Dr. James Ivey
"Let the celebrations begin!" With those auspicious words, James Ivey began his career in the theatre as the Lord Mayor in the fourth grade Christmas pageant in Rangely, Colorado. While his celebration in the theatre has had various interruptions since that momentous debut his career as an actor, director and scholar continues to develop and grow.
James has performed in over a hundred plays and musicals with roles as diverse as Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, File in The Rainmaker, Harold Hill in The Music Man, J. Edgar Hoover in Splendid Rebels, Cornelius Hackl in Hello, Dolly! Cheswick in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, King Arthur in Camelot, and Edgar Lee Masters in Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight.
James began his undergraduate theatre training at Illinois State University in 1973 under the guidance of Drs. Calvin Pritner, Ralph Lane and Jean Scharfenberg. He then followed his muse to the University of Kansas where he finished his bachelor's degree under the tutelage of Dr. Jack Wright, Paul Campbell and Dr. Robert Findlay.
Moving to Chicago he humbly began his performance career as a servant at the Goodman Theatre in Much Ado About Nothing. He went onto act in various venues around the Chicago area earning his Equity card playing Forrest Tucker's son in Patches at the Drury Lane South Theatre.
James began his studies for a Master's degree in theatre history at the University of Illinois in 1980 studying with Drs. Burnet Hobgood, Robert Graves and Clara Behringer. A highlight of his work at the U of I was taking the Noel Coward revue Red Peppers Plus to the Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival in Washington, D.C.
In 1981 James moved to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and began to work in theatre and commercial work. He worked as a model for Radio Shack in the day and acted for such theatres as Theatre Three and The Dallas Repertory Theatre in A Little Night Music, The Showoff and The Man Who Came to Dinner. It was in Dallas where his directing career began as he directed Ira Levin's thriller Veronica's Room in the back of a soda shop for the Peppermint Players.
James went to Texas Tech University in 1988 to begin his doctoral studies in performance theory and interdisciplinary studies in the arts. While there he played John Merrick in The Elephant Man, Queen Elizabeth in The Cotswold Boy, Pawnee Bill in Annie Get Your Gun, Betty in Cloud Nine, and Teen Angel in Grease. He continued his directing career with the creation of two original works In and Out of the Chakras We Go and Back into the Chakras We Go.
Dr. Ivey moved to Abilene, Texas upon completion of his Ph.D. where he became head of the department of theatre at Hardin-Simmons University in the fall of 1991. During his nine-year stay at HSU he directed many plays including Tartuffe, Li'l Abner, Guys and Dolls, The Seagull, The Dining Room, J.B., The Triumph of Love, and Exit the King. Dr. Ivey was also active in the Abilene community at the restored Paramount Theatre performing in many productions there as well as serving on their board of directors as president.
Dr. Ivey joined the faculty of theatre and dance at SUNY Fredonia in the fall of 2000 as associate professor and chair of theatre. His ten-year career at Fredonia has been highlighted by productions of The Learned Ladies, The Cherry Orchard, Our Town, Candide, The Wizard of Oz, The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Women's Guild Dramatic Society's Production of A Christmas Carol, Hansel and Gretel, The Assassination and Persecution of Jean Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum at Charenton Under the Direction of The Marquis de Sade and most recently Sophocles' Electra.
James has kept his performance career alive by working with the Chautauqua Opera in productions of Fiddler on the Roof, The Music Man and Street Scene. He trained with Antonio Fava at the Scuola Internazionale dell'Attore Comico in Reggio-Emilia, Italy in the tradition of commedia dell'arte while on sabbatical in the fall of 2006. His continued study of the commedia has prompted him to create Il Piccolo Teatro dell'Edera a traveling commedia production where he performs the characters of Dottore, Capitano, and Zanni. Next spring the department of theatre and dance will produce Carlo Goldoni's The Venetian Twins under Dr. Ivey's direction.
This last spring James was honored with the promotion to full professor of theatre at SUNY Fredonia. He wants to thank the theatre and dance faculty for their support through the years as well as the administration both past and present. James is eternally grateful to Emily for her support and tolerance of his continued celebration of a life in the theatre. Molto grazie!