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You were my first real drama teacher. To me and my peers at the time (1966-70) you were always "Mr. Lowery". I never heard of “Buckets” until much later on the website. I think that if you had gone by that name, I would have seen you with very different eyes. Buckets…hmmm, sounds like a clown name. To my perception, you were more serious than that. As evidenced by the splash page of this site, theater was your church. You were uncompromising in your devotion to finding truth. As your student, I hadn’t the inner development to truly appreciate this, but years later when I visited your class as a guest and we hung out afterwards, well, we communicated from a place of truth - very profound, but totally relaxed, joyous, and something I longed to find and share with you. Much love and light to you, Mr. Lowery.

Neil R. Gumenick, Class of '70

Roar of the Greasepaint

Night after night, from the wings, I watched you sing “Who Can I Turn To?” in rapt amazement. What a gift you are and have always been. I love you and will always miss you...

Gail Edwards

Pam Talus and Buckets Lowery in The Roar of the Greasepaint.  - June 71-I had the extreme good fortune to know Buckets during the best years of my life, (1967-1972). The Ring was "alive" with passionate teachers, talented students, and the unique, extraordinary, lovable, wild and crazy Buckets Lowery. To work for him in those incredible musicals and plays he directed was the ultimate learning experience. To work along side him in "Sacrifarce," "Greasepaint" and "The Boyfriend" was the ultimate privilege. I am both blessed and honored to have had Buckets in my life.

My heartfelt sympathy is extended to the entire Lowery family. May you find comfort and strength in knowing he lived every day to its fullest, and indeed made his students do the same.

Pam Talus (Ring 1967-'72)

Han Ritter of Ringstetten "Ondine"

I think I wore out the sidewalk around the Ring Theatre on how many times you told me to go outside and walk around the Ring and "Get in character"...

Don Sagarino

maybe because of those special times at the Ring, but I moved back years ago- and would run into Buckets at Xmas parties, Foxes, just around, last time; awhile ago- I was walking down Lincoln Road, (he'd directed a show there) late, and all of a sudden barreling across a crowd.... "Cohen.... you old broad!" I didn't have to look, just smiled from ear to ear, turned around, big smile, big hugs, sincere honest care, love and talk, made my evening, even just thinking about it now makes me smile.... what a special friend we all got to enjoy and share.

…sincere wishes to the family for their sadness, I hope they find peace and joy in the lives Buckets touched in many ways.

Becky Cohen (Ring 71-75)

I was not expecting to find what came in the envelope from the Ring today. It caught me totally off guard and made me very sad to say the least. I had the good fortune to be in Mr. Lowery's very first acting class at the University which he taught in the Spring of 1963. No one called him "Buckets" then and I am wondering when and how the nickname came to be. I was thrilled to be in the chorus of his first production of The Hostage. Every night the audience went wild as the "lobsterscope" began. For me the experience was pure joy. I also worked on "props" for the Glass Menagerie and other areas of various productions as the years went by.

As a freshman in the Fall of 1962 I had been totally traumatized in my first acting class. I signed up to "audit" Mr. Lowery's class as a result. He always teased me about that--in the kindest way. Had he not come to teach at that time, I don't think that I would have continued. He was such a breath of fresh air and so much fun, and so enthusiastic, and so down to earth, and so thoughtful, and so bright. You couldn't help but like him.

I send my sincere sympathy to Mr. Lowery's family for their loss. I hope they can draw strength from knowing all the lives that he touched and all the wonderful memories he created.

Linda (Bernstein) Schenker, BA June 1966

Leave it to Buckets Lowery to make 'a sow's ear out of a silk purse'. I was, for all intents and purposes, the quintessential 'princess' when I starting studying with Bob Lowery. He always pushed me, pushed me to work and play a multitude of different characters. And when he cast me in a very small role as "Colette the Irish whore" in "The Hostage" he made me work harder than I had in all his other productions combined.

I can never think of him without smiling.

Randy Goodman (1967-1971)

Jacques Brel...

Performing in shows with you was almost as great a privilege as being in your class. I'll never forget when we did Brel in Washington D.C., and you came to me for a "blow job" (translation: blow dry your hair). You're in my heart, Buckets. With love and respect,

—Barbara Turner (Turvett), class of 1972 New York City
Buckets was one of those special fellows that stays in your soul. I remember him once saying to me "good concentration" when rehearsing a scene. I thought I won a Tony!! The fact that I remember this some 28 years later, shows the measure he had in my life. Although his loss will be felt by many, his influence will live on in the souls of many actors for years to come.

Karen Miller

I'm grateful I got to tell Buckets...well, not everything, but some things. The last time I saw him he was at Fox's, the little pub where we hung out after rehearsals and performances. I was with friends and he was alone and I told my friends to run along so Buckets and I could hang out again for a bit. Buckets was especially wistful as he reminisced about his different students and at some point he asked me, "Di...did I ever...teach ya anything?" I didn't know whether to laugh at the question or bop him one in a joking fashion. Instead I let him have it. I told him what he taught me. Not everything, but at least some things. And the more time passes, the more things I remember.

