As of the 2019-20-school term, Dr. Felicia Hardison Londré is now Curators’ Distinguished Professor Emerita, and as she says in her bio, “has scaled back from full-time teaching.” This issue of Theatre Training News is dedicated to Dr. Felicia Hardison Londré’s excellence, enthusiasm and extreme joy she has poured into not only the UMKC Theatre Division, but also the entire Kansas City theatrical community for over forty years. The 2018 UMKC Today article devoted to Dr. Londré named her “the jewel of UMKC Theatre” and no other title could be as apt.
Dr. Felicia Hardison Londré is beloved.
Dr. Londré was hired by Dr. Patricia McIlrath in the late 1970’s and not only taught classes, but also served as the resident dramaturg and literary manager for the Missouri Repertory Theatre for 22 years. Her scholarly prowess includes publishing over 60 scholarly articles, 25 journalistic publications, 100 book and theatre reviews, and 14 books. Her book, The Enchanted Years of the Stage: Kansas City at the Crossroads of American Theatre, 1870-1930, which won the George Freedley Memorial Book Award presented by the Theatre Library Association in 2008 is a love letter to theatre in Kansas City. And all theatre artisans know that Dr. Londré can be found at almost every opening night, showing her unwavering support for all those making a life in the Kansas City theatrical community.
Announcements of Dr. Londré’s lectures become the hottest ticket in town, whether be it her annual lecture on the Shakespeare authorship question, her Founder’s Day lecture about Dr. Patrica McIlrath forming the Missouri Repertory Theatre and UMKC theatre department (always accompied by Dr. Mac’s beloved Russell Stover’s chocolate), or nightly lectures in Southmoreland Park during The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival that she helped found in 1991.
Never one to rest in one place for very long, Dr. Londré is Co-convener with Kip Niven, organizing KC MOlière (400 in 2022), a city-wide celebration of Molière’s 400th birthday in 2022, bringing together professional and academic participation by all art forms.
In her introduction of Dr. Londré, Kansas City actress Dodie Brown said, “I have seen her in dialogue with her students and she INFUSES them with her energy and support for their achievements. What fortunate students.” Yes Dr. Londré: students, faculty, and theatre patrons have all been fortunate to be graced by your unwavering support and wisdom.