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When it came time to select a college for Brian Newell, the answer seems to have been imposed by economic necessity: Newell, who grew up in Fullerton, couldn’t afford to enroll at Cal State University, Fullerton, so he chose Fullerton College instead, spending nearly all of his time working as a sound and lighting technician at Plummer Auditorium or in the darkroom, developing photographs. When down to his final semester, spring, 1987, he took on the challenge of directing one of the Theatre Department’s shows. The show was “The Real Inspector Hound,” and Newell credits instructor Tom Blank for convincing him to take the directing helm.
Newell directed his cast of 11 with ease as well as designing and operating the show’s sound — something he has done on the 48 shows he has since. Newell also took his inspiration from Todd Glen, the theater craft teacher who taught him the intricacies of lighting design, and fellow scene shop worker Jim Book, who taught him technical skills like set construction and rigging. Book would later help Newell as a young theater entrepreneur in building and rebuilding four different versions of the Maverick Theater, the Fullerton theater company he founded in 2002. Newell said Book also assisted him with many of the technical aspects of the 69 productions the company has mounted since it first opened. Newell, in turn, gave back to Fullerton College in 1993 when the Theatre Arts Department hired him to sound-design four productions.
“Brian Newell was an original Stages member who first came on board as a sound designer — but then in our second year he directed a production of ‘The Magnificent Seven,’ the first of many big cast, big set, big productions that Brian directed at Stages. He starts with a big vision, then looks for the human and technical pieces that will give the story the biggest visual impact. He likes film scripts because they don’t limit themselves to what can be done in a single space/theater – then he makes it happen in a theater. Whatever flaws his productions may have are far outweighed by the ‘wow factor’ that he consistently offers audiences.”
— Brian Kojac, December 8, 2012
June 23, 1966
Theatre Arts and Photography Departments
Student-directed production of “The Real Inspector Hound”