Monday, February 15, 2010

Read the latest GTA Newsletter!

Georgetown Theater Alumni
December 2009 Newsletter

In this newsletter: Alumni Story: Steve Esposito | Reasons to Support GTA |GTA Origins

Message from the GTA President

Happy Holidays!

As the end of year approaches, our board has gathered on our cell phones across the country, concocting plans and hatching plots for the upcoming year. Regional events as you’ve seen during Homecoming and Opening Night celebrations are just the beginning! And that’s where your help comes in. Read the newsletter below for the kind of support you can provide; not only to students on campus who need our help right now, but also opportunities for us – the older alumni. As one of my favorite Georgetown gals liked to say – We Do Things! Or maybe I should say We Will Do Things! With your help, of course…

We’re thinking of planning larger events this coming year, and welcome any and all your ideas. Different brainstorming sessions have yielded: regional midnight theatre competitions, meet-and-greet networking events, speakers, happy hours, ice skating, discounted theater tickets and more! But we’d love your input. After all, we’re here for YOU! We want to volunteer our time – crazy, right? The only question is how to put our time to use, and that’s where your ideas are worth a million bucks (and a million bucks ain’t bad, either).

Just email us at!

From your fellow Georgetown Theatre Alumni: Enjoy the nostalgic look into the past in the stories below, as we finish up the first decade of the third millennium!


P.S. Visit our blog!

Alumni Story: Steve Esposito

Many Georgetown alumni discovered a life-long love of theater during their undergraduate years and made life-long friends while working on shows at Georgetown. And many stay involved in theater their whole lives, no matter where their careers and lives take them. We recently sat down with one such alumnus, Steve Esposito (SFS ’02) to hear his story.

I did a bit of set design and set building in high school, and I really enjoyed it. The school had a decent-sized theater and they gave us a lot of leeway to be creative and take leadership roles on their productions. When I got to Georgetown, I went to the M&B “O Show” during orientation and dropped by the party afterwards. I liked the group, and eventually wound up working on shows. Once I did, I was amazed at the talent and energy of the group, and I was hooked.

Friends from Georgetown theater are still my closest friends. We usually get together for a weekend each year at the Cape, and, as a matter of fact, I just went to Jason Yarn’s annual Christmas party last weekend. Do you know what he calls the party? Horkfest!

We did some incredible work, especially considering that Georgetown was just forming its theater program back then. We even took Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia” on the road to Washington, VA. I did everything. I liked lighting and sound, but what I really loved was set construction and set design. I was TD my senior year. The Board that year was awesome. Fun people who worked really, really hard and put together an amazing season. I also worked on a couple of Nomadic shows. Fun times.

After graduating, I didn’t work on any shows for a couple of years, but I really missed the challenge and the excitement. So, in my free time, I started working with a group whose shows I’d seen with my family growing up: the Village Light Opera. They have a loft in TriBeCa with rehearsal space upstairs, a scene shop and costume shop downstairs, and a very scary sub-basement storage area. It’s just like Poulton Hall! And the sub-basement is like that horrible storage space in the Alumni Square basement.

I started by just going to work calls, but have been TD for the past three shows and served on the Board of Directors for two years. And I’ll be designing and building the set for “Fiddler on the Roof” in the spring. The group has been trying to get the rights for the show for 20+ years, and we’re really excited to finally have the chance to do this classic. We’ll be performing at the Schimmel Center at PACE University in Lower Manhattan, which is a 700+-seat theater. They actually film “Inside the Actors’ Studio” there. Auditions are in January, and the show is in May. I encourage any Georgetown theater alums who are in the city to audition. They can visit our website ( for more information. And, of course, everyone should go see the show!


Dear Fellow Georgetown Theatre Alum,

The 2009-2010 Georgetown theatre season is well underway, and within Poulton Hall, Walsh Black Box and the Davis Center, a new generation of students is putting its own stamp on the Georgetown community and the legacy of great theatre.

No matter where our post-graduation life has taken us, we continue to carry that bond with Georgetown student theatre through the lifelong friendships that were formed, lessons learned and maybe even a career in theatre.

With your help, we can continue to give today’s students the resources they need to maximize their Georgetown theatre experience and support alumni across the country.

We are setting a goal to raise $10,000 by February 24, 2010, the beginning of the Donn B. Murphy One Acts Festival. This amount will help the students on campus with their wish list:

Can you make a holiday donation to Georgetown Theatre Alumni to help make these wishes a reality?

