Don A. Mueller Baldwin City
Don A. Mueller, 87, Baldwin City, died Monday, June 24, 2013 at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. A prolific playwright, lyricist, composer and pianist, Mueller was playwright-in-residence and taught speech communications at Baker University in Baldwin City from 1969 until 1983, where he also was director of the traveling religious drama troupe, the “Baker pLaymen,” and later, “pLaity,” that performed his original religious plays at area churches for many years.
Mueller perhaps was best known for his local historical musical stage production, “The Ballad of Black Jack,” which told the story of the pro-slavery vs. free state conflict in Douglas County in the 1850’s, culminating in the Battle of Black Jack near Baldwin City. The play was performed during the Baldwin Maple Leaf Festival from 1970 through 1983, then as the opening production in the newly-remodeled Liberty Hall in Lawrence in 1986; and after a 14-year hiatus, it was performed again in Baldwin City from 2001 through 2005, and then at Lawrence Arts Center in 2006 and 2007.
Mueller authored several plays that still are offered by Samuel French, Inc. for performance around the world.
In retirement, Mueller continued to produce and play piano for religious drama and free concerts in the area, featuring former students and performers from “pLaity” and the “Ballad of Black Jack.”
Mueller was born May 12, 1926 in Toledo, Ohio, and was an ordained United Methodist minister. He served as pastor in churches in California, Ohio, and in England.
He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, and he is survived by a son, John Mueller, of Fresno, Calif., and two nephews, Rand Mueller of Toledo, Ohio, and Marsh Mueller, currently living in South America. He also is survived by the many former performers he directed over the years and community members who were touched by his music.
Cremation is planned. A celebration of Mueller’s life will be Sunday, July 21, 2013 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at The Lodge at 502 Ames St., Baldwin City. Memorials are requested to the Easter Seals Capper Foundation, 3500 SW 10th Ave., Topeka, KS 66604-1995.
Steve Absher, 785-250-9473
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