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January 28, 2010

Stage & Tv Actor Jim Brochu Brings Zero to His Alma Mater

St. Francis Alumnus Returns to Brooklyn to Talk About His Off-Broadway Show

Star of the one-man show Zero Hour, St. Francis College Alumnus and former member of the College’s Troupers acting club, Jim Brochu ’69 proved you can go home again when he returned to Brooklyn Heights, Thursday, January 28 to spend time with the College’s students, faculty, administrators and many old friends. (Watch the story on SFCTV)

“I don’t remember the building, the building has changed so much, but every corner I look at, I remember a person,” said Mr. Brochu. “And I remember someone who had an influence on me like Ed Setrakian who was part of the Communications Department or John Clifford (former Dean of the College). (Watch the interview with Brochu)

Professor Emeritus Ed Setrakian, who served as Chair of the Communications Department for 40 years and has appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows, introduced his old friend inside the Maroney Forum for Arts, Culture and Education.

“I saw Zero Mostel on stage and on screen and I knew him slightly. Jim captured the wit, passion, intelligence, high-voltage energy and downright orneriness of the man to a T,” said Setrakian who has appeared in dozens of productions, including movies like Zodiac and TV shows like the Sopranos and Law & Order. “At times I felt I was watching a reincarnation of that magnificent comedian. It was a great evening of theatre.”

Brochu captivated the audience with stories ranging from when he abandoned his dream of becoming the first Brooklyn-born Pope and decided to be an actor (after meeting Ethel Merman on stage at the age of 13) to his experiences with actors like Joan Crawford, Katherine Hepburn and Lucille Ball. In addition, his stories about his time with Zero Mostel, the subject of his latest theatrical work, added another layer for those St. Francis alumni who had already seen Zero Hour for an alumni event and for those students who went to see the show the night of the talk. (Watch the entire lecture)

A native of Brooklyn, Brochu produced his first show, a charity revue featuring Bay Ridge neighborhood kids, at the age of thirteen. After studying drama at Carnegie-Mellon University, he returned to New York to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in English from St. Francis College. He made his Broadway debut as Christopher Sly in "a very bad revival" of “The Taming Of The Shrew.”

Even with decades of experience on stage and screen, Brochu admitted that his visit did have him out of sorts. “Before a show I am absolutely not nervous – I have never been so frightened in my life to come back and talk to you guys today,” said Brochu. “Because I have to be myself; on stage I can hide behind Zero. I can hide behind a character, but here I have to be me and me, is ‘myeh,’ who cares.”

Before the critically acclaimed Zero Hour, Brochu received rave reviews for his off-Broadway hit “The Big Voice: God or Merman?” His other acting credits include off-Broadway show “Berkeley Square” with Christopher Reeve, a dancing raisin in the classic Post Raisin Bran commercial, regular stints as Father James on “All My Children,” Judge Julius Weyburn on “The Young and The Restless,” Officer Jerry Chandler on the cult-classic “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” and a small role in the movie, “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight” opposite Robert DeNiro.

Brochu has also written several plays including, “The Last Session”, which he also directed and was nominated for Best Musical by the New York Drama League and the New York Outer Critics Circle. He also chronicled the life of Lucille Ball as told to him over the backgammon table in his book, “Lucy In The Afternoon.”

Zero Hour recently ended its’ run at the Theatre at St. Clement's on West 46th street and is moving to the DR2 theater at 103 East 15th Street for an open-ended run beginning February 24.

Attached photos: St. Francis College President Brendan J. Dugan ’68 with Jim Brochu ‘69, Jim Brochu on stage in the Maroney Forum

St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City’s five boroughs and beyond.
St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201

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