Robin Bennett
(1948 - 2009)

Profile:
Robin Bennett
Nickname: Drama Mama

Birth:
Michigan
May 28, 1948

Passing:
North Carolina
November 10, 2009

Interests:
She wrote this: "I'm interested in the relationship between art and spiritual evolution, between how we imagine the world and how we ARE in the world, between our conditioning and our true selves--and how we can explore ALL that through art."
Memorial
🌷 Please share a story, a photo, sign the guest book or light a candle - use the tabs above or scroll down. If you have trouble, click the Contact Jenny link to the right.

Thanks for visiting Robin's memorial. We (Jenny & Jamie) made this site so that everyone who'd like to can have a place to come and light a candle, share a picture, leave a note for Mom. It's inspiring as always to note the thousands of people whose lives she touched.

The site won't spam you or cost you anything - we bought the page for everyone to use forever, so don't worry.

Click the VIDEOS tab above to get links to clips from the memorial service. There are 16 parts, but once you go to a link, you'll be able to reach the others.

Robin Bennett Theater Scholarship
Jones College Prep
Friends of Jones
Theater Scholarship
606 S. State Street
Chicago, IL 60605

The memorial service for our mom, Robin Bennett was held on Monday, December 14th 2009 at 5:00 PM in the auditorium at Jones College Prep, 606 S. State Street, Chicago, IL. It was terrific, thanks to the JCP staff, students and parents who made it flow, the guest speakers, including Ted Oppenheimer, Willa Taylor of the Goodman Theater, Mom's former students Gary Anthony Williams ('Boston Legal' and more), Andrew Utter (MOI Acting School in SF, LA), and all the wonderful students of JCP, who demonstrated their commitment, skill and savvy and made Mom proud.

ROBIN BENNETT comes from a family background of theater and education, starting with her grandmother, and extending to her two children, who are both professional actors. Trained at Carnegie-Mellon University and Northwestern University, where she received a Masters degree in theatre, and at Michigan State Univesity where she received a Bachelor's Degree in education and English, Ms. Bennett has spent her life combining these disciplines. She has taught at both the secondary and college levels, and has engaged in a lifetime of professional theater activities.

Ms. Bennett completed her Masters of Fine Arts degree at Roosevelt University. At Roosevelt, she also taught voice, movement and acting, as well as several courses for the College of Education. She formed her own theatre/education company with Rebecca Bloomfield in 1995: Bright Star Learning Co-operative, which toured original, history-based plays to schools and universities, and provided workshops for teachers in performance learning and assessment.

In 1998, she joined the faculty of JCP, as Arts and Curriculum Coordinator and Theater Director. She is presently Chair of the Performing Arts Department and Theatre Director. She also occasionaly teaches World Studies, and uses her love of history to focus JCP's theatre productions, aligning them with our school mission for social justice.

A performer, director, writer and teacher, her professional background includes work at the Goodman Theatre, Wisdom Bridge, Elmhurst College, Georgetown University, the Academy Theatre, the Georgia Governor's Honors Program, Will-O-Way Apprentice and Repertory Theatre, as well as award-winning secondary school theatre programs in Michigan, at Fayette County High School in Fayetteville, Georgia, and West Potomac High School in Alexandria, Virginia.

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)from Roosevelt University (1994)
Master of Arts (MA) from Northwestern University (1982)
B.A. in English/Education (minor in Sociology) from Michigan State University (1975)
Attended Carnegie-Mellon University in Theatre, Oakland University in History (1966-69)


Guest Book Wall (What is this?)

Hover your mouse over the wall images to see each guest book entry.

Guest Book (43 entries)
It's ten Mother's Day/ your Birthday Month years since I celebrated those with you here. I love you.

This Mother's Day week, I have seen, coached, and read an unusual lot of plays that I would really love to talk with my mother about. From that very alive Oklahoma, to a play by Bruce Norris (who she went to grad school with and loved), to a neato Eurydice, to a brilliant Fences (the 2nd I've seen live, the first one being the original on Broadway on one of Mom's crazy, intense, awesome take-Georgia-teenagers to NYC spring break adventures-- at that one, she sent a note backstage to James Earl Jones that she had a dozen teenagers who'd love to meet him briefly at the stage door, and that sweet giant heart of a man invited all of us to sit with him in his dressing room for a good, long discussion of the play, focusing our questions and asking his own-- something that Hassan also did at Friday's talkback, one of many gorgeous reasons I'm so glad this was the next live Fences I saw).

