Eric van Baars to Retire as Director of the School of Theatre and Dance
After 20 years as a faculty member and eight years as director of the School of Theatre and Dance, Eric van Baars will retire from Kent State University this summer.
An alumnus of Kent State University's M.F.A. in Acting program, Eric van Baars joined the School of Theatre and Dance faculty in 2003 and was named director in 2014. Additionally, Eric has served as a member of Porthouse Theatre's artistic staff since 2005, first as assistant artistic director and since 2014 as executive producer.
Eric's impact on the students, faculty, and staff within the School of Theatre and Dance and in the Kent State community is immeasurable. An accomplished educator, actor, director, and choreographer, Eric is a longtime member of Actors' Equity Association and the Society of Directors and Choreographers. At Kent State, Eric has taught movement, musical theatre and acting and directed the New York Musical Theatre Showcase and more than 16 productions including Freaky Friday, Into the Woods, She Stoops to Conquer, Ragtime, Oklahoma, The Diviners, Lysistrata, Big Love, Honk!, The Wild Party, and A New Brain.
As Executive Producer of Porthouse Theatre he has directed BKLYN the Musical, Tintypes, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Sister Act, Fiddler on the Roof, Pump Boys and Dinettes and Dames at Sea and choreographed Once On This Island, Big River, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and The Fantasticks. On the Porthouse stage, he has appeared in Oliver (Fagin), Chicago (Billy Flynn), Damn Yankees (Applegate), The Music Man (Harold Hill), The Odd Couple (Felix), Anything Goes (Lord Evelyn), Sweet Charity (Oscar), Jesus Christ Superstar (Herod), Guys and Dolls (Benny), and many more.
Outside of Kent State, Eric’s work has been seen at MAC Theatre of Busan, Korea, St. Louis Rep, Connecticut Rep, Berea Summer Theatre, Halle Theater, Weathervane Playhouse and Cain Park. His performance credits include Walnut Street Theatre, GEVA, Theatre Virginia, Radio City Music Hall, St. Louis Rep, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Cherry County Playhouse and Cincinnati Playhouse, as well as National and International tours. In 2010, he was commissioned as the Roe Green visiting guest artist for the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 2014, Eric served as guest faculty for Dongseo University in Busan, South Korea, where he directed the Korean premier of Children of Eden.