The purpose of the Catawba College Blue Masque Hall of Fame is to recognize and perpetuate the noteworthy theatre tradition of Catawba College by honoring and memorializing individuals who have made outstanding contributions to this tradition. Inductees into the Hall of Fame must have either, attended Catawba College as a full time student, been employed at Catawba as a full or part time faculty/staff member, or contributed to the success of the Blue Masque by performing outstanding service as a volunteer. The inducted individuals are recognized for their meritorious life in theatre.
Catawba College's Blue Masque Theatre Hall of Fame will honor four new inductees on Friday, October 26, during the college's Homecoming Weekend. Those being honored for their meritorious lives in the theatre arts include theatre administrator and preservationist John Bell, theatre arts class of 1976; dance administrator, choreographer, and teacher Richard Steinert, theatre arts class of 1981; composer, song writer and sound designer Mike Yionoulis, theatre arts class of 1988; and longtime Catawba theatre arts professor, Dayna Anderson.
This year's Blue Masque Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held in Hedrick Theatre at 8 p.m. on Oct. 26th. Immediately preceding the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, at 7:30 p.m., current and former Catawba theatre arts students will present a talent showcase in Hedrick Theatre. Tickets, which include admission to this showcase, the induction ceremony, and a reception, may be purchased through the alumni office of Catawba College by calling (704) 637-4394.
John Bell is currently the president and CEO of Tampa Theatre, Tampa Florida. A talented actor, as well as all-around theatre student while at Catawba, he is remembered for his strong performances in plays such as The Birthday Party, Midsummer Nights Dream, and House of Blue Leaves.
Upon graduation from Catawba, he was chosen as program coordinator for the North Carolina Arts Council in Raleigh, N.C. Three years later, he moved to Greensboro to become the managing director of The Carolina Theatre. Under his direction, this historic movie palace, built in 1927, was transformed into Greensboro's primary performing arts center. Bell was next selected, in 1985, for his current position at the Tampa Theatre, where he is responsible for the overall preservation, restoration, programming and direction of the 1926 1,446-seat historic theatre facility. Under Bell's leadership Tampa Theatre has received many awards and gained national attention. LIFE magazine listed Tampa Theatre as “One of America's 21 Wonders,” Delta Sky Magazine recognized the theatre as one of the “Top Ten Iconic Show Places in the World,” while USA Today called it “One of the Top Ten Places to Revel in Cinematic Grandeur.” A national leader in theatre management and restoration, Bell is president-elect of the League of Historic American Theatres.
Richard Steinert is currently artistic director of Ballet Pensacola, Pensacola, Florida; on the University of West Florida dance faculty; and is scholar-in-residence at The Bishops School in La Jolla, California. Steinert's strong interest in dance, while still a theatre arts student at Catawba, helped influence the initiation of the department's musical theatre major soon after.
Since graduating from Catawba College, Steinert has served as director of Ballet Arkansas, director of Ballet Theatre in Hartford, Connecticut, and as a founding director of Connecticut Contemporary Ballet Theatre. His choreographic work on more than 30 original ballets was sanctioned by such funding organizations as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation. He has held seats on the Board of Directors of the Midwestern Arts Alliance, the Alcoa National Choreographic Awards, and was appointed by President Bill Clinton to a seat on his Arts-In-Education Committee. Steinert's choreographic work is critically acclaimed for its innovation and collaborative blending of theatre and dance.
Mike Yionoulis is a composer and songwriter who works in film, television and theatre. Yionoulis first gained success as a composer while still a student at Catawba College with his rock musical Oedipus Rox, a contemporary musical theatre adaptation of Oedipus Rex. He also distinguished himself as one of Catawba's leading performers in productions such as Pippin, West Side Story, A Chorus Line, and Hair. Since graduation, his work as a composer and sound designer for theatre have included the New York premieres of Three Days of Rain at the Manhattan Theatre Club, Everett Beekin at Lincoln Center Theatre, The Maiden's Prayer at the Vineyard Theatre, as well as the critically acclaimed Ohio State Murders, which received the 2008 Lortel Award for Best Revival. He wrote the music and lyrics for The King Stag which premiered at the Yale Repertory Theatre, while his Flights of Angels, still in development, received a workshop production at New York's Second Stage, with an all-star cast including Brian D'Arcy James in the title role. Yionoulis' most recent work is Redhand Guitar which was a finalist for the Richard Rodgers Award and received a workshop production at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.
Professor Dayna Anderson has been with Catawba College's theatre arts department since 1981. A specialist in performance theory, Anderson has gained recognition for her work with actors who are just beginning their performance art, particularly women. Selected for post graduate study in acting, her experiences include study with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Theatre Association's Conference on Women in Theatre. Many other post graduate acting studies have been in the Alexander Technique. Anderson's long commitment to the Alexander Technique has lasted for twenty-five years, culminating with her recent graduation from the Alexander Alliance in Philadelphia and marking her as a teacher uniquely versed in both the American and British approaches to the Alexander Technique. Also a director, more than fifty percent of her productions have been at Catawba where she has offered students a wide and meaningful range of performance opportunities. Honored by Catawba College for her pedagogical skills and creative teaching she was awarded the Swink Award for Classroom Teaching.