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Developed Chapman's Theater Program : Students Will Honor Henry Kemp-blair

February 13, 1987|HERMAN WONG | Times Staff Writer

More than 30 former students of the late Henry Kemp-Blair, the longtime Chapman College theater arts professor, will appear in a variety show tribute Saturday in the campus Memorial Hall auditorium in Orange.

Directed by Richard Doetkott, the 8 p.m. show will feature comedy sketches, monologues and dances, in addition to scenes from dramas and musicals associated with Kemp-Blair's 25 years at Chapman.

"The response we received from alumni to be in this show has been tremendous. These are people who remember Henry's professional dedication and discipline--and his caring," said Doetkott, acting chairman of Chapman's communications and drama department.

Kemp-Blair, who died April 30 at the age of 56, joined the Chapman faculty in 1960 and is credited with developing the college's theater arts program.

Tonight's program will present scenes from such works as "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "My Fair Lady." Performing alumni will include John Copeland, a Disney Studios producer; Diane Diefendorf, a member of "The Traveler" cast at the Mark Taper Forum and Adrea Gibbs Muldoon, who played in the recent "Cats" run at the Shubert Theatre in Century City.

Mic Bell, who starred as black actor Ira Aldridge in Kemp-Blair's original play, "Ira: A Long Way From Home" in 1985, has taped his appearance (singing "The Impossible Dream") for the Chapman show. (Bell cannot attend the campus event because he is starring in the touring production of "Porgy and Bess" at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.)

Gene Jackson, now a cameraman for the "Bob Newhart Show" television series, will appear in a scene from "Tea Concession," Kemp-Blair's play about apartheid in South Africa.

The Chapman program will also feature scenes from Kemp-Blair's award-winning 1982 film "Rumpelstiltskin." The book and lyrics were written by Kemp-Blair, with music by Edgar Sholund.

Born in South Africa, Kemp-Blair immigrated to the United States in 1946. He studied theology at Claremont College and theater arts at Chapman College, Cal State Long Beach, and USC.

Show proceeds will go to a scholarship fund. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and children. For information, call (714) 997-6812.

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