Please make out your check to “Georgetown University” with a note specifying that the amount go toward Georgetown Theatre Alumni. You will receive information regarding your tax deductible gift following receipt of the donation. Donations should be sent to the following address:

Ron Lignelli
Administrative Director
Dept of Performing Arts
Davis Arts Center, Rm 108, Box 571063
Washington, DC 20057-1063

In addition to the resources we can provide for current students, your donations will go toward you: the Georgetown Theatre Alumni. In recent months, we have held reunions in New York and Washington, D.C. that were great successes and we look forward to future events and updates via our website ( and email newsletter. If you have an idea of how we can better serve you, please don’t hesitate to contact the GTA Board at

Thank you for your continued support – we cannot do it without you.


Sami Ghazi
Donor and Fundraising Chair
Georgetown Theatre Alumni

P.S. We also encourage you to volunteer your time. Current students and young alumni in particular are eager to learn from and network with alumni who have gone on to become leaders both inside and outside the theatre. Contact us for more information on how you can help!

GTA Origins
By Jenn Raley Miller (F ’98) and Cristina Aquino (C ’97)

On a sunny fall afternoon in 1999, a group of alumni and a few students gathered in the Suber Room in the then-Jesuit Residence. Some were old friends, particularly the well-represented contingent from the early ‘80s. Others of us had graduated within the past few years, still lived in the DC area, and still had close ties to the current student groups and their student leaders. A few were alumni from as far back as the ‘60s who shared stories that were, to most of us there, an exotic glimpse into days gone by. We gathered with a common background and purpose: all of us had been active in student-run theatre at Georgetown in our undergrad years, and all of us were committed to ensuring that GU continued to have a thriving student-run theatre community. The room hummed as we connected (or re-connected) with others who’d had a Georgetown experience similar to our own, and we shared bits of history of M&B, Nomadic, BTE, Georgetown Players, and other groups.

Two important topics were the catalyst for the meeting that day, giving us a conviction that a formally-organized group was needed to create more cohesion among the alumni of Georgetown’s student-run theatre groups. Both topics had generated an increasing amount of “buzz” over recent semesters – one excited; the other more apprehensive.

The first was the upcoming milestone anniversary. Mask & Bauble was founded in 1852, and we all recognized that we should not let the year 2002 go by without marking the 150th anniversary – not just of Mask & Bauble, but of all student-run theatre at Georgetown. One purpose in organizing the alumni was to involve as many “generations” as possible in celebrating the accomplishments and evolution of Georgetown’s student theatre groups, which we hoped would also have the effect of keeping us connected on an ongoing basis.

The second reason for the meeting was a reaction to the University’s plans to build a new theatre – and, along with it, a formal academic theatre department. One thing we all had in common was that our experiences doing student-run theatre had formed us, given us opportunities we didn’t get in our coursework, and developed us into leaders. We shared a collective sense that there is a unique aspect to student-run theatre that we weren’t sure faculty-led productions would provide. We felt that the alumni were uniquely positioned to provide a voice to advocate for the student groups through the planning and creation of the new theatre and department.

After much spirited discussion but overall agreement of purpose, Georgetown Theatre Alumni was born that day on Saturday, October 23, 1999. Though we did not yet have a formal constitution or by-laws, we elected a handful of alumni to board positions to steer the group through its formative stages, and to plan the 150th Anniversary Gala.

Fast-forward to the weekend of October 11-13, 2002. Nearly 200 alumni representing six decades came together to attend student group performances, participate in workshops by alumni who had been successful in performing arts careers, and celebrate with a gala event that included inaugural inductions into the Donn B. Murphy Georgetown Theatre Hall of Fame. The sesquicentennial of theatre at Georgetown was also the debut party of the Georgetown Theatre Alumni!

Ten years after that original meeting, GTA continues to connect us to each other, and to commemorate and support student theatre at Georgetown University. The landscape of theatre at Georgetown has changed, but the spirit has not. Students graduate each year – with degrees in business, biology, and now theatre; and with as much experience as ever in the joys and heartaches of doing theatre – and are welcomed into the GTA family.

(Jenn Raley Miller, F’98, was Communications Chair of GTA from 1999 to 2003. Cristina Aquino, C ’97, was Co-Chair of the GTA Board from 1999 to 2004.)

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