Point is, with no intentional design on my part, Mom has been popping up everywhere with me this week, ten years since the last Mother's Day that I could call her. That call would inevitably become a two-hour chat about everything-- plays, her kids, plays, work, family, poetry, politics, plays, friends, dummies who hurt us, yes mom that's really my cat I didn't have a surprise baby that's crying, yes I love pj's music too, oh good I'm glad you got to talk with Jamie, how great you had tea with Heidi, saw Dee, wrote Rosemary, laughed with Tyne, you would love this play I saw no I don't want to spoil it okay here's a blow by blow, you're right that's a great idea for framing that play with your kids, oh that post-its idea for taking notes in the book for your kids is brilliant, aw that's a great story I see why you're so proud of EricaJeremyTeresaCharlieJesseGerronEmilyGaryAndrewLaurenAllofem, and gahhhh you sprained your ankle why are you climbing ladders, Ma, MA!, I said why are you climbing ladders?

How I'd love to call her today!

Instead, I peeped her memorial website and read the whole thing (I'll link it in the comments). What a wonderful gift to read all the memories of her badass, inspiring, pushy, loving, inspiring, inspired time and impact on so many wonderful humans. I'm really grateful.

And Mom, I miss you and love you and I wish you were here to process the world with (though I'm also very glad you didn't have to go through earthly events since Nov 2016, for sure) and I'm glad you're often on my shoulder when I see a play and how I wish wish wish any of your Adolphe Bertauts had knelt at your feet with a perfect melon.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. Have a great whoosh around the universe.
Jenny Bennett (Daughter)
May 19th, 2019
My older brother, Patrick, was in Robin's Theater program (Fayette County High School) in the late 70's, and probably kept him more grounded than he might have otherwise been. He enjoyed great success under her tutelage, and was awarded a venture to Governor's Honors after his junior year.

It always looked like great fun to me, and when they needed some younger kids for a play (I forget the show, seems like it was Summer Stock), I was cast as one of the two boys that would run on stage for shenanigans/fighting! This wasn't just a cakewalk, gratuitous role - she was hard on us, downright mean, to ensure we played the part correctly, albeit only a few seconds of stage time!

We moved back to Texas as I entered High School, and I was one of a handful of charter members of the Thespian Troop at Allen High School, as a freshman. By the time I was a junior, we were rocking state competition in One Act Play.

I moved back to Fayetteville for my Senior Year of High School. I simply wanted to be a Senior, not be involved, have no responsibilities, and ride the tide of Senior-itis. Robin had other notions.

I took her acting class, as a schedule filler. Cocky Senior with years of acting experience! I remember her criticism of my "acting face"...here comes some acting. Stuck with me.

When one of the performers in the competition play encountered some technical issues (not living in the district?), she drafted me as a replacement. It was about two weeks before competition, and the play was an adaptation of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass - adapted by the students into a musical - heavy stuff! The theater program from whence I came was decidedly non-musical, so this was all new territory to me. When I didn't have the script memorized by the second rehearsal, she made me hop on one leg, rotating, tap my temple with my pointer finger, while reciting the lines repeatedly! Sticks with me.

We took that musical to State Competition, and we also took it to Robin's church - Unitarian, or Church of Unity (feeble memory). That was an eye-opener! Fayetteville, Georgia was so Bible Belt that even the Catholics were Baptist, and this church embraced secular documents in their services. Hence, our performance of Whitman's writings. That was Robin - irrespective of the expectations of her community, she adamantly challenged the status quo, and broadened the scope of those open the the challenge!

I helped out during my college summers, running sound, etc. Earned a degree in Theatre Arts (Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas), and worked in the film and theater industry for 25 years, mostly in scenery and props.

Because Robin introduced me to the Theater at such an early age, the mystique never intimidated me, and I worked with some legendary folks during that time. So happy to see my buddy Gary Williams has become the star he deserves to be.

Although I have recently changed my career path, it's reassuring to know that I can drop into a local production if the itch strikes me.

Thank you, Robin, for your inclusion of a rowdy kid, and a surly teenager, and challenging me into places I did not want to go. My time with you was short, but very memorable.

