Saint Vincent Summer Theatre 50th season celebrates founder
Saint Vincent Summer Theatre is celebrating a half-century of opening nights, curtain calls and standing ovations with the opening of its 50th season of professional theater on the campus of Saint Vincent College, Unity.
The milestone anniversary season promises to be filled with special features and activities, according to Saint Vincent Producing Artistic Director Greggory Brandt, including tributes and memories celebrating the life and contributions of the late the Rev. Tom Devereux (1932-2008), the theater's founder and producer.
“Father Tom was a creative Benedictine monk and priest of Saint Vincent Archabbey who dedicated his life in service to the students of Saint Vincent College as a faculty member and administrator and to the community as a cultural dynamo who was passionate about his work with the Saint Vincent Theatre as well as with the Saint Vincent College Players and other area theatres and organizations,” said Brandt.
On the opening night of this season's first show, “Harvey,” which runs through June 10, patrons kicked off the celebration with a 50th anniversary cake and champagne at the Cabaret.
A native of St. Marys, Elk County, Devereux was a graduate of Saint Vincent Preparatory School, Saint Vincent College and Saint Vincent Seminary. He also completed graduate studies in drama at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
From 1969, when the curtain rose for the first time on Saint Vincent Summer Theatre with its production of “Arsenic and Old Lace,” Devereux produced hundreds of memorable plays and musicals over the years, Brandt said, noting that “the impact of the theater on the cultural life of the region is immeasurable.”
Renata Marino, a professional actor and school coordinator, choreographer and dance instructor at Stage Right in Greensburg, said she is excited to be involved in this year's 50th season.
“My first show at Saint Vincent Summer Theatre was ‘The Star Spangled Girl' in 1992 and I have been involved for almost every year since then,” she said. “Having such great mentors as Father Tom and (former theater director) Joe Reilly made a young actor just starting my professional career feel very lucky.”
A history of Saint Vincent Summer Theatre written by Don Orlando, director of public relations, will be distributed free to all patrons at each performance this season. The history focuses on Devereux and includes a summary of more than 200 productions that have been staged and galas that have been held for the past 28 years.
Historic photos from past performances will be displayed in the theater lobby throughout the summer and banners celebrating the 50th anniversary will be displayed on campus.
The 29th annual Saint Vincent Summer Theatre Gala, chaired by Phil and Bill Dymond, will be held on June 29 with proceeds benefitting Saint Vincent Summer Theatre. For an invitation or details, call 724-805-2901.
The 50th season's productions include “Harvey” through June 10, “Nunsense” June 28 to July 15 and “Leading Ladies” Aug 2 to 13.
Details: 724-537-8900 or stvincent.edu/summertheatre.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.