Diana Montane

My 1st real meeting with Bob Lowery was a disaster. As a new freshman in the fall of 1964, my 1st Drama class was Drama 101 taught by Bob Lowery. It was held in the Music Building and on my 1st day of classes on the U of M campus, I was eager to begin my academic career (especially with a Drama class). Earlier that morning, I bought supplies in the Student Union Book Store and headed over for the class. On the way over, a famous Miami downpour came. Having no umbrella with me, I got soaked as well as my supplies in a paper bag and soon they were scattered on the ground. What made matters worse was that I was wearing a Madras top with a skirt. Now those of you that remember when Madras was "the thing", know that the "enchantment" of Madras is that the dyes bleed and indeed they did. Soon I was a vision of red, blue and green dye, drenching my skirt, under clothes, body, and even shoes. Still determined not to miss the class, I finally got to the door and when the eyes of Bob Lowery met mine, he looked as though he was going to say "who the hell are you?" but he kept himself in check and I slithered into a seat. He could contain himself no more and said to the class "if you have to come to class looking like that (pointing to me) don't bother!" It was a crushing blow for me and needless to say, no matter what I did that semester, or continuing with Drama 102, (which he taught) never fully erased that 1st impression of me. It wasn't until the next school year that things turned around. In another Drama course taught by a new instructor (Kenneth Kurtz) we were to work on crews for the productions to get our credits. Well, I still have that unfinished apron from 7th grade sewing class around somewhere, so sewing costumes was not an option and I am not handy with tools (although I have gotten better by default) so my mission was handling props for "Oh What A Lovely War" that Bob Lowery was directing. I am sure that when he found out that I would be responsible for over 100 props for the show, he smelled disaster. The show probably had more props than any play known to mankind complete with rifles and a mock up of an arm blown off in battle. Well, somehow I pulled it off and on his visits back stage he gave me the look of approval. If a rifle were missing, I would track it down and run the props over to the actors so they wouldn't miss a cue. I was doing it, not for the grade for the class but to redeem myself in Bob Lowery's eyes and I succeeded. The last night of the show, he gave me flowers (uncharacteristic of him) and finally I was worthy. The next play that he directed, "The Knight of the Burning Pestle", I was his AD and in all my years at the U of M, he continued to be the one person that I was in awe of and still am. It was an honor to be associated with him in any play that he directed; particularly "The Trial" which I consider to be at the apex of his talent as a director. The meaning of the play, the production of it and the events that took place at the time of the run, (LBJ deciding not to run for re-election and the assassination of Martin Luther King) are part of my life. Knowing that Bob Lowery is no longer gracing this earth, is a tragedy. But, having had the privilege of knowing him as an individual and gaining his approval, is for me, a celebration of his life. Bob, I'll always think of you with that devilish smile on your face, sometimes with a cigar in hand, with enthusiasm given to students that projected the love of theatre that continues to enrich my life today.

Marilyn Meyers (1964-1969)

"Take Off Those Damn Blue Glasses!"

There is such a sense of loss with the news of the passing of Buckets. I am also sorry that I cannot join my classmates in Los Angeles next week to celebrate his life (I am designing three operas in Colorado as I write this).

I have so many wonderful memories of one of my most influential mentors. My first collaboration with Buckets occurred sometime in the mid 70's when I was 19 and was hired as musical director for his production of Godspell at the Ring. What a trip that was! I remember Fred Mason singing at the top of his lungs "God Save The People!" and Buckets screaming from the audience "YEAH!!!!". I still have that immortalized scream on tape!

Then many shows following as his lighting designer. As a young, over-sensitive student I remember him driving me crazy with his un-realistic lighting choices. But several years later I learned that he was right. Design is not about decoration, but about the dramatic moment. It's about supporting the actor and the message of the play—not about logic. My designs are now mostly expressionistic—supporting and expressing ideas and taking the audience to other levels of dramatic art. Buckets was all about expressing ideas to the audience. That is what made him such a great theatre artist. He was a true follower of Robert Edmund Jones' teachings.

Wonderful memories include his Officer Krupke in "West Side Story", his stopping of a performance of "Of Mice and Men" right before George (Ray) was going to shoot Lenney (Rocky)—huddling them together in front of a stunned Friends of Theatre audience. Then a shout: "Do It Again!" His proclamation to the cast of "Sergeant Musgrave's Dance": "This play is about Shit, Piss, and Acid!".

And who can forget his wonderful role of Noah in "Two By Two"? ...The climax of the musical when Noah is down center stage on his knees praying and asking God if he did the right thing, turning upstage looking to find an expected rainbow magically appearing on the back scrim. Instead, a 15 foot shadow of a frightened crewmember's hand appears frantically waving in front of the projector as the rainbow slide slips out of it's holder. He turns back to the audience, in character, and softly says: "Thank you Lord". CURTAIN!

Well I could go on and on. Leave it to say that Professor Robert Lowery was an inspirational teacher to this stage designer. Even though I was only 19, he always treated me like a colleague and a collaborator. He encouraged my explorations—even unwise choices like slowing down the finale of Godspell until it became a dirge.

Buckets had a way of walking into a lighting rehearsal with those damn blue glasses and saying: "Dammit Jacques, it's too *#%$&#* blue!" I finally answered back: "Well take off those %#$&*## blue glasses!" I remember a hearty laugh after that. It was a laugh of mutual respect and kindness. For Professor Lowery was a kind, sensitive artist and educator—one who influenced many successful people in their art, and in their lives. I am thankful to be one of the many students who experienced and learned so much from him. I can only hope that I am as influential to my students as he was to me.

Prof. David Jacques
Head of Stage Design
California State University Long Beach

Buckets was my first acting teacher - the guy who introduced me to a world I would inhabit for the next twelve or thirteen years. I met him in 1967 and up until that time, all I knew about acting I'd learned from movies or TV.

Buckets had been there. He wasn't some academic, English lit kind of guy - he'd fought the good fight; been in the trenches. We worshipped him. In retrospect I was a bit in awe of him. He was real, raw and oh so crusty and he LOVED acting and actors. It was a real art to him, this business of pretending to be someone you clearly are not, and his infectious enthusiasm for it stuck with me throughout my up and down career in front of the footlights.

