Theatre and dance faculty emerita mourned

Friday, September 2, 2022

Sarah Jane Marschner.

Sarah Jane Marschner, principal lecturer emerita in theatre and dance, passed away on August 26, 2022. She served UNH from 1994 until her retirement in 2018. Her long-time colleague Carol Jo Fisher shares this remembrance.

Sarah Jane, the Diminutive Dynamo!

While sitting at Orientation on my first day as faculty at UNH, I couldn’t help but notice the bubbly blond next to me, who was single-handedly filling the room. So began our friendship that would become a bond. Our offices for the next almost 30 years were side by side and I recognized from the beginning the gift I had be given, as each workday was kickstarted with Sarah’s cheerful and warm greeting. How is it possible that in all those years I can’t remember one day when she was truly gloomy or sad. The Broadway channel was always playing in her office when I would pop in for a chat. That was how she seemed to live her life, as a well-loved character in a hit musical, who lit the stage with her own light. She was actually in so many of our UNH productions, from the Grandmother in “Pippin” to my favorite role, the Mayor of Munchkinland, a perfect fit for this diminutive dynamo.

Sarah Jane Marschner performing on stage with four actors
Sarah Jane Marschner performing as Mayor of Munchkinland in 2011 at the University of New Hampshire.

Sarah Jane loved Lucille Ball and Eloise, the little girl from children’s literature. Anyone who knew her would see the kindred spirit of comedy with Lucille and the rascally but loving nature of Eloise. Looking back, I wish we had sprung for the expensive room at The Plaza instead of the more budget appropriate Comfort Inn on our theatre trip to NYC. I know she would have loved having tea in the Grand Dining Room like Eloise who had “lived” there. As Aunty Mame says in the musical, “Mame”: “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!” You fed us all to the brim with your zest and love for life. It felt like some of the stage lights went out when you left us. Had you spent your gifts on Broadway instead of sharing them with all your thousands and thousands of students and the rest of UNH who had the pleasure of knowing you and your work, then I am sure they would be dimming the lights right now for the loss of a great star. Shine on Sarah, your light is too bright to ever go out.

—Carol Jo Fisher, principal lecturer in theatre and dance

A celebration of Sarah Jane Marschner’s life will be held on Saturday, September 10, 2022, at 11 a.m. at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Durham, NH.

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