Saturday November 18th 2017

Bernie Yvon remembered

It is hard to believe that it has been three years since the Chicago theater community lost Bernie Yvon. I find myself thinking of him often. When I see a play that I had seen him do in the past, or when I see something new where one of the characters reminds me of him, or it is a role that he would have been perfect in- He was something and his passing was a great loss for this community. The program that has been set up in his memory- The Bernie G. Yvon Memorial Fund serves to keep his memory alive and at the same time, help young aspiring performers to have an opportunity to do so.

Outstanding Performing Arts Students Awarded Scholarships from the Bernie G. Yvon Memorial Fund

Recipients hail from Georgia, Illinois, California and New York

JACKSONVILLE, Florida – August , 2017—Four promising performing arts students have received coveted college scholarships from a fund honoring Bernie G. Yvon, a beloved Chicago-area actor who passed away in 2014. The scholarships were made possible through the Bernie G. Yvon Memorial Fund, which was established at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida in 2015 by his parents and supported by contributions of hundreds of friends and colleagues.

Awards of $500 each have been presented to Owen Claire Smith, Elise Cismesia, Branden Holzer and Marianna Hoitt-Lange for the 2017-2018 school year.

  • OWEN CLAIRE SMITH is a 2017 graduate of Milton High School, Milton, Georgia. She will attend the University of Michigan Musical Theatre Department.
  • ELISE CISMESIA is a 2017 graduate of Downers Grove North High School, Downers Grove, Illinois.   She will attend Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester.
  • BRANDEN HOLZER is a graduate of de Toledo High School, West Hills, California. He will be a Senior in the BFA Musical Theatre Program at the University of Miami.
  • MARIANNA HOITT-LANGE is a graduate of North Shore High School, Glen Head, New York. She will be a Sophomore majoring in Drama at New York University’s Lee Strasberg Institute.

“It’s only fitting that this year’s scholarship recipients have such a wide range of talents and abilities, because Bernie excelled at many different aspects of performance as well—singing, dancing and acting,” his father, Professor Bernard Rene Yvon, commented.   “As we said when we established the scholarship, Bernie had a happy life, and he made many other people happy. We want to give others the opportunity to do the same.”

The Bernie G. Yvon Memorial Fund makes scholarships annually in Bernie’s memory; to donate to the fund, please go to, type Yvon in the search box and follow the instructions.

About Bernie G. Yvon (1964-2014)

Bernie was raised in Old Town, Maine and after graduation from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, quickly became a fixture in Chicago-area live theater.  For three decades, he was the consummate song-and-dance man, performing in such classics as Cabaret, Mary Poppins, The Music Man, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  The majority of his career was in Chicago, but he played the role of Harry Houdini in the national tour of Ragtime, and also worked on Broadway and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

There is an update at I know that the theater community feels as I do, and many audiences have asked me how his family is doing. I suggest you keep up with the foundation and the young talented people who may one day grace our stages.

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