SHU theatre visits Victorian Era

The College of Communication and the Arts’ theatre program is getting ready to perform their rendition of Anne Croswell’s play, “Ernest in Love,” at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC).

“Ernest in Love” is the Seton Hall Theatre Department’s annual spring musical. It is set to premiere run April 19 and will perform through Sunday, April 21.

Photo courtesy of Claudia Emanuele

This production is a musical comedy about love, rules, high society, mistaken identity and eccentric characters that can only be found in the Victorian Era.

The musical, which is largely based on Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, showcases the differences between the wealthy and working class. A cast of more than 10 Seton Hall students will celebrate these characters through song and dance.

The cast shared how they prepared for their roles and their hopes for the last main stage production of the 2017-18 season.

Anna Carpenter, a junior music and theatre major, plays the character Cecily Cardew and is no stranger to the main stage. This will be her 10th production. Carpenter’s acting resume includes shows like “The Wizard of Wonderland,” “The Way of the World,” “The Good Doctor,” “The Women of Lockerbie,” “A Little Night Music,” “The Learned Ladies” and more.

To portray Cecily, a young and beautiful heiress, Carpenter put herself in the character’s shoes and compares Cecily’s experiences to her own.

“As a long-time actress, I’ve learned that the best way to portray someone is to really think like they would,” Carpenter said. “Thinking as that person informs all of your actions onstage.”

Reflecting on her cast mates and her hopes for the show, she said, “I hope this show makes people laugh. We have a lot of really talented people here at Seton Hall. We are all really excited to get to perform for everyone.”

Sophomore music education and theatre major Jordan Green plays Perkins, the butler to the protagonist. Similar to Carpenter, he has been in a number of SHU shows including “Oklahoma!,” “As You Like It” and “Steel Magnolias.”

Working with a talented cast and director, Professor Peter Reader, Green shared his vision for the show’s success.

“My hope for the show is that even though it is not a super well known musical, people will still give it a chance,” Green said. “I think everyone who see will enjoy it because it is funny and the music is catchy.”

Tess Borsenick, a junior theatre major, plays Gwendolyn Fairfax, an upper-class young lady with a controlling mother. Gwendolyn will be Borsenick’s tenth character portrayed at SHU.

Borsenick has starred in a range of productions from children’s shows, to musicals, to Shakespearean plays.

The actress explained how her different theatre experiences teaches her something new in every show. She said that the actors often learn from many perspectives.

“Seton Hall has a great tradition of hiring outside directors so we as actors experience a lot of different directorial styles and make a lot of new connections,” Borsenick said.

The theatre department will present the show free of charge.

Schania Anderson can be reached at

Author: Schania Anderson

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