Abbey Players Celebrate 70 years with “Generations of Abbeys” Show

March 7, 2019

By Laura Lemire

Founded in the fall of 1949, the Anselmian Abbey Players are celebrating their 70th anniversary this year with a performance on March 16 at 7 p.m. in the Koonz Theatre at the Dana Center for the Humanities. “Generations of Abbeys” will involve more than 35 alumni and 30 current students.

Taking the stage together, current and former Abbey Players will present more than 10 scenes from previously performed musicals and plays, as well as a speed painting demonstration by Robert Surette '93 and a tribute to Katie O’Donnell ’07, who passed away in April 2018. The program includes performances from “Pippin,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “RENT,” “Anything Goes,” “Much Ado about Nothing,” and “Laramie Project" among others.  

The intergenerational nature of the show brings together alumni and students of all ages. For example, “Right Track” from “Pippin” will be performed together by Mandy (O’Neil) Nicholson ’06 and Ryan Burns ’07 from the 2006 production, alongside current student Aidan Lewis ’21 from the 2018 show.

In addition, current students will preview a scene from the spring musical “Urinetown,” which opens at the Dana Center on March 29.

Jane Hogan ’11 and Andrea (Crocker) Bruneau ’08 are directing, while Mark Marshall ’07 and Kyp Pilalas ’06 are the evening’s emcees. “I chose to get involved with the reunion show because the Abbey Players were such an important part of my college experience,” says Hogan. “The organization taught me about performing, it helped shaped my identity, and it helped me make friendships that I still have today.”

English professor and current Abbey Player advisor and director, Landis Magnuson is the anniversary show’s producer. He began directing the Abbey Players in 1988, and during his 31-year tenure has added the "Spring Cabaret," scenes at the annual Shakespeare's Birthday Celebration, and sponsored Saint A's Got Talent, in addition to overseeing and producing more than 175 productions.

"Although much harder to build and create such an alumni show, the idea of performers from different eras coming together and performing together seemed so appropriate when celebrating 70 years," says Magnuson.

Following the performance, a reception will be held in the event space at the Roger and Francine Jean Student Center Complex. Abbey Player memorabilia curated by college archivist Keith Chevalier will be on display.

For more information about the anniversary show or to register, visit alumni.anselm.edu/abbeyplayers70th or call the Office of Alumni Relations at (603) 641-7220.

The show and reception are $30 which includes a $5 donation to the Abbey Players through the Saint Anselm Fund.

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