Bits 'n' Pieces: A final bow for theater professor

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photoDan Anderson

The Clark College Theatre Program’s current production, “Eastern Standard,” marks the end of an era. This will be the last show produced by program director Dan Anderson.

After 33 years and more than 140 shows, Anderson retires in June. The program he leaves behind is nothing like the landscape when he came on board in 1978.

Anderson was hired to rebuild the Theatre Program, which previously had been shut down. He had to start from scratch, with no facilities, equipment or costumes.

The first shows Clark put on under his leadership were “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Black Comedy,” and the school has done between four and six productions a year ever since.

One of Anderson’s favorites was a 1989 production of Neil Simon’s “Brighton Beach Memoirs.”

“It was a show that really came together and was a nice artistic accomplishment for everyone involved and a real audience pleaser,” said Anderson, 64, a Vancouver resident.

The musical “42nd Street” was another highlight for Anderson. He produced the show and acted in it, which necessitated learning to tap dance.

Anderson is also particularly proud of creating the Clark College Children’s Theatre Program, where college students put on shows at local elementary schools.

Anderson’s biggest disappointment about his time at Clark is that the community college does not yet have a performing arts center. It’s something he hopes to see happen in the future.

Anderson said he may continue to teach drama and speech on a part-time basis after he officially retires, but he also looks forward to auditioning for voice-over work, traveling, gardening and spending time with his granddaughter.

Vancouver musician singled out by group

When choosing May’s Musician of the Month, the Jazz Society of Oregon looked across the river to Vancouver and tapped pianist Weber Iago.

Iago is featured in this month’s issue of the society’s magazine, Jazzscene. A native of Brazil, Iago moved to California in 1987, and to Vancouver about two years ago.

He has been playing the piano for 42 years, and was nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2009 for “Live at Caramoor,” a CD he recorded with fellow Brazilian pianist Jovino Santos Neto.

Iago plays classical, jazz and Brazilian music. He’s also a composer. He and his new group, the Weber Iago Chamber Jazz Ensemble Featuring David Valdez, recently performed one of his compositions, “The Nest,” on the KMHD 89.1 FM radio program “Bright Moments.”

Iago, 49, has several performances in the coming months. He and his ensemble were scheduled to play at the Silverton Wine & Jazz Festival in Silverton, Ore., on May 14. They’ll perform at Jazz at Newport on the Oregon Coast this fall.

Iago performed at the Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival last year, but his music takes him all over the country. He also performs internationally, in countries including Belgium, Japan, France and Italy.

“My music takes me all over the world, and quite frequently,” he said.

Bits ’n’ Pieces appears Mondays and Fridays. If you have a story you’d like to share, call Courtney Sherwood 360-735-4561, or e-mail features@columbian.com.