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Press Release



July 20, 2016


Interim Theatre Director eager to build upon strong foundation


Cara KemAfter spending the past two years as a dance instructor and choreographer at Cowley College, Cara Kem will transition into the role of interim theatre director as the school prepares for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Kem had an opportunity to spend the past two years working with previous Theatre Director John Sefel.

“I was fortunate to work by John’s side,” Kem said. “To fully understand the greatness that is John Sefel, you have to have experienced John. It is impossible for me to say enough kind words about his expertise, his commitment to excellence, and his love for this job. It was my goal to learn a great deal from him, and I did. We had different skills, which made us a wonderful, collaborative team. I hope to utilize all I learned from him while I continue to incorporate my own Broadway experiences to the school.”

Kem, an Oklahoma native, received her BS from the University of Central Oklahoma. She started her professional career at 13 at the Music Theatre of Wichita and Horsefeathers and Applesauce before performing leading roles in many other regional theaters across the county. She has been seen in multiple off-Broadway shows in New York City, has been involved in commercials, movies, TV, and voice-over work, and was in the Broadway 1st National Tour of Shrek.

She spent two summers at the Broadway Theater Project working under the direction of Ann Reinking, where she had the privilege to study with acclaimed professionals as Gwen Vernon, Gregory Hines, and Stanley Donen, to name a few. 

She is most proud of her work on the ground floor in the world premiere of High School Musical where she created the role of “Mrs. Wilson”, the moderator, and originated the role of “Cyndra” as well as many others.  

Kem recently performed the role of Morticia in Addams Family at the Kinzer Performing Arts Center in Oklahoma.

Outside of her work at Cowley, she teaches at the family business, Kem's Gym and Inciardi School of Dance in Ponca City, OK.

Kem praised the work of previous Cowley College theatre directors Dejon Ewing, Scott MacLaughlin, and John Sefel and her goal is to continue their legacy while adding her own expertise.

John Rohr, who was recently hired as the school’s technical director of theatre, was privileged to work with both Dejon and Scott.
“Together, we will bring the best of our "pioneers" along with our own professional achievements,” Kem said. “I know I have hard working, talented students, and I am thrilled to create new theatre experiences with them.”

Kem is also eager to begin working with new director of vocal music, David Smith, on choosing a musical to perform.

“Being able to build upon what is already happening here at Cowley will only make us better,” Kem said.

She also hopes to create an interactive show where the students actively engage with the audience and must utilize improvisational skills.

“One of our goals at Cowley is to give the students the ability to perform in as many different types of theatre experiences as possible,” Kem said.

Kem said she hopes to lay a foundation for the students to build upon as they navigate down their own paths.


“I couldn't feel more humbled and proud to be given this prestigious role at Cowley College,” Kem said. “It is a big job, and I know a lot of responsibility has been entrusted to me. Yet, I know I have a support group that will help with this transition. Nothing incredible is created alone, and I am blessed to be surrounded with their backing.”