June 30, 2015
By Jake Schultz '16
George Washington, Bennies, Johnnies and a hamburger. What's not to love?
Joey Hamburger, a 2013 graduate of Saint John's University, has written and is currently producing his 10th play, "George," which will hit the stage July 7-10 at the Bedlam Lowertown in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The play follows the start of the Revolutionary War, centering on many of the historical figures that most Americans will find familiar. But these aren't the same revolutionaries you remember from history class.
"Historically inaccurate and hilariously fun, "George" won't help anyone pass an American history exam, but it will be part of a great evening in St. Paul," Hamburger said.
In a cast of 11, eight of the roles are filled by CSB and SJU graduates and students, including Hamburger who will play George Washington.
"The play is seemingly about George Washington," Hamburger said, "but you'll be surprised to find that Thomas George Jefferson, played by Michael Rogers ('14), and John Hancock, played by Kevin Callaghan ('13), are the main drivers of the plot and conflict of the show."
Though this will be Hamburger's first time working with Kyle Munshower '18, Patrick Latterrell '16, R.J. Alpers '17 and recent grad Teri Schafer '15, he will be reuniting with many longtime friends.
Brady O'Brien '13 has been friends with Hamburger since high school at Academy of Holy Angels and were even roommates at SJU. Robb Goetzke '14 and Callaghan, along with Hamburger, were members of an improv group at CSB/SJU known as Attention Starved Children.
"Michael Rogers and I have been doing shows together since Fireplace Puppies (another improv group at CSB/SJU) his first year and my sophomore year," Hamburger said. "He's my favorite dude to act and write with. He's probably the funniest actor I've ever met."
The director, Michael Hugh Torsch, is also a high school friend of Hamburger's, while John Hilsen '14 will serve as the show's music director.
Working with fellow Bennies and Johnnies is something that happens naturally for Hamburger.
"It's easy to ask Bennies and Johnnies, because I've either seen them perform in something before or I have friends that have so it expedites the process of finding people," Hamburger said. "Plus, you can always count on them being good people."
The good people he works with now are just a part of the numerous people that have influenced him through his writing and acting career. Two years after graduating, he still counts his professors among the most influential people he's come across.
From professor of theater Kaarin Johnston, his former adviser, whom he credits with teaching him everything he knows about playwriting, to associate professor of theater Adam Houghton and professor emeritus of theater Tom Darnall, calling them masters of facial expressions and mindfulness, respectively.
"Studying under [Tom], Kaarin and Adam, meeting people through theater, [Attention Starved Children] and Fireplace Puppies, has made my appreciation for life and art very strong, and I'm extremely humbled to have it that way," he said.