Inge Blog


The Prompter Newsletter--Inge Center News


Read The Prompter newsletters for all information about the activities of our Inge Family of artists and upcoming events at the Inge Center and Independence Community College Theatre and Fine Arts program.





Issue 3


Issue 2


Issue 1


Inge Center Artistic Director Named 

Karen Carpenter joins the William Inge Center for the Arts as the new Artistic Director, after filling the Interim Director role since September, 2014. She is a celebrated creative both in and out of the theatre, where she has served a U.S. President, worked for non-profit organizations, and taught in universities across the country.

She joins ICC having taught, directed, and produced for 30 years, creating theatre and large-scale events to enormous success. Karen’s greatest directing success came from her direction of Love Loss and What I Wore, scripted by Nora and Delia Ephron, and produced by Daryl Roth. Her production has been celebrated with a record 1,013 performances in New York, met critical acclaim, and won the Drama Desk Award for Best Unique Theatrical Experience.

In 2010, Boston University’s School of Theatre Arts established The Karen Carpenter Award for Excellence in Theatre Arts. It is awarded to a graduating student who has shown exceptional merit. The honor her alma mater bestowed speaks of her own merit.

Earlier in her career, Karen took the post as Associate Artistic Director for the renowned Old Globe Theater, where she had worked alongside some of the most illustrious actors, composers, directors, and playwrights of the stage. She taught for several years at the Yale School of Drama, and has since taught master theater courses in universities across the country. She has worked as project coordinator for President Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative, which looks for creative solutions to the world’s issues. And she has been involved in numerous non-profit campaigns, including: UN/World Health Organization campaign “Deliver Now for Women and Children”, Friends of the United Nation campaign “The Big Push”, and the Million Women’s Heart Project “Take Heart”.

Karen has previous experience working for the Inge Center, having previously guest directed for the Inge Festival, and curated previously unseen short works by William Inge later entitled Inge: Complex. She has since served on the William Inge Festival Foundation Board of Trustees.

Please join ICC in welcoming Karen Carpenter as its William Inge Center for the Arts Artistic Director.


Inge Center lands prestigious $50,000 NEA grant 

David Henry Hwang speaking at the 2012 Inge Festival TributeThe William Inge Center for the Arts at Independence Community College (ICC) has landed a prestigious award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) of $50,000.

The grant will support the annual William Inge Theatre Festival--the Official Theatre Festival of the State of Kansas, which is in its 32nd year of honoring great contemporary playwrights.

“We are excited that the national theatre community acknowledges both the uniqueness of the Inge Center and the incredible contribution of William Inge to the nation’s literary heritage, in addition to the American theater,” said Peter Ellenstein, Inge Center artistic director.

“The NEA funding supports exciting additional new programming for the 2013 Inge Festival celebrating William Inge’s 100th birthday,” he said.

“The NEA award illustrates that outstanding programs at ICC enable the college to successfully compete with some of America’s most respected and largest institutions,” said college president Daniel Barwick.

The NEA awarded ArtsWorks grant to 150 recipients in the category of Theater and Musical Theatre nationwide.

The grant is also the largest to any Kansas organization in any arts category this round.  The other Kansas recipients are the University of Kansas Spencer Museum of Art ($35,000), and the Lawrence Arts Center ($20,000).

"I'm proud to announce these 832 grants in 13 artistic disciplines to the American public, including the William Inge Theatre Festival in Independence," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. "These projects offer extraordinary examples of creativity in our country, including the creation of new work, innovative ways of engaging audiences, and exemplary education programs."

The NEA received a total of 1,509 eligible applications for Art Works, and 832 were recommended for NEA grants totaling $22.3 million.  Applications were reviewed by panels of outside experts convened by NEA staff and each project was judged on its artistic excellence and artistic merit.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, visit the NEA website at

The William Inge Center for the Arts is hosted by Independence Community College, which is a major funder.  Further funders include the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes that a great nation deserves great art,

The Inge Center is best known as sponsor of the annual William Inge Theatre Festival, the Official Theatre Festival of the State of Kansas.  The 32nd Annual Inge Festival takes place May 1-4, 2013, and celebrates the legacy of William Inge his 100th date of birth. The Inge Center has helped developed hundreds of new plays by professionals, students and community members over the last decade.

The Inge Center is named for the late William Inge.  He was a native of Independence, and a graduate of Independence Community College.  He was an acclaimed writer and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in drama for his drama “Picnic” and an Oscar for best screenplay for “Splendor in the Grass.”

For more information, call (620) 332-5492, or visit


Tony Award-winning Huffman, Judge from Iron Chef America at Inge Center 

The Wonderful Cady Huffman, equally familiar to discerning Broadway audiences as well as television viewers of reality cooking shows, joins a cast of local guest artists in readings of both a new play and a new musical on Sat. Nov. 3 at the William Inge Center for the Arts at Independence Community College. 

Huffman played “Ulla” in the Broadway hit “The Producers,” a scintillating, sexy and hysterical performance for which she won the 2001 Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle award.  She thrilled audiences in her Tony-nominated role in “The Will Rogers Follies,” and also appeared on Broadway in “La Cage Aux Folles,” “Steel Pier,” “Dame Edna: The Royal Tour” and Bob Fosse’s “Big Deal.”

