ve been getting into.

In my last post, it had been about six months since my graduation from Wayne State and the Hilberry. I had spent a wonderful summer with the Michigan Shakespeare Festival, traveled to West Virginia for a production of Oliver!, and taken a long-anticipated trip to China and Tibet, where I got to take some great photos.

Since then, I’ve been working – and on the road – pretty much non-stop. In the past year alone, I’ve had shows in Chicago, Las Vegas, Syracuse, Flint, and Boston, as well as having taken another photographic expedition, this time to Norway. I was also privileged to be invited back for a second season at the Michigan Shakespeare Festival. I was then named an Artistic Associate, and am about to open my third season.

Just a word or two about the MSF: currently in its 19th season, the Michigan Shakespeare Festival is headed by Artistic Director Janice L. Blixt (some of you may remember her as Hilberry alum Jan Waldron,) and has featured the work of many familiar names, including Christina Flynn, Bart Williams, Mercedes Coley and more. This season, one of our Assistant Stage Managers is Bonstelle student Shannon Hurst. Last year, MSF was nominated for nine Wilde Awards for its 2011 season and won three, for Best Comedy (Tartuffe), Best Lighting Design (the Hilberry’s own Brian Scruggs for The Winter’s Tale), and the first-ever award for Best of the Bard (also for The Winter’s Tale.) This year, MSF has been nominated for ten Wilde’s.

After finishing up at MSF, where, by the way, I’m playing Feste in Twelfth Night, (in which I get to sing some wonderful original songs by MSF’s own Festival Composer, Kate Hopgood,) The Bastard in a wild, modern-day take on King John, and Mr. Hardcastle in a 1950’s sitcom-inspired She Stoops to Conquer, I’ll spend a couple of months in St. Louis, in a production of My Fair Lady. After that, I’ll head back to Chicago for some much-needed rest. And while there, I hope to spend some time catching up with Hilberry alums, including Christopher Ellis, Aaron Kirby, Dylan Stuckey, Richard Fosbrink, Janine Pixley, and Matt Foss. After that…I’ll let you know when I know.

That’s about it for now. I just wanted folks to know that my Hilberry education has served me well, and that I am once again a productive member of (theatrical) society. I hope all continues to go well at the Hilberry, and that perhaps, if you need a “classical theatre fix,” I’ll see some of you this summer at the Michigan Shakespeare Festival.

Be well,
Alan Ball


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