We say Illinois, Elizabeth DeVore says ... Krannert Center.
“I will never forget my first visit, when I arrived for my initial interview with Bruce Hoover in the stage management department,” says DeVore (MFA ’05, stage management). “I walked up the grand staircase to enter the magnificent lobby covered in the parquet teak wood floor and tried to imagine what it would be like to work in such a large facility.
“Coming from rural Iowa, there were more people working in the building than lived in my hometown,” recalls the Verizon Hall production manager at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.
“After my meeting with Bruce, where I professed my goal to get my MFA in stage management and return to London to work in the West End, I believed I would be returning as my heart knew it was my next life step. Bruce may have laughed in my face at my ambitious goal to return to the U.K., but he still accepted me into the program to see where this feisty farm girl would end up.
“While living in Urbana, I remained in town each summer to production stage manage the summer repertory theatre festival in the Studio Theater. Some of my fondest memories are from those summers, rehearsing in the day, performances in the evening and post changeover, partying all night into the wee hours of the morning.
“So many memories and lost memories, from the nights that were too much fun — especially the parties down the street at the DDTM house in 2003-04. Those are the years that will always be with me as some of the best days of my life with my best friends.
“I didn’t quite make it to London or New York, but decided on a different path, which included national tours. Another MFA stage management alum actually inspired me to pursue touring after her tour made a stop at KCPA. Carolyn Cubit-Tsutsui appeared as a guest speaker in our stage management class and totally sold me on touring stage management.
“My first job post-graduation in 2005 led me to Boston to stage manage a national truck and van tour of children’s theater for Chamber Theatre Productions. From there, I moved on to lead a regional educational tour for Boston Lyric Opera, which directly led to my position as the touring production manager for one of NPR’s most popular classical music radio shows, ‘FROM THE TOP’ and production coordinator for the 2008 PBS season of ‘Live with From the Top at Carnegie Hall.’
“With the world-class training I received at the University of Illinois and Krannert Center, I felt prepared to embark on the tours and lead a group of people to locations and venues that were new to me. Without a doubt, there is no way I would have been able to embark on the career I have established without the professional standards, routines and knowledge that I gained during my three years roaming the halls and dark recesses of the Krannert Center.
“A great benefit of touring is entering a venue and seeing a familiar face from my U of I days. I have worked with a couple of other alums over the years in a professional capacity and it never fails to be one of the best experiences to reconnect and reminisce.
“As 2018 comes to a close, I have decided to take a break from touring and am currently the production manager of Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. It’s a grand new adventure that takes me full circle to a place similar to the Krannert Center.
"I never would have made it to this level without the training from the University of Illinois and the fabulous stage management faculty of Bruce Hoover and Karen Quisenberry."