Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs


News Release

Contact: Robert Schneider, NIU School of Theatre and Dance
(815) 753-8263

November 8, 2007

School of Theatre and Dance’s ‘The Third Onion’
presents new comedy ‘Hold the Elevator’

DeKalb, Ill. — The Third Onion, the student-initiated production scheme at Northern Illinois University’s School of Theatre and Dance, premieres the play, “Hold the Elevator,” opening Thursday, Nov. 15. 

The comedic whodunit, written and directed by Katie Hemmeter, features Phil Claudnic as the businessman; Andy Dameron as the intern; Courtney Kozeluh and Allie Shragal as the secretaries and Katie Stone as Jenna, the “building upkeep specialist.”

Hemmeter, a senior theatre studies major at NIU, explains that “Hold the Elevator” is a comedy of mystery...or a mystery of comedy. “The audience gets to watch the ups and downs of life in an office building from the perspective of those who know them best: the people who ride the elevators,” she says. 

“There are many unexpected happenings and interactions – just about every time the elevator doors open, you get another clue. Follow the clues and you find out who did it.” However, Hemmeter isn’t saying who done what. “You’ll have to see it to find out,” she says.

She’s offers a bit more information about her characters. “Kyle gets treated like a stereotypical intern; that is he gets sent around the building to do stupid things. Kelley enjoys filing at work – her nails, that is.

“Melanie is very goal-oriented. She sleeps with her employers to get promoted,” she explains. Elliot is a bit new to the business world, having been an intern for only a year and rumored to have already lost $1.5 million. 

“Finally, there’s Jenna, the janitor,” Hemmeter says, “who performs all sorts of really vital services for people – like changing light bulbs and things.”

She also confides that in her story a sort of romance is possible, but won’t say anything else about that, either.

The Third Onion, now in its third year, allows students at NIU to initiate their own productions – most often of plays they devise themselves. “Hold the Elevator” plays at 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, through Saturday, Nov. 17, in the Stevens Building Corner Theatre. Run time is less than an hour.

Tickets are $3, available only at the door. The Stevens Building is located on the NIU campus behind the McDonald’s and Pizza Hut restaurants on East Lincoln Highway. No reservations are necessary. More information is available by contacting Robert Schneider at the School of Theatre and Dance at (815) 753-8263.

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