Final curtain call for Theatre Council director

At the end of this year, Dr. James McGlone, a professor in the department of communication, will retire from the University.

McGlone, a native of Boonton, N.J., has called Seton Hall home for roughly 49 years after he first graduated from the university in 1954 and then returned in 1965.

Over those 49 years, McGlone has served not only as a professor of communication, but also as the director of Theatre Council alongside Deirdre Yates.

In addition, McGlone is the artistic director of the Celtic Theatre Company, which has been based out of Seton Hall University for nearly 30 years.

In these positions, McGlone has overseen the production of over 100 plays, ranging from smaller titles to those of William Shakespeare and Irish playwrights T.C. Murray and John B. Keane.

McGlone’s final play at Seton Hall will add to his diverse repertoire of productions, as he has never previously directed William Shakespeare’s “King Lear.” The play will debut on Oct. 22 in the Theatre-in-the-Round.

As a director, McGlone said he emphasizes to his actors the importance of presence and how that contributes to the overall, interactive experience.

Presence “is everything,” McGlone said. “Nothing is better than presence.”

McGlone said the focus on presence is the major difference not only between live theater and film, but carries over to other methods of communication such as face-to-face conversation and texting.

McGlone also discussed how he has seen the school through many different periods over the years.

“Each generation creates its own stresses, and its own turbulences,” McGlone said.

Most notably, McGlone recalled the heated debates following Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, which outlined the stance of the Catholic Church on birth control, and the fallout of the Kent State shootings in May of 1970, which caused Seton Hall to close early without finishing the spring semester.

McGlone will retire from full-time duty at Seton Hall, possibly bringing his Readers’ Theatre, which is focused upon live dramatic readings, to the road.

Over the years at this university, McGlone has developed close friendships with many professors and students, friendships which he said have helped to color his time here.

“I have nothing but gratitude for the time and people I’ve known here,” McGlone said.

Second year graduate student Henry LaGue has performed in twelve plays and numerous stage readings in his six years at the university with McGlone.

“First and foremost, he has a strong dedication to the students,” Lague said.

“He would be doing six or seven shows a year in his fourth decade of work. That is what’s great about him: he has kept students involved. It’s amazing to work with someone who is so dedicated and has so much experience,” he said.

LaGue said that aside from being a professor and director, McGlone has impacted students on the personal level.

“He’s definitely a philosopher, a mentor to people and just really a cool guy,” LaGue said.

“He is someone you can have a real conversation with – that’s definitely something that has never been lacking with him,” he said.

McGlone called his Theater Council students “a great bunch” and said that one of the greatest things about theater is that it brings together individuals “striving for that common goal, (which) is a binding experience.”

In the future, McGlone said he would like to teach apologetics courses part time. For now, he said has no plans “set in stone.”

Ed Millar can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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