The Resident Company
That same spring of 1966, when Howard Taubman of the New York Times explored the wilds of middle America to examine "the broad democratic base [for the arts] that the prophets had long talked about...," he found, apparently to his surprise, a high degree of popularity and greedy enjoyment of high art. The prevalence of excellent music, painting, sculpture and theatre led him to observe that "an artistic tide is rising and there is no telling how far and deep it will spread." Pondering the provocations of such a flood, he speculated that one cause might be "the discovery by countless Americans of the exaltations and consolations to be found in a play or a poem, a symphony or a painting.
The Loretto-Hilton Center brought one step closer to realization the dream of many St. Louisans that an "Equity company-in-residence...will be available to St. Louis audiences throughout the year, not just...when traveling companies play the St. Louis area..."
Michael Flanagan, whom Sister Marita and Wayne Loui consulted as they began to build the professional acting ensemble, was named artistic director of the theatre and chairman of the college's theatre arts department.
Members of that first company were actors, directors and designers James Bernardi, Barbara Caruso, Marilyn Chris, Lewis Crickard, Dennis J. Hayes, Simm Landres, Lawrence Linville, Wayne Loui, Charles Maryan, Sister Marita Michenfelder, Bernie Passeltiner, Lawrence Pressman, Sarah Sanders, William Wolak and Camilla Wolak.
|Once Upon a Mattress|
Grace Chapman, Chet Carlin and J. Robert Dietz
Within a few months, they were joined by Madelyn Cain, Peter Coffeen, George Gitto, Kate Greer, Marian Mercer, Robert Much, James Paul, John Ramsey, David Sabin and Gerald Simon.
Junior Company members, students in the theatre arts department who augmented the professional company, were Patricia Egglinger, Cynthia David, David Huffman, Tom Kampman and Ellen Perry.
Director/actors J. Robert Dietz and Philip Minor, and designers Vita Buschemi, Grady Larkins and Peter E. Sargent arrived in time for the subsequent season.