Little Theater Renamed To Honor Former Teacher

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Little Theater Renamed To Honor Former Teacher

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The little theater, the smallest of Westside’s lecture halls, was renovated over the summer and was recently renamed in order to honor former drama instructor C. L. Retelsdorf.

“He changed my life,” said Ed Zschau, a Westside graduate in the class of 1957.

Retelsdorf taught drama, debate, and was the speech team coach from 1954 to 1960. Many of his students continued to use his lessons after they graduated from Westside, such as former students Terry Kiser and Sherry Johnson.

“Probably the most famous protege is Terry Kiser who was on Broadway for many years, on TV as an actor, and in movies as an actor,” Zschau said. “He feels that C. L. really not only gave him the skills that got him started but encouraged him to go into acting as a life choice.”

Kiser is most famous for playing Bernie Lomax in the movies “Weekend at Bernie’s”.  Kiser is also recognized for guest starring on “Will and Grace”, “Golden Girls”, and acting in over 50 Broadway plays.

Another example of a student impacted by C. L. Retelsdorf was student Ed Zschau.

“I really wasn’t that good at public speaking, and he worked with me during my senior year and enabled me to win the state championship,” Zschau said. “My career since then has involved a lot of speaking.”

Zschau attended college at Princeton and later got a job at Princeton as a professor and engineering specialist.

Another student Retelsdorf impacted is Sherry Johnson.

“[She] was Ms. Nebraska in the Ms. America contest,” said Zschau. “She won the talent part of that Ms. America contest in 1958 based upon speech and reading and dramatic interpretation and C. L. had helped her.”

C. L. Retelsdorf positively affected many Westside graduates, leaving a noticeable impact in their lives as well as others within the Westside community.

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