Cady is best known by TV audiences for her role on the HBO comedy, “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” as well as being a regular judge on “Iron Chef America” for each of its 9 seasons. Other TV includes: “Frasier,” various “Law and Order” series, “Mad About You,” as well as “One Life To Live.”

On the big screen Cady is currently appearing in John Wells' “The Company Men.”  Other films include John Turturro’s musical film “Romance & Cigarettes", "Hero” (with Dustin Hoffman, Geena Davis and Andy Garcia), and starring roles in various indie films.

She also produced and stars in “Sunday on the Rocks” which won second place Feature at the New Haven Film Festival.

The 2 p.m. reading is titled “My Base and Scurvy Heart,” an adult musical comedy by Adam Szymkowicz, Dan Moses Shreier and Matt Sherwin, where Huffman plays a saucy, and sexually-confused, pirate captain.  It is directed by Inge Center Artistic Director, Peter Ellenstein.  Huffman then portrays “Ma” in the 7 p.m. reading of “The Benders,” by Anne Phelan, is a dark western comedy based on the notorious serial killers of rural Kansas, it is directed by Tamara Fisch. The public is invited to join the play development process, providing valuable feedback to the creators in post-show discussions with the creative teams and actors.

While in Independence, Huffman, along with members of her cast, will share their performing and show business expertise with ICC and high school drama students from Independence High School as well as other regional High School thespians.

Nellie McKay, professional singer/songwriter/actress and Broadway actor/singer/recording artist Sean McDermott will also perform in both plays.  They are joined by Tulsa-based actor Joseph Gomez and Kansas City-based actor Forrest Attaway.

Area actors in the readings include Lisa Paige and former Independence resident Hannah Joyce-Hoven.  Paige appears in “My Base and Scurvy Heart” and Joyce-Hoven performs in both plays.  Independence Community College students Jonathan Clothier and Angel Woodard join the cast.

“The Benders” is a drama suggested as PG-13 for teens and up.  “My Base and Scurvy Heart” is a musical comedy, but contains adult themes and language and would be rated “R.”  Admission is free to both performances.

This program is presented in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.”

Additional supporter include the William Inge Festival Foundation, Independence Chamber of Commerce, and Independence Community College.


Sex, Songs and Swashbuckling featured in reading of a new Musical at the Inge Center

A sexy and swashbuckling adult musical-in-progress is set for the coming professional play development workshop at The William Inge Center for the Arts Playwrights-in-Residence program at Independence Community College.

Saturday Nov. 3 at 2 p.m. is the public reading of “My Base and Scurvy Heart,” by Adam Szymkowicz.

Szymkowicz’ piece follows the adventures of Pirate Queen seeking love and treasure and finding laughter, adventure and strange turns of the heart all along the way.  The reading takes place at the William Inge Theatre and admission is free.  Szymkowicz wrote the book for the musical and will be joined by his collaborators Matt Sherwin (lyrics) and Dan Moses Schreier (music).

A cast of professional artists across the nation and regionally will undergo an intensive week of rehearsals, experiments, and rewrites, culminating in the public performance.

The evening concludes at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 with a full concert reading of Anne Phelan’s new script, “The Benders.”

Adam Szymkowicz’s plays have been produced throughout the U.S., and in Canada, England, The Netherlands, Germany and Lithuania.   His work has been presented or developed at such places as MCC Theater, South Coast Rep, Playwrights Horizons, LAByrinth Theater Company, Primary Stages, The New Group, Southern Rep, and The Lark, among others.  His plays are published by Dramatists Play Service and Samuel French.

Adam received a Playwright’s Diploma from The Juilliard School's Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program and an MFA from Columbia University, where he was the Dean’s Fellow. Szymkowicz is a two-time Lecomte du Nouy Prize winner, a member of the Dramatists Guild, Writer’s Guild of America, Primary Stages’ Dorothy Strelsin New American Writer’s Group, the MCC Playwright’s Coalition and was a founding member of the Ars Nova Play Group.  He previously served as Playwright in Residence at the William Inge Center, and received a grant from the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism. For more, go to

“My Base and Scurvy Heart” is a musical comedy for adults, with strong language.  “The Benders,” a drama based on the infamous 19th century family who were serial killers, is suggested for audiences of teens and older.

The goal of the Inge House Playwrights-in-Residence program is to advance the creation of new dramatic literature for the future of American theater, by supporting exceptional playwrights.

In the ten years of its existence, the 44 separate playwright residencies have already generated a treasure trove of engrossing contemporary plays.

The playwrights will be joined by a remarkable creative team of directors and actors, who will offer the playwrights their expertise throughout the development process.  They will share their talent at workshops with ICC and area high school theatre students.

The William Inge Center for the Arts is best known as sponsor of the annual William Inge Theatre Festival, which is the Official Theatre Festival of the State of Kansas.  The 31st annual Inge Festival takes place May 1-4, 2013, honoring the legacy of William Inge on the anniversary of his 100th birthday.  Visit for more information.

This program is presented in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes a great nation deserves great art.

Further major supporters of the William Inge Center for the Arts include the Independence Chamber of Commerce, the William Inge Festival Foundation and Independence Community College.