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Senior finds niche behind the scenes

Jonathan Feustel’s a theatre major, but you won’t find him on stage rehearsing his lines.

The 22-year-old senior has a particular interest in the design and engineering of automated sets. “It’s quick-paced, has a lot of creativity and you have to solve problems really fast,” he said. “Every set is a new challenge, always something that I’ve never done before.”

Feustel, who’s from Huntington, Long Island, interned last summer at Production Resource Group, a set production company in New Windsor. “I worked in all the different fields, on different Broadway shows, from conceptual ideas to building and shipping out sets,” he said. “I was shown all the aspects of how a Broadway set gets developed, budgeted and then made.”

His internship included backstage trips to shows such as Wicked and Les Misérables, where he was able to observe the use of the automation equipment. The highlight was helping to set up for the show Grey Gardens at Radio City Music Hall for the Tony Awards.

“I’d like to bring that type of technology to our stage to teach and show undergrads what’s out there,” Feustel said.

Feustel, a morning person, is also part of the crew team. He coached the men’s novice team last year, and is looking forward to being a team member for the spring semester. “That’s our highly competitive season,” he said. “We have the opportunity to bring the team further than we have in a long time, because of a strong dedicated crew.”

For now, Feustel’s focusing his energies on his work as technical director of the Theatre Department’s November mainstage show, Into the Woods.

“He’s catering the entire production of the musical, he’s in charge of building it, getting it installed and getting it ready for the production,” said Don Guido, technical director of the Theatre Department. “In technical direction, he’s the most advanced we have right now. He’s actually one of the most advanced we’ve had in several decades.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08