Mimes and Mummers Celebrate 150 Years
By Sally Benner (FCRH ’84)
The 150th anniversary gala celebration of the Mimes and Mummers, Rose Hill’s theater troupe, was held in Collins Auditorium on Saturday, April 8, 2006. More than a year in planning, the celebration attracted approximately 150 Fordham alumni, representing five decades, who were members of the extracurricular theater group during their years at Rose Hill.
|Mimes and Mummers alumni performed Steven Sondheim’s “Old Friends” during the theater troupe’s 150th anniversary gala and reunion in Collins Auditorium last spring.
The extended reunion weekend kicked off on Friday as Mimes alumni trickled into Collins throughout the day to rehearse numbers they would perform the next evening. Amid squeals of reunion were squints of attempted recognition of old friends, as this was the first time many had returned to the Rose Hill campus since their graduation.
Events on Saturday afternoon began with a special Mass officiated by Mimes alumnus James Miracky, S.J. (FCRH ’83), in the University Church. Alumni then walked to the adjacent Collins Auditorium to join friends for performances by Mimes alumni reprising musical numbers they performed on stage as undergraduates. The entire cast of 30 performers took the stage for a curtain-call finale of Steven Sondheim’s song “Old Friends.” Vinnie Marano (FCRH ’82) directed the evening’s performances.
Interspersed between the numbers were special tributes in memory of Collins legend Vaughn Deering, who served as a speech instructor and the troupe’s artistic director during the 1950s and 1960s, and to John Leonard, S.J., who commemorates his 60th year of involvement in theater at Collins and Fordham Prep this year.
Prior to the performance, the Mimes and Mummers Alumni Association (MMAA) announced the successful completion of a campaign to raise $25,000 for a new light board system in Collins Auditorium. Mimes alumnus Ed Lenci (FCRH ’85) inspired the fund-raising campaign last fall, when he offered to make a gift of $12,500 toward a new light board if the association could raise the funds to match his generosity dollar for dollar. Gifts continued to arrive after the April gala, allowing the association to surpass its goal by 12 percent.
|Jeanmarie Beier (CBA ’06), the 2005-2006 president of the Mimes and Mummers, and Ethan Downing (FCRH ’06) sign the commemorative 150th anniversary alumni tributes mural. photos by Kevin Metzing (CBA ’84)
A committee co-chaired by Kathy Phillips (FCRH ’83) and Tim Kelley (FCRH ’81), and comprised of the members of the MMAA executive board and 11 additional Mimes alumni, collaborated for one year to create and stage the gala celebration. Kelley also researched and wrote a rich history of the Mimes and Mummers, which was given to attendees in a commemorative souvenir program. (Click here to view the program.)
During the gala, the association also held elections for its 2006-2007 executive board. The new board is comprised of Laura Fois Bosley (FCRH ’87), president; Tod Engle (FCRH’79), vice president; Laura Byrne Cristiano (FCRH ’88), secretary; Dennis McCarthy (FCRH ’02), development chair; and Kevin Metzing (CBA ’84), treasurer.
The Mimes and Mummers Alumni Association was formed in 2004 to bring Mimes alumni back in touch with each other and with Fordham, and to provide a mentoring network to current students pursuing the performing arts or any other kind of career. Alumni who wish to get involved can get in touch with any member of the executive board through contact information available on the association’s website, www.mimesalums.org.
—Sally Benner (FCRH ’84) served as the founding president of the Mimes and Mummers Alumni Association from 2004 to 2006.