Theatre and New Dance

Remembering Dennis Logan

Remembering Dennis Logan

On the Passing of Dennis Logan, Facilities Manager of Dept. of Theatre & New Dance from 1963-2007

by Jonathan Bastow, current Department of Theatre & New Dance Facilities Manager

dennis logan

Well, the legend amongst the students was that Dennis started at Cal Poly when the first shovel struck the ground to build the theater.  He sprang from the earth fully formed, wearing a plaid shirt, jeans, and cowboy boots, with pipe in hand, and immediately started correcting the construction crews.  This cannot be true as if he had he wouldn't have let them build the stage floor so much higher than the seating.

However, he did actually predate the theater building, having joined the university in 1963 and set up the first theater department shows in the manor house.
Dennis was born in 1943 in Chicago and did his first backstage work when he was in fifth grade working on a marionette show.  He worked for Disney, KNBC, the Hollywood Bowl, Chaffey College, and the Lewis Family Playhouse among many, many others.   He also ran his own spotlight repair and theatrical supply company.  Somehow while doing all of this he also had time to build a model train layout, with a theater (with a proper fly loft!) in the center of town.
At Cal Poly he ran the facility and the rental program, and while not technically a faculty member, students interested in the more technical side of theater gravitated towards him and he would find something for you to do.  He would always press you to keep learning and keep getting better and do things correctly.  There were many legends about him amongst the students - he had worked everywhere and with everyone and he was always, always watching.  His habit of stopping by the theater at three or four AM after coming off a shift at Disney certainly didn't hurt the feeling that he could turn up at any time - so make sure you were doing things correctly because Dennis Was Watching.  
He took pride in how many Cal Poly alums went on to successful careers and had no shame in leveraging those contacts to get students backstage tours and introductions to the industry.
He retired from Cal Poly in 2007, but kept working at his theatre supply company and several other venues until finally properly retiring in 2021.

When I worked my first job as an overhire technician for the San Bernardino local I was approached by one of the older local techs who was making small talk, but also pretty clearly trying to figure out if I was going to be any use at all on the job.  He asked me a bit about where I had worked and gone to school and I got as far as saying "Well, I go to Cal Poly Pomona and work at the theater there" when he stopped me, saying "Oh!  You're one of Logan's kids, you'll do fine." and then walking off.