Educator, Playwright, Writer and Performer: A Life Full of Creativity and Positive Energy

(Courtesy of Rich Schwab)
Kathy McCarty dedicated her life and considerable energy to the creative arts as a playwright, actor, director, journalist and educator.

    The Orinda News lost a talented reporter, and the local theater community one of its brightest stars when playwright, educator and performer Kathy McCarty passed away June 2 at the age of 58. Kathy, who also taught at Orinda Academy, loved covering local performing arts, especially Lamorinda Idol.
    While I had reviewed Kathy’s shows for years, I didn’t really get to know her until 2000 when I played Nana in Caroline Altman’s Whiskers, a musical adaptation of The Velveteen Rabbit. Kathy, who produced the musical, played the Horse, a wise, loving character, not unlike Kathy herself. Every holiday season I looked forward to being in that production, especially when my 5-year-old granddaughter joined the cast as Raggedy Ann. Thanks to Kathy, my very shy granddaughter built an inner confidence that has served her well these past 16 years.
    Galatean Players, Kathy’s theater company, produced over 20 of her original works throughout the Bay Area, including her full-length musical Rivets. This homage to the Homefront Soldiers of WW2 performed on the SS Victory Red Oak at the Rosie the Riveter National Park in Richmond.
    The busy thespian often toured her productions to other states, and I was fortunate to be in the cast of The Ladies Quintet when it played Off-Broadway in New York.
    But the best part Kathy gave me was minister at her wedding six years ago to Rich Schwab, whose family still resides in Orinda. I’ve never felt so proud as I stood next to Rich and watched our Kathy walk down that aisle!
    Raised primarily in Benton, Illinois, Kathy packed a great deal of living and creativity into her 58 years. In addition to her writing and performing, she produced a stand-up comedy show and taught theater classes at College Park High School in Pleasant Hill and, most recently, at Contra Costa College and Orinda Academy until the effects of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) forced her to quit a few years ago.
    Tackling MS with the positive energy she used in all aspects of her life, Kathy completely changed her diet and lifestyle to combat the effects of the disease. Unfortunately, just over a year ago, she was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma, that has a very low survival rate.
    Kathy is pre-deceased by her father, Air Force veteran Joe McCarty, and mother Peggy Donaldson McCarty. She is survived by her husband Rich Schwab and her brother Mike McCarty. A celebration of Kathy’s life is planned for later in the summer.
    Donations can be made in her name to the Campbell Theatre, where many of her shows were produced, by going to or to the Animal Rescue Foundation at

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