Timothy McGarity
Fayette County High School, Class of '83
(Last county-wide graduating Class)
Facebook: Duke MacBoagin
Timothy McGarity (student)
August 14th, 2016
Dearest Robin,

It continues to amaze me how often you come to mind even 35 years after I was in your classes. Having two children who have both pursued the arts; a daughter, Emma, who loves the technical side of theatre ~ she started as a general crew member, painting sets, being a gopher, fell in love with lighting and design, ran a mean light board at a school with no actual drama program, and is now a Sophomore at Syracuse who has fallen in love with scenic, did an exhausting and exhilarating internship at WTF and adores the world of Ming Cho Lee and a son, Charlie, who is a HS Freshman at a performing arts magnet school with a major in vocal arts and minor in drama, they often laugh that they'll both end up on Broadway, but Emma will be the one who can support them both, I realize how often your lessons come up in conversations. Your influence lives on; the drive for excellence, working through fatigue and frustration, striving to stretch way outside your comfort zone, and having the courage to create something no one has ever done before all have been passed on from you, through me, and on to my children. It shows in what they do.

Being sentimental about the life experiences which mattered to me, I saved more of my materials from drama at FCHS than any other subject; the warm up routine including songs from Pippin, A Chorus Line, and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the original Where Am I Going? Who Should I Be? script, dance numbers from In the Beginning, my final exam project complete with set, prop, costume, and lighting designs for Come Back Little Sheba (I still smile at the A grade I earned from you - you didn't pull punches in grading mediocre work and, for that, I am thankful.)

Because of my children and so many other reasons, I think of you often. My kids know your name and how you demanded and expected the absolute best of your students. They know it is possible to achieve the 'impossible' and I thank you for teaching that lesson so early in my life.

You are loved and deeply missed. And remembered, most importantly, you and your work are remembered. Thank you for that, Ms. Bennett, Robin, dear teacher of my youth.

All my very best,

Marykay Mentzer
FCHS Class of 1982
Marykay Mentzer (Student and life-long adm)
October 6th, 2015
I went to see the new musical of Dr Zhivago for Mother's Day - it was their closing, just like last year when I went to see Bridges of Madison County for you on Mother's Day - also their closing! Both were rather lovely (especially Bridges), both too something not enough something else to last on Broadway as long as the investment of time, creative capital and money would have liked. I miss you.
Jenny B (daughter)
May 11th, 2015
In 1977 during the class "Scene Studies from Musicals" Robin introduced me to the music of "Pippin". I fell in love and have wanted to see that show ever since. Every time there was an opportunity, life got in the way, until now. My tickets are for this Thursday and I just realized that this is Teachers Appreciation Week. How appropriate that all these years later Robin's lessons continue! :)
Laura Hume Higgins (student)
May 4th, 2015
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Candles

"Amazing people enter your life for a moment but make a profound difference. I think of you, Ms. Bennett, and your lessons whenever I’m complemented on my courtroom presence. “Oh splendor of sunburst breaking forth this day...” Thankful I knew "
Andrew Stephens
October 31st, 2019
"Amazing people enter your life for a moment but make a profound difference. I think of you, Ms. Bennett, and your lessons whenever I’m complemented on my courtroom presence. “Oh splendor of sunburst breaking forth this day...” Thankful I knew "
Andrew Stephens
October 31st, 2019
"I don't know why I didn't know about this, but now I do. I miss you so much and feel cheated that we didn't get to grow old together. But, I feel strongly that you are some where doing wonderful things."
Mary Dee Rooney
March 21st, 2017
"I think of you when I see my children's plays; they know of you and your influence on me. My son loves the stage, a baritone angel. My daughter is fearless, a skilled scenic designer. In telling them about you, your influence lives on, Robin. <3"
Marykay Mentzer
August 12th, 2016
"Hi Robin! Memories of good times and new adventures at FCHS in the late 70's. Haven't stayed in touch, but never forgot. Best teacher EVER! New York visit, In White America, Man of LaMancha,The Fantasticks! So many people you taught life. Love you!"
Patrick McGarity
August 12th, 2016
"Oh Robin! How many times I have shared stories of you and all your wisdom about life, love and heartache in the theatre with my own daughters! Thank you for saving my life and sheltering me through many storms in and out of FCHS. I love you!"
Jodi Miller
June 12th, 2016
"Hi, Mom. Five years after you had to go, you've got two Granimals up there to canoodle with. Copper left a few weeks ago (poor J&M were gutted), and our sweet Skeeter departed just five days ago (we're heartbroken). Now they can snuggle with you."
Jenny Skeeterlover
November 10th, 2014
"I'm living only a block away from where "Raisin in the Sun" was set. You would get such a kick out of that, and my journey. Miss you every day."
Rachel Tingley
October 7th, 2014
"Honoring you on your birthday. Memories of roses, cookies, & the Russian Tea House. Love & Hugs. H"
Heidi Ash
May 28th, 2014
"Thinking of you on your special day. Roses, hugs, and cookies."
Heidi Ash
May 28th, 2013

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