by Howard Clemens
As Liza Minnelli once sang in the Broadway Musical Cabaret “Life is a Cabaret, Old Chum/Come to the Cabaret.” The New York City Broadway Musical is the place where a serious actor, dancer, singer or musician arrives in his or her respective profession. The Broadway Musical, like jazz, is uniquely American. Successful Broadway shows and their creators are respected as the top talent in their profession across the globe.
The Broadway musical is a form of art that takes a multi-talented ‘village’ of people to produce. At the core of this is the acting and singing, as well as staging and costuming. With all of the power of modern technology and imagination Broadway musicals have become even more glamorous then in days past. The sheer spectacle and unbelievable energy of a Broadway show is the reason many want to attend.
Yet for a college student, a trip to New York City may be financially beyond their means – or perhaps they would not see the importance of arranging such a journey.
So, Paul Finocchiaro, Assistant Professor of Speech, Theater and Dance for the University of Tampa, brings his students to New York City whenever he can. They attend several Broadway Musicals and expand their life experiences at the same time. “This helps them to decide at a young age if going to New York City is even for them,” says Finocchiaro. “Some students will go to New York City, while their classmates will go to other cities to pursue their careers,” he added. Orlando is a great city for theater and dance and it’s right in the heart of Florida.
Yet when any theater and dance student reflects upon the trip to New York City, it