Jack Hrkach

Professor Emeritus, Theatre Arts
Specialty: Theatre History

A Brief Biography

Jack Hrkach (Actors Equity, Screen Actors Guild) has performed in Washington, D.C., at the Folger Theatre, the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theatre, the Source Theatre, and Maryland's Olney Theatre; at Florida's Caldwell Theatre Company; and at the nearby Cortland Repertory Theatre, among other theaters. He has recorded over 100 "Talking Books" for the Library of Congress, and was a Russian linguist in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War.

In midlife he received a Ph.D. in theater from the City University of New York, where he specialized in early American drama. In 1990 he began a career at Ithaca College, where he has taught Introduction to Theater, Theater History, Contemporary Developments, and upper-level seminars in Theaters of Diversity in the United States, European and Russian Avant-Garde Theater 1890-1940, and Theater in the U.S. between the Wars at Ithaca College. He also has been pleased to coordinate the B.A. degree program in drama since his first year at Ithaca. One of his many pleasures in that regard has been to shepherd the B.A. seniors on the week known as Field Studies in New York City, when any senior who wants can enjoy panels and chats with alums, four or five plays and the pleasure of getting to know Manhattan. Jack has always taken a special interest in International Programs, and since its inception in 2000 he has brought students already on their way to London for the fall semester of their Junior year to the Edinburgh Festival, which has been tremendously rewarding. The tradition will continue, he hopes, indefinitely. He has sponsored two excellent international students (one from Romania, one from Japan) in their one-year studies at Ithaca, and has been mentor to Tamar Bokuchava, a visiting scholar from the Republic of Georgia, in her search to learn more about American theatre and theatre training.

In 2005-06 Jack took an excellent full year sabbatic. He taught at the Ithaca College London Center (ICLC), of which he a great fan, during the fall semester of that academic year. His course topic? "A Tale of Two Theatrical Cities: Literary, Performing & Visual Arts and the French Revolution." He also spent a month in Italy during spring semester 2006. In summer 2006 he saw the Medieval Mystery Plays in York, which enhanced his teaching of l theatre history during the middle ages, and he also enjoyed 7 shows in 4 days in London. He returned to London in summer 2007 on a research project, and continues to make short trips there every August when he and his students head to Edinburgh. Take a look at the photo galleries & custom sections on this website for his reports and photos to learn more.

Jack taught an H&S Honors Intermediate seminar, the first ever offered by the Department of Theatre Arts, in Spring 2008 and 2009, based upon the course on performing Arts and the French Revolution that he taught at the London Center. He was invited back to ICLC for the full academic year 2011-12 (a great honor), where he taught the same course in both semesters. At the London Center the class included London walks and a French Revolution walk in Paris! On the home campus, while there was not, alas, a field trip to Paris, it was still a great learning experience and also great fun!

On 31 May 2012 Jack retired from Ithaca college and began to ease into what he hopes will be a blissful new life...in the slow lane. He was pulled back into action for one last Field Studies week in March 2013, at which he was able to reunite with alums and interact with the students who made up his last Theatre History class, many of whom were also with him during 2011-12 at ICLC. Jack is currently living not far from his brother and family in Greenville, SC and is enjoying the warmer weather, concerts at the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, occasional lunches with Bruce Halverson, and long walks on the colorfully titled Swamp Rabbit Trail. Peace.

In March 2014, Jack was named Professor Emeritus. This honor was bestowed on him by his colleagues in Theatre Arts and by the School of Humanities and Sciences, for which great thanks!