Theatre student bringing 'The Office' to a Newman stage

By: Vantage Staff

When the hit television series “The Office” debuted on NBC, senior Austin Schwartz was just a toddler.

But when he was in high school, old episodes started airing on Netflix, and many people his age started discovering the series — a zany parody of office life that starred Steve Carell and ran through 2013.

Schwartz loved the show’s humor.

“A lot of people will say it's dry humor, which in a sense, it is,” Schwartz said. “But to me it's real humor. It’s awkward humor. And while it’s showing us these goofy people, at the same time, the show knows how to be real in telling a thoughtful story and making us get attached to these characters.”

Scwartz’s live stage adaptation of “The Office” will be performed by a cast of 17 current and former Newman theatre students from Thursday to Sunday in the DeMattias Performance Hall.

Schwartz, who directs the show and has a small part in it, took three of his favorite episodes of “The Office” and turned them into a two-act play. The first act is a mashup of the pilot episode of the show and an episode called “The Merger,”’ which aired during the show’s third season. The second act features an episode from season five called “Stress Relief,” which Schwartz said is considered one of the series’ funniest episodes.

It’s legal for Schwartz to bring “The Office” to the stage at Newman because the show is no longer running new episodes. According to the Berne Convention, he’s required to make the production his own, which he’s done by combining several episodes and picking and choosing storylines.

He also is making the show his own by gender-bending one of the main characters: The starring role of Michael Scott will be played by senior Elizabeth Raehpour. She had the best read for the role, Scwhartz said, and he decided to go with it.

Other Newman students in starring roles include senior John Suffield as Dwight Schrute; senior Alex DeHoet as Jim Halpert; senior Emily Maddux as Pam Beesly; and junior Asher Khokhar in the role of Andy Bernard. Schwartz said he performs the voice of Todd Packer. The cast has been rehearsing for about a month, Schwartz said.

Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for faculty, staff, non-Newman students, seniors and members of the military; and free for Newman students.

Tickets are available at the door or online at

PHOTO: Courtesy Photo, James Sanny