This season, Illini Student Musicals will be remembering an University of Illinois great, Gary Gardner, who passed away peacefully of natural causes in his home on Saturday, June 15, 2013 at the age of 69.
Gary was born on March 24, 1944. He was raised in Danville, Illinois and later graduated from Danville High School. Gardner continued his education by earning a B.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois and, in between, an M.F.A. in playwriting at UCLA’s College of Fine Arts.
As a student at the University of Illinois, Gary directed a number of student run musical productions including The Music Man, featuring a breath-taking musical finale which incorporated the Champaign High School marching band. As a student at UCLA, he won the Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award for his play, “August and Ice Cream.” The play was produced in Los Angeles and garnered two Drama-Logue Awards.
Gary had an infectious personality who touched the lives of everyone he met. At UCLA, Gary was voted the #1 Professor, best known for his class, the History of the American Musical Theatre. At the University of Illinois Gary pushed the boundaries of success with every production he was a part of. Gary inspired thousands of students and pupils to joys of musical theatre.
Gary Gardner embodies the spirit of Student Musical Theatre,and it is for that reason that Illini Student Musicals is proud to present its 2013-2014 season in loving memory of Gary Gardner.