Catawba College theater department to induct six into the Blue Mask Hall of Fame
September 22, 2021
Six artists will be inducted into the Blue Masque Hall of Fame by the Theater Department at Catawba College on October 29 at 7:30 pm Two artists will be inducted in 2021 and four inductees from 2020 will also be honored at the in-person event. Last year, the induction took place virtually due to COVID restrictions.
Inductees for 2021 include:
- John Barrett Starmer, Class of 96, Production Manager for Jazz at Lincoln Center
- Jim Lally, Class 95, director of change management and professor of organizational development
Inductees from 2020 include:
- Scott Burrell, Class 94, director of the Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts, Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, LA
- Rae Geoffrey, Class 95, Managing Director of the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts, Asheville, North Carolina
- William Gilmore, Class of ’85, a Los Angeles-based story producer, writer, editor and sometimes cinematographer
- Christophe Zink, professor of theatrical arts at Catawba College
You can read the full announcement on 2020 inductees on our website.
John Barrett Starmer has spent the past decade as production manager for Jazz at Lincoln Center, based in New York City. After graduating from Catawba with his BA in Theater Arts in 1997, he had the pleasure of working in the performing arts in the United States and around the world, including places as far away as Prague, Seoul, Stratford- upon-Avon and Brooklyn. In 2006, Starmer received his MFA in Engineering Design and Production from the prestigious Yale School of Drama.
After graduating from Catawba, Starmer began working as a carpenter and production assistant for the Tony Award-winning American Repertory Theater, while simultaneously serving as a rigger for Glimmerglass Opera. In 2001, he became Deputy Technical Director of the New York City Opera, then held various technical and management positions with Yale Rep, The New Haven International Festival, Avenue Q Vegas, and the Shakespeare Theater in Washington, DC. In 2006, he became production manager for the first international production of the opera Don Juan in Prague presented at the Czech National Theater and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In 2007 he started working as production manager / technical supervisor for Jazz at Lincoln Center, where in 2012 he was promoted to production manager.
Jim Lally was well known as a charismatic, deeply intelligent, caring, larger than life individual who was loved by all with whom he came in contact. But he was perhaps best known and appreciated for his gift of humor.
A 1995 graduate from Catawba Theater Arts, Lally served as president of Blue Masque for the 1994-2005 academic year. He served diligently and effectively as a stage store assistant during his time in Catawba and secured lead roles in more than eight productions during his four years. He also co-created and hosted the “Catawba College Talkshow” – the first and only monthly multimedia live variety show in Catawba history – helping to spark love and enthusiasm for the theater department of Catawba on the south side of Innes Street in Salisbury. .
Lally was a true Renaissance man. Indeed, he embodied the well-balanced philosophy of liberal arts that Catawba Theater Arts had instilled in him. After graduation he landed roles in many movies and TV shows, although he was perhaps most proud of the fact that James Earl Jones left him a voicemail thanking him for the cornbread recipe he had shared on the platter. Friends and colleagues of a certain generation will remember and revel in fulfilling his role as Pacey’s replacement at Dawson’s Creek.
Ultimately, however, Lally was fascinated by change and the human ability to thrive. He directed his rapid study expertise towards improving organizational processes, which led to the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, the first tool he acquired to embark on a career as an expert in organizational improvements. He went on to earn a Masters degree from St. Joseph’s University in Organizational Development and Leadership, adding academic references to an already intuitive understanding of leadership and organizational growth. He has brought these skills to the stages of large corporations and leading educational institutions in his roles as Director of Change Management and Professor of Organizational Development. Lally has always remained the actor, but helping organizations improve themselves was a fitting calling. There is no doubt that Lally’s kindness, generosity and brilliant humor enriched the many lives of those who knew him.
About Catawba College
Founded in 1851, Catawba College is a private four-year liberal arts college conveniently located in Salisbury, North Carolina. Ranked as one of the best regional colleges in the South, the College offers over 70 academic programs and three graduate programs providing students with the ability to combine and pass majors. Close faculty mentorship and the many experiential learning options create opportunities for Catawba College graduates to exceed their own expectations and find their calling. Additional information is available at catawba.edu.
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