Mark Berger ’03 remembers vividly the time he presented a monologue from the film Roxanne as his entry in the W.W. Fenn Public Speaking Contest. Steve Martin, as the movie’s protagonist, responds to a taunt about his character’s enormous nose by offering a series of better insults. When Mark (far left in photo) delivered the opening line in Robb Hall at Fenn, his classmates and teachers erupted in laughter. “It was the first time I can remember really taking hold of an audience…it was totally empowering,” he declares.
Mark went on to attend Concord Academy and the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. He has been in the cast, playing a number of different roles, of The Laramie Project and in the world premiere of The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later, both directed by Moises Kaufman.
A recent moment on another stage rivaled the thrill of his public speaking experiences at Fenn. In June Mark accepted a Tony Award with the production team of the smash Broadway production Hedwig and the Angry Inch, for which he is the Associate Producer; Hedwig was honored as Best Revival of a Musical. Mark is working on Hedwig and on another current Broadway show, Of Mice and Men, starring James Franco and Chris O’Dowd. In his role as Associate Producer he has “had my hands in everything,” he says, “from marketing ideas to casting to designer choices.”
“It was an absolutely surreal experience,” Mark says of that night onstage at Radio City Music Hall, when he was invited to walk the red carpet with Hedwig producer David Binder and participated in the press lines after the show. When the Tony for Hedwig was announced, members of its production team sprinted to the stage, where Mark stood next to Neil Patrick Harris, the star of the musical who won a Tony that night.
Hedwig tells the story of a transgendered German singer, and is, Mark says, “about love and finding your other half within yourself. It’s very special,” he adds, “to be part of something that pushes the envelope and encourages people to look at theater and life through a new lens.”
Mark lives in Manhattan’s East Village with his girlfriend, Jessie Komitor, an actor, and when he is not working as an associate producer, he likes to cook, play golf, and bike around the city. He began building furniture last year, inspired, he says, by his days in the Fenn wood shop.