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Brenham High School graduate generating laughs as he studies his craft in the Blinn Theatre Arts Program

Steven Houlihan is learning all phases of theatre production with the goal of becoming a high school theatre program director

Steven Houlihan is learning all phases of theatre production with the goal of becoming a high school theatre program director

November 29, 2023

Steven Houlihan’s dedication to his craft was evident in how he rehearsed his role in the Blinn College-Brenham Campus Theatre Arts Program’s recent production of “Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein.”

“They had a blindfold at rehearsal for me,” said Houlihan, a freshman from Brenham. “I just had to kind of feel around. It was a lot of fun.”

Houlihan’s role in the well-received comedy/musical was the blind hermit Harold, a role that starred Gene Hackman in Brooks’ hilarious “Young Frankenstein” movie. In a memorable comic scene, Harold manages to pour hot soup into the monster’s lap and light its finger on fire instead of a cigar.

A theatre arts major, Houlihan fell in love with the stage when he began performing as a member of the Brenham Children’s Chorus. That continued at Brenham High School, where his performances included the play “Bright Star.” Houlihan made his Blinn acting debut with “Young Frankenstein.”

“I was looking at going to a four-year university at first, but coming here has really been a nice transition from high school,” he said. “There are small classes and you have a lot of freedom. I just feel I can get everything I want at Blinn.”

Houlihan may have gotten even more than he wanted with “Young Frankenstein,” which featured his solo singing debut with “Please Send Me Someone.”

“I hadn’t really had a solo (singing) performance before,” he said. “Going in, I just said, ‘OK, I guess we’ll do this.’ I just had a blast.”

Houlihan said his fellow performers are “a tight-knit group” with a mixture of seasoned sophomores and eager-to-learn freshmen. Auditions are held for every production.

After Blinn, Houlihan said he plans to enroll at a four-year university with a strong theatre education program. He wants to become a high school theatre program director, and Blinn is helping him gain experience in all phases of a theatre production. Faculty in the department encourage students to take part in areas such as costuming, choreography, and sound design. Houlihan is working on sound design in the upcoming performance of “Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol.”

“One thing I’ve noticed is the amount of work that productions take,” Houlihan said. “Typically, we spend a month on a show. We went straight from ‘Young Frankenstein’ to ‘Tiny Tim.’ We spend two months on ‘Young Frankenstein’ and a month on ‘Tiny Tim.’ In high school, we took three months per show, but it’s prepared me to move forward.”

More than 700 people attended Blinn’s four productions of “Young Frankenstein” in October.

“People I’ve never met walked up to me and said, ‘You did such a good job,’” Houlihan said. “I’m like, ‘I don’t know you, but thank you!’ I think that’s the most rewarding part, people just walking up to you and telling you what a good job you did.”

Theatre Arts Professor Brad Nies said Houlihan has a bright future in theatre.

“He is an outstanding young man and a shining example of a theatre arts major,” Nies said. “He will certainly thrive in his future endeavors.”

Blinn’s 2023-24 season continues with “Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol,” Nov. 30-Dec. 3; “Medea,” Feb. 22-25; and “The Yellow Wallpaper,” April 18-21. Additionally, the program’s improvisation troupe “Slaphappy” will perform April 4 at 7 p.m. at the O’Donnell Center on the Brenham Campus.

Performances of “Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol” will be at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2 and 3, at the Dr. W.W. O’Donnell Performing Arts Center at 600 Blinn Boulevard on the Brenham Campus. Previews for area public schools will be Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. both days.

Tickets to each performance are $10 for adults and $5 for Blinn students and children. They are available online at, by calling 979-830-4024, or emailing

Blinn’s Theatre Arts Program cultivates a quality educational foundation of study, application, and experience through a wide range of performance, technical, and production studies. Its Associate of Arts degree plan integrates artistic, technical, and academic disciplines of theatre from the classroom to the stage. Students have an opportunity to audition for a variety of performances related to drama and theatre and are prepared to transfer to four-year colleges and universities. For more information, visit

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