Alum spotlight: Elisabeth (Schultz) Hostetter (B.F.A. ‘88/A) and Tony Hostetter (B.F.A. ’86)

wedding photo and photo of same people on bikes

Dr. Elisabeth Schultz Hostetter BFA in Performance ’88
Dr. Tony Hostetter BFA Design Tech ’86

Elisabeth and Tony’s three dogs – named after Dr. James Parker, Ron Keller, and Lou Szari

Elisabeth and Tony have three dogs named Parker, Keller and Szari in honor of three influential VCU faculty members (Dr James, Ron, Lou in that order). Tony explains, “It’s like a VCU faculty meeting with them yelling at each other. Maybe our next dog will be a Hopper.”

At VCU, Elisabeth recalls, “All freshman had to take stage craft and all the tech guys were lined up in back to check out the new freshman meat. Tony, a Junior, approached me to teach me how to paint.” He realizes now how ludicrous that was. They soon started dating and were an item by November of that year.

At VCU theatre party in 1985

During the summers they worked together at Dogwood Dell and Kings Dominion. They determined not to get married until they both had their Masters, so they both finished at the same time in July 1990. They also both got jobs at TheatreVirginia: Elizabeth was a wardrobe supervisor and Tony was a carpenter.

They travelled to Germany for their dissertations. Both have Ph.D.’s from University of Missouri. His was on Max Reinhart and hers was on theatre as propaganda during the Nazi era. When they returned to the US, “We marketed ourselves as ‘2 for 1’ and got jobs at Randolph Macon in Ashland sharing one salary. He taught tech, while I taught acting and theatre history.

Elisabeth and Tony in Germany in 1992 at the Brecht memorial by the Theater am Schibauerdam (the home of the Berliner ensemble)

Elisabeth later was hired as a theatre historian at Rowan University in New Jersey, where she’s been for 23 years. She served as Chair for six years, but has returned to the classroom, “I love my job and the students are glad I’m in the classroom.”

Tony took a position at nearby Temple University in 2000 as tech director for four years, before moving onto the faculty to teach theatre history and lit for eight years. In 2010 he became a full time faculty member at Rowan University.

Elisabeth and Tony at University of Missouri commencement in 1997

Elisabeth is preparing for a sabbatical to study at the Karl May Festspeile Theater Festival. Karl May was a German writer who wrote about the American West.

Looking back at his career, Tony considers, “It’s weird how it started in lighting and tech direction, then moved more into set design, now I’m directing.” Elisabeth smirks, “He’s directed me three times, but I didn’t pay attention.” That sounds like a perfect way to keep a marriage happy!

in Rovinj, Croatia in 2018

Compiled by Liz Hopper (professor emeritus) and Jerry Williams (BFA ’71) for the February 2022 Theatre Alumni newsletter