The lights have dimmed across the Kansas City theatre community with the passing of Dan. C. Schmidt. Dan, a beloved and longtime acting, directing, and stagecraft teacher at Blue Valley Southwest and Blue Valley High schools, passed away on Tuesday, March 10th. His legacy, grace, and compassion to all – not just theatre students – is being remembered by current and former students and their families alike. In Dan’s own words, “We are professionals in our lives and in our art. In life, you are always auditioning.” Dan routinely shared this message with his students to underscore the importance of treating one another with respect, always and forever. Dan’s humor was plentiful, his laugh contagious. Students never minded his stern approach to push them to do their best. “I don’t believe you,” he’d tell students during rehearsals. “Do it again, but BIGGER!” Despite that stern approach, Dan was a mentor and friend to all. His heart and Black Box theatre became a home base and welcoming to any student looking for friendship, acceptance, and camaraderie. His acting instruction spanned a range of tips for your role on stage and in real life. He was the first to credit his students for hit productions, but quick to remind them to thank their parents. Husband to Cristy and dad to Alexee, Dan’s 27-year career was the foundation to a much bigger family. Upon earning his BFA in Theatre/Communication from Emporia State University, he was cast in his first teaching position at Newton High School. Moving to Blue Valley High School and Blue Valley Southwest High School, Dan earned a MA in Theatre from Missouri State ad an MFA in Theatre Directing from the University of Idaho along the way. Dan is the only director in Kansas to have five plays and musicals selected to perform at the International Thespian Conference, including, The Diviners, A Piece of My Heart, Anatomy of Grey, Lend Me A Tenor, and the All-State Production of Pasek and Paul’s James and the Giant Peach. He has directed hundreds of productions over the course of his career, but highlights include: The Seagull, Legally Blonde, First Date, Waiting for Godot, Hamlet, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Little Women the Musical, and Boardwalk Dreams. In recent years, Dan partnered with other area professionals to launch Shakespeare in the Courtyard, where he served as artistic director. So loved by his students and their families, this GoFundMe account was established at the urging of the many individuals on the winning end of Dan’s support over the years. Please help us raise the funds to help Dan’s family with funeral and college expenses.