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Otterbein Remembers, Celebrates Fred Thayer

July 12, 2013

"Lots of experience, creativity and imagination."

"The ability to stretch, take chances and seek new ways of doing things."

Otterbein University retired professor Fred Thayer, one of central Ohio’s most respected theater designers, had all those qualities in abundance.

The Hilliard resident, who died Monday at 84 after a long illness, is being remembered and celebrated by his peers.

"Fred was an amazing guy who could do just about anything. They called him ‘Pop’ Thayer because he was like a father to everybody," Otterbein theater design professor Rob Johnson said. "He met with a lot of pressure, especially when Otterbein was a two-man department, but I never once saw him lose his temper."

John Stefano, an Otterbein theater professor and chairman of Otterbein’s theater and dance department, first collaborated with Thayer as respective director and designer on Otterbein’s 1993 production of the musical Big River. "Fred was wonderful to work with and had a great feeling for the essence of the musical and the flow of the story," Stefano said.

Thayer often received acclaim for his Otterbein designs, from the candle glow of his lighting for The Brothers Karamazov and the burnished sunsets and hazy sunrises of his lighting for Big River to the scenic design of his elegant cream-and-lavender hotel suite for Lend me a Tenor.

During more than three decades at Otterbein, Thayer designed almost 200 shows, including Cabaret, A Fool for Love, Jake’s Women, Hamlet, Heidi, Lend Me a Tenor, Man of La Mancha, Pack of Lies, Seasons Greetings and A Streetcar Named Desire.

Excerpts from The Columbus Dispatch article. Read the full article here.

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