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Luke Yankee

Luke Yankee

Luke Yankee has an extensive career in theatre, having directed, produced, taught, lectured, and acted across the United States and internationally. He has led two regional theatres, serving as the Producing Artistic Director of the Long Beach Civic Light Opera, one of America's largest musical theatres, and the Struthers Library Theatre, a historic landmark in northwestern Pennsylvania.

As a guest lecturer, Luke created "E.H. On Film: An Eileen Heckart Retrospective", a video and lecture discussion that he presented with Ms. Heckart on the ms Crystal Symphony, the ms Rotterdam, the ms Nieu Amsterdam, at the William Inge Theatre Festival, and various other venues throughout the US. He also developed a similar program with Barbara Eden, titled "Barbara Eden: Still Dreaming", which they presented on the ms Crystal Symphony.

Off-Broadway, Luke directed the political comedy, "High Infidelity" with John Davidson and Morgan Fairchild at the Promenade Theatre and Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard" at the York Theatre with Penny Fuller and Cynthia Nixon. On Broadway, he worked as an assistant director on the musical "Grind" starring Ben Vereen (under Harold Prince), "The Circle" with Rex Harrision and Glynis Johns, "Light Up the Sky" with Peter Falk, and New York City Opera's "Brigadoon" with Tony Roberts.

In the realm of special events, Luke has worked with renowned figures such as Quincy Jones, Stephen Sondheim, Alec Baldwin, Lily Tomlin, Annette Bening, Neil Simon, Barry Manilow, Debbie Allen, Dick Clark, Bill Pullman, John Guare, Roma Downey, Patti Austin, August Wilson, Alfre Woodard, and Betty White in theatres ranging from Radio City Music Hall to The Shubert Theatre in Los Angeles.

Currently, Luke heads the playwriting department at California State University Fullerton and serves as an adjunct faculty member at Chapman University. He has taught and guest-directed extensively at colleges, universities, and conservatories throughout the US and abroad. His teaching tenure includes five years at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Northwestern, Ohio State, AMDA, Denison, University of New Mexico, the Folkwang Hochschule (in Essen, Germany), and three years on the faculty of Columbia College-Hollywood. For twenty years, he was a panelist and guest instructor at the William Inge Theatre Festival, where he performed with Marybeth Hurt, Holland Taylor, and George Grizzard. He also served on their Advisory Board.

Luke is the son of the late actress Eileen Heckart, an Academy Award winner for "Butterflies Are Free". She appeared in over 15 feature films, 20 Broadway plays, and countless television programs. Ms. Heckart is a member of the Theatre Hall of Fame and a multiple Emmy and Tony Award winner.

Luke's first book, "JUST OUTSIDE THE SPOTLIGHT: GROWING UP WITH EILEEN HECKART" (foreword by Mary Tyler Moore), chronicles his life growing up in showbiz, surrounded by some of the greatest legends of the time. The book has received rave reviews and is praised as one of the most compassionate and illuminating showbiz books ever written.

He has toured extensively with "DIVA DISH", his critically acclaimed, multimedia one-man show based on his book. He has performed the show in theatres, lecture halls, for corporate events, and on more than twenty-five cruises worldwide. Critic Rex Reed describes it as "Touching, hilarious, and completely entertaining! Luke Yankee is such a wonderful storyteller, you'll want to hear his stories again and again!"

Luke honed his skills at the Juilliard School of Drama, New York University, Northwestern University, Circle in the Square, and the Herbert Berghof Studio.

Kreuzfahrten in Begleitung von Luke Yankee