In honor of June Pride Month and the Carroll Player’s 125th Anniversary (June 1896-2021), this special edition of CU in the Workplace features television and media producer John Catania, Class of 1982.
After studying Music and Theatre Arts at Carroll in the early 80s, John moved to New York City to begin an active career on the stage. John met his now husband, Charles Ignacio, in 1993 on the staff of the groundbreaking series In the Life, the first U.S. television program ever to document the real lives of LGBTQIA+ people. The historic In the Life series aired on PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) stations for two decades from 1992 to 2012.
For In the Life, John was a communications director, stage manager, writer, editor, and staff producer, having created dozens of segments on subjects as wide-ranging as Broadway stage productions to national politics. He produced profiles on former U.S. Representative Barney Frank (Democrat-Massachusetts) and U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (Democrat-Wisconsin), and an interview with President Clinton’s White House communications director, George Stephanopoulos. John’s 1998 story on the budding gay rights movements in China and Hong Kong was a first for American television. For an earlier story about Chinese gay men in the U.S., he received the Seigenthaler Award for Excellence in Journalism from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
In 2013, John and Charles spearheaded the committee that oversaw the deposit of all of In the Life’s historical materials—consisting of nearly 200 episodes, transcripts and complete paper records, as well as thousands of video source tapes—into the permanent collection of the UCLA Film & Television Archive, the largest university-based media archive in the world, second only to the U.S. Library of Congress. Episodes of In the Life are also part of numerous permanent collections including the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the University of Southern California, the Stonewall National Museum and Archives in Fort Lauderdale, and The Paley Center for Media in New York City.
John has presented numerous screenings, talks and workshops about LGBTI rights, most recently in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand at the invitation of locally based NGO’s as well as U.S consulates embassies.
John and Charles have been life partners for 27 years and were legally married in New York City on July 24, 2011—the first day marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples in the State of New York.