Watch IUP Theater Alumna in Tyler Perry Television Series “Too Close to Home”

Posted on 9/9/2016 2:21:54 PM

On Monday night, September 12, Trisha Rae Stahl will host a watch party in Los Angeles to see her debut in a new TV series. She hopes a lot of people back here at IUP will be watching, too.

Trisha Rae Stahl to Appear on Tyler Perry Television Series Too Close to HomeStahl, a 1998 IUP graduate, recently completed work on the Tyler Perry show Too Close to Home, which began its first-season run in August 2016 on TLC. It’s a drama series that follows a young woman from a working class life who becomes embroiled in a political scandal involving the fictional president of the United States.

Stahl plays Jolene, the matriarch of the Hayes family. After playing the loveable Mille Rose on Glee for two seasons, playing Jolene is quite a change of pace.

“It’s the absolute polar opposite of my character on Glee,” she said via telephone from Los Angeles. “(Jolene is) kind of the source of the family’s dysfunction. And, of course, she’s a product of her own environment as well. She’s not the best mother figure. But she’s not in the best place in life. It’s fun, but it’s also sad to play.”

Jolene Hayes makes her debut during Monday night’s episode, and Stahl will be hosting some friends and cast members from the show to watch it. It’ll be the culmination of a whirlwind journey that brought Stahl to the show.

She auditioned in Los Angeles last year, and was told the next day that Perry, the creator and producer, wanted to meet her in person at his Atlanta studio, where he makes a lot of his movies and shows. Stahl flew out to Atlanta the next day, auditioned again for Perry, and the day after that was offered the role of Jolene.

“It was surreal,” Stahl said of the process. “I can’t put into words how I got through it. I was on autopilot.”

For her next project, Stahl is working on an independent horror movie called Let it Kill You, which is in preproduction, with a plan to begin shooting soon. She also will head back to Atlanta to film the second season of Too Close to Home, which was recently renewed for a second season.

Stahl has several other things going on, too, making her quite a busy woman in Hollywood. It’s a long way from IUP, but she believes her education here has served her well.

“I think of IUP as home,” she said. “I felt safe and taken care of there. Theater was a close-knit department, and I got a very high quality education. I got a lot of experience going to IUP that I might not have gotten if I went to a big-name theater school.”

Watch Stahl in a 2012 interview about landing her role on Glee.