KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A former Western Michigan College theater scholar and Kalamazoo native, Cassandra Blair, returned to her outdated stomping grounds to go to household and join with educators who helped her in her journey to success.
The actress is a solid member of the social “mockumentary” ‘Jury Obligation’, a tv comedy on Amazon’s streaming platform Freevee. Everybody concerned within the present is an actor apart from one unsuspecting man who’s as a substitute underneath the impression they’re all filming a documentary on what it is wish to be on a jury.
Juror #8 Vanessa Jenkins is sassy, outspoken and tells it like it’s within the hit TV present. However in actual life, Cassandra Blair, the actress who performs her is about as candy and all the way down to Earth as they arrive.
“That is so nice,” the actress mentioned with a smile as she sat down within the seats of the Gilmore Theatre Advanced, the identical theater that she used to carry out in as a university scholar at WMU.
Blair grew up not even three miles from WMU’s campus and attended the varsity on a full tutorial scholarship.
Her faculty expertise is two-fold: it holds recollections the place she honed her craft and met some superb folks alongside the best way, together with her mentor and WMU campus minister Kathleen Robertson King. Nevertheless it additionally was a time of private adversity for her.
“From the second I met her, she was very clear she needed to be in leisure of some kind,” Robertson King mentioned as she reunited with Blair at WMU for a fast meet-up.
Robertson King helped Blair get via faculty by connecting her together with her religion, because it wasn’t all the time straightforward for the hardworking actress.
“It was a tough time. I used to be working. I had three jobs,” Blair mentioned. “There have been instances I did not have a automobile, there have been instances I did not have a license. I had a medical situation so I misplaced my license.”
Working a lot and private well being struggles additionally took a toll on Blair’s attendance and in her final yr of school, she misplaced her scholarship and needed to drop out. However having to drop out did not get in Blair’s approach, and whereas she knew the journey could be powerful, she moved to LA and commenced working in TV and movie. Then through the pandemic, her largest alternative but.
“It was pitched to us as an untitled authorized comedy,” Blair mentioned with a smile.
Blair was solid as one of many 11 wacky jurors on ‘Jury Obligation’, met with the duty of placing one unsuspecting jury member via every kind of conditions on the faux trial. The present, which is spearheaded by the producers of ‘The Workplace’, is seeing important success.
“It is good to be in one thing that individuals are having fun with,” Blair mentioned.
And Blair is simply one of many many successes born out of WMU’s theater division.
“This has been type of a tremendous yr,” WMU music theater efficiency professor Jay Berkow mentioned.
This yr alone, a number of WMU alums had been nominated for the Tony Awards together with Darren Johnston alongside his manufacturing firm “No Ensures” for Greatest Play, Greatest Director and Greatest Costume Design for ‘Fats Ham’ and Crystal Lucas-Perry in one of the best actress in a featured position class for ‘Ain’t No Mo’, making this system all of the extra interesting for younger expertise all throughout the nation.
“It does not damage for recruiting, having college students which can be nominated for Tony’s, having college students which can be leads on TV exhibits,” Berkow mentioned.
Blair says her future targets embrace extra comedy work due to all of the enjoyable she’s had on ‘Jury Obligation’ and she or he continues to remain in contact with the solid.
She says her first return to West Michigan since COVID-19 was candy and fulfilling and she or he’s excited to return quickly once more, maybe after her subsequent large hit.