Thursday, March 28, 2019 - 1:30pm
Dobbs Ferry Campus
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It’s time for the spotlights to once again shine brightly on Mercy College students.

On Monday, April 15, 2019, a group of about 15 students belonging to the Mercy College Theatre Club will take to the stage and work behind the scenes at the Irvington Town Hall Theater. The showcase performances will begin at 7:30 p.m.

This is the second annual Mercy College Theatre Club Showcase, the result of a collaboration between Mercy’s Marc Palmieri, an instructor in Communication Studies, and Greg Allen, manager of the Irvington Town Hall Theater.

Palmieri joined Mercy in the fall of 2017 after a 10-year stint at City College of New York and quickly was designated co-faculty advisor of the recently formed Theatre Club. He explained that this year’s program would build upon the success of last year’s showcase, which was attended by about 60 to 80 people, he estimated.

“Last year, I thought it would be best to build the show on both short scenes and monologues so that the actors could show what we work on in the club. Again, it was terrific,” Palmieri said. “We decided to take one small step forward for this year’s show and say we want just short, self-contained, one-act plays that could be up to eight to ten minutes each. We’ve expanded a bit and are including more students.”

There will be about eight of those one-act plays, Palmieri added, with four ensemble performances of show tunes in between the plays and an additional song sung at the end. The musical pieces were included after a student group expressed interest in partnering with the Theatre Club.

Collaboration has been the key with the Mercy College Theatre Club and the Irvington Town Hall Theater, according to Palmieri and Allen.

“This grew out of mine and Mark’s relationship that we had. Collaborations grow from experiences and relationships,” Allen said. “I know in the past, the village has wanted to build a relationship with the College, and I just think Marc and I really hit it off so well. It’s about the people involved. I love working with the students.

“Last year, when they said they were going to do a showcase, I said you should do it here. Have them do it in a real theater where they can have that excitement of doing a show in the theater. When they said they were going to do it again this year, we naturally wanted them back here.”

Allen said that the Irvington community has enjoyed the relationship, as well: “The community is thrilled that we’re working with the local college. The excitement, the growth of artistic minds, working with students. I think it’s so important to encourage that when you see younger people who are excited about the arts.”

Palmieri approached Allen shortly after his arrival at Mercy and being handed an advisory role of the Theatre Club. He was inspired by a video President Hall made for the Mercy College website in which the president expressed the importance of building a campus life that make students want to stick around. Getting the students active in theater reminded Palmieri of how he got involved in theater during his days as a student-athlete at Wake Forest University in the 1990s.

Allen was happy to work with Palmieri, and both sides are the beneficiaries of the relationship. Many students volunteer as theater ushers and a couple of students, including Reeyaz Bettencourt, the club’s president, have received paid positions at the theater, helping with public relations and marketing. Students also get a chance to see how a theater operates, Palmieri said.

“They got to – and get to – closely observe really high tech, high level, professional theater,” Palmieri remarked, “and in exchange, in an extremely supportive and generous way, they gave us – and continue to give us – rehearsal time on their stage and an evening on their calendar, which they promote.”

Both sides are hopeful that the relationship will continue well into the future.

“I think it has been beneficial to both groups. Maybe down the road it could grow even more where the students can get some real-world experience with different types of jobs,” Allen said. “Who knows? Maybe one day they will want to present a full show here and not just a showcase. It could grow beyond that point.”

Palmieri added: “I feel very fortunate. I think they’re looking to include Mercy, to develop a nice relationship with the College in general. There are lots of possibilities, and the attitude there is very welcoming to this.”

Again, the Irvington Town Hall Theater’s curtain rises at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, April 15, 2019, for the second annual Mercy College Theatre Club Showcase. Admission is free and no reservations are required, but the content is geared more toward mature audiences.

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