Domenica Bongiovanni | November 8, 2017
About three years ago, a group of University of Notre Dame co-workers brainstormed ways to celebrate the school's mission during its 175th anniversary in 2017. They wanted to tell a story that chronicled how Catholic brothers and their leader braved bitter winter temperatures to set up a school with just $300.
An idea came up: What about a one-man play centering on the Rev. Edward Sorin, the university's founder?
It sounded a bit crazy at first. It didn't have the sizzle of Notre Dame football or former player "Rudy" Ruettiger of movie fame. It would feature someone students knew mostly as a bearded statue and a residence hall moniker.
"I must admit, when we first conceived of the idea, a few of us were afraid that this might be corny or sappy or just something that would be parochial and play to just a select few people," said Lou Nanni, vice president for University Relations.
But University Relations forged ahead with the play anyway, choosing alums — including Patrick Vassel, associate producer and director of the mega-hit musical "Hamilton" — to create it. And once the department first saw playwright Christina Telesca Gorman's script, any shred of worry evaporated.
That performances of "Sorin: A Notre Dame Story" are now are filling up further proves the play's strength. A showing coming up Wednesday at The Tarkington at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel — the first outside the university — initially sold out before Notre Dame added more seats.