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Three DeSales University Alumni Involved in Off-Broadway Premiere

by Tom McNamara Jan 19, 2022

Scar Tissue, a new play written by alumna Victoria Fragnito ’10 had its Off Broadway premiere on Jan. 13 and is set to run until Sunday, Jan. 30, at the Player’s Theatre in New York City.

Scar Tissue portrays the theme that time does not heal all wounds. Best friends, Jessica and Sam, each have scars from their pasts that have not healed. Jessica has never been able to get past an extremely damaging romantic relationship from her formative years in college, while Sam has been ignoring a painfully fractured relationship with her sister. After years of denial, an impromptu lunch date and a surprise overnight guest forces them both to confront these wounds and face what they didn't want to head on.

Fragnito was a DeSales University theatre major who interned at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival and was the assistant director for Sweeney Todd, South Pacific, and Romeo and Juliet. She was also a member of the WillPower Touring Company, which helped give high school students a greater understanding of Shakespeare by performing and discussing the Bard’s works.

Fragnito recalls her time at DeSales as beneficial to the creation of Scar Tissue: “Self-producing is a wild adventure,” she says. “In many cases, you’re kind of the catch-all. If there’s something left undone, it’s up to you to make sure it’s finished before opening. Act 1 at DeSales gave me the hands-on experience in every part of the theatre making process. I knew I was able to take on the challenge of putting up Scar Tissue because of my experience at DSU.”

Since graduation, Fragnito has worked at theatres up and down the East Coast and apprenticed at the Florida Studio where she participated in their nationally recognized Write-A-Play program, performing the works of young playwrights for thousands of students from all over the state of Florida. Her new play, With Dignity, was selected for a public reading with The Bechde Group in NYC, had a virtual presentation as part of The Tank’s CyberTank online series, and was read as part of The Barrow Group’s First Fridays program in March of 2021 for Women’s History Month.

Another DeSales graduate, Alyssandra Docherty ’09, is the lighting designer for Scar Tissue. She too credits her DeSales degree for her success as a lighting designer, despite being an acting student. According to Docherty, her participation in the senior class company, ACT 3, gave her experience where “we created full productions that allowed us to understand all parts of what goes into making a show.”

“DeSales fosters an environment where theater students are required to work together so closely that you can't help but form friendships and connections that last well past graduation,” Docherty continues. “Working in theater relies so heavily on networking that many of us keep in touch, even if we don't see each other often. This has afforded us opportunities as we share equipment and work together in different ways.”

After graduating from DeSales, Docherty spent five seasons as the lighting supervisor at Philadelphia Theatre Company and has toured internationally with Koresh Dance Company since 2013 and with BalletX since 2017. Her designs have been seen recently at Philadelphia Theatre Company, Florida Repertory Theatre, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Delaware Theatre Company, and Theatre Exile, among others. Her work has been recognized with Barrymore and Ostrander Award nominations.

Producing Scar Tissue is Christopher McGinnis ’10, freelance director and producer and general manager of Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, PA. McGinnis has worked as an actor, director and administrator with Walnut Street Theatre, Arden Theater Company, Act 5 Entertainment (San Francisco), the National Constitution Center (where he currently serves as a Theatre Operations Consultant), Media Theatre, and PA Shakespeare Festival, among others. In 2017, he was the managing director and producer of the US premiere of Aunty Ben at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, as well as the director and producer for the world premiere of The Pop Musical Diary of a Gay Man, for the Philadelphia Fringe Festival in 2015.

While at DeSales McGinnis’ began to move away from performance. “While I love performing, I knew early on in my time at DeSales that producing was my end goal,” he says. “I was lucky enough to be able to forge a unique path in the performing arts department - while performing, I also directed, self-produced and worked with the administrative staff. I owe a great deal of gratitude to the faculty and staff for allowing me to blur the lines and for taking chances on me as a student.”

Scar Tissue will run at the Player’s Theatre: Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7pm; and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets begin at $52 and are available at the show’s website. The Friday, January 28, performance is a special DeSales night. Use the Promocode DSUPFA for $15 off each ticket purchased and attend a wine and cheese reception following the performance.