Center Valley, PA – (October 6, 2009) –Act 1 DeSales University Theatre celebrated its 40th anniversary season Saturday, October 3 with the classic George F. Kaufman and Moss Hart comedy You Can’t Take It with You. The production took place on the Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts. The standing room only audience included nearly 200 performing and fine arts alumni spanning the decades from the early 1970s to the class of 2009, as well as current students.
The production was directed by Father Gerard J. Schubert O.S.F.S., who founded the theatre department in 1969. “This production has called me out of retirement,” says Schubert. “You Can’t Take It with You is one of my favorite comedies, and the invitation to direct this warm, funny play as the opening for the Department’s 40th Anniversary season came as an unexpected honor for which I am truly grateful.”
DeSales alumnus and professional Equity actor Charles Roney ’78 reprised the role of Grandpa Martin Vanderhof. “Charlie Roney’s performance as Grandpa makes a delightful bridge over the time lapse between now and the department’s early years,” says Schubert. “I directed Charlie in this play in 1974 and thirty five years later he reprises the same role for this production. The student actors have been rich beneficiaries of his talent, wry sense of humor, and wise insights during rehearsals.”
Immediately following the curtain call on Saturday, Schubert was presented with a Papal blessing from Pope Benedict XVI honoring his 50th Jubilee year as a Roman Catholic priest. In addition, alumni Marie Lang ’77 announced the establishment of an alumni endowment fund in Schubert’s name which will result in the creation of four full scholarships in each discipline: theatre, musical theatre, dance, and TV/Film. “It is our hope that all theatre, dance, and TV/Film alumni will contribute to this endowment in Father Schubert’s name so that future students can be awarded the opportunity to attend one of the greatest performing arts programs on the East Coast,” said Lang.
“I am extremely honored and overwhelmed,” said Schubert. “I always dreamed that we would achieve the development of theatre, dance, and TV/Film programs, as well as a professional company in the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. I just didn’t know it would happen this quickly and how that would exceed my wildest expectations. As many of you know, when I started this program we didn’t even have a facility in which to perform. And, being an all male school, we had to borrow actresses from other colleges and the community.” Schubert went on to explain how the fledgling program performed at Cedar Crest College and then moved to the basement of Dooling Hall. In 1981 the program moved into its current home, the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, which Schubert called “the finest theatre within a 60-mile radius.”
The presentation was followed by a champagne and hors d‘oeuvres reception where alumni wandered the halls of the Labuda Center and gathered on stage and in the lobby to reminisce about the past and share their dreams of the future.
Press Release: DeSales University Performing and Fine Arts Founder Rev. Gerard J. Schubert O.S.F.S. Honored at 40th Anniversary Celebration | Posted on: 10/6/2009
For more info:
Tom McNamara, Executive Director of Communications
DeSales University | 2255 Station Avenue | Center Valley, PA 18034
610.282.1100 x1219 | Tom.McNamara@desales.edu