New Director Breathes Life into Our Lady of 121st Street

“Somebody stole my dead teacher’s body!” 

Something about that idea intrigued Assistant Professor of Directing, Patrick Pearson to produce his own version of “Our Lady of 121st Street” by Stephen Adly Guirgis.

Patrick Pearson is a California State and Sam Houston State University alumnus holding both an MFA in Directing and a BFA in Musical Theatre. He is a new faculty member to SHSU where he teaches directing and stage management. “Our Lady of 21st Street” is his first show he will be directing as full-time employee.

“I have directed here before, but it’s very special to be directing and to have this as my full-time job,” Pearson said.

The show is set in a funeral home where a fellow community member recently passed away and her loved ones come to pay respects at her funeral, only to find her corpse has been stolen. They work to find it all while finding themselves in forgiveness. The array of characters in the show are people of the Harlem and New York City where 121st lies right smack in the middle.

“They are rough around the edges, and all just doing their best,” Pearson said. “They are far from perfect, but incredibly human. These aren’t people on their best behavior.”

With the amount of adult language in the show, it is suggested not to bring children.

Patrick loves a challenge and sees it as a positive thing. The script has lots of challenges and the characters hold nothing back from each other, and expose issues for better or worse.

“It’s really fascinating to see people onstage dealing with what it means to have, gain, or to lose faith in something,” Pearson said. “The characters in the play are just as wonderful and diverse as the real people of the area.”

When asked about what he was most excited about, he mentioned working with talented students, actors and production teams.

“The students in the Theatre and Musical Theatre Department are incredibly driven and constantly working to hone their craft,” Pearson said. “It’s been a joy to see what new discoveries they make every day in rehearsal.”

The show will play Wednesday through Saturday in the Erica Starr Theatre at 7:30 p.m., and a Saturday matinee performance at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at 936.294.2339 or going to the website  Discounted tickets are available for students with a Bearcat OneCard.

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