An alumna is reliving her college experience in a new streamable television series.
Candice Cain, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in dramatic literature, released “New Dogs, Old Tricks,” a comedy show centered around the lives and struggles of college students. The show premiered last month on Amazon Prime with six episodes that are about 22 minutes each, and the second season of six additional episodes is set to be released in the coming months, Cain said.
The show’s premise, characters and plot lines are directly lifted from her experience at GW, which she said was shaped by her role as a founding member of Alpha Delta Pi and her job at a bar just off campus.
“I try to encapsulate everything that I felt at GW in my stories, in my scripts for ‘New Dogs, Old Tricks,’” she said. “It was just an amazing experience, and I wish other people could experience it.”
The TV show features a cast including actress Shelley Regner, who played Ashley in the “Pitch Perfect” series, and Clayton Snyder, who played Ethan Craft on the show “Lizzie McGuire,” along with guest spots from Academy Award-nominated actor Eric Roberts and singer Clay Aiken.
The title comes from the idea that college issues are something that affects all students, she said.
“I love relating to people,” she said. “I love when people come up to me and say, ‘Oh my god. I went through the exact same thing.’”
Cody Calafiore, who plays Joe Crosby on the show, said the series sparked memories from his own time in college. He said while he was never part of a fraternity, he resonated with the sociable, party-hard aspect of the series as a member of Temple University’s soccer team.
“My role on the show is actually pretty similar to how I am and how I was in college, and it brings truth to some of the other roles I’ve gotten moving forward,” Calafiore said. “When you’re first starting out in acting, you tend to get roles that are as close to you as possible, because those are the ones that you kind of fit right into and match well with.”
Cody Calafiore, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business, added that he never considered acting as a career. After being offered a role in Cain’s movie – which was his first acting gig – Calafiore credited Cain with helping him become a more confident actor.
“At first I was very nervous because it was the first project that I had ever done,” he said. “She was like unbelievable about calming my nerves and getting me to believe in myself, and staying relaxed.”
Notable campus locales, like Guthridge Hall and Lindy’s Red Lion, which closed earlier this year, served as inspiration for some of the series’ settings, Cain said. She spent the last two years of college living in Guthridge Hall and said she was the second female bartender to work at the local bar, only following the spot’s namesake.
In contrast to her big city college experience, she filmed the series on her native Long Island, with the setting on a more traditional campus, she said.
Cain last released the film “What Happened Last Night?” in 2016 with Sony, which she originally wrote and performed at GW as a stage play. Cain said she performed the piece at Mitchell Theater and added that other theater spaces on campus, like Downstage at Lisner Auditorium, were formative to her college experience.
Between sorority life, involvement in campus theater and working with Program Board, Cain’s college life was a whirlwind, both socially and academically. She said she changed her major seven times from her original political science track, collecting three minors along the way.
During her busy GW years, Cain said she credits her experiences here with positioning her to launch a career in directing.
“My first real experience was at GW where I was able to write and direct a show several times,” she said.