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SHU Students, Faculty Members Play a Role in “Hockey—the Musical!”

By Arthur Gwoszdz, Student Writer

Mitch Albom’s original production of “Hockey—The Musical!” had a distinct Siena Heights presence this summer. The show returned to Detroit’s City Theatre inside Hockeytown Café, with SHU musical theater students J.J. Hoss (right, middle) and Patrick Wallace joining the musical’s cast. Also, SHU Assistant Professor of Theater Daniel Walker was the lighting designer for the show.

The production, which premiered last summer directed by Peter Albom, was very successful, said Walker.

“After a successful run last summer, they are going to remount it. This year, they put out the word that they were casting, so I made a phone call and said, ‘I think I have a couple of guys and a couple of women, would you want to see them?’” added Walker, who said the producers were doing their last days of auditions in Detroit before heading to New York. “So, the very next day, I sent them Patrick and J.J. (The producers) said, ‘we will fit them in for 15 minutes and see them since we know you,’ and they kept them for the whole day. They ended up going to New York and still hired our guys.”

The musical’s story is about when God decides the world has too many sports, He decides to wipe out one—hockey—to teach mankind a lesson. The game gets one more chance—if five pure-of heart fans can plead their case—God will reconsider.

“Basically, I got an email from (Walker) asking for my resumé and headshot to send to a production he is working on this summer,” Hoss said of the audition process. “After about 20 minutes, I received a call asking if I would come in the next day. I left at about 8 a.m., got to Detroit and met with everyone, including award-winning writer and author Mitch Albom, and he described the character in which he wanted me auditioning for.

“After about six hours of singing or reading from the script, we were finally allowed to go home. I was then cast as the role of Stanley/Terry, the lead of the show, who is trying to find the pure hockey souls and save his beloved sport,” Hoss said.

Wallace will play a series of small characters.

“I will be playing the song policeman, the referee, the gameshow host and the coach,” Wallace said. “I also have been asked to understudy one of the larger roles named Stevie.”

Wallace said he is hoping the acting experience he’s gained at Siena Heights will benefit him in a professional setting.

“Well, being my first real professional acting contract, I’m a little nervous,” he said. “But I’m hoping all the skills I have learned from the directors here at Siena have prepared me for what is coming. I already know how busy it’s going to make me, having eight-hour rehearsals six days a week. But isn’t that why we do it? I am excited to surround myself in what I hope to be my career for the rest of my life.”

“‘Hockey’ will probably be seen by 10,000 people, maybe more. So, it is wonderful for our students,” Walker said.

“Hockey—The Musical!,” ran July 13-Aug. 6 in Detroit before traveling to Traverse City, Grand Rapids and East Lansing.

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