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And speaking of post-graduate success….


You know how, in literature there’s this thing called foreshadowing, where something that happens in the story is, like, a clue to what’s going to happen further on, a rehearsal for later action, say if Jack and Jill stumbled on the way up the hill prior to falling down–when Jack “broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after”–that kind of thing?  Well, anyone who did not suspect that our fifth honoree for the James A. Garfield Hall of Fame this year was going to “go somewhere, do something, be somebody” was simply not paying attention.
Jeffrey Wayne Richmond graduated from James A. Garfield High School in the class of ’79 and headed off to Kent State University, leaving a “show biz” trail behind him all the way.
His resume’ included agitating for–and succeeding at–bringing musicals–“Oliver” to start to the Middle School stage (Fagin was made for him) then moving on to the high school (in between, there was a stint at the Tidewater Dinner in Virginia where he played The Artful Dodger opposite Vincent Price in “Oliver” and acquired an Equity card) and establishing a tradition in drama–and music– which continues to this day.  He sang in the French class Christmas carol presentations, wrote the ”Hormone Blues” for extra credit in biology class, designed the original logo for the Garfield marching band, played the tuba (and allegedly once disappeared from the field in the middle of the halftime show when the lights went out for the twirling of fire batons, leaving only his instrument, his uniform and a pair of red boxer shorts), played against type as the neatnik Felix in “the Odd Couple”, directed “Please Don’t Drink the Water”, performed in “Pippin” and “Once Upon A Mattress,” did  cartoons for the school newspaper, wrote mini-musicals of his own–“Cowgirl on Broadway”, “Greasers on Parade”–that he inveigled friends into performing in and all sorts of groups into watching.  Not bad for a high school career, eh?
At Kent State University the beat went on.  He co-authored a number of musicals (including a musical version of “A Christmas Carol” where people served as furniture and prop pieces) and participated in many productions of the Musical Theatre Department, being considerable influenced  by Profs Erdmann and Zuccaro.  One independent project involved organizing a summer production of “Music Man” in Garrettsville, starring the mayor of the village as Professor Harold Hill, drawing in performers from all over and being the organizing force of what became  the Garrettsville Community Players (Which went on  for another fifteen years).
Then it was on to the Big Leagues.  In Chicago, Jeff worked at The Second City and Child’s Play Touring Theatre before beginning to compose music for the TV series Saturday Night Live in New York.  In 2006 he left SNL to produce and compose music for the situation comedy, 30 Rock.  He has appeared as an extra in the show on several occasions and since 2010 has directed four episodes (“Argus”, “Plan B”, “The Ballad of Kenneth Parcell”, “Today You Are A Man”).  The “30 Rock Original Television Soundtrack Collector’s Edition” features book and music by Jeff Richmond.  He is the musical director for the show and the executive producer.
In 2008, Jeff composed the score for the film “Baby Mama” which starred his wife, Tina Fey, opposite good friend, Amy Poehler.  He has also appeared in a recurring role on Late Night with Conan O’Brien as the short character of “Russian Hat Guy.”
Sure sounds like Hall of Fame material, right?
The Hall of Fame dinner and ceremony will be held at James A. Garfield High School on April 28.  The public is invited. Tickets will be available by calling 330 671-0228 or jokesh@frontier.com.