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Professor James Ivey to portray life of Justice William O. Douglas at Jackson Center
Friday, March 28, 2014

A staged reading of the play, “Mountain – The Journey of Justice Douglas,” will be presented Saturday, March 29 by Department of Theatre and Dance Professor James Ivey and seniors Lindsay Zimmerman and Steve Russell at the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown.

    James Ivey
    Lindsay Zimmerman
    Steve Russell

The event is slated 8 p.m. at the center located at 305 E. 4th St. Prior to the performance will be a reception for SUNY Fredonia alumni at 6 p.m. in the center’s banquet room.

Dr. Ivey joined the faculty of theatre and dance at SUNY Fredonia in the fall of 2000 as associate professor and chair of theatre. He performed at the Jackson Center once before in a one-man show depicting the life of attorney Clarence Darrow. Dr. Ivey has also 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, and for the last two seasons led the Acting Troupe at SUNY Fredonia’s Madrigal Feaste.

Dr. Ivey began his theatre studies at Illinois State University and completed his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas in 1978. After working professionally in Chicago, he completed a master's degree in Theatre History at the University of Illinois in 1980. He moved to the Dallas, Texas, area and worked in theatre and film before attending Texas Tech University for doctoral studies in performance theory and directing. Dr. Ivey moved to Abilene, Texas, upon completion of his Ph.D., where he was named head of the Department of Theatre at Hardin-Simmons University in 1991. He was also active in the Abilene community at the restored Paramount Theatre, performing in many productions there as well as serving on its board of directors as president.

Ms. Zimmerman, of Rochester, is a senior B.F.A. Musical Theatre major. She was last seen in “The School for Scandal” as Lady Sneerwell, the Fall 2013 One Act Play Festival, “The House of Yes” as Lesly and in “Guys and Dolls” as Sarah Brown. She also appeared in the 2013 SUNY Fredonia Commencement Eve Pops Concert with the Western New York Chamber Orchestra. In April, she will play The Courtezan in, “The Comedy of Errors,” to be presented on campus by the Performing Arts Company. After graduation, Lindsay plans to move to Orlando, Fla., to work for The Walt Disney Company in the corporate side of entertainment.

Mr. Russell, of Buffalo, will be graduating in the spring with a B.F.A. degree in Musical Theatre with a minor in Dance. While enrolled at Fredonia, he has performed in several Walter Gloor Mainstage Series shows, including “The School for Scandal” as Joseph Surface, “Stop the World – I Want to Get Off” as Littlechap, “Chicago” as the Dance Captain, “Stage Door” as Jimmy Devereaux, as Leaf in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” as Rolf in “The Sound of Music” and has been a member of the Fredonia Dance Ensemble for three years. He has worked professionally during his summers at Timbers Dinner Theatre and The Huron Playhouse, as well as in “Waiters,” a dance-theatre piece, at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House last spring. He is a trained actor/combatant in multiple disciplines, a trained trombonist and pianist, and worked as an accompanist in the Fredonia School of Music.

The play, by Douglas Scott, is an exploration and celebration of the life of William O. Douglas (1898-1980). Beginning and ending on the last day of his life, the play spans his 81 years: as Justice on the Supreme Court where he was defender of civil liberties, personal privacy and the wilderness, as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) fighting a corrupt Wall Street, professor at Yale, his four marriages, his mountain climbing and globetrotting through such lands as Iran and the Himalayas, and his childhood in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. The issues are as timely as the morning's headlines.

The action of the play occurs within the mind of a dying man. Playing against the other two actors, who enact a multitude of memories (e.g., FDR, Richard Nixon, Louis Brandeis, his own parents, wives and children), Douglas struggles to find the meaning of his life. The play ends with a passionate reaffirmation of the power of courage over fear, of the individual over the technological state.

Tickets for the staged reading are $10/person ($5.00/student or senior). The hors d’oeuvres reception prior to performance is complimentary for Fredonia alumni.

Alumni who wish to participate can send $10/person (check made payable to “Fredonia Alumni Association”) to Office of Alumni Affairs 286 Central Avenue Fredonia, NY 14063, no later than Monday, March 24. For more information, contact the Fredonia Office of Alumni Affairs at (716) 673-3553. Tickets for the general public are available at the Jackson Center.

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