Tom Roland, Chicago- Area Director, Dead at 79

Obituaries   Tom Roland, Chicago- Area Director, Dead at 79
Philip Thomas "Tom" Roland, an actor, director and educator who worked in the Chicago area and beyond, died Sept. 26 at Manor Care in Highland Park, IL, friends and colleagues reported.

Mr. Roland, 79, performed annually in the famous Waa-Mu revue at Northwestern University while earning his bachelor's degree from the school of communication. After receiving his MA from Bowling Green University and MFA from Catholic University of America, he ran the theatre department at Manchester College for 14 years, before returning to Northwestern to serve on the theatre faculty. In that capacity, he was the successor to Joe Miller, the first director of the Waa-Mu Show, and he directed the show from 1976-1993.

He was also named director of special events for Northwestern.

For 28 seasons he was artistic director of Wagon Wheel Theatre, a summer playhouse in Warsaw, IN, working with countless theatre artists.

As a performer, he appeared with several Chicago companies, including the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Marriott Lincolnshire, Briar Street, Second City, Victory Gardens, Steppenwolf, Goodman and the Candlelight and Forum Theatres. He understudied Pat Hingle as Ben Franklin in the 1997 Broadway revival of 1776, and was an understudy in New Faces of 1956 on Broadway.

Mr. Roland was cremated, and his ashes will be placed in the family grave in Richmond, IN. He requested that there be no memorial services. Memorials may be made to The Tom Roland Waa-Mu Scholarship Fund, Attn: Barbara Butts, Northwestern University Theatre Department, 1949 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208.

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