Subject: Memorial Tribute to Frank Torok
Memorial Tribute to Frank Torok
Saturday, March 25, 2023 @ 3pm.
The Drama Guild
St. Benedict’s Prep., Newark, NJ 07102
Conlin Auditorium, 520 MLK Boulevard
The Memorial is to take place following the Drama Guild’s performance THE LORD’S A WONDER, directed by Pat Flynn.
Welcome: Pat Flynn, Director of the SBP Drama Guild
Fr. Edwin Leahy, O.S.B. Headmaster
Fr. Luke Edelen, O.S.B. Invocation
“The Carousel Waltz” Joe McCabe
Introduction of the Speakers: Greg Thornton
1961/1962 Greg Lagana & Arnold Lettieri
1962/1963 Tom McKay & Charlie Bordogna
1963/1964 Bob Lahita & Joe McCabe
1965/1966 Michelle Deubel Roderick & Fr. Don Hummel
1966/1967 Gene Perrotta, Michael Waldron
1967- Fr. Luke Edelen O.S.B & Daniel P. Quinn
2023 St. Benedict’s Prep/Drama Guild Student
“Somewhere” from West Side Story
Barbara Scholz McCarthy & Mr. McCabe
Video Tribute: Tom Haneke
Pass the Mic: Tributes to Frank from those in attendance.
Memorial Plaque Presentation
As a child I was fortunate to been caught in the magical spell of Frank Torok. He was a genius who set the highest standards and expectations for all of us.
The School began a Summer Theatre season shortly after Mr Torok arrived. Since my brother was a few years older than me I too was a member of that audience (1964–66). Later I joined The Drama Guild as a Freshman and auditioned. HMS Pinafore (photo) in 1966 was my debut as a Messboy to the left i(back row) with mop in hand.
His shows left me awestruck (as my parents could never afford any Broadway tickets). Summer Theatre introduced me to Carousel; The Miracle Worker; See How They Run (a British farce); Once Upon a Mattress; The Fantasticks; Li’l Abner to Camelot; My Fair Lady to Brigadoon all in sequence over 4 to 6 weeks with 4 or 5 shows in one summer.
A student from Arts High auditioned. This was the first time I heard a trained voice. Mila DeCosta sang Buttercup’s aria from HMS Pinafore and got an ovation.
(Decades later she sang DON JUAN at the Amato Opera).
Vincent Scalera played the piano for Pinafore. Later he also played at LaScala with major singers including Vittorio Griglio at The Met. Pat Flynn also appeared in TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA in a wild supporting role at The Shakespeare Festival.
The 1967 riots eviscerated the St. Benedict’s Music Theatre summer season in Newark. Attendance dropped by 80%. Frank Torok was offered a job by Yale University.
His lifelong tenure in New Haven was a profound loss for Newark.
Fortunately, I was able to give Frank a copy of my book: “Exits & Entrances:25 Years Off-Broadway, Opera and beyond” in 2018 at the Hive in Newark.
Hail and farewell our Captain of the Pinafore and so much more…
As a messboy in HMS PInafore (rear left of center) St Benedict’s Prep directed by Frank Torok and designed by Peter Wingate.
DPQuinn | New Jersey 5/4/22
Had 2 dreadful years of Alegra with a bellicose teacher who didn’t know how to teach, just humiliated students. It was not until Essex County College that I got in A in mathematics because the teacher could teach and I enjoyed it.
Tribute to Kevin Hanily/Australia w/The Drama Guild with Arsenic and Old Lace too.
DPQuinn | New Jersey 10/26/22
At St. Benedict’s Prep Drama Guild, I played Mr. Spinalzo as a dead body in the window seat in ARSENIC AND OLD LACE.
I did get a solo curtain call after being dragged and tossed about on stage. And rave reviews, fortunately I was still alive to get them, even though I was dead on stage.
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