In Memory


Kip Catt

Deceased Classmate: Kip Catt
Date Deceased: June-30-2009
Age at Death: 59
Cause of Death: Heart Attack
Classmate City: Bronx
Classmate State: NY
Classmate Country: USA
Survived By: Olivia Catt, Chris' wife of more than thirty years, and to their son, Charles.

Many people submitted information about Kip's passing:

Submitted by Francine Donahue:

Advance remembers Chris Catt in this week's AWE Advance Weekly Entertainment section — Thursday, July 9, 2009 R.I.P. CHRISTOPHER CATT, 1950-2009 Staten Island’s theater community says goodbye to one of its major creative forces by LISA ANN WILLIAMSON Christopher Catt never wanted to be memorialized. For him, the celebration of life came when he laughed and in each theater student he encouraged, every show he directed, all the creative alliances he built and any artistic venture he pursued. Last week, Catt died of a heart attack, leaving those who knew him and his work in shock and already missing the force in local arts. Although he lived in the Bronx, the 59-year-old was a central part of Staten Island community theater. The doors of Wagner College’s Stage One theater were opened last Wednesday as news of Catt’s passing spread via phone calls and Facebook messages. About 70 people stopped in throughout the evening to console each other and reminisce about the high-energy creative force and champion of the underdog who was gone too soon. “This is a tragedy for the Staten Island performing arts community,” said Wayne Miller, artistic director for the Staten Island Shakespearean Theatre, whom Catt directed in 2006 as Nicely Nicely “Guys and Dolls.” “Everybody who knew Chris and worked with Chris had incredible respect for his abilities and talent.” Catt, a California native with his master’s degree in directing from UCLA, joined the performance faculty at Wagner College in 1995. As professor in the nationally lauded drama department, Catt taught movement, directing, film and prepared students for showcase performances. Over his career, he directed 175 plays and musicals. He worked professionally for 25 years in New York City and racked up numerous Off-Broadway credits. During his Wagner tenure, he served as department chair for six years and directed more than 20 Main Stage productions, including some of the program’s most acclaimed productions: “Jekyll and Hyde,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Tommy,” which he was slated to revive this fall. At Wagner, as with most of his creative projects, Catt saw talent that others overlooked, cultivated it, and offered opportunities for students who might not have had a shot. Kimberly Kaye, Class of 2005, was one such student. “I would not have made an appearance on Wagner’s stage if it weren’t for Chris,” said Kaye, who’s now a writer for “He had an amazing way of motivating people, not only by telling you that you were good enough, but motivating them to his level —which was pretty high.” Catt also brought Lauri Young to Wagner to teach musical theater history and performance. The pair worked on dozens of shows on campus and off. “He was my best buddy and collaborator,” said Young. “This was a man who ran the New York City marathon and did bungee jumping. We were partners in the theater, not only at Wagner but in the Staten Island community, where he cultivated an audience, supported the actor and gave talented people a place to work.” After nearly a decade of teaching, Catt took on another project in 2004 as artistic director of the Performing Arts Department of Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens. The inaugural PAD production was “Gifts of the Magi.” In it, Catt cast Ryan Kelly, an actress and former Miss Staten Island. “He always created a nurturing atmosphere to be creative and had a fantastic eye,” said the Carnegie-Mellon grad. “If I’m ever somewhere and I lose my footing, I think that Chris is in the house and I’m all right.” “Urinetown,” “Follies,” “Pippin” and “The Full Monty” were PAD audience favorites. Catt won “best director” in AWE’s 2008 Readers’ Poll for the thriller “Wait Until Dark” and the musical, “My Fair Lady.” Catt also fostered PAD’s staged reading series and the Snug Underground Festival. In all, he presented more than 30 shows before the department was cut because of budgets tightening last December. Since then, Catt helped form the Actor’s Harbor Theater in January. The fledgling troupe’s summer season opened last month with “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” and continues July 24 with “The Little Shop of Horrors.” “There never was a question of the show going on,” said Nicole Libby, who met Catt when she was a freshman at Wagner College in 1995. Catt had finished blocking the first act of “Little Shop,” and now Libby is doing her best to “channel” him to complete the show and open as scheduled. “We’re calling this Chris’s unfinished symphony,” said Libby, paying homage to her mentor. “While we’re shocked by his unexpected death, Chris died as he had lived, moving faster than anybody else in the room.” Actor’s Harbor Theatre is working on a tribute to take place next month. Wagner’s Drama Department expects to hold a campus memorial in the fall.

Submitted by Diane David Clark:

Dear Christopher (Kip) Catt died of an apparent heart attack on June 30th, 2009. He was an accomplished and successfull theatre director and college professor of drama and associated performing arts in New York. He is survived by wife Olivia and son Charles. Where to send condolences/respects TBD.

Here is a link to one of many articles about Kip passing. He did what he loved in life and truly excelled at it. Apparently he had a sudden heart attack. Much sadness that he is gone...for his family foremost, and all others that he worked with professionally and those that were blessed with his friendship over the years.

Submitted by Donna Shunkey:

sorry to say that i just found out that Kip passed away a few weeks ago from a heart attack. I was supposed to see him this October. Will miss him terribly.

Submitted by Margot Malone:

Just received a message Kipp Catt has passed away.

Submitted by Robert Clemmons:

Kip was an outstanding actor, director, and friend to us all. He will be missed

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10/27/09 04:57 PM #1    

Janet Kamens (Schwartz)

I learned of Kip's passing just a day or so afterwards and was struck speechless! He seemed always to be a whirlwind of activity and energy. Kip and I had exchanged a few messages in March and he was thrilled to be involved in presenting theater in Queens, New York, not far from the National Tennis Center and site of the 1964 World's Fair. I will always remember his wonderful performances in "Anne Frank" and "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown", among many others.
My brother Ed (WHS '70) share in our condolences to his family and friends.
Jan Kamens Schwartz, Vacaville, CA

11/25/09 12:41 AM #2    

Jose Calvera

I participated in Kipp's Jeses Christ Superstar performance at rio Hondo college in 1976 and just had a blast. Sorry I missed touch over the yearswith him and his lovely wife Olivia You will live in my memory and forever in our hearts.

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