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Emmy-nominated WMU grad returns for "Dracula"

Oct. 8, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University alumnus and Emmy-nominated Hollywood makeup and special effects artist Robert Maverick will tell you that he does everything "from glamour to gore, beauty to beast."

What he might not mention, is that he's so busy he no longer has time to watch for his name in the credits. He does, however, manage to squeeze in an occasional 4,000-mile roundtrip flight from Los Angeles to teach classes and work on WMU student productions.

Maverick, whose Hollywood credits include "Pirates of the Caribbean," "Star Trek," "Scream," "Face/Off," "The X-files" and "Desperate Housewives," returned to his roots this week for the University Theatre's upcoming production of "Dracula." He is teaching a weekend class in fantasy makeup, special effects and basic face casting, and working with students to design special effects makeup for their next show, which opens Thursday, Oct. 11.

As a theatre student at WMU, Maverick decided to try out a few different disciplines. He says it was his professors' good teaching that got him excited about makeup. Some years and an enviable career later, he returns to campus to give back to the school, to help students and to bolster the reputation of the WMU Department of Theatre.

"Western is where I got my start," Maverick says, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1982. "Without the education I got here, I wouldn't be where I am now."

Maverick admits he's having fun--more fun than he does at his regular job--and the students seem to be enjoying the special treatment. In addition to reaping the benefits of a now fully stocked supply closet--Maverick brought more than $5,000 worth of donated makeup, brushes and equipment with him to campus--they get to spend one-on-one time training with a WMU graduate who has worked with the some of the biggest stars in Hollywood and has been nominated for two primetime Emmy awards.

"I haven't taken a single makeup class, so Robert has been showing me where to start and giving me a sense of the basics," says this season's Dracula, Patrick Newton, who is a senior majoring in theatre performance at WMU. "It's been extremely valuable to have him here for this production."

Dr. Joan Herrington, chair of the WMU Department of Theatre, says the hands-on nature of the students' partnership with Maverick will broaden their understanding of the profession and deepen their familiarity with a unique art form.

"There are always tremendous benefits for students to work alongside a professional," Herrington says, "from modeling a professional work ethic to introducing cutting-edge artistry to passing on tricks of the trade.

"Maverick is not only talented, but extremely generous of spirit, so he provides an excellent role model for young artists."

Maverick, originally of Tecumseh, Mich., will be inducted into the WMU Department of Theatre Alumni Academy during a special University Theatre performance of "Dracula" Friday, Oct. 12, in Williams Theatre.

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Media contact: Tonya Hernandez, (269) 387-8400, tonya.hernandez@wmich.edu

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