One night only
Perry-Mansfield faculty show off talents in annual variety show
June 27, 2008
It takes a certain kind of person to be on the faculty at Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp.
“The goal is to find the right fit for us, which is somewhat unusual. Not everyone is cut out to live here for two months and teach students – in the woods,” said June Lindenmayer, Perry-Mansfield’s executive director.
“They have to be totally devoted to educating these students : to put as much information out to these kids as they can in a limited amount of time,” Lindenmayer said. Beyond that, all of the people teaching theater, musical theater, music performance, dance and other disciplines at Perry-Mansfield are practicing professionals.
On Saturday, many of those faculty members will share their talents with the community in a one-night-only showcase featuring original dance, drama and music.
“It’s basically to give everybody a taste of what the faculty that’s here are doing – when they’re back East or wherever they’re from – when they’re performing,” said Henry Fonte, director of the showcase and head of Perry-Mansfield’s dramatic writing department.
The annual variety show includes ragtime piano, original songs, dance with interpretive vocals and percussion, and Latin partner dancing, among other formats.
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Perry-Mansfield faculty members typically are handpicked by department heads to spend two months in intense rehearsals with young artists from elementary school to college age. Victor Maog, who has been a prominent stage director since the age of 20 and is department head for the Perry-Mansfield theater and musical theater departments, said he looks for active performers who are at the head of their field.
“I pick people who are really at the edge of theater-making,” Maog said. “These are people who are actively pushing the boundaries of theater. And more than that, these are people who are willing to share themselves with others.”
Faculty resumes include countless professional theater and dance companies, dozens of awards and original works, and the youth service program on which the documentary “Mad Hot Ballroom” is based. There’s ragtime pianist and Eubie Blake protege Terry Waldo, who will emcee Saturday’s showcase, and the up-and-coming choreographers who will help fill out its program.
“I think there’s a genuine interest and curiosity in what these people are capable of doing,” Lindenmayer said of sharing her faculty’s talents with the community.
“It seemed like a crime to me to have all these incredible talents sitting out here, and no one knowing about it.”
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