University of Bridgeport Professor Ian McDonald has been cast in the Off-Broadway debut of Noël Coward’s musical Hoi Polloi. The script was recently discovered at Coward’s Jamaican estate and has never before been produced.
Professor McDonald joined the UB faculty earlier this year, alongside UB Professor of Theater Kate Katcher who is also starring in an Off-Broadway comedy, Daddy Issues, which opened in September. A skilled actor, designer, and all-around technical theater maven, McDonald teaches Stagecraft, instructing students in all aspects of technical theater. He also serves as Technical Director at UB for major performances of the Music and Performing Arts program.
“When I’m teaching,” says McDonald, “I try to keep my students entertained as well as informed. I find they tend to retain information if they are having a good time learning, so I try to keep my classroom a little light. If I feel I’m starting to lose my audience, I fall back on my old improv training and pivot a bit to something that is more engaging but still on point.”
McDonald was invited to audition by Director Mindy Cooper Grenke, for whom he worked previously as Technical Director on the Off-Broadway revival of Soul Doctor, and later cast as the understudy for both characters in her two-person show The Eternal Space in 2015.
For Hoi Polloi, McDonald is playing five separate characters: Mr. Capper, Dame Laura, and three separate noblemen at a “hoity-toity party.” Playing a variety of roles “comes somewhat naturally to me,” he points out. “One of my more recent credits was as one of the two clowns in The 39 Steps, where I played somewhere in the neighborhood of eight distinct characters – each with their own regional British or Scottish accents. So five Londoners feels like a walk in the park!”
Professor McDonald has been performing for more than 35 years and acting professionally for two decades. Recent stage roles include:
- The sinister William Reach in Lee Blessing’s Down The Road
- The Baker in Into The Woods
- Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing
- Orsino in Twelfth Night
- Ferdinand in The Tempest
Career highlights include starring as Ed Reiss in the Off-Broadway revival of Harvey Fienstein’s infamous Torch Song Trilogy, and appearing on TV in The Good Wife and Law & Order: SVU.
Adds McDonald, “Come see me play a post WWII Cockney street merchant, wear a dress, and sing a wacky Noël Coward song about being a Theatrical Dame!”
For More Information
Tickets for the show, seating charts, and related info can all be found here.