Arts and Entertainment, Press Release
Cogan Gift to Support Summer Theatre
COGAN DONATION FUNDS ANNUAL IU SOUTH BEND SUMMER THEATRE SERIES AT THE LERNER
(ELKHART) Doloris Cogan of Elkhart has given a gift to Indiana University South Bend that will be a gift to theatre-goers in Elkhart and beyond. Cogan has donated a total of $200,000 to establish and support the Doloris C. Cogan IU South Bend Summer Theatre Series at the Lerner Theatre in Elkhart.
The Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts at IU South Bend is completing its inaugural summer theatre series at the Lerner on Thursday, Aug. 9, with a performance of “A Raisin in the Sun.”
Cogan will be publicly recognized for her gift at that time. Her donation will enable IU South Bend to bring three to five fully-staged productions to the Lerner each summer for perpetuity.
“Ms. Cogan’s generosity will provide youth, families, students and Elkhart residents the opportunity to experience the arts each summer in a beautiful theatre at an affordable cost,” said Marvin Curtis, dean of the Raclin School of the Arts at IU South Bend. “Our goal is to become a summer destination for actors, playwrights, directors, and others who want to explore their crafts.”
“I’ve had a wonderful life and I attribute that to my education,” said Cogan. “This is an opportunity to bring IU South Bend, the Lerner Theatre, and the people of Elkhart together to learn and enjoy the arts.”
She graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Neb., and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City before going on to a distinguished career in corporate communications, including at Pepperidge Farms, Inc., in Westport, Conn., and Miles Laboratories in Elkhart. She says her background in speech, debate, and the arts helped her professionally and personally.
The current summer theatre series will conclude with A Raisin in the Sun on Thursday, Aug. 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lerner Theater. Director Walter Allen Bennett Jr. will present a pre-performance talk at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium. The production is supported by grants from the Indiana Arts Commission and the Elkhart County Community Foundation. Previous performances in the series this summer included H.M.S. Pinafore, Johnny Appleseed, and It’s a Wonderful Life – The Radio Show.
A Raisin in the Sun debuted on Broadway in 1959 and was the first American play to be written by an African American woman and directed by an African American man, produced on Broadway. Lorraine Hansberry was 29 when she wrote the work and became the youngest American playwright and only the fifth woman to receive the New York Drama Critics Award for Best Play. Lloyd Richards, the director, later became the dean of the Yale School of Drama.
The production is being directed by visiting artist Walter Allen Bennett Jr. Bennett’s credits include writing for the long running Emmy Award winning The Cosby Show. Later he produced the hit comedy In the House with LL Cool J and Debbie Allen, and served as executive producer of The Steve Harvey Show. He has written pilots for CBS, FOX, and Nickelodeon Network. He holds a MFA in playwriting from Yale School of Drama and a MFA in acting from UCLA. While at Yale, he studied with and was mentored by Lloyd Richards.
This production of A Raisin in the Sun features a cast of 11; all but two are IU South Bend students. Inseung Park is scenic designer, Sas Hanson is costume designer and Tim Hanson is lighting designer for the production. Students will fill out the crew for the show including supporting work in the costume and scene shop. Running time for each performance is approximately three hours.
Tickets for A Raisin in the Sun are available at the Lerner Box Office at $18 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $8 for children. Tickets may be purchased by calling (574)293-4469 or (800)294.8223, or visiting www.thelerner.com.