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Bill Doll: A Lion of the Stage

November 09, 2007

Dr. Bill Doll may not have an Oscar, Emmy or Tony, but the director of University Theater does have the 2007 Texas Educational Theatre Association (TETA) Educator of the Year Award in his trophy case.

Even though he lacks one of the top acting awards, he has performed on stage with the late Maureen Stapleton, who received one of each during her storied career.

“Maureen and I did ‘The Glass Menagerie’ when I was in graduate school and I met her the week after she won her Oscar,” Doll said.  “She played Amanda and I was Jim the gentleman caller.  It was a lot of fun to work with her for two-and-a-half or three weeks.”

Doll’s favorite role, however, was playing the Cowardly Lion in “The Wiz,” a rock-and-roll version of “The Wizard of Oz.”  One critic wrote that Doll portrayed “the most lovable and hilarious pussycat to ever tiptoe across a stage.”

With his swept-back hairstyle and full beard, Doll may resemble a cuddly lion as he reigns over the ASU drama program.  A member of the ASU faculty since 1999, Doll has directed more than 30 University Theatre productions.

“We hopefully delight and instruct,” Doll said.  “That is our goal from the classical model, that in this there is something entertaining that will delight us and there is also an important message that will instruct us.  Those are our goals in the theatre and many of the arts.”

In addition to his TETA award, Doll also has three ASU “Rammy” nominations as professor of the year in the liberal and fine arts and was a 2006 nominee for the Faculty Senate’s Teaching Excellence Award.  Fittingly, Doll said he knew from an early age that he wanted to be a teacher, despite his acting talents.

“The theatre is perfect for me because it’s something different all the time.  I’m researching some new thing for every production and there are new challenges for every show that we work on.  I also really get to have an impact on the students.”

Several of Doll’s ASU productions have won awards at the annual Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.  He holds a bachelor’s degree from Fort Hays State, a master’s degree from Texas Woman’s University and a Ph.D. from Texas Tech.  He is engaged to Carala Luker of San Antonio.