I still have my notes, taken during his classes, and what they reveal is how difficult it was for me to let go and show myself to everyone. That's what Buckets wanted of us - he created an environment where we could strip away our defenses and "be" in the moment. Not an easy thing to do at any age, but when you're 20 and need to be "cool" to fit in, it seemed nearly impossible.

I was privileged to be part of the "Buckets Brigade" in productions like "Carnival", "Death of a Salesman" and "The Trial" and I'll never forget his intensity and respect for the material. We felt like we were out on the edge but Buckets always had a soft net waiting for us if we fell. As an example, during dress rehearsals for "Carnival" it became clear that I was no singer, so, rather than allow me to look foolish, he cut one of the biggest numbers in the show.

I wish I'd kept up with him over the years, but even though I hadn't seen him in 20 years, he influenced my life greatly and I will never forget him.

—Joel Parks (Ring Theater 1967-1969)

I thought I'd take some acting classes because it would be easy, and a good way to meet girls. It was, but then I found myself in a class with Bob Lowery, and my life changed forever. I had already finished a degree in education, but it wasn't what I wanted to do. I hadn't a clue what I really wanted to do, but Buckets changed all that for me, and I am eternally grateful.

It was an honor and a privilege to have had the chance to work with Buckets as a student, as an actor, and as a director. I was fortunate enough to do Greasepaint and Ondine with him. Doing Ondine was a great experience. I remember having to walk around saying "Ninety-Nine, Ninety-Nine", which was Bucket's way of helping me to get the right voice in my head. The rest just seemed to follow. It was exactly what I needed, and Buckets knew that. Just one instance of his instinct as a director. But it was Greasepaint that is forever etched in my memory.

When we did Greasepaint, I played one of the urchins, and understudied Buckets as Cocky. On the very last day of performances, we did two shows, and Buckets let me go on for him in the matinee. He knew how desperate I was to play the part, and I had watched him like a hawk through all of rehearsal and every performance. His performance was mesmerizing, and I just wanted to be half as good as he was. Being the wonderful actor, teacher, and gentleman that he was, he let me make it my own. Over thirty years later, I still remember that day. All the work in my career does not compare to that moment in time. He came over to me afterwards, slapped me on the ass and said, "That was okay. You keep going like that, and you'll be a star one day". I'm still trying Buckets, I'm still trying.

My deepest sympathy to the Lowery family. God bless you Buckets. Rest in peace.

Lou Hirsch (Class of 1972) London, England

“When evening pulls the curtain... and pins it with a star, we'll always love you... no matter where you are.”

June Edwards

Twenty-four years is a long time. That's how long ago I graduated from the University of Miami Drama Department. I'll never forget my first day - it was August 1975 - there was an audition. And packed in a small room, each of us waiting for our name to be called, were a bunch of strangers, from different states, different childhood's, different experiences, each having completed the required curriculums of high school and each of us privileged to have the gift of a college education before us. Today, maybe I finally fully understand that privilege.

Today is May 2, 2002. A close friend from college who I met that first day in the audition is on the phone. He tells me Buckets died last night. We are amazed at how much time has past, we comment that in 3 years on the 30th anniversary of that audition we must mark it with a celebration. And as we talk I feel myself breaking down. I'm having trouble-saying goodbye, my voice is shaking and I am in pain. Why do I feel this loss so deeply? After all, that was a long time ago, I've lived so many lifetimes since then, have been so many places, seen so many things, you know, blah, blah, blah….

It was a delicate time, that time between being a child in your parent's home and being an adult in the adult world. Not everyone is given the privilege of the college interlude, the time to discover who you are and who you can become before being thrust into the exciting and often unforgiving world.

Clay to be molded? Putty in the wrong person's hands? …For us - there was Buckets.

The first thing you figured out was that you had to find a way to shine so that he would notice you. He didn't give away his attention lightly. He was seemingly tough, coarse and hard hitting when he didn't like your work. There was an energy that surrounded him and you either responded to it or were repulsed by it. But you never didn't notice it. If you were lucky enough to be noticed by him - then you were really in for it! Tricks didn't work for him, games weren't of interest to him, and if you couldn't be honest he would go after you without mercy until you realized honesty was the only policy or you ran away "in pursuit of other interests".

So now it's May 2002 and he's gone. I'm wandering around in my bathrobe, and I had so many important things to do today that suddenly are not so very important anymore. And I really don't know what to do with myself. I hug my children. I tell my husband about Buckets…I look at my phone book. I flip through it. I pick up the phone…..

……and call a number…is so & so there? No, I'm sorry - oh! Wait a minute - she just drove up. I call another number.. (Haven't dialed this work number in at least 15 years)…a receptionist answers "CBS" "Is so & so there?" "So & so isn't in today would you like to leave a message?" As I stumble to explain I'm a really old friend and barely get out my first name she says, "Canyouholdplease?" I can hear the surprise in her voice when she returns to the line "Actually so & so just called on the other line, he told me to get your number, he'll call you immediately"….and so it went all day.

One so & so was in a cab in Manhattan, another standing by the water in Sarasota - nobody was where they were supposed to be but everyone connected immediately. I called one person and their other line rang in someone from school who it was explained to me was REALLY a surprise since he actually thought that person was dead. (I didn't ask.) I'm sure Buckets was very amused by this. I pictured him sitting on a cloud up there with one of those old telephone operator headsets on madly connecting lines as I was dialing numbers. But every voice (some I had not heard in 24 years) echoed the same feeling. Maybe they didn't all wander around useless in a bathrobe all day like I did, but every person upon hearing the news felt something inside of themselves, something we share that no amount of years, no menial nor grand job, no number of marriages, change of addresses nor birthing of children can alter. What is this bond so strongly entrenched?

