Alum spotlight: Lucian Restivo (BA ’11)

collage of photos

Lucian Restivo, BA in Theatre, 2011

Artistic Director, Richmond Triangle Players

Lucian’s first exposure to theatre was “around nine years old and I remember watching my sister on stage in our community center, and I thought that I could do it better.” Ironically, that show was The Legend of Maggie Little and Lucian ended up in the show three years later.

Psycho Beach Party at VCU, 2009

Lucian continued to act after coming to VCU, but his focus moved to direction. He and his best friend Tommy Callan (BFA ’11) were in a class taught by Justin Amellio (MFA ’11), who was in the graduate program. “As seniors, Tommy and I kept saying, ‘When we start a theater company…’ Justin said, ‘Why not just commit to it?’”

Lucian hosting at the student run No Shame Variety Show at VCU in 2010

Stage B Theatre Company was created. Their first show was Reason to be Pretty at Richmond Triangle Players. Since he’s now AD at that theatre, he considers it “a full-circle-moment first show.”

Last day of ‘Business of Theatre’

When Tommy moved to Chicago, Lucian spent six months touring with Missoula Children’s Theatre, but “I wasn’t enjoying it at all.” He returned to Richmond, where he did some Theatre IV tours. “I was lost, confused and it just happened that John Knapp (former AD of Richmond Triangle Players) was moving to Baltimore and Phil Crosby (Executive Director) needed extra hands, so I started as an intern and made my way up.”

Lucian and the cast of Tailor of Gloucester, Theatre IV

Lucian is proud of the theatre’s heritage as the longest running theatre in mid-Atlantic region focused on LBGT works. “We value diversity within diversity and produce stories or playwrights focusing on LGBT issues.”

Like everyone else they shut down for COVID, but launched a holiday show in December 2020 with a limited audience of 27 people. “These were small, safer one or two person shows. We discovered a way to do it safely.” They also streamed the productions.

Photo from Spectrum in 2015 – a youth outreach program created in collaboration between RTP and TheatreLAB that gives LGBTQIA high school students an outlet and safe space to create a devised theater

The theatre recently completed their first So Queer playwright festival, which sought new works from new playwrights on LGBT stories in the South. They will produce the finalist, Stonewallin’, as part of this season. Developing a THYA (theatre for young audiences) program is another of Lucian’s goals.

Lucian’s been engaged to local actor Luke Newsome since 2018. He actually proposed on stage at the Artsies—Richmond’s version of the Tony Awards—after winning Best Director for The Laramie Project at RTP. The show also won Best Play and Best Ensemble.

Lucian proposing to fiancee Luke Newsome at the Artsies in 2018

Header image (clockwise from left): Lucian hosting at VCU’s No Shame in 2010; photo used in the announcement of Lucian’s role as AD at RTP; Lucian in “Harvey” in 2009; Lucian and the TheatreVCU Class of 2011

Compiled by Liz Hopper, professor emeritus, and Jerry Williams (BFA ’71) for the September 2021 Theatre Alumni Newsletter.