James D. Costin

A prominent figure in Kansas City cultural events for nearly 40 years, James D. Costin died on Tuesday, January 25, 2005, one month away from his 71st birthday. Services for Jim will be held in the Helen F. Spencer Theater in the Performing Arts Center on the Campus of UMKC on Tuesday, February 1, at noon with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to The James D. Costin Scholarship Fund c/o The Office of Development, Missouri Repertory Theatre, 4825 Troost Avenue, KCMO 64110. Jim was born in Kansas City in 1934, the son of James I. and Faye Swackhammer Costin. After graduating from Olathe High School in 1952, Jim fell in love with the theater as a student attending college in Warrensburg, MO. He later received a degree in playwriting from UCLA and his MA from UMKC. He worked in management for Fox West Coast, including Grauman’s Chinese Theater, worked as a magazine editor and then joined American Ballet Theater, where he worked with Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn as stage manager and assist general manager. Returning to Kansas City in 1964, Jim pursued his graduate degree at UMKC and, under the tutelage of Dr. Patricia McIlrath, helped to develop Missouri Repertory Theatre. He was fundamental in the transition of the institution from a local summer company to a nationally recognized professional Equity acting company. In addition, Costin was Playwright-in-Residence and a lecturer in Theater. He subsequently served as Assistant Provost for the Performing Arts and director of the design and development project for the Center for the Performing Arts, and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. He was an organizer for the Missouri Repertory Theatre Tour and the Central Ticket Office system. Costin retired from the University in August of 2000. Costin was an accomplished playwright. His works produced by Missouri Repertory Theatre included Lee, Aegina, and, more recently, Jekyl and The Curious Adventures of Alice. Costin cowrote The Holy Terror produced by the Hallmark Hall of Fame starring Julie Harris. Costin was awarded the prestigious Pirouette Award in 1987, for his contribution to the culture of Kansas City. In 2000, he received the Missouri Arts Award from the Missouri Arts Council, presented by Governor Mel Carnahan. Jim served in the Air Force Reserves, the United States Army Intelligence Corps in West Germany and later in the Naval Reserves during the Vietnam War. Jim is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Peg and Tim Dzicek; two grandsons, Charlie and Michael; his cousin, Shirley Meshke and her husband, George; his long time companion, Janet Patterson Waller; and by his dear friends, Sandy Salz, Michael Mardikes, Kenneth Burdette and many, many more. The family and friends of James Costin wish to acknowledge the skill, compassion , caring and love shown by Sharon, Peggy and Amber in the Coventry Court wing of Bishop Spencer Place. With their monumental contribution, Jim spent his last weeks comfortable, secure, cared for and loved. They are, all three, heroes.

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