What made this man so powerful? It's really very simple. His pursuit of truth. His relentless pursuit of truth. What made his productions so powerful? His pursuit of the truth. Was he honest with himself? I cannot honestly tell you. But he demanded it of us. And in doing so created a bond that lives as strongly in us today as it did in the year it was created. A bond as strong as he forced us to be honest. Under his guidance we exposed feelings, revealed personal truths, dug deep inside through the debris and uncovered our personal gold. We learned who we were and what we were capable of. Sometimes it was an utter joy, sometimes it was the most painful experience imaginable. But as we played the cords of who we were we soared and we were free. The gruff and tough guy held us in loving hands in our metamorphosis. He was trustworthy in this pursuit; betrayal was never an issue. We were able to fly time and again in his care, grow strong and mature and whatever we later went on to do, we were better able to do because of our time with him.

Twenty-four years ago I went out into the world and left Buckets in Miami. Only he knew what had changed inside me. Over the years on occasion I spoke to him and the 18-year old girl I had placed in the palm of his hands was someone I heard reflected in our conversation. Today I cried knowing she is gone with him but as I learned from the lights of the phone lines as they connected - he lives permanently in the souls of the lives that he touched.

Cheri Maugans (75-78)

I knew the first day I met Buckets that he was a very, very special person; one not merely to be listened to, but to be learned from. I had the privilege of seeing him perform in THE SIGNALMAN'S APPRENTICE. He was as fine an actor as he was an inspiring teacher and director. The lessons I learned from Buckets have carried me not only through performances, but through life. God bless him and all of us for having known him.

Ray Faiola CBS / NYC

Remembering You

Oh, dear Buckets!

I hold many memories of you close to my heart. You scared me and dared me to be better than I was. You tore down our safe havens to build beautiful structures that, at first, only you had the vision to see. Then, suddenly, everything would fall into place, like those Magic Eye prints, in which a series of individual dots and lines and colors merge into a dimensional image of something cohesive and deeply familiar. You taught us to ride the wave of an audience's laughter. In your best Irish brogue I can still hear your booming direction to "wait 'far' it, wait 'far' it!" There was no greater joy than to hear your laughter from the back of a darkened audience for a line you had heard a thousand times, and no greater honor than to see a tear freely roll down your cheek when your heart had been touched. I am so moved to be among those who have known you and loved you. How powerful love is that it reunites all of us to reconnect with one another, because of you. How special it is to know that you are still directing us, just on the other side of the curtain.

With love and gratitude,

Dr. Terry (Margoluis) Segal

The Beginnings of a Playwright

Coming fresh out of a high school that had no theatre teacher, Buckets was
my first real acting teacher. I think I learned more about theatre and the human condition in his classes than all the academic, psychology and graduate seminars that were to follow. He said two things that have stayed with me since that first class in 1971: "There are no absolutes in theatre," and when you get up on stage, give it everything you've got. Of course, the second piece of advice was put much more succinctly by Buckets: "From the buns!"

Like almost everyone in the Drama Department, I had high hopes of becoming
an actor. I was also a writer - I cranked out a weekly column for the Miami Hurricane for a couple of years - but I really wanted to be an actor. I knew that if anyone could transform me, it would be Buckets. I thought I was doing pretty well in his classes, but he never really told me how I was doing. I had auditioned for some of his productions, and even did a passable turn as "The Trainer of Seals" in "Ondine" for him. But I didn't make it into his "Guys and Dolls," (I therefore became the assistant stage manager and got to run the turntable), and I saw that perhaps acting was not really my passion...not compared to the people I was working with like Ernie Sabella, Gail Edwards, Freddie Dawson, Bill Schwartz, Don Sagarino, Louie Hirsch... But I thought I'd give it one more shot.

My senior year I took an advanced acting class with Buckets. This was it. Now or never. We did improvs and scenes, and then one day, out of the blue, he called me up on stage and told me to do my monologue. Huh? What was he talking about? I had apparently spaced out an assignment he'd given out for a monologue, and today was My Day. I broke out into a sweat, but rather than disappoint him, I went up on stage, my mind furiously racing - what could I pull out? My audition for Alpha Psi Omega? No, that was Shakespeare, and this wasn't a Shakespeare class. Something from...? What? Well, I happened to be wearing a painter's cap - a paper version of a baseball cap - and so when I hit the stage, out came this monologue about painting a house. I don't remember what I said - I think it vanished the moment I finished. But it must have worked, because Buckets laughed all the way through it, and when I sat down, he said that it was the best thing I'd ever done. He asked me what it was from, and in a fog, I said that is was from a little play called "Close Cover Before Striking," or something like that. He laughed again, told me it was great, and went on to the next student. The rest of the semester, I did monologues and scenes from real plays, but Buckets kept telling me to do another "housepainting" story.

And that's when I knew. I could be an actor, maybe, but I was a lot better as a writer, and from then on, that's what I've done, from my MFA to my Ph.D and my teaching career. The amazing thing to me is that Buckets never said I couldn't be an actor, but he did show me what I could become. If that is not the true definition of a teacher, than I have yet to hear a better one.

Grace be unto you, and peace, Buckets.

Philip Middleton Williams (Joel) - Ring Theatre 1971-1974

My best and truest memory of Buckets is during "Greasepaint." All these lifetimes later, and I can still see and hear him acting and singing his role of Cocky...I was one of the Urchins, and night after night, when he performed "My First Love Song" with either Gail Edwards or Marcia Sayet or his solo "Who Can I Turn To" my eyes filled with moving was his performance. (Unfortunately, the only pictures I have of that show are in my mind!)

