Events & News

Alumni Panel Shares Insights and Stories in “Broadway: From Page to Stage”

Following warm welcomes and introductions from Assistant Head of School Celeste Herrera and Alumni Council President Joe Franken ’03, more than 100 audience members enjoyed hearing from illustrious panelists in “Broadway: From Page to Stage” on December 1 in Dalton’s Martin Theater.
Moderator Michael Shuman ’00, a producer, began the conversation by saying that the process of putting on a show is a little enigmatic when art intersects with commerce and community was a recurrent theme. He observed that he and his fellow panelists are dreamers who all crave community. 

Actor and Director Joel Grey P’ 78, well known for his award-winning performance in Cabaret, said that the value of theater in our community is that it can change lives, and it offers the possibility of people thinking differently. Actor and Writer Sharon Washington ’77 said, “I love the community that we, as artists, share” and she noted that when we share stories in community, we become less foreign to each other.

In talking about process, Composer Julián Mesri ’05 talked about his approach to writing music and lyrics and then, to the delight of the audience, sat down at the piano (the same one he played as a Dalton student) and sang “Hasta Mañana.” Director Sam Gold ’96 said when he puts people on stage, he wants to create something that reflects the real world: “I like theater that says you better sit forward on your seat. Something dangerous may happen. You have to be up for it.”

In a discussion about the role of producers, Arielle Tepper ’90 said her favorite part of producing is “All of it!” She said that she enjoys putting together wonderful teams and believes that theater work “summons you” — those who love the work feel that they have no choice but to be a part of it. 

Panelists shared memories about when they first fell in love with theater and what lit that spark, including European art films Annie, Angels in America, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Death of a Salesman. 

All of the panelists agreed that performing in real-time is a vulnerable process. Sharon Washington ’77 said that the room has to feel safe for actors to do their best work. When she feels trust, she said that she will go to the edge for the director who creates a safe space. 

Some Dalton students were in attendance and when asked for advice for creative people interested in pursuing theater Arielle Tepper ’90 said to go for it! Artists must be students of the world and should avoid making the safe choice. 

Alumni Council President Joe Franken ’03 said, in his opening comments, that this year, the Alumni Council hopes to harness the power of the Alumni network to bring the community together. If this riveting programming was any indication, the Dalton community has much to look forward to! 

Thank you to panelists Sam Gold ’96, Director of Fun Home; Joel Grey ’78, Actor Cabaret, Director Fiddler on the Roof (in Yiddish); Julián Mesri ’05, Composer and Writer of Favaloro: A Heart in Pieces; Arielle Tepper ’90, Producer of Annie; Sharon Washington ’77, Actor in Richard III (Public Theater/Shakespeare-in-the-Park 2022 & 1990 productions) and Writer of Feeding The Dragon; and Moderator Michael Shulman ’00, Producer of The Lehman Trilogy.

Watch the event video here and Check out photos here

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