When the St. Thomas theater department dissolved last year, many campus thespians were devastated and feared diminished dramatic performance in their lives. But senior and longtime St. Thomas stage presence Steve Broszko continued his hobby, accepting a job as theater director at his former high school.
Broszko, a 2006 graduate of St. Bernard’s, is co-directing the school’s December production of “Scapino” with fellow St. Bernard’s aluma Theresa Rotter. Recruited by departing director and theater mentor Matt Stovall, Broszko and Rotter took over a theater program that once drew 91 auditions in a school of about 220 students.
“I’ve credited it all to Stovall. [Taking the job] was an honor but also bittersweet, because we didn’t want to see him go,” Broszko said. “It was too cool of an opportunity to pass up. It’s weird not acting, and to be coming back [to St. Bernard’s]. Things are a little different, but it’s kind of like I never left.”
Directing is a new role for Broszko, who has always enjoyed theater.
“[Rotter and I] put a lot of work into the program before the kids showed up, so they knew they were in good hands,” Broszko said. “The challenge of being in charge, for me, is that I’ve always been an actor. This is the first time people come to me for help.”
Participating in seven plays in three years at St. Thomas, Broszko played several prominent roles, including the title character in “Macbeth,” the final official St. Thomas theater production.
“He can do Shakespeare and he can do ‘Godspell,'” said senior Christy Spampinato, who has seen several of Broszko’s performance. “He’s got a really wide range of skills and talents.”
Although Broszko said taking the director job at St. Bernard’s would have been a more difficult decision had he been involved in a St. Thomas play, he is disappointed he can’t direct talented students interested in college theater toward St. Thomas.
“Many of them are talented enough to go on to acting in college, just probably not at St. Thomas.” Broszko said. “Which is kind of sad, because there are community colleges with good theater departments and theaters.”
Junior Matt Potter lived two doors down from Broszko in Brady Hall, and had an education class with him on the Minneapolis campus.
“On the bus ride home, we had a tradition of singing the beginning of [Michael Jackson’s] ‘Billie Jean,'” Potter said. “He’s one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, I think he’s one of those people who you see and it’s the best part of your day.”
Time directing “Scapino” is balanced with Broszko’s other job as a resident adviser in Ireland Hall.
“When I’m with freshmen I’m in college mode, but when I work with high school students I kind of have to throw that away,” Broszko said. “I get many opportunities to teach and that’s pretty cool.”
Zack Thielke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org