New Theater Director brings Broadway experience to McNicholas

The McNicholas teaching staff has many additions this year, including Theater Director and Producer Teresa DeZarn who is a 1976 graduate of McNicholas.  Only The Milestone has insider information about DeZarn’s training, auditions, on-stage moments, and plans for the future.

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Q: During your days at McNicholas, were you involved in the theater program?

A: Yes, but we didn’t have what we have today at all. It was sort of a little group that banded together in a class taught by one of the English teachers.

Q: After high school, what led you to Broadway?

A: At first, I went to American University in Washington, D.C., where I became very serious about doing something like law. Then I realized what I really wanted to do was theater, so I actually went out on the road with some shows at that time, and then came back and went to school that next year at NKU, majoring in Theater and Performance and Directing.

Q: How did you receive an audition for Broadway?

A: When I got to New York, I was of the thinking that you should audition as much as possible so that you really get the experience and become much more comfortable with auditioning. I just started auditioning like crazy, for everything.  My first Broadway show was Cats. I saw a line coming out of a building, and I said, “What’s everybody lining up for?” and they said, “Oh, it’s an open call for Cats.’’ I thought well, I’m here, I’ve got my dance stuff, why not? I’m going to get in line. And the next day I accepted the job.

Q: What shows did you perform in?

A: Although I performed in many shows, the main ones were Cats; Phantom of the Opera; Three Penny Opera; Romance, Romance; Secret Garden; Show Boat; Camelot; Seven Brides for Seven Brothers; and George M.

Q: What is your most embarrassing stage moment?

A: Probably one of my most embarrassing moments was during the love song on the rooftop in The Phantom of the Opera and when I turned to run into the leading male’s arms, my cape wrapped around my feet and I didn’t realize it. I fell face first on the stage and the actor was laughing so hard he couldn’t come help me get up.

Q: What is your most memorable Broadway moment?

A: It was always one of my mother’s dreams to have me on Broadway. So the first night I went on for the lead role in Grisabella, I had my mother flown to New York to be in the audience. I remember thinking what a special moment that was, for her and me, to be able to say that I achieved that dream.

Q: What brought you to McNicholas to be the Director and Producer of Theater Productions?

A: My husband and I are good friends with Mr. Kissel and his wife, and he had mentioned, “You know, there’s this opening coming up. Would you be interested?” I gave it some thought and said that I would love to go back to my old school and run the Theater Department. So I went in for the interviews.

Q: How has the theater program changed since you attended McNicholas?

A: It has grown immensely. I think what Jeanne Spurlock has created, and what Jeff Mulvey continued to build upon, is so impressive. I just hope that I can do it justice.

Q: What are your goals for this school year in regards to the theater program?

A: The first goal is to get everything really organized, which we are achieving day by day. For the seniors, I really want to make them feel ready for the next step, which is college auditioning, so that’s what we are practicing.  I’d like to build the theater program in every aspect.  The technical area is not the strongest, so I’m working with people to improve that, and just to get it on the map as far as Cincinnati theatre is concerned. I feel like we’re over here on the east side and no one knows we’re here. I’m hoping that by the end of this year, people start taking notice.

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