Seventy students and their chaperones from Young Scholars, Junior Frontiers, The Mohawk Valley Arts, MVLA and The Study Buddy Club converged on the Glimmerglass Opera House on Tuesday, August 15 to see the musical West Side Story.
All of these groups were convened under the leadership of Judge Joan Shkane and her brainchild, the Arts Wide Open Committee. Judge Shkane singlehandedly raised thousands of dollars from various donors to provide for the transportation, lunch, snacks, and the theater seats; an exciting and educational day for these young people.
The crew journeyed down to Cooperstown on various buses, vans, and cars for a day of theater fun and information.
Welcomed by Artistic and General Director Francesca Zambello, they began with a lecture and explanation of the terms and basics of theater production from Joel Morain, Director of Audio Video for the Festival.
After a robust Q&A session the group moved onto the stage for a first-hand reference of stage directions left and right, wings, flies, and intentional enhancement of perspective by set builders and designers.
Then the group moved to the Pavilion, one of many structures in the multi-acre complex. Dramaturg Kelley Rourke engaged the group in the nature of her particular theater craft. The Dramaturg advises the Director on dramatic flow of production, authenticates the script in time and space, edits the program book, and prepares supertitles including translations as needed. Kelley explained that she also writes adaptations and translations of libretti from different languages.
A box lunch was served and water from Nirvana Waterworks quenched the thirst of the group. Jawwaad Rasheed, founder of the Junior Frontiers, called all participants to introduce themselves to someone they didn’t already know as the curtain time drew near.
Westside Story was a great show and the group was very proud to be acknowledged at the opening of the show. After a splendid production, the young people had a meet and greet with the lead actors Vanessa Bacerra ( Maria), and Joseph Leppek (Tony) along with Joseph Colaneri music director a member of the orchestra.
Joan Desens, Director of Institutional Advancement for the Festival remarked, “It was very exciting and wonderful to see the many youth groups from Utica who were being introduced to Glimmerglass to have such a positive experience.
We look forward to continuing to provide this opportunity for groups like these in the future. We value our proximity to Utica and look to ways to engage individuals of all ages and backgrounds who have an interest in the Glimmerglass Festival.”