N. D. Dramatic Tradition Revitalized
As University Theater Plans Big Year

  “In a well-conceived attempt to rebuild tradition at Notre Dame,” the University appointed William J. Elsen director of of the University Theater on September 15, 1948. Elsen, an instructor in the Department of Speech, succeeded Rev. Matthew A. Coyle, C.S.C. who became assistant chaplain at Saint Mary’s College (Scholastic 90:3, Oct. 8, 1948, 9).

Play: Mediaeval Mystery, a dramatic adaptation of the Annunciation

Author: anonymous (based on Karl Young’s edition)
Date: Monday, Oct. 25, 1948, 8:15 P.M.
Producing Organizations: Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s Glee Clubs
Venue: Washington Hall

Artistic Staff

Adapted for chorus and organ by: Father Joseph Gallagher

featuring 50-60 singers, with a musical interlude on the organ and piano. Roles include:
Mary (soprano):Dorothy Biro
the Archangel Gabriel (tenor): Joseph Sarka
King Achaz (baritone): John Brocerick
Elizabeth, cousin of Mary (contralto): Evelyn Sabol
On the Podium: Father William McAuliffe, director of the Moreau Seminary Choir
At the Organ Console: Carl Mathes
On the Piano: Father Gallagher

Notes: We do not know how the organ was set up in Washington Hall.

Source: Scholastic 90:5, Oct. 22, 1948, 10; 90:6, Oct. 29, 1948, 13.

Play: The Milky Way

Author: Lynn Root and Harry Clark
Dates: November 28-December 2, 1948
Producing Organization: University Theatre
Venue: Washington Hall

Artistic Staff

Director: Leonard Sommer

Cast List

Spider: Louis Garripo
Speed McFarland: Dan Caulfield, Jack Powell
Anne Westley: Martha Jo Harper
Gabby Sloan: Ed Goerner
Burleigh Sullivan: Pat McAteer
Jane Sullivan: Agnes Anthony
Eddie: Richard Blume
Willard: Jack Keane
Wilbur Austin: James Beymer
Dog [quadruped]: a “beautiful St. Bernard that stopped the show twice”

Production Staff

Stage Manager: James Beymer
Master Electrician: Robert Schmid
Properties: Leonard Costantini
Makeup Coordination: James Beymer
Program Cover and Posters: Charles O’Brien
Photography: James Ferstel
Business Manager: Edwin Kempf
Assistant Business Manager: William Doyle
Crew: Roger Vorce, Leo Stepanian, Lee Sheridan, Ed Jasta, Harry Oderman, Ed Kane
House Manager: Frank Finn
Head Ushers: The Blue Circle (founded in 1922 as the Boosters and named the Blue Circle by 1924, this service club was inactive 1931-46. See Scholastic 90:3, Oct. 8, 1948, 16.


Source: Scholastic 90:10, Dec. 3, 1948, 20; Dome 1949, 354; Program, University of Notre Dame Archives.

A bill of three one-act plays
Dates: March 14, 15, 1949, 8:00 P.M.
Producing Organization: University Theatre
Venue: Washington Hall, with a new black velvet cyclorama curtain (replacing a twenty-five-year-old lavender backdrop

Artistic Staff

Director: Francis J. Hanley
Producer: William J. Elsen
Lighting and Special Effects: James Beymer

Play: The Rising of the Moon

Author: Lady Gregory

CastSergeant: Maurice Mahon
The Ragged Man: Jack Powell
Policeman B: James Maher
Policeman X: Donald Curran

Play: Dust of the Road

Author: Kenneth Sawyer Goodman

CastPeter Steele: Lawrence Lopina
Prudence Steele: Jean Richard
Old Man: James Carrig
Judas: Stephan Hauser

Play: Monsignor’s Hour

Author: Emmet Lavery

CastGuide: Lou Garripo
Professor: Pat McAteer
Labor Leader: George Kashmer
Dowager: Jean Richard
Lawyer: Maurice Mahon
Artist: Helen Hearn
Gabriel Raphael Pagnani: Vernon Buckhart
Cardinal Perez: Lawrence Lopina
Monsignor Amato: James Beymer
“His Eminence”: Stephen Hauser
Rt. Rev. Monsignor Michael Carey: William Owen
Monks: Frank Malzone, Robert Nickodem
Swiss Guards: Richard Fitzgibbons, Leo Blaber

Eugene Rossi painted The Key of Heaven for this production.

Source: Program, University of Notre Dame Archives; Scholastic 90:19, March 11, 1949, 9, 12; 90:20, March 18, 1949, 12.

Play: Shadow and Substance

Author: Paul Vincent Carroll
Dates: May 11, 12, 13, 1949, 8:15 P.M.
Producing Organization: University Theatre
Venue: Washington Hall

Artistic Staff

Director: Francis J. Hanley
Set Design: Francis J. Hanley

Cast List

Brigid: June Anderson
Dermot F. O’Flingsley: Jack Powell
Thomasina Concannon: Mary Jo Cowger
Father Carr: Leo Blaber
Father Kirwan: James Maher
Rev. Thomas Canon Skerritt: Stephen Hauser
Miss Jemima Cooney: Jean Richard
Francis Ignatius O’Connor: William McShane
Martin Mullahone: Charles Perrin
Rosey Violet: Hildegarde Vargyas

Production Staff

Assistant Director: James Beymer
Stage Manager: Pat McAteer
Set Construction & Painting: Francis J. Hanley
Costumes: Francis J. Hanley
House Manager: William Doyle
Head Ushers: Blue Circle


Source: Program, University of Notre Dame Archives; Scholastic 90:26, May 13, 1949, 9; 90:27, May 20, 1949, 10; Dome 1949, 339.

last edited by Mark Pilkinton April 14, 2011