Young alum takes center stage

March 09, 2009

Since leaving The Hill less than a year ago, alumnus Peter Kendall ’08 has been busy.

The stage actor has hopped from one project to another – from the Washington, D.C.-based Studio Theatre productions of “The History Boys” and “This Beautiful City,” to productions with Baltimore Shakespeare Festival to Baltimore’s Center Stage, including “The Matchmaker,” which ran last fall, and one that opens this week, “ ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore.”

“I feel very, very grateful and fortunate to be doing as well as I have so soon after leaving McDaniel,” Kendall said in a recent phone call. “It’s because of the connections I made at McDaniel and the help I have received from my professors there who have been tremendous mentors.”

He said the relationships that he developed with the college’s Theatre Department faculty have helped him by giving him advice, guidance and access to their connections in the region’s theatre scene.

“This is such a tough business,” said Kendall, who was a Theatre Arts major. “There are no agents in Baltimore and D.C. like there are in New York. Here you have to be your own agent or business manager. All of them – especially professors Ira Domser, Ronald Miller and Elizabeth van den Berg – have provided me with such an incredible amount of knowledge.”

“Because of them, I left McDaniel very prepared to go into the professional theater,” Kendall added.

Domser said Kendall gave his professors much with which to work.

“Once in 10 years our theater has an exceptionally talented actor,” Domser said. “When Peter left we had to reset the clock.”

Kendall said he continues to seek advice from his McDaniel mentors. He said that just the other day, he called van den Berg because he was nervous about doing a particular dialect for an audition. She advised him about how to demonstrate his aptitude for language and dialects, and the audition turned out well, Kendall said.
“ ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore,” which runs at Center Stage from March 11 through April 5, was written by John Ford and is being directed by Irene Lewis.

Kendall said the production is a “very, very dark play,” and his role, Poggio, is one of three characters who provide the play’s only comic relief. Another McDaniel alumnus, Tom Bloom ‘65, plays the part of Donado.

“ ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore” is a story about “a forbidden love, a meddling nurse, a complicit friar, and a tragic and bloody ending,” according to a synopsis on the Center Stage Web site.

“But it’s the lurid twist of a brother and sister in love that sets this bloody 17th-century Revenge Tragedy apart from Shakespeare’s classic tale of star-crossed lovers,” the site’s description adds. “John Ford’s potent, poetic masterpiece finds surprising grace at the heart of one of our most enduring taboos.”

Kendall said he has enjoyed spending time with Bloom, whose own career as an actor and director has flourished since his days at McDaniel. Bloom has performed on Broadway, in productions such as last season’s “Cyrano de Bergerac” with Kevin Kline and Jennifer Garner. He also has appeared in movies such as “The Thomas Crown Affair” and television series such as “Law and Order.”

Bloom and Kendall said that during their preparation for their coming roles at Centerstage, they have frequently compared notes about their days on campus.

“He’s a wonderful mentor, too,” Kendall said.

For those interested in attending the play to watch McDaniel’s own Kendall and Bloom in action, look for ticket information at