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Performing Arts

Summer 2017

Becky Cain-Kellogg ’91

What do the ABC’s have in common with a treble clef? How about a children’s theater production and creative problem-solving? These questions are not riddles, says Becky Cain-Kellogg ’91, owner of the Puyallup Children’s Theater and Music Academy.

Cain-Kellogg opened the theater in Puyallup seven years ago, although she has taught music and theater for nearly 30 years. During that time, Cain-Kellogg also worked as an arts integration specialist, combining music and the arts with subjects such as math and history in schools.

Research says that children who are involved with music and theater early on gain lifelong skills—in part because there are so … » More …

Lowell Liebermann - 88 Squared album cover
Spring 2016

Lowell Liebermann: Complete Works for Two Pianos

Lowell Liebermann - 88 Squared album cover88 Squared Piano Duo

Albany Records: 2015

WSU piano faculty members Jeffrey and Karen Savage are the formidable pianists of 88 Squared, a critically acclaimed piano duo. This remarkable recording of Liebermann’s music for two pianos will only add to their international reputation. Liebermann’s piano music requires keen attention to color, texture, balance, and lyricism. His ample use of counterpoint requires absolute precision between the four hands.

88 Squared seems … » More …

Ted Tremper
Winter 2014

Ted Tremper ’04—The art of improv

Ted Tremper ’04 discovered his dream as a Washington State University student joining Nuthouse, WSU’s then fledgling improv group.

Now, more than a decade later, he’s an actor, a web television filmmaker, veteran of the improvisational comedy troupe The Second City, editor, director, and, in his words, “God knows how many other things.” Tremper finds that reality can be every bit as fun and funny as his dream.

Four years ago his web program Break-ups: The Series won critical acclaim for its originality. His five-minute scenes of break-up vignettes filmed around Chicago has drawn hundreds of thousands of views. He followed that up with Shrink, … » More …

Bunny Levine. Photo Jon Rou
Winter 2013

Second Acts

Bernice “Bunny” Levine ’51 is free for lunch. She thinks. But first she has to call her agent to make sure she doesn’t have an audition.

The last time I checked in with her, the 80-something actress was on her way to shoot a Hooters commercial. Her life has gotten so much more interesting since she retired, she says. Especially now that she has moved to California and thrown herself into her lifelong dream of being an actress.

Levine grew up in East Orange, New Jersey. She had a sister whom she describes as the pretty one, but, she admits, she got the attention. “I’ve … » More …

Fall 2003

Wings to Fly

Mia Song Swartwood hovered over the Gladish Auditorium stage on pointe, adorned in vibrant plumage of gold, teal, and purple, arms stretched skyward, joyous in flight. Cast in the lead role of The Sparrow Queen, the May 10 inaugural production of Pullman’s Graham Academy of Contemporary Ballet, Swartwood embodied the free spirit that ultimately unites two estranged sisters in the ballet based on a Japanese fairy tale.

Swartwood’s own life is something of a fairy tale that began in South Korea. Left at a local Catholic Children’s Services Center in Inchon the day she was born, Swartwood was adopted a year later by Jim and … » More …

A Conversation about Art and Biology with Ellen Dissanayake '57

Ellen Franzen Dissanayake came to Washington State College from Walla Walla in 1953 as a music major. At the time, undergraduates were required to take four science classes. After taking the legendary BioSci 101 from Winfield Hatch and Human Physiology from Donald S. Farner, she found it easy to “think biologically,” which influenced her subsequent interest in the evolutionary origins of the arts.

At graduation, she married fellow student and zoologist John Eisenberg, and they moved to Berkeley, where he would attend graduate school. He was well on his way to becoming a prominent mammalian ethologist and was a rich source of thinking on behavior … » More …

Summer 2004

Short Shakespeareans

In a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Demetrius calls for a sword. His request produces instead a yellow rubber chicken tossed from off stage.

“Shakespeare should be fun,” says Sherry Chastain Schreck, founding director of the “Short Shakespeareans.” Children in the drama troupe are 4 to 15, most of them pre-teenagers. In the 25 years since making their debut, the thespians have become a community treasure in Wenatchee.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a favorite of the Short Shakes. “The children love it. It is easy for young people to follow and understand,” Schreck says.

While the cast of characters has changed over the … » More …

Spring 2004

Happy in Hollywood, actor Larkin Campbell loves what he's doing

It’s a dark drama, set in a desert. The lead character, Zack, runs into some bad guys, and he’s in real trouble. The name of the movie, an independent production, is short and catchy: Nowhere.

But the actor playing Zack, Larkin Campbell, hopes the movie goes somewhere. He not only played the lead, he also produced the flick.

“We’ve sent it out, but it hasn’t been accepted in any of the festivals yet,” he says. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

Among other projects he’s working on is Squatch, an adventure film about two guys chasing the mythical Bigfoot.

Last year he was a co-star … » More …