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November 19, 2005

Behind the Scenes of Seton Hill's Theatre Program

During the 2005 fall term, Jonathan Stewart went through a number of transformations.

In October, psychologically challenged and timid, he relied on his hand-puppet Hinky Binky to express his suppressed emotions.

The following month, he underwent numerous personality changes. At times, he took on the persona of the mythical ratcatcher. At others, he adopted a Manchester accent and fantasized he was a British postman. During another particularly brazen episode, he assumed a German accent and donned a Nazi uniform.

Schizophrenic? Not at all, Stewart, a junior in the Seton Hill Theatre Program, was doing what he loves best ─ performing. “All my life I wanted to be an actor,” said Stewart.

A native of Thompson, Pa., he started performing in middle school and hasn’t stopped. This year he played Millet in Fuddy Meers, the ratchatcher … in Kindertransport, and will play Mark Antony in the February production of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra.

To enter the theatre program, students must audition or send portfolios. Theatre Program Director Terry Brino-Dean along with Denise Pullen, assistant professor of theatre, actively recruits. They attend conferences, performing-arts college fairs, and discover prospective students through word-of-mouth contacts. The $1000 annual scholarships are merit based; not full scholarships.

“The new theatre complex will help.” said Brino-Dean. “It will make a huge difference in the way students look at us.”

Seton Hill President JoAnne Boyle displays a model of the University Center for the Arts in her office. Slated to break ground in spring 2006, it will house a flexible, 200-seat theatre.

Karen Glass, assistant professor of theatre, hopes it will retain the intimacy of Reeves. In a theatre like Reeves, the actors have to be real. “They can’t fake tears,” said Glass. “The audience is too close.”


Posted by NancyGregg at November 19, 2005 2:08 PM


Nancy! I love it! I loved this article.

I am also glad to see you advanced in the blog program!

Posted by: Lou Gagliardi at November 22, 2005 8:35 AM

Because I wasn't able to have a phone interveiw with you, I'm taking you up on your offer to comment this way. My role as Phillip was a challenging role to fulfill. I enjoyed every minute of it for it was fun and challenging. I believe the key to a good actor is one who isn't afraid to try new things and is afraid of limitations. I really enjoyed working with eveyone in the cast of Fuddy Meers because the whole cast was extremely talented and just a great pleasure to work with. I can't wait to get deep into Antony and Cleopatra. All I can tell you is that the role of Maecenas is very different from that of Phillip.

Posted by: Jeff Gettemy at December 8, 2005 10:29 AM

Thanks for contributing, Jeff. You were great in "Fuddy" and I can't wait to see you in "Antony and Cleopatra." Jeff, Miquel Doby told me the make-up sessions required for your role as Philip were grueling. Could you comment on that?

Posted by: NancyGregg at December 8, 2005 9:58 PM

Hey Nancy, sorry just getting back around to answer your question, about the makeup. Yes it was grueling indeed, I had to be at the theatre about an hour to an hour and a half before the rest of the cast was called, and I had to shave my face every day (sometimes twice a day)and sit still for about forty-five minutes and put on all of the makeup that I had to wear, and then the prostetic appliance that was literally glued to my skin (with spirit gum), and then sit for another fifteen minutes, while Jami Torres did her wonderful magic, (she's awesome), after all of that, I still had to get into costume, being extremely careful not to harm my makeup, and on top of that, warm-ups were especially difficult in that I had to be careful how I moved my mouth and how much I moved my mouth so that I would not damage the appliance before the show. Also at various points throughout the show, I would have to literally run to back to the dressing room to fix parts of the appliance that had came un-glued, but it was well worth it, and I will gladly do it again when given the chance! Again, I apologize for not getting back to you sooner, and I hope you have a great, and safe Holiday! Thanks alot!!

Posted by: Jeff Gettemy at December 30, 2005 11:03 PM