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Fall 2019: This Place Is Just Magic


When the Wabash theater department staged Biloxi Blues in October, it was the second time Wabash students had performed the Neil Simon play. So Hugh Vandivier ’91 and the department invited alumni from the 1991 production to closing night to enjoy the play and meet the new cast. 

“I was so proud of those actors,” said Jon Sturgill ’93, who played Arnold Epstein in the 1991 production. “And I was kind of reliving my own experience as I watched them perform the play.”

“You could see the brotherhood,” said Chip Davis ’91, who played Eugene Morris Jerome in 1991. “There’s a bonding of the guys in the show. It’s the same thing we went through here at Wabash.” 

“This place is just magic,” said lighting designer Phil Hoagland ’93. “The collaboration is intense: You are utterly dependent upon everybody else in the production for your success or failure.”

“Hearing the closing monologue that Eugene gives about youth had a poignancy 28 years later,” said Father Pat Beidelman ’94. “When we were in this show we had our whole lives before us.” 

The "Biloxi Blues" casts of 1991 and 2019
  • I was a runner, and theater gave me the ability to go out and do something I would never have contemplated doing. Only at Wabash would you get the opportunity to be an athlete and then go star in a play. — Jon Sturgill


  • Theater has been a hobby of mine for the last 20 years, and I owe a lot of that to Wabash. — Chip Davis


  • Theater at Wabash prepared me for my vocation in life, which ultimately didn’t have me on a stage in front of an audience but in a sanctuary in front of a congregation as a Catholic priest. — Father Pat Beidelman


  • You build trust and reliance together on stage, whether setting the stage, lighting, making the actors audible, or speaking the lines. Corporate America has gurus come in and do rope exercises and trust falls and silly things to create what you can build in a production. — Darin Prather ’93, scene designer


  • I was walking around behind stage a moment ago and found a sign that I put up back there in 1991. I saw it and said, “My god, that’s my handwriting!” There is a part of us that is still here and always will be. — Phil Hoagland