Past, Present and Futuristic

Fordham Alumni Theatre Company Takes Off with Adaptation of Ray Bradbury Novel


Members of the Fordham Alumni Theatre Company in their production of “The Martian Chronicles.” (Courtesy of Fordham Alumni Theatre Company)

Published: August 28, 2008

The Martians have invaded Fordham College at Lincoln Center! Or, at least, FCLC has been invaded by theatre students and graduates going back to the class of ’98 who transformed Pope Auditorium into the Martian landscape and themselves into citizens of our neighboring planet for the Fordham Alumni Theatre Company’s inaugural production. This August, the company mounted a musical adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles” by theatre professor and head of the directing program, Elizabeth Margid. She worked with Puppeteers Collaborative and Theresa Linnihan, who co-directed and designed the life-sized puppets used in the show, as well as with Daniel Levy, who also wrote music for the last Mainstage show, “Laughing Pictures.”

In founding this company, the theatre department hopes to expand its horizons and achieve a multi-layered and ambitious set of goals. Theatre chair Matthew Maguire, who has been working on getting the company off the ground since he became chair last year, says that the company would like to provide ways for current students and alumni to collaborate, while giving more acting and technical opportunities to theatre department grads. Maguire also sees the company’s productions as an opportunity to attract more monetary support for the theatre program from alumni since this company will be providing roles and backstage experience to alumni themselves.

Theatre history professor Morgan Jenness is excited about this new initiative but feels that sometimes the theatre department has not gone far enough in “fully taking advantage of and utilizing the fact that it has a tremendous edge in that it is located in the heart of New York City. I think there is further exploration to be done in finding ways of colliding the university with the professional world.” Jenness does believe, however, that this new “fusion” company will be of great benefit to the theatre department, and commented that “associations between university programs and professional development across the country is an idea I’m pursuing…in general—but to have one in New York City is stupendous.”

This new company took its first bow in FCLC’s theater space, and will most likely be keeping FCLC buzzing with theatre activity in coming summers. However, the Alumni Theatre Company will also mark the first time that the theatre department produces outside of Lowenstein Building. The department would like to have the company tour, mounting shows in high schools with strong theatre programs and in other venues. Maguire feels that “the idea that Fordham gives its students opportunities even after graduation will be a strong incentive for prospective students to choose Fordham over our competitors.”  Although the Alumni Theatre Company hopes to reach out to alumni, provide experience for its current students and attract new theatre talent, as Maguire explains, at the end of the day, “the only goal is to do good theatre.”