Fortunately, I do possess a photograph taken with Buckets in Washington, D.C. at the Kennedy Center, after our Saturday night performance of "The Boyfriend" (on my birthday). I have always treasured this picture and will continue to do so.

God blessed you Buckets, and all of us for having known and enjoyed you.

Annette (Taub) Stinnett (Ring Theatre 1969 -1972)

When I first came to U of M I was a very young, very scared little girl from L.I. Where I got the nerve to audition for "CARNIVAL" I will never know (what was I thinking?) - but I just had to have that part. When Buckets cast me as LILY (what was HE thinking?) my "love affair" began - I have loved Bob Lowery ever since.

Besides technique, craft and experience, Buckets gave me permission to be "bigger" than I thought I could be. Several years later it was an honor and a delight to sing the duet "Never Too Late To Fall In Love" with Buckets in "THE BOYFRIEND". Funny, the 2 biggest highlights of my college career were both with Buckets.

Buckets my love, you are and will always remain, one of the brightest lights of my life. May God bless you, your family and the many lives you have touched.

—Sheila Barash

Remembering my Darlin' Bob Lowery, my mentor, my teacher, my friend:

Many memories. Bob (not Buckets then) andI started at the U of M the same year 1963. His passion for acting and his way of teaching inspired me to work harder, to strive to do better and then the best that I could be. He set me on fire with Stanislavski, embedded in my heart respect for and the sacredness of the stage. He treated us all with patience, great humor and encouragement. Acting classes were beyond exciting and getting to act in one of his productions was a dream come true. I got lucky more than once.

During rehearsals for The Hostage, Bob held a contest for who could sing the entire lyrics for avery long Irish song. To this day I can sing all the lyrics and think of him.

After showing Bob a clay model for an idea I had, he said yes to me designing the set for Six Characters In Search of An Author. Double whammy -- he cast me in it, too. Part of Bob Lowery's expert coaching included circling the Ring, getting deeper and deeper into character, pretending and truly believing I was in the streets of Ireland before my entrances in Juno and the Paycock. The Drama Guild Award I received for that performance is dedicated to his honor. We celebrated big time at that party.

My other major was art and Bob collected some of my paintings. I'd drive to the Ring after classes and he'd grab some of my latest pieces right out of the trunk of my car. What a thrill! And I crocheted hats for his children. Hurray for four unforgettable years (1963 - 1967).

I finally got to see Bob act after moving back to FL from NYC. He wowed me in Sea Marks and Prelude to a Kiss. Oh, how I dreamed of sharing the stage with him. Told him so. I cherish the times I got to connect with him during his last years. Love you, Bob. Thanks for everything!!

—Janece Martell Mamches

I first met Bob when he joined the faculty at UM in 63 or 64, I think it was.

A man of tremendous charm, talent, and energy, it was easy to admire and love "Buckets". He was a great teacher, director, and a good friend. In those days, I was very active in the Drama Department and getting close to my graduation. My sites were set on joining Kazan's new Lincoln Center Company in NY. They were inviting the best drama students in the country to become junior company members. To me it was a dream come true, our best hope for crystallizing the dream of The Great American National Theatre Company. It crashed and burned when the Board, looking for HITS, fired Kazan's producer. Elia quit too, and the house of cards toppled. My plan B was to attend the upcoming auditions in Chicago for Ellis Rabb's brilliant NY -APA/Phoenix Repertory Company/UMI Masters program. This would surely get me directly to New York. Rabb was to be in attendance at the Convention to audition select candidates for the program, including myself. Bob generously volunteered to coach me on my audition, spending many hours on the floor at the great old Ring working my selections from Medea and Orpheus Descending. When the time came, both of us attended the Convention. Bob continued to coach me, giving me my last minute instructions--get a good night's sleep, stay in my room, laser my focus and preparation, and give my all onstage. I did one of the best auditions of my life that morning. Unfortunately, the erstwhile Rabb never showed up, and none of us candidates were to be accepted on the word of UMI faculty alone. I knew it when I arrived to audition. But I was going to give them something to remember me by. Later that afternoon, Bob was waiting for me to tell me that UMI had conveyed to him that they were blown away by my audition. We raised a glass to celebrate our work well done. This was precious coaching time with a master artist and friend which I have never forgotten. Whenever I coach an actor to another level of accomplishment, I think of Bob giving his all to make me look my best.

A few years later, I worked with Bob in NY, briefly associate directing his Off -Broadway venture. I'd seen the original musical on a trip home to FL at the Ring, and went backstage to encourage the musical moving to NY. Bob was brilliant in it. This was the first time I saw him perform as an actor. As performer, teacher, man, he was always passionately alive, fully committed. He taught me never to give less than this level of intensity to my work. There was always the unmistakable glint in his eye, and the irrepressible Irish grin, the magic. I graduated UM too early to accumulate all the precious experiences which my sister, Janece Mamches aka Janece Martell, enjoyed and treasured. We all miss him very much.

It's wonderful to see how many people Bob touched, and how many honor his achievements. A total pro, he lives on in great accomplishments and in our hearts forever! To borrow from Will, 'Good night, Sweet Prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest'.

Valerie Mamches UM-Graduate 1965

When I attended my first acting class, I remember Buckets selecting me to perform a skit. From that day on he supported, encouraged, and understood me as a person and actress, I loved working with him because he really cared. He also knew how to get the best performance out of me. It was magical, the way Buckets worked, he just knew how to get me to feel my characters emotions.

