Veteran actor and Xavier alumnus Gary McGurk directing music department's 'Into the Woods'

Director has appeared in more than 70 television productions | November 2, 2007

Veteran actor Gary McGurk, who’s appeared on such shows as “Home Improvement,” “The Young and the Restless,” “The Wonder Years” and “Roseanne,” is returning to his alma mater to direct the department of music's production of Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods." The production runs Nov. 1-4 at the Gallagher Student Center Theater.

"Into the Woods" blends various familiar fairy tales into a story of a childless baker and his wife who catalyze the action of the story by attempting to reverse a curse on their family in order to have a child.

This is not the first time McGurk has directed a production at Xavier. As a student, he directed "Crawling Arthur" and "Marriage Proposal" for the Xavier Players. McGurk graduated from Xavier in 1971 where he studied under the late Otto Kvapil.

“I am at once in awe of where the University has gone and a little nostalgic for 40 years ago,” says McGurk.

After Xavier, McGurk continued his studies at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music graduating in 1974. His film credits include “Bugsy,” “Seabiscuit,” “Love Affair,” “The China Lake Murders,” “Strays,” “Us,” “The Phantom of the Mall” and others. He has appeared in more than 70 television productions including recurring roles on “Home Improvement,” “Babylon Five,” “The Young and The Restless,” “General Hospital,” and “Simon and Simon.” Also, he has appeared in “Roseanne,” “The Wonder Years,” “Life Goes On,” “Family Matters” and “L.A. Law."

His theater credits include 120 productions, with performances at the Papermill Playhouse, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, the St. Louis Repertory Theatre, the Pittsburgh Public Theatre, the Alaska Repertory Theatre, Ensemble Theatre in Cincinnati and the NKU Summer Theatre.

He returned to Cincinnati in 2001 and is teaching theater at Northern Kentucky University.

The Xavier students who are portraying the 20 plus characters in the show began learning the music last semester.

“This musical is more typical of opera and takes a high level of commitment from the students,” says Scot Buzza, Xavier's liturgical music coordinator and the production’s musical director. Buzza is also taking on the role of the Baker.

The rest of the cast includes a cross section of students, from music majors to English majors to German majors.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1, Friday, Nov. 2 and Saturday, Nov. 3, with 2:30 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Nov. 3, and a 5:00 p.m. performance on Sunday, Nov. 4. Tickets are $5 for students with id and $15 for all others. To purchase tickets please call 513 745-3801.