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On Campus: Harper Alum Makes Name on Chicago Stage

An alumni of the Harper College theater program is earning rave reviews and selling out performances as the director and star of a Chicago production.

One of Hans Fleischmann’s first times on stage came as a Harper College student, when he scored a role in a campus production of The Glass Menagerie. Today, the award-winning actor is performing the same part in the same play on the Chicago stage to sold-out audiences – and earning critical acclaim.

Fleischmann, who attended Harper for two years in the mid-1990s, is directing and starring in The Glass Menagerie at Chicago’s Mary-Arrchie Theater. The successful production, given a four-star review by local media, sold out its initial run in two days and recently had its run extended an additional three weeks, through February 17. A native of Prospect Heights, Fleischmann had no acting experience when he arrived at Harper in 1996. He auditioned for his first play because he wanted a better shot at landing a role in the next one – The Glass Menagerieone of his favorites. He was eventually cast in the lead role of Tom, the same one he’s tackling now in Chicago. “Harper had a huge impact on me,” Fleischmann says. “I wasn’t treated as just a student. I felt like my life was put into my hands. That was something I really took with me through my career. If I wanted a project or a role to go well, I couldn’t leave it up to other people. There was something about that first step at Harper that helped me get to the level I’m at right now.”

He cut his performing teeth in part on Harper’s Speech Team, where he earned immediate notice from Professor and head coach Jeff Przybylo. “Hans was one of the most naturally gifted students we ever had,” Przybylo says. “From the first time I saw him perform, I had no doubt he would be an extremely successful actor.” In 2008, Fleischmann won a Jeff Award, Chicago’s premiere theater honor. He has spent the last four years as a Los Angeles-based film and TV actor, earning credits in the 2009 TV series The Beast and the 2011 film The Last Rites of Joe May, among others.

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