Springfield, Ohio – Wittenberg University Department of Theatre and Dance recently welcomed John Cassel, class of 1998, “home” as he returned to campus to oversee the production of his play Janey Miller’s World Tour: a fairy tale. He was on campus briefly in late February and will return again in mid-April to work with current theatre students and faculty and spend time at the university that prepared him for a successful career in New York.
Cassel’s love for the stage and the spotlight was nurtured as he grew up in Overland Park, Kan. His family valued and emphasized the importance of the arts in his development, and it was exactly the backing that Cassel needed to ignite his passion and inspire him to pursue a career in theatre.
“When I was in grade school, we had season tickets to the local children’s theatre (Theatre for Young America in Overland Park),” Cassel said. “I took acting classes there and was cast in some of their productions. It was there that I fell in love with the theatre.”
Cassel brought his passion to Wittenberg, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Dance. Asked to return to the school that molded him into a playwright and taught him how to follow his passion, Cassel didn’t think twice about accepting the offer.
“It was an unexpected and true honor to be invited back. It meant a lot,” he said. “Some of my best memories, and some of my best friends, come from Wittenberg’s Theatre and Dance Department. To have a chance to collaborate with the whole gang – I couldn’t have passed that up. And if I am able to give anything back by way of sharing my experiences with the current students, that’s only a bonus.”
Cassel has taken his career to the bright lights of New York, where he has spent every ounce of time and energy towards his passion of the fine arts. He has written more than 25 plays, including the Myth of the Moon and the Morning Star and Match, which have been produced in New York and around the country. He has also had readings of his works in Berlin, Germany, and Los Angeles, Calif.
Cassel has also written sketch comedy for Epiphany Theater Company’s Seriously Sketch Series for several years, and he works as editorial director of PowerKids Press and Windmill books, which are two imprints of Rosen Publishing.
Janey Miller’s World Tour: a fairy tale, directed by Professor of Theatre and Dance Steve Reynolds, is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, April 15-18, in Chakeres Memorial Theatre. Ticket information will be distributed in a future Wittenberg news release.
Written By: Trent Brunic ’10