Public showings of “Cronkite,” a live multimedia performance about legendary journalist Walter Cronkite, have been scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 31 and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 26 in the Kemper Recital Hall, adjacent to the award-winning Walter Cronkite Memorial inside Spratt Hall on the campus of Missouri Western State University. Shows are free and open to the public, but those wanting to attend are asked to call 816-271-4100 to reserve a seat.
“Cronkite” is a one-man show adapted from an appearance by the legendary newsman on CNN’s “Larry King Live” in September 2002. In just 24 minutes, the show evokes memories of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and other major events Cronkite covered, including World War II, the Vietnam War and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The show incorporates audio, video and still photographs to bring those historic events to life.
The part of Cronkite is played by Jim Korinke, a member of the Actors’ Equity Association. Korinke has been a professional actor for 42 years, having performed in more than 120 stage performances. He has also appeared in some two dozen feature films and hundreds of commercials for such clients as the U.S. Army, Coca Cola, McDonalds, Hy-Vee and Honda. He was the voice of Walmart for four years.
The show was conceived and edited by Dr. Robert Vartabedian, Missouri Western’s president. The Walter Cronkite Memorial was the vision of Dr. Vartabedian, who sought to create a fitting memorial to St. Joseph’s beloved native son and one of the most important and trusted voices in the country. To secure the memorial’s future, Drs. Robert and Laurel Vartabedian have designated their recent $100,000 gift to establish a permanent, endowed fund to support the memorial.
“Cronkite” is directed by Dr. Bob Willenbrink, founding dean of Missouri Western’s School of Fine Arts. Dr. Willenbrink holds a Ph.D. in theatre from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and a Master of Arts from Morehead State University in Kentucky. He has directed more than 80 productions of various styles at numerous venues.
In addition to the live showings currently scheduled, performances can be arranged for tour groups and field trips by calling 816-271-4100.
Walter Cronkite was born in St. Joseph on Nov. 4, 1916. The Walter Cronkite Memorial, in the atrium of Spratt Hall on the Missouri Western campus, was dedicated in 2013 on what would have been his 97th birthday. The 5,000 square-foot display features images and videos of Cronkite’s life and the many historic events he covered as a journalist. In 2014, the Missouri Division of Tourism honored Dr. Vartabedian and Missouri Western with the Spotlight Award, which recognizes significant contributions in promoting tourism in Missouri by an individual, business or organization that is not normally considered to be part of the tourism industry.
The Walter Cronkite Memorial is open daily except Christmas, New Year’s Day and Easter, and admission is always free. For more information, visit www.waltercronkitememorial.org.
Missouri Western State University is a comprehensive regional university providing a blend of traditional liberal arts and professional degree programs. The university offers student-centered, high quality instruction that focuses on experience-based learning, community service, and state-of-the-art technology. Missouri Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo., and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves. Visit www.missouriwestern.edu.