Jove Graham’s passion for theater evident in all aspects
He is called Jove, which is really a nickname as a shortened form of John Harvey, but Jove is what everyone, including his parents, call him.
A native of Indiana, Pa., Jove Graham currently resides in Lewisburg.
His first memory of performing was in fourth grade when he unexpectedly got his big break. When the girl playing Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” had a conflict and could not perform, the teachers changed the name of the lead character to “Donny.” “They had me fill in, I think because I was the only one they trusted to memorize the lines on short notice,” Graham said.
Graham graduated from Penncrest High School in Media, where he sang in the Show Choir, and played roles in its plays and musicals.
At Swarthmore College, Graham doubled majored in theater and engineering.
He graduated in 1996, after teaching summer classes for the People’s Light and Theatre Company in Malvern.
He accepted a one year professional theater apprenticeship with the Arden theater Company in downtown Philadelphia, where he learned all aspects of theater, and of the “vibrant Philadelphia theater scene.”
Graham then took almost a decade off from theater to get his doctorate in bioengineering at the University of California at Berkley, and began a scientific career.
He gradually got pulled back into theater in 2006 when Graham was cast in “The Glass Menagerie” by a theater in Gaitherburg, Maryland.
The following year, he was invited to fill in for a part in Bucknell University’s production of “Urinetown.”
In 2010, Graham first got involved with Milton Area Theater of the Arts (now RiverStage Community Theater) when he played Pseudolus in “A Funny thing Happened On the Way to the Forum.”
With RiverStage, he has directed two musicals (“Of Thee I Sing,” “Pirates of Penzance”), three plays (“Fools,” “All My Sons,” “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940”), and he said, “I’ve managed to perform in about one show a year.”
Graham has been RiverStage’s Director of Communications since 2012, and was recently named President of its Board of Directors.
He is extremely enthusiastic on RiverStage’s acquisition of a permanent home, namely, the Greenspace Center in the old Lewisburg High School, in downtown Lewisburg. Graham cites roles with RiverStage and the Community Theatre League as among his favorites.
For RiverStage, one of his favorite roles was playing Einstein in Steve Martin’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.”
“It’s such a smart and funny show and I got to grow my hair and mustache to the point that my co-workers may have thought I was having a nervous breakdown.”
His list of favorites also include playing the Narrator in “The Pavilion” (where Graham got to play 17 different characters), and Gabe in “Dinner With Friends.”
In 2016 for the Community Theatre League, he played and puppeteered Nicky in “Avenue Q.”
“It was a life long dream for me,” he said.
Graham can be seen in the recent film “The Lost Within,” and occasionally gets recognized for a two episode run on “Jeopardy!” in 2009.
Employed as a researcher for Geisinger’s Center for Pharmacy Innovations and Outcomes, the 43 year old spends his spare time playing the piano, and enjoying life with his wife and two children, ages 7 and 9.
As for general remarks on theater, and specific comments on directing, Graham always tells his actors, “I fell in love with theater because it is a team sport — you can’t do it by yourself!”
“Every production is a new adventure where everyone gets to use their voices, their bodies, their minds, and their life experiences to create something really unique,” he said. “The most wonderful, and simultaneously, heartbreaking thing about live theater is that it only exists for that particular moment, and then it’s over. You can’t go back and read it later, or watch it again whenever you want to.”
He sums up his perceptive on acting by stating, “As performers, it is our job to savor those moments for ourselves, while making the audience feel that excitement of seeing something unfold on stage that is never going to happen in the exact same way again.”
Finally, Jove Graham is expressing his ongoing love for theatre by heartily exclaiming, “It is really a thrilling art form to be involved with!”