Jack Featheringill: Celebrating a Life

From Broadway to PSU: Commemorating Local Theater Legend Jack Featheringill
Celebration of Life will take place on August 26th at Portland Center StagePORTLAND, ORE. Although the most passionate man in the Portland theater community passed away on July 3, his influence on actors, directors, writers, and stage technicians will endure for years to come. In recognition of the many contributions of Professor Emeritus Jack Featheringill, his friends and colleagues are hosting a celebration of his life on August 26, 2013 at Portland Center Stage.

Before Jack became a theater professor—and, ultimately, the department chair—at Portland State University, he enjoyed a 15-year career on Broadway. Under the name Jack Leigh, he danced with Ethel Merman and Judy Garland, was choreographed by George Balanchine, and performed in several Broadway musicals. Working with such notables as Jerome Robbins and Hal Prince, he was also a casting director, a stage manager, and a dance captain. He cast the original Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof with Bette Midler, and was a dancer in the movie The Music Man.

After Broadway, Jack returned to his alma mater, Indiana University, where he earned a Master of Arts in Theater. Hired by PSU in 1970, he remained in the Theater Arts department for three decades. Jack was three-time recipient of the American College Theatre Festival’s Award of Excellence for his direction of productions presented at the Kennedy Center: Misanthrope (1972), Equus (1978), and Waltz of the Toreadors (1983). Also during his tenure, he ran a summer stock program at Cannon Beach’s Coaster Theatre.

“Jack lived the most amazing life,” said Casting Director Lana Veenker, a close friend and former student helping to organize the celebration. “I would not be where I am today without his influence and ongoing support.” Veenker went on to found Cast Iron Studios, the Oregon casting company on Twilight, TNT’s Leverage and NBC’s Grimm.

Other former students include Portland Actors’ Conservatory Artistic Director Beth Harper, Screenwriter and NBCUniversal Story Analyst Douglas Soesbe, Stage Manager Clair Callaway, Actress, Writer and Director Victoria Parker-Pohl, and several founding members of The 3rd Floor sketch comedy troupe. Jack also directed numerous theater productions in Portland over the years, coaching and collaborating with two generations of actors and stage crews.

Upon retirement, Jack committed his life to helping others, working as an ombudsman for eldercare, a counselor on a substance-abuse hotline, and a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for neglected and abused children. From 2007 through 2013, Jack advocated for his “CASA kids” with the same fierce passion and commitment he brought to teaching and directing.

Jack’s love for local theater, however, was ongoing. He was involved with the creation of Portland’s Drammy Awards (initially the Willy Awards) and received the Drammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. He served on the Drammy Committee from 1978 to 1993 and from 2005 until a few weeks before his death.The Celebration of Life for Jack Featheringill will take place at 7:00 PM on August 26, 2013 at Portland Center Stage, 128 NW 11th Avenue, Portland, OR 97209.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to CASA in Jack’s name.

To submit a story for Jack’s memory book and to RSVP, please visit http://castironstudios.com/blog.

Jack Featheringill

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