Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 2018

2018 Inductee Biographies

List of 5 items.

  • Joseph Siravo ’73

    “Be prompt. Be pleasant. Be prepared. Be proud.”
     
    Joseph Siravo has been a working actor, director, teacher and producer for more than 40 years. His theatrical roots were set down at St. John’s in the Mask & Wig under the tough-love brilliance of Eugene F. Morrill. The above words of encouragement finished every set of notes distributed to the Mask & Wig by Mr. Morrill and became the foundation for Siravo’s entire professional life.
     
    At SJC, he began his theatrical career at the ripe age of 11, appearing for the first time on stage in Oliver! He was then featured in several Mask & Wig productions: The Music Man, My Fair Lady, The Happy Time, Man of La Mancha, Hello, Dolly!, George M!, Fiddler on the Roof, Anything Goes, West Side Story and The Pajama Game.
     
    With his Mask & Wig foundation supporting him, Siravo attended Stanford University, performing major roles by Aeschylus, Brecht, Strindberg, Sondheim and Shakespeare, but never imagining he would pursue a career as a professional actor. That all changed, however, when he acknowledged his true passion and committed to a life of theatrical story-telling.
     
    Siravo then entered the New York University Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting Program, training under some of the most influential acting teachers of his generation: Peter Kass, Olympia Dukakis, Ron Van Lieu and Nora Dunfee. As Ms. Dunfee’s assistant and protégé, Siravo began an obsession with Shakespeare that continues to this day. Again, the nurturing guidance of a master teacher planted the seeds for a long and fruitful journey.
     
    Over the past four decades, he has taught at some of the most respected actor-training programs in New York City. After receiving his M.F.A. from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts in 1980, Siravo joined the NYU grad acting faculty as its youngest member, teaching voice, speech and text with a primary focus on Shakespeare.
     
    He conducted Shakespeare workshops at the Lucid Body Institute, the Terry Knickerbocker Studio, the Michael Howard Studio, the Stella Adler Conservatory and the Playwrights Horizons Theater School. His Shakespeare and Beyond workshop in NYC has been inspiring actors every Monday night with the genius of Shakespeare for the past 20 years.
     
    Siravo first began acting professionally Off-Off Broadway, with the Cooper-Keaton Group at La MaMa, ETC. At New York Stage and Film, he directed Sam Shepard’s Suicide in Bb and coordinated the New Voices play development series, directing presentations of Deborah Pryor’s Burrhead and Wetter Than Water, Howard Brenton’s Sore Throats and Franz Xaver Kroetz’s The Nest and Neither Fish Nor Fowl.
     
    He appeared in productions at Olympia Dukakis’ Whole Theatre Co. in Montclair, NJ, and traveled the country’s regional theatres: Savages at the Seattle Rep; A View from the Bridge, Othello and Sweeney Todd at the Hangar Theatre; Italian American Reconciliation at DC’s Round House Theater; The Sweet Life at Yale Rep; Antony and Cleopatra at Berkeley Rep; Three Sisters at Shakespeare Theatre of NJ; Last Of The Boys at the McCarter Theatre; and Hamlet at the Long Wharf.
     
    He worked Off-Broadway with top directors Arthur Penn in Major Crimes; Mark Wing-Davey in Mad Forest at New York Theatre Workshop; Scott Ellis in Dark Rapture; and Mark Brokaw in Gemini, both at Second Stage and with John Patrick Shanley, who wrote and directed him in Cellini at the Civita Festival in Umbria, Italy.
     
    As a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, he appeared in new plays by John Guare and Joyce Carol Oates; in Lusting After Pipino’s Wife at Primary Stages; Up Against the Wind at New York Theatre Workshop; The Root at The Atlantic; Dream of a Common Language with The Women’s Project; and My Night with Reg at The New Group.
     
    On Broadway: Herb Gardner’s Conversations with My Father, directed by Daniel Sullivan; The Boys from Syracuse at the Roundabout; the First National Tour of Jersey Boys; and the 2005 Tony Award-winning The Light in the Piazza and Oslo, 2017 Tony Award winner for Best New Play, both at Lincoln Center Theater.
     
    On television, he starred as Johnny-Boy Soprano on The Sopranos, In Treatment, Dirty Sexy Money, Hack, Third Watch, Law & Order and as Fred Goldman in FX’s Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner, The People vs. OJ Simpson. He has also appeared in the films Carlito’s Way, Maid in Manhattan, The Wannabe, Enchanted, Shark Tale, The Wild, A Day in Black and White, Night Falls on Manhattan, Wise Girls, Walking and Talking and Thirteen Conversations About One Thing.
     
    Siravo was lead producer of the feature film Things That Hang from Trees, which received its world premiere at SXSW, its NYC premiere at the New Directors/New Films Festival and its European premiere at the Troia International Film Festival, where it was honored with the Golden Dolphin Award for Best American Independent Feature.
     
    Siravo thanks his family for their tireless support and especially his daughter and muse, Allegra, for her inspiration.
  • J. Patrick Raftery ’76

    J. Patrick Raftery was a member of St. John’s graduating Class of 1976 and performed with the Mask & Wig in productions of West Side Story, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Celebration, Kiss Me, Kate and HMS Pinafore. While still at St. John’s, Raftery was invited to audit the Young Artists Program at Wolf Trap Opera, where he worked with his future mentor, John Moriarty, and met Beverly Sills, both of whom were instrumental in the start of his operatic career.
     
    Raftery’s professional debut came in 1980, when he sang the role of Schaunard in La Bohème and shared the stage with Luciano Pavarotti. After his years at St. John’s, the Boston Conservatory and the Juilliard School of Music, Raftery was awarded the Richard Tucker Music Foundation Prize in New York and made his debut at Carnegie Hall in the Tucker Award Winner’s Concert that year.
     
    Columbia Artists Management signed Raftery as a client when his career soared and took him to the major opera houses of the world in less than a decade. Until his debut at the Metropolitan Opera with Mirella Freni in Manon Lescaut, Raftery was one of North America’s most prominent baritones. 
     
    In 1992, Raftery made the transition to tenor, making his debut with New York’s Mostly Mozart festival at Avery Fisher Hall (now David Geffen Hall). This led to his debut at the world’s most prestigious opera house, La Scala in Milan. Raftery was subsequently re-invited to the stages of London’s Covent Garden, the Paris Opera, the Hamburg State Opera and numerous others.
     
    Born in Washington, DC, and a citizen of both Canada and the United States, Raftery makes his home in Vancouver, Canada, where he is a professor of voice and opera at the University of British Columbia.
  • Stephanie Arapian ’97

    Stephanie Arapian’s introduction to SJC Theatre began with The Diary of Anne Frank and sparked a passion for storytelling that continues today. She began narrating stories in Maryland, performed in all eight shows during her time at SJC and earned a B.A. in theatre performance at Fairfield University. Arapian interned in Florida Studio Theatre, then decided to go a different route altogether and studied for a Teaching English as a Foreign Language certificate in Greece.
     
    Her teaching career began in China, where she learned about baijiu, the true meaning of foreign, and herself. After a year and a half, she moved to Germany, teaching business English by day and performing with an amazingly diverse ex-pat theatre community by night. Three years and several shows later, Arapian moved again, enrolling in East 15 Acting School in London, where she earned her MFA.  
     
    Now living in Los Angeles, she works primarily in film and television. Last year, she served as associate producer and first assistant director for the female empowerment action/fantasy short Protectress, which is currently on the festival circuit and in development as a feature.

    Stephanie founded Shatter Glass Films with the intention of writing and producing her own projects, and in December 2017 she released her first short film, Voyeur, which has already won awards for Best Indie and Best Actress. Her original TV pilot and dream project, Waystation, was a semifinalist in the Diverse Voices screenwriting contest and is slated for production in 2018.
  • Christopher Wilson ’03

    Christopher Wilson’s career in the performing arts began his freshman year at St. John’s, playing “a wall” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. From humble beginnings come great things. He went on to appear in many shows at SJC, including one of his favorites: Waiting for Godot (co-starring 2016 Hall of Fame inductee Branden Jacobs-Jenkins ’02).
     
    Wilson’s love for performing soon branched out into professional training at the University of Maryland, College Park. While at UMD, Wilson studied with acclaimed DC actor and director Mitch Hebert. He was also lucky enough to perform with professional Equity actors through a collaboration between UMD and the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.
     
    After graduating from UMD, Wilson soon began performing with professional theatre companies in the DC area, including Imagination Stage, Folger Theatre, Round House Theatre, Ford’s Theatre and The Kennedy Center. His performances with The Kennedy Center took him on two national tours and eventually gave him his Equity card.
     
    While free-lancing for nearly a decade, Wilson found a love of theatre for young audiences. His love eventually manifested into an offer to join the company of an arts non-profit called Only Make Believe. As an actor with this company, he visited children in hospitals and care facilities and performed interactive theatre as a means of hope and healing. After years in the company, Chris is now the full-time program manager for the non-profit’s DC branch.
  • Howard Dent, St. John's Director and Producer

    Howard Dent retired in 2015 after 45 years in education. During his career, he served as a middle school teacher, high school teacher, assistant principal, principal and, of course, drama director.
     
    Dent began his theatre career at Gonzaga College High School, then earned both a bachelor’s degree in speech and drama and a master’s degree in educational technology from Catholic University.
     
    He taught for 10 years at Holy Trinity Elementary School in Georgetown, directing shows for the grade school and helping with the high school’s productions. During this time, he also served on the board of directors for the Georgetown Theatre Company and Theatre, Etc., both in Washington, DC.
     
    In 1977, Dent started working at St. John’s, where he directed or designed shows for 19 years. Joining the faculty in 1979, he taught English, served as assistant principal and acted as the moderator for the Student Government, moderator for the senior class and advisor to The Sabre. The Sabre won four first-place ratings from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association during his tenure. He received the Distinguished Lasallian Educator of the Baltimore District Award in 1992.
     
    Dent went on to serve as principal for several Catholic elementary schools in southern Maryland. He finished his career in education by teaching math for 11 years at St. Pius X School in Bowie, where he was responsible for costuming the annual Passion Play. Dent was also a member of the Music Ministry at St. Dominic’s Church, where he sang and played guitar for more than 25 years.
     
    Even in retirement, Dent has continued his work in theatre. He has assisted his wife, lighting designer Nancy Schertler, at Olney Theatre, Round House Theatre in Bethesda and The Syracuse Stage in New York. Howard and Nancy divide their time between their home in southern Maryland and their place on Capitol Hill.

Hall of Fame Members

St. John's Theatre Hall of Fame recognizes alumni who have demonstrated outstanding talent in the theatrical arts, both at St. John's and beyond.

List of 2 items.

  • 2018 Inductees

    Joseph Siravo ’73
    J. Patrick Raftery ’76
    Stephanie Arapian ’97
    Christopher Wilson ’03
    Howard Dent, St. John's Director and Producer

  • 2016 Inductees

    Lawrence Redmond ’76
    Charles McNamara ’85
    Lindsey Wilkes LoPresti ’98
    Branden Jacobs-Jenkins ’02
    Gene Morrill, St. John’s Director and Producer