The love affair David Hoover ’03 has with theater began during his sophomore year at Saint Ignatius High School. While he had done some work at the Beck Center and Berea Summer Theater as a kid, it was the school’s production of “Kiss Me, Kate” under the direction of Rich Fujimoto ’66 that allowed the magic to happen.
“I had a great time in that production,” says Hoover. “I felt creative, fulfilled, tied to the people here. It felt like I belonged.”
That sense of belonging carried him through his undergrad years at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in Manhattan where he earned his B.F.A. in drama. Hoover studied at the famed Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute there. Anna Strasberg – Lee’s wife – addressed his class on their first day of studies. Her message was that everyone brings their own unique voice to the world.
Hoover says guiding students to find their voice is what compelled him to teach. He joined the Saint Ignatius faculty in 2016, working alongside his mentors, Fujimoto and Art Thomas. He says that was a humbling and exciting experience for him.
“They were always there when I needed advice, but very hands-off in the sense that they trusted me,” Hoover says. “That gave me the confidence to trust my own experiences.”
Fujimoto believes that he never imparted any particularly sage advice to Hoover. “I was just there as a sounding board, as his instincts are very good, with no hesitations or uncertainties,” Fujimoto says.
As a teacher, Hoover firmly believes his role is not to teach students what
to think, but rather to teach them how
to think. To him, teaching Fine Arts in a Jesuit school is very important, as it allows students to see that creativity is not limited to the classroom. Further, art teaches empathy and that actions have consequences. “To be able to talk about that within the confines of our Catholic faith is expansive,” he adds.
In addition to a full classroom schedule, Hoover has taken on the role of director and co-moderator of the Harlequins, the Saint Ignatius theater troupe. This school year he directed the student productions of the fall play, “Almost Maine,” and the spring musical, “The Wedding Singer.” He loves this aspect of his work as much as he does classroom teaching. Each facet of his work at Saint Ignatius provides an opportunity to help kids find their voice. “What they have to say matters,” he says.
Hoover works hard to keep his own acting skills sharp by doing exercises every day. This allows him to better work with his student actors.
“Many generations of students will benefit greatly from his mentorship,” says Fujimoto. “He is kind, supportive, and genuine.”
Getting to know David Hoover ’03
- Holds a master’s degree in communications management from John Carroll University
- Playwright whose work he would most like to direct: Tennessee Williams or Arthur Miller
- Most fun he’s ever had at a musical and why: “Spiderman, Turn Off the Dark” (written by Bono and The Edge) because “U2 is one of my favorite bands, tied to my favorite childhood fictional character, tied to my profession.”