The Black & White

Christopher Gerken resigns after 12 years as Whitman Drama director

Students+rehearse+for+last+year%27s+One+Acts+plays.+Director+Christopher+Gerken+unexpectedly+quit+Jan.+9+after+12+years+with+Whitman+Drama.+Photo+by+Tomas+Casto.+
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Christopher Gerken resigns after 12 years as Whitman Drama director

Students rehearse for last year's One Acts plays. Director Christopher Gerken unexpectedly quit Jan. 9 after 12 years with Whitman Drama. Photo by Tomas Casto.

Students rehearse for last year's One Acts plays. Director Christopher Gerken unexpectedly quit Jan. 9 after 12 years with Whitman Drama. Photo by Tomas Casto.

Students rehearse for last year's One Acts plays. Director Christopher Gerken unexpectedly quit Jan. 9 after 12 years with Whitman Drama. Photo by Tomas Casto.

Students rehearse for last year's One Acts plays. Director Christopher Gerken unexpectedly quit Jan. 9 after 12 years with Whitman Drama. Photo by Tomas Casto.

By Jessica Buxbaum

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Christopher Gerken resigned abruptly as director of Whitman Drama Jan. 9 after 12 years with the program. Principal Alan Goodwin did not disclose a reason for Gerken’s resignation in his email to Drama Boosters, who wrote in a subsequent email to families that the Board “[did] not have any further information at this time.”

Darnell Morris, artistic director of Ovations Theater, was hired Jan. 11 to fill Gerken’s role in directing the winter play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, but Morris quit unexpectedly a day later.

Goodwin, vocal director Jeff Davidson, instrumental director Terry Alvey, technical director Travis Swiger and five Whitman Drama student leaders are continuing to look for candidates to direct the winter play and hope to have a replacement as soon as possible.

The group will consider arrangements for Talent Show and a permanent replacement for Gerken after the production of The Curious Incident.

In Gerken’s 12 years with Whitman Drama, he built what was a small program into an award-winning, regionally recognized company, stage manager Jennie Yu said. Despite the loss, staff members are optimistic in their ability to keep the program at its high caliber and are excited by the challenge it presents.

“The most important thing for Whitman Drama to remember and for the community to remember is that Whitman Drama will continue to be great even though Chris has left,” Yu said. “He was a driving force. He pushed us to perform at a level that we didn’t even know was possible, but now I feel like it’s on us to do that pushing for ourselves, and we are all accountable to each other now more than ever.”

Jennie Yu is an online copy editor for The Black & White.

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