Seton Hall to host faculty talent show

So you think you can dance like Professor Marian Glen?

The First Annual Faculty Talent Show will start tonight at 6:30 in the Pirates Cove. Students will have the chance to watch their professors and mentors perform talents such as singing, dramatic monologues, comedy routines, even tap dance numbers.

“The idea for the show came from a conversation (professor) Mary Balkun and I had,” said Prof. Debra Zinicola, a co-organizer of the event. “We were just remarking that many people on the faculty had some great talent, and after we were naming them to each other, we thought having a talent show would be fun for the faculty to perform and for the students to watch.”

Zinicola said that in organizing the event, they decided to hold the event as a fundraiser for charity, and chose the Maison Fortune Orphanage in Haiti as the receiver of the funds raised. The orphanage has long been partnered with the Division of Volunteer Efforts in fundraising, and proceeds raised at the talent show will go toward building a chicken coop for the orphanage, so that the children have a renewable food source, according to Director of DOVE Michelle Peterson.

“We hope we can raise some serious money and help them out with this effort,” Zinicola said.

As for the talents that will be on display on Thursday evening, many professors were happy to join the cause.

“I am delighted that we are having our first Seton Hall Faculty Talent Show and I’m thrilled to have the chance to perform,” said Dr. John Wargacki of the Department of English, who will be performing traditional Irish folk songs as well as an SNL skit as his talents. “The proceeds are going to a great cause, and I know students, administrators, and fellow faculty will get a huge kick out of the acts.”

Many of the professors who are performing said Wargacki encouraged them to showcase their skills.

“Music has always been a very important part of my life. I was trained in classical piano and I have played in rock bands since I was a teenager,” explained Dr. Nathaniel Knight a Russian history professor who also performs as part of local band called MoodRing. “Usually my life as a musician and my life as a professor at Seton Hall are very separate, and the talent show seemed like a nice opportunity to bring the two together.”

Admission to the Faculty Talent Show is free of charge, but students are encouraged to donate.

Is your professor participating in the Faculty Talent Show? Read on to find out about other interesting acts:

  • Dr. Nancy Enright, director of the First Year Writing Program, will be playing the guitar as her talent, and will perform two songs: a classic anti-war folk song, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” and an eighth century Irish hymn, “Be Thou My Vision.” “Dr. Wargacki asked me just after I had started playing my guitar, which had been in storage,” Enright explained as to why she chose to participate. “The timing was perfect. And it’s for a great cause – helping a town in Haiti.”
  • “It’s very hard to say ‘no’ to Mary Balkun,” joked Dr. Edmund Jones about why he decided to participate in the talent show. Jones will perform a humorous reading from his memoir, entitled “Breasts.” “A few years after spring classes I suddenly found myself writing short memoir pieces to reconstruct odd moments from my childhood. The one entitled ‘Breasts’ is one of those pieces, and it recounts a period of time as a twelve-year-old when I was in mortal fear of which gender I was becoming,” Jones explained. “When I read it at an English Department party that spring, it received a lot of laughs. I wanted to try it out-with some trepidation-on a wider audience.”
  • Professor Deirdre Yates, who teaches theatre and other classes in the Department of Communication and the Arts, won’t reveal her talent, other than it is a form of “oral interpretive reading.” Interested? You’ll have to attend to find out.
  • Truth is stranger than fiction – Professors Marian Glenn, Beth Bloom and Mary Balkun will tap dance to the tune of Seton Hall’s Alma Mater, played on the piano by Professor Dena Levine. You’ll have to see it to believe it.

Erin Bell can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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