I learned a great deal from Buckets, personally and professionally. There will always be a place in my heart for the kindness and warmth he gave to me. I feel blessed to have worked with him. He was truly a talented professor.

Pamela (Horbal) Meyers - Ring Theater 1976-1981 U.of M. B.F.A. Drama

I first became aware of Bob's directing work when I was Drama Director at Miami Springs Senior High in the mid-sixties; I believe I met him through the high school drama festival that the Ring sponsored each year. I was a young, passionate and idealistic teacher/director, so it made perfect sense for me to become a Buckets fan; and, I'm three quarters Irish.

After becoming aware of the fire and ice that always informed a Buckets production - I believe the first show of his I saw was "Six Character's in Search of an Author" - I made it a point if I was in town, to try and see anything he directed. There were many shows over the years, standout memories being: "The Trial"; "Streetcar Named Desire"; and "Of Mice and Men".

In the late seventies, when I served briefly as Interim Artistic Director for the then Players Repertory Theatre, the financial situation was such that we had to cease operations - temporarily we hoped - still owing our subscribers three more productions to honor their seven show season subscription. After the board successfully fought to raise additional funds to re-open and finish the season, there were two directors beside myself that I asked to help out by donating their services to stage the final three shows: one was Joe Adler (current Artistic Director of GableStage) and the other was Bob Lowery. Both immediately and graciously said yes, Players came back to life, and the rest is history.

At the Memorial Celebration - Thank you Gail Edwards and everybody else that made it happen! And HERE'S TO ROB LOWERY FOR "THE BEST MAN I'VE EVER MET"!! - Barbara Lowery was kind enough to tell me that she had found a letter that I had written to Bob after seeing "Of Mice and Men". I was touched to think that he had saved it, and asked Barbara if she would please send it to me. That keepsake will be a sweet final addition to thirty-five years of memories of an uncommon man.

Philip Giberson, Founding Director of Theatre, FIU

Sea Marks

Sea Marks was my second play in Miami and I was lucky enough to share the stage with Bob, playing a charming, difficult, bluff Irishman (who'd have thought it??!!). The man was just a joy, every night, to work with. His timing was perfection - every night at the end of the play he gave this heartfelt speech and as the lights honed in on him he would wait, pause, hold, then raise his face to meet the light just in time for it to catch a tear falling - every night, night after night. Now THAT'S timing!! I will forever miss you my Colm.........
Lisa Morgan

He seemed timid, shy the first time I met him. With blue eyes that trembled - seemingly ready to burst into tears if you looked at him the wrong way. He said few words, those barely mumbled, as if speaking was an effort for him. So, you had to listen carefully.

And his name - Buckets. He said it was because he was proficient in basketball in high school. But, after spending many hours drinking beer with him and the gang at Bill and Ted's, I had my own guess as to the origin of that name.

I met him in the summer of 1971, when I transferred from Tulane. I was transported to a different dimension during the daily two-hour acting class I took from him. He taught us acting games that nurtured and awakened my love of theater. But, it was also where I discovered the magnificent soul
of Robert Lowery. Most of the time, he sat in the audience as we grappled on stage to release our tightly held emotions. He would mumble some words of guidance and, if we didn't get it, he would mumble louder.

One day, we struggled mightily with an exercise called Private Moments, in which we were supposed to illustrate something we did that no one ever saw. Two or three students got up and did nothing, standing lifelessly on the stage, "acting", flatly going through the motions. Buckets kept saying they needed to "come from the jewels", but nobody knew what that meant.

We asked him to show us. He walked onto the stage and stood there softly for a moment. Gathering in. He started low - at first you could barely hear him:


His body was filled with energy as he reached the crescendo, and then, his emotions spent, he lowered his head and stood there.

THAT was the moment the spark was lit. And it has never gone out since then.

I saw that spark again when Buckets performed in Jacques Brel the following summer. I played the flute in the combo and, for six glorious weeks, I absorbed that show. Buckets sang Jackie and Amsterdam and Funeral Tango. [I perversely thought we should have sung that en masse at his tribute last week]. The fire in his belly came through those eyes - but this time, they trembled with rage and joy and sarcasm and love.

I knew then that the name "Buckets" was for the buckets of emotion that lay inside that fragile man.

Thank you, my friend, for all you have given me. And, thank you for bringing us all back together in that outrageous evening at the Ring Theater last weekend. The outpouring of love and talent and enthusiasm was electric. We shall do it again, but we won't wait thirty years.
Janet Seitlin, (1971-72)


I met Bob Lowery in 1964 when I got a part in what I now realize was his first production at the ring - THE HOSTAGE. In those days he had a crewcut, chewed a lot of gum and gave off a kind of humorous macho tinged with a slight air of menace. Not that he was menacing, just that you sensed something volcanic going on under the surface. This was a great quality in his acting. I played Edgar to his Gloucester, in KING LEAR, and at one point - after Gloucester's eyes had been put out - Bob let out a scream that shook the roof of the theatre and made the audience sit up straight. It was a scream that seemed to come out of his bowels to explode out of his head. There was more anguish and heartbreak in that scream than in the entire performance of the poor actor playing Lear; it was the most memorable and authentic moment in the production. After HOSTAGE, I was lucky enough to be cast as Tom in Bob's second production - THE GLASS MENAGERIE. I had a drunk scene which I was playing in a contrived, forced way. Bob pulled me aside. 'Listen, Al' (he was the only one in those days who ever called me 'Al') - 'Listen, Al ... just imagine there's a little gnome in your pants who's tickling your ass' ... Okay, Bob, I'll try it. We go back to the top of the scene, I start imagining this little gnome tickling my ass as I come on stage, and suddenly I start laughing. And kept laughing. Got giddy with laughter until I finally flopped down on the stairs and began the scene with Laura. And even during the scene, that gnome kept popping into my head and somehow the whole scene came alive that night. It was never that good again. Shortly after that, Bob got sick and had to have a colostemy bag (sorry about the spelling). I tentatively asked him how he was feeling and he answered in typical Lowery fashion: "Fine, I never liked taking a shit, anyway." He certainly didn't waste any time feeling sorry for himself. Bob also encouraged me as a writer, even staging one of my early plays - a dismal exercise in sex and angst which elicited 'boos' from the crowd. Bob must have known how bad that play was, but he felt that a playwright has to see his work performed in order to learn and grow. I've thought of Bob Lowery many many times over the past 35 years. He was my favorite acting teacher, the one I most wanted to impress, the one whose approval I was most eager to have. He was a mysterious character to me in many ways ... a very gifted actor, teacher, human being, beloved of many people. But when I think of him now, I think of that impish gnome tickling my butt ... he always has the face of Bob Lowery.
Alan Ormsby

I was shocked to find out that Mr. Lowery was gone. I was still a student when I moved away, so he will always be Mr. Lowery to me.

He and I shared a love of things Irish and Celtic. I remember going to parties and singing Irish folk songs (badly on my part in those days - I have improved) and helping him get the words and music to the songs he used in "The Hostage," since he had decided to replace the maudlin songs that O'Casey had in the play with traditional songs from Ireland. I lent him records of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem and borrowing tapes about the Irish Rebellion from him. Hanging on the wall in his office, he had a picture of Brendan Behan starting to say the "F" word and a reproduction of the Proclamation of The Irish Republic from the Easter rebellion of 1916. We would trade stories about those days and I was overjoyed there was someone that I could share that love.

I got a bit part as one of the IRA gunmen in "The Hostage" and I remember him walking me around outside the Ring helping me get into character and explaining acting to me.

I worked with him designing the make up for "Mac Beth" during one of the season's of the Southern Shakespeare Repertory Theatre and just sitting in the audience watching him direct was an acting, theatre, and directing lesson that has stayed with me all of my life. Being with him and working with him, I absorbed things that I never really knew that I was learning, but I have put into practice over the years whenever I got up in front of an audience. I am still drawing upon my experiences with him today. I left the area in 1967 to go to New York to seek fame and fortune. While there, I got to visit the places that Behan had been, I had drinks in The White Horse Pub where Dylan Thomas drank himself to death, and got to hang out and sing in pubs with the Clancy's, and I always thought about Mr. Lowery.

Mr. Lowery told me on one of those walks around the Ring that I really wouldn't understand acting until I had experienced life. I have lived and I still think about him.

I have done other plays since then, but each director I had, or actor that I saw, I measured against him, and in the end, his contribution to my life was immeasurable...

Mr. Lowery, May the Lord keep you in His hand and never close His fist too tight.
Stuart Joseph Ring Theatre, off and on from 1962-1967

As a teacher, Bob Lowery's greatest gift was to awaken our senses and arouse our passions; the primal ones. He made it safe for us to risk everything, and insisted we try. He got us out of our brains and into our bowels. And lower. We all have our stories, and these tales have become our mythology. Somehow, Bob Lowery is inextricably intertwined in them all. He accepted nothing less than our best, and to this day, I can feel his artist's imperative nipping at my soul like a vigilant sheep dog. He holds the fold together. His passion is with us still. As Hamlet says of his father… "He was a man. Take him for all in all, we shall not look upon his like again."

I have read over the many "memories" posted. What a wonderful tribute. I was a student from 1974 to 78 and have been out of the theater for many years. Like so many, I decided to "pursue other interests," but will always remember my time at the Ring. Even though my life has changed and taken me to many places and careers, Buckets will always be an important influence. It is amazing how much there is to remember from a relatively brief period of time. My most vivid memory is singing "Cockles and Mussels, Alive A-Live-0h" in the wee small hours, in the Ring courtyard, with Buckets and Barbara. I sang four kids to sleep with that song for many, many years. I didn't even know how much I missed him until I received the Memorial letter. I just assumed he would live forever. In a way, he will.

I hope when my children go off to college, there is someone with the same integrity and dedication to guide them in whatever they pursue.
Claire Padien

I first met Bob when, having decided not to go to law school and feeling somewhat adrift, I audited one of his acting classes. I loved the class and loved him. He suggested I get into the Graduate program, so I did, and got my MA in 1968. During my second year, Bob had the surgery that kept him out for a semester and asked me to take over one of his acting classes. I loved teaching his class and it was the impetus for my teaching in the Drama Department at UM for ten very enjoyable years.
—Naomi Feldman


I shall never forget, while working in an emergency room in South Carolina, the night I heard a voice that truly made me take pause. When, on the other end of the line I heard "Bob, this is Pam Talus", I could not believe my ears. Then she told me of "Bucket’s" death. All of a sudden names started running through my head. Sheila, Lory, Ernie, Sly, Barbara, Maureen, Bert, Joel; the list goes on. And hearing that voice just brought that funny feeling in your stomach when, as it did with Charlie Brown, when you see that little red head, although Pam is a blonde.

I actually had lunch with Buckets at the University some 14 years ago while on business. I told him that I still used his wisdom, his teachings, the art of theatre in my work. I have continued to work not only in medicine but the field of entertainment and his voice is still in my head.
He was proud of his mates, his children (students), he loved them all. He asked me why I didn't pursue a serious career, I said I had to touch people in a different way. He actually said, "How we missed so much, the time with you as a serious contender". He was a gracious man.

So, to his children, of which there are many, may his memory be like a picture in your mind, any tears that may come be from the heart, he loved all of you. Some of you have done well, products of Bucket's craft, some traveled different roads, but we all were filled with his spirit. And I thank God for that. And Pam and Sheila, it would have been a damn good movie.
My Love to all, and blessings to his Family.

Bob Sylvester, A.B., M.F.A., Ring Theatre, University of Miami, 1968-1972.

A Gracious Man:

One evening while working in the emergency room at a hospital in South Carolina, the nurse asked for the doctor and I answered. She said, "phone call, some girl from Miami is on the phone." My mind began to race, as the faces of girls I had known at the University moved across my visual cortex. I picked up the phone and the next voice I heard was one that I thought I would never hear. "Hello, Bob, this is Pam Talus." I paused, and that feeling that happens to little boys, like Charlie Brown when he sees that little red head, moved through my stomach. Then she told me that "Buckets" had passed away.

Names began to rush through my head, Sheila, Ernie, Lory, Barbara, Maureen, Joel, Gayle, Sly, Bert, Ken, Bob, Hank, and the list goes on. Talk about being taken back in time. It gets you misty eyed. It was an adventure, a time that has not been forgotten. You don't know until you have experienced it. What great times, being young, knowing what I know now, how I could have lived it all over again.

I actually had lunch with Bob Lowery 12 years ago at the University. It was an hour of being with a gracious man who still loved his children (students). Talk of what has happened, some times whishing we could step back. God, how fast it goes, then he asked me why I didn't peruse a career. I told him I touched people in other ways. As a physician I heal through touch, I told Bob he brought the joy of healing through his spirit, he was a character for all to see and hear. He was kind, and said "We miss you, you were a contender too, and what you could have done." I thanked him. That was the last time I saw him.

I still hear his voice, I feel his spirit, I use his technique, I miss him. Some have done well, he is proud, but he loves all, and we had the best. Sheila and Pam, it would have been a damn good movie.

Bob Sylvester, A.B./M.F.A.
Ring Theatre, 1968-1972

Wow. I stumbled on this page by accident and am flooded with wonderful memories. The season Buckets played Cocky, I was a desperately lonely and confused teenager, a high school drop out, who had volunteered at the Ring to help with the lighting crew. Buckets' performance was the emotional heart of my 15th year. I was thrilled night after night and have never forgotten his renditions of those songs. They have stayed with me as has Buckets' overall kindness and large personality. That summer is one of the happiest memories in my 30+ years of theater since then. God bless you, Buckets!


I was not part of the theatre department, but had the opportunity to be cast and directed by “Buckets” in Ondine, I loved him, as I am sure everyone whose lives he touched did as well. “Buckets” started me seriously thinking about a career in theatre or film.

Over the years, I have done many things…but my greatest experiences and accomlishments were in the profession that “Buckets” loved and encouraged us all to be our best.

Right now, I am teaching drama and directing at a private school in West Palm Beach…It is a joy

tion for Buckets and all of you,

Bob Sherman > AKA: Sherman Roberts SAG AFTRA EQUITY

I have enjoyed the pages of Buckets' Memorial Celebration so much. I didn't even realize we'd lost him... I happened upon these pages quite by accident. I have relived so many wonderful memories of my acting classes with Buckets, shows in Miami, Fox's, and so many other special events and people from my years at the Ring in the mid-70's. Thank you!

Cheri Winton


I had heard of Robert Lowery for many years before I had the chance to work with him. I cast him in the play Sea Marks, and working with him was to say the least, challenging. Not only was I a lot younger, but I was from Ecuador. Robert disagreed with every choice I made.

By the end of a troublesome second week of rehearsal, he came into the theater my husband and I owned on Lincoln Rd., the Area Stage Company, grabbed my hand and said: "I get it. I get what you want."

Gaining his respect was a gift to me. He started calling me "My Director". He began creating one of the most memorable characters I had ever seen on stage, despite the fact that he was going through dialysis, three times a week. I can only imagine how painful it was. But he loved acting!

Opening Night was made of the stuff great movies are made out of. There was not a dry eye in the audience. Robert and Lisa Morgan gave us an experience that was touching, tender, funny, unpredictable, and reached deep into the soul.

Robert won the Carbonell for Best Actor. On the phone we had the happy chatter of two people basking on their accomplishments, I had also won a Carbonell for Best Director. We were discussing our new project, The Homecoming.

Robert was too sick to withstand rehearsals, Andrew Noble took his place. When he came to see the show, he said that it was too bad his body gave up on him. He came too late into my life I said; he said it was just the right time, I wouldn't have liked him if I knew him earlier. It doesn't mater, I will always be your director, Robert.

Maria Banda-Rodaz


I came to UM after 3 years at another school, which so demoralized me, I felt I had little to offer. At my first audition in front of Buckets, he said, “My God, where did you get your training? You’re wonderful.” I mentioned the name of the school, but it was really reading “Respect for Acting” by Uta Hagen. Buckets cast me in The Time of Your Life in 1981. He also recommended me to Ken Kurtz for Maggie Cutler in The Man Who Came to Dinner. He instilled such confidence in me. He made me feel safe in acting class. It wasn’t a test. I never felt judged. It was a place to work. It was a place to worship talent and creation. His encouragement set me on a course that would fill my life with performance opportunities and theatrical experiences that have at times even been lucrative. I will always be grateful, and remember fondly the man and teacher that helped me satisfy my life’s theatre addiction. Thank you Buckets.

Viki Ryan


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