Doug Kassel


A native Chicagoan, Doug has led a double life as part of the Bay Area music and improvisational theater scenes since 1972. Having his initial roots in Jazz from both his grandfather, Chicago Jazz cornetist Jimmy McPartland and his step-grandmother, legendary pianist and Piano Jazz host, Marian McPartland, he also began studying drums at a young age with his mentor, drummer Joe Morello (The Dave Brubeck Quartet).

Later, growing up in the Old Town section of Chicago and around the corner from The Second City, Doug began workshops with the creator of Theater Games, Viola Spolin, during the writing of her groundbreaking book, Improvisation For The Theater. He later performed with Spolin's Playmakers, The Game Theater (with Peter Boyle) and Paul Sills' Story Theater.

Like many baby-boomers, he also played in high school garage bands during the British Invasion, both in Chicago and while attending school in Mexico. After 2 1/2 years in Mexico, he returned to perform in a Story Theater production during the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention, The American Revolution, Part I. He then began a stint with Chicago's famous Second City-based, satirical country-rock band, Wilderness Road.

He also joined former Stan Kenton arranger/composer William Russo's multi-media rock ensemble, The Free Theater, part of the Columbia College Center for New Music, where he performed numerous rock cantatas as a member of both the Chicago and London companies. He also spent time in the orchestra pit for a Chicago production of Murray Schisgal's Jimmy Shine (score by John Sebastian) featuring Shelley Long, Mandy Patinkin and Jim Jacobs (co-author of Grease), as well as San Francisco's first fully staged and orchestrated production of Jesus Christ, Superstar, with a young John Pattitucci.

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