Cal Pritner (1935–2014) was an educator, writer, administrator, and actor. He was chairperson of the Illinois State University Theatre Department and founding artistic director of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. He was elected as a fellow of the College of Fellows of American Theatre, and co-authored How to Speak Shakespeare with Louis Colaianni and Introduction to Play Analysis with Scott Walters.
Former students of his include Gary Cole, John Malkovich, Judith Ivey, Laurie Metcalf, William Peterson, Tom Irwin, Suzzanne Douglas, and Robert Townsend. Students from Pritner’s tenure as Illinois State’s theatre chair formed Chicago’s Tony Award-winning Steppenwolf Theatre.
This year’s Illinois Shakespeare Festival is dedicated to the memory of Pritner.
On July 11 a special event was held at University Galleries, “Cal Pritner: A Celebration of Life.” At that event, the College of Fine Arts inducted Pritner into the Hall of Fame as its first Ovation Award recipient. There was a brief presentation by Jean M.K. Miller, dean of the college, with Pritner’s children, Juliet and Christopher. The interactive Hall of Fame is located in the Center for the Performing Arts lobby at Illinois State University. Following the presentation various alumni and special guests talked about their memories of Pritner.
An endowment will be established in Pritner’s name for the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. Memorials may be made to the Illinois Shakespeare Society online through this link or by calling (309) 438-2294. Please add that the gift is in memory of Cal Pritner. If you have any questions, please contact Chrissy Brown at (309) 438-7735.