Dr. Josephine McGarry Callan, 95, a founder of the Catholic University Drama Department and a noted coach of choral speech, died of cardiac arrest Monday at her home in Washington.
Dr. Callan moved to Washington in 1937 following the death of her husband, Joseph P. Callan, an attorney in Milwaukee. She had been an oral reader during her student days at Northwestern University and when she came to Washington she joined the Rev. Gilbert Hartke and Walter Kerr in setting up the theater program at Catholic.
She coached the speaking choruses in revivals of classical Greek dramas. When her production of "Oedipus Rex" was performed off-Broadway, Brooks Atkinson, the drama critic of The New York Times, had special praise for the choral interludes. Richard Coe, the drama critic of The Washington Post, once wrote that she set standards of speech that never have been approached."
Dr. Callan coached actors in more than 200 productions at Catholic University. She was a member of the faculty until 1953, when she became a professor emerita.
On Broadway, she coached the chorus in "Allegro," by Rogers and Hammerstein. $
In 1961, she received the Benemerenti Medal from Pope John XXIII.The experimental theater at Catholic University was named in her honor.
Dr. Callan was born in Baltimore. She spent most of her life in the midwest before moving to Washington.
She left no immediate survivors.