Letters to the Editor — Winter 2019 Allegheny Magazine

Remembering the Glory Days of Street Theatre

I read with interest the profile of Ted Shaker ’72 which was featured in the latest issue of Allegheny magazine and which began with a brief description of Shaker’s involvement in Street Theatre when he was a student.

The article did not mention that the founder of Allegheny’s Street Theatre was Clay Thornberg ’72, who also directed, and was an original cast member, of the comedy troupe.

From The Campus, Nov. 2, 1971. Clay Thornberg with Judy Kiehl, right, and Sharon Strite.

Thornberg came up with the idea, assembled the original players and kept it going over the years. At one point, Thornberg also took the initiative to contact actor, director and writer Woody Allen, requesting performance permission for Allen’s short story, “Mr. Big,” which Allen granted. “Mr. Big” was a huge fan favorite on campus and on tour.

Allegheny’s Street Theatre was outrageously, side-splittingly, fall-down-laughingly hilarious. The only on-campus performance events that drew bigger crowds in those years were rock concerts. It was our own “Saturday Night Live,” years before that show first aired, and the performers and the skits were every bit as funny, if not funnier. (In fact, definitely funnier because it was really live.)

It would never have happened without Clay Thornberg.

Mary Davies Seger ’73

Bentley is Truly Beautiful

I wanted you know how much I enjoyed the fall 2018 issue featuring the Bentley Hall renovations. It was beautiful, and particularly meaningful to me, as Bentley Hall has always been a part of our family’s story. My great-great grandfather, Homer C. Clark, who was president of Allegheny from 1837 to 1847, lived in Bentley with his wife and four children–including my great-grandmother Annie Clark.

I expect that many of the descendents of that union have attended Allegheny, but I am the only one I know of from our branch. I was very happy to graduate from Allegheny in 1956 with honors in English, Phi Beta Kappa. I wish I had been able to steer some of my siblings or children or grandchildren to follow.

I will send a token in honor of my great-great grandfather, and wish you all well with the renovation. Perhaps we’ll be back to see it when it’s finished, though Meadville is a long drive from Wisconsin!

Alice Bowden D’Alessio Marshall ’56