Hope College alumnus Richard Hoehler will return to campus to present “I of the Storm,” a new solo riff by RJ Bartholomew, on Saturday, Jan. 23, at 7:30 p.m. in the DeWitt Center main theatre.
From riches to rags, “I of the Storm” is an unlikely success story in which the featured character loses it all and finds what he never had, including self-acceptance and a long stifled creative bent. Ensconced on the street outside a city park, he holds forth for all comers--musing, ranting, singing, dancing and spitting poems with aplomb; a comic tragedian, an Everyman on steroids, a Superman who does not leap tall buildings at a single bound, but takes them one story at a time. In embracing both the joys and sorrows of life, the hopeful and universal message is clear: it’s about not wasting any more time.
Broadway World has said, “This unmatched performance by Hoehler is a definite must-see. Contemporary, fresh and captivating,” while cookecapemay.com has praised the production with, “Plays like this have the potential to change you…”
The production is directed by Janice L. Goldberg and produced by India Blake. The creative team for “I of the Storm” is: Mark Symczak (sets), Michael Abrams (lights), Sean W. Sellers (costumes), and Craig Lenti (sound). The production is sponsored by the Hope College Department of Theatre, the Cultural Affairs Committee, and the Department of English.
A 1976 Hope graduate living in New York City, Hoehler has created three other solo shows (“Working Class,” “Human Resources,” “New Jersey/New York”) that have been performed Off Broadway, regionally and internationally, and is the recipient of an OOBR Award for Best Solo Performance. In 2009 his play “Fathers & Sons” premiered Off Broadway. Other stage appearances include “Rounding Third,” “K2,” “Kalighat,” “True West,” “Cries for Peace,” “The Rubber Room,” “Inadmissible” and “Day of the Dad” (Best Actor in a Lead Role.) His television credits include “NYPD Blue,” “Law and Order,” “Third Watch” and “The Black Box.” His award-winning short story, “Four Roses,” was published in Middle Jersey Writers, and other fiction and poetry has appeared in various magazines and periodicals.
He is the workshop director for the Penguin Random House Creative Writing Competition, also directing the event’s annual awards ceremony at Symphony Space. He is the founder of Acting Out, a professional acting class for at-risk youth and the incarcerated with residencies at Otisville State Prison and The Fortune Society. He is the director of Joe Assadourian’s “The Bullpen,” developed at Otisville, which ran Off Broadway at the Playroom Theater for more than a year.
Hoehler graduated from Hope with a degree in theatre and language arts. Besides performing extensively, his work in theatre locally included directing many student productions at Hope as well as other productions at Jefferson School, North Ottawa High School, St. Francis de Sales Parish and Hope Summer Repertory Theatre’s Children’s Performance Troupe.
Goldberg was recently awarded The Kennedy Center Gold Medallion Award for her work with new plays. She has directed more than 75 new works, uptown and down, across the country, from university to Off-Broadway. Currently in production along with Richard Hoehler’s “I of the Storm” is Libby Scala’s “Felicitas,” which will be presented at the Steve & Marie Sgouros Theatre this August. Other recent work includes “The Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Alaska,” “The Stop Gun Violence Now Theater Festival,” “Speedball” at the Kennedy Center, “Autumn Run” (also co-author), “These Shining Lives” at Adelphi University, and “Flyovers” by Jeffrey Sweet, working with Sandy Shinner of Victory Gardens in Chicago and featuring Richard Kind and Tony Award Winner Michele Pawk. For “FringeNYC” she directed “That Dorothy Parker” and “After Anne Frank” (both award winners and selected for “Fringe Encores”) and “The Gathering Room.” She serves as artistic co-director of Artistic New Directions in New York and leads her Nail-the-Job workshops in Cold Readings and Auditions for students all over the country.
Tickets for “I of the Storm” are $10 for regular admission, $7 for senior citizens, Hope faculty and staff, and free for Hope College students and children 18 and under, and are available at the Events and Conferences Office located downtown in the Anderson-Werkman Financial Center (100 E. Eighth St.). The office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be called at (616) 395-7890. Patrons may purchase tickets in person, online at hope.edu/tickets, or by calling the ticket office.
The DeWitt Center is located at 141 E. 12th St., facing Columbia Avenue between 10th and 13th streets.