After spending the past two years as a dance instructor and choreographer at Cowley College, Cara Kem will transition into the role of interim theater director as the school prepares for the 2016-17 academic year.
Kem had an opportunity to spend the past two years working with previous theater director John Sefel.
“I was fortunate to work by John’s side,” Kem said.
“To fully understand the greatness that is John Sefel, you have to have experienced John. It is impossible for me to say enough kind words about his expertise, his commitment to excellence, and his love for this job.
“It was my goal to learn a great deal from him, and I did. We had different skills, which made us a wonderful, collaborative team. I hope to utilize all I learned from him while I continue to incorporate my own Broadway experiences to the school.”
Kem, an Oklahoma native, received her bachelor of science degree from the University of Central Oklahoma.
She started her professional career at 13 with Music Theatre of Wichita and Horsefeathers and Applesauce, before performing leading roles in many other regional theaters across the county.
Kem has been seen in multiple off-Broadway shows in New York City; has been involved in commercials, movies, television and voiceover work; and was in the Broadway first national tour of “Shrek.”
She spent two summers working under the direction of Ann Reinking at the Broadway Theater Project, where she studied with acclaimed professionals as Gwen Vernon, Gregory Hines and Stanley Donen, to name a few.
Kem is most proud of her work on the ground floor in the world premiere of “High School Musical,” where she created the role of Mrs. Wilson, the moderator, and originated the role of Cyndra, as well as many others.
She recently performed the role of Morticia in “The Addams Family” at the Kinzer Performing Arts Center in Oklahoma.
Outside of her work at Cowley, Kem teaches at the family business, Kem’s Gym and Inciardi School of Dance, in Ponca City, Okla.
She praised the work of previous Cowley College theater directors Scott MacLaughlin, Dejon Ewing and Sefel, and her goal is to continue their legacy while adding her own expertise.
John Rohr, who recently was hired as the school’s technical director of theater, said he was privileged to work with both MacLaughlin and Ewing.
“Together, we will bring the best of our ‘pioneers,’ along with our own professional achievements,” Kem said. “I know I have hard-working, talented students, and I am thrilled to create new theater experiences with them.”
Kem also is eager to begin working with the new director of vocal music, David Smith, on choosing a musical to perform.
“Being able to build upon what is already happening here at Cowley will only make us better,” she said.
Kem also hopes to create an interactive show in which students actively engage with the audience and must use improvisational skills.
“One of our goals at Cowley is to give the students the ability to perform in as many different types of theater experiences as possible,” she said.
Kem said she hopes to lay a foundation for the students to build upon as they navigate down their own paths.
“I couldn’t feel more humbled and proud to be given this prestigious role at Cowley College,” she said.
“It is a big job, and I know a lot of responsibility has been entrusted to me. Yet I know I have a support group that will help with this transition. Nothing incredible is created alone, and I am blessed to be surrounded with their backing.”
This information was provided by Cowley College Director of Institutional Communications and Public Relations Rama Peroo.