Theatre Students & Grads Reunite for Pittsburgh Production of Grand Hotel
Pittsburgh’s Boutique Professional Musical Theater Company, Front Porch Theatricals, cast five current and former Seton Hill theatre majors in its August 2022 production of Grand Hotel. Current musical theatre majors Channing Griffin, Carolyn Jerz and Corisa Saitta joined musical theatre alumni Leah Prestogeorge and Malcolm McGraw in bringing Grand Hotel to life.
“I was nervous walking into the first day of rehearsals,” Corisa said, “but having people I have worked with at Seton Hill to lean on and learn from made it so much easier. It is comforting to know when I have a dance question Leah will be right there willing to help. It is lovely having my home from Seton Hill carried into my job.”
Grand Hotel is an award-winning musical that uses the lobby of an upscale hotel in 1928 Berlin to connect the stories of myriad eccentric characters. The large number of roles provided the Seton Hill performers with a range of unique opportunities.
“Seton Hill does a great job in training and preparing their students to be ready to work in a professional setting.”
“I was cast as a Telephone Operator,” Carolyn said. “And asked to understudy the larger role of Flaemmchen. But like most of the ensemble, I do many small roles, including the Reigning Beauty (a rich hotel guest), a prostitute, and a bellhop.”
Leah, who has been living and working in New York City, came back to Pittsburgh just to perform in Grand Hotel.
“I actually auditioned for Grand Hotel back in January of 2020,” she says. “This production was supposed to be performed that summer and was then put on hold for two years, due to the pandemic. I knew that Front Porch was a wonderful company to work for and I could not pass up an opportunity to finally get to perform this show.”
Like Corisa, Leah and Carolyn enjoyed having Seton Hill theatre friends to share the experience with.
“Malcolm and I have been friends for years now and have done numerous shows together,” Leah said. “This is my first onstage experience with current students, Corisa, Carolyn, and Channing, and they have been really great to work with as well. We all have swapped stories about our time at SHU, and it's interesting to hear what their experiences are like currently in college versus someone who has been out of school for two years now.”
“I’ll have some nice inside jokes with Corisa,” Carolyn says. “And it’s really nice to see Leah and Malcolm again. Malcolm and I did a show together in April, where I learned that he is a wonderful dance partner (very strong for lifts!), but this is my first chance to perform with Leah ever. I’m so happy we all got in this show together.”
“Seton Hill does a great job in training and preparing their students to be ready to work in a professional setting,” Leah said. “It's so nice to see SHU's theatre program represented in Pittsburgh's professional theatre scene!”
Photo courtesy Deana Muro/Front Porch Theatricals