Art Kopit

Acclaimed American playwright Arthur Kopit will be the commencement speaker at Colby College in Maine on Sunday, May 26. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. on the lawn in front of Miller Library and the public is invited. Kopit has been a finalist twice for the Pulitzer Prize in drama, and the musical Nine, for which he was the book author, won the 1982 Tony Award for best musical. He will address more than 460 members of Colby’s Class of 2002, their families, the faculty and guests. The title of Kopit’s address is “What Next?”

Gayle J. Pageau and Laura V. Yeamans will lead the procession of seniors as co-valedictorians and class marshals. Pageau of Northboro, Mass., is the daughter of Roger and Thelma Pageau and a chemistry major with a concentration in cell and molecular biology/biochemistry. Yeamans of Framingham, Mass., is the daughter of Bruce and Virginia Yeamans and an economics major with a concentration in financial markets.

Monty Hobson of Clayton, Mo., was elected senior class speaker. Hobson is an English major with a performing arts minor and has been involved with theater and improv performances at Colby.

Kopit’s timely and topical plays are known for their biting satire and bitter humor. Kopit was first regarded as a theatrical innovator in the 1960s for his parodies such as Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad and The Day the Whores Came Out to Play Tennis. Kopit is the author of Indians and Wings, both Tony Award nominees and Pultizer Prize finalists. He also has written scripts for several television miniseries. Kopit recently adapted the script of his information-age thriller BecauseHeCan into a screenplay. His current projects include Discovery of America, a play based on the journals of Spanish conquistador Cabeza de Vaca, and the musical Tom Swift and the Secrets of the Universe. In 2003 Nine will be revived in New York with actor Antonio Banderas in the lead role.

At Colby’s commencement honorary degrees will be presented to Kopit; Ana Castillo, Chicana poet, novelist and essayist; Elizabeth Farnsworth, senior correspondent for Public Broadcasting’s The News Hour; and Robert Gelbard, former U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia and to Indonesia and a member of the Colby Class of 1964. Tickets will be required if weather requires moving the program to the Alfond Athletic Center. The event will be webcast live at www.colby.edu/commencement.

Note: A digital photo of Arthur Kopit can be obtained from Alicia MacLeay (anmaclea@colby.edu or 207-872-3220) or by clicking on the image above to get a high resolution image to download. Visit the Colby commencement Web site for more commencement information.