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All of Chautauqua's esteemed scholars prepare for their roles by extensively researching their subject's personal and professional lives, as well as the times and environment in which they lived. Information is gleaned from biographies, newspapers, books, papers, journals, letters, radio and television news stories and secondhand accounts. These historians then deliver carefully prepared and rehearsed presentations dressed for the part (despite the heat), affecting the accents, traits and mannerisms of the historic figures they represent.

For complete details of the 2021 Chautauqua Program, click image at right to download a PDF version of the Companion Reader, complimentary to attendees of our performances and workshops.

Tues, June 7th
Gene Roddenberry

Gene Roddenberry was an American writer and television and film producer who created and served as executive producer of the popular science-fiction television series Star Trek (1966–69), which spawned other television series and a string of motion pictures.
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Presented by:
Dr. Doug Mishler

Since 1993 Doug has been nationally recognized for bringing “history to life.” In more than 800 first person presentations of over 24 historical figures, including Stonewall Jackson, Henry Ford, Pablo Picasso, Nikola Tesla, and Gene Roddenberry.

In the last four years he has been the founder and Managing Artistic Director of Restless Artists’ Theatre. Mishler has taught American Cultural history for over 20 years and like his idol T. R., Doug believes there's plenty of time to grow up and get a “real job”—but later! .

Weds, June 8th
Gertrude Bell

Gertrude Bell defied the expectations of a woman in Victorian England, becoming a world traveler, mountaineer, and archaeologist. Well versed in the lands and cultures of Mesopotamia, she worked for the British gov't during WWI. After the war, she was instrumental in the creation of the country we now know as Iraq.
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Presented by:
Karen Vuranch

Karen Vuranch teaches Theatre at Concord University in West Virginia. She has been a professional actor and Chautauqua scholar for over 30 years. Her Chautauqua characters include Grace O’Malley, Julia Child, Laura Ingles Wilder, Edith Wharton, and Gertrude Bell, archaeologist and Middle East expert.

Karen has received numerous honors for her work, including the Lifetime Achievement Award for the Arts from Tamarack, the premier state-sponsored cultural center in Beckley, West Virginia.

Thurs, June 9th
Marshall McLuhan

McLuhan was a Canadian communications theorist and educator, whose aphorism “the medium is the message” summarized his view of the influence of television, computers, and other electronic disseminators of information in shaping styles of thinking and thought.
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Presented by:
John Dennis Anderson

Dr. John Dennis Anderson, a native Texan living on Cape Cod, is a performance studies scholar and Professor Emeritus at Emerson College. He appeared at the Okla. Chautauqua twice as Henry James and William Faulkner, and as Washington Irving, Lynn Riggs, and Ernest Hemingway.

He received the Nat'l Communication Association’s Leslie Irene Coger Award for Distinguished Performance and Lilla Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interpretation and Performance Studies.

Fri, June 10th
Marie Curie

Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, in Physics, and with her later win, in Chemistry, she became the first person to claim Nobel honors twice. Her efforts with her husband Pierre led to the discovery of polonium and radium, and she championed the development of X-rays.
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Presented by:
Susan Marie Frontczak

Susan Marie Frontczak has developed six historical figures for Chautauqua. Marie Curie is the most widely traveled, with audiences to date in 34 of the United States and nine countries abroad to over 60,000 people. In dramatizing the life of Marie Skłodowska-Curie, Susan pays homage to their shared Polish heritage.

Susan Marie also authored the Young Chautauqua handbooks for Colorado Humanities and coaches Young Chautauquans throughout her home state of Colorado.


Sat, June 11th
Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright was an architect and writer, an abundantly creative master of American architecture. Wright believed in designing in harmony with humanity and the environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture. His “Prairie style” became the basis of 20th-century residential design in the US.
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Presented by:
Dr. Ted Kachal

Professor Kachel retired as Theatre Director at Tulsa Community College, then taught part-time until 2015 using his PhD in Religion from Columbia, a BA from Baylor and a MA from Iowa in Drama, and a M. Div. from Union Seminary (NYC). He has portrayed William Jennings Bryan, Sir Winston Churchill, William Shakespeare, Joseph M. W. Turner, H.G. Wells and Generals Robert. E. Lee and William T. Sherman for Chautauquas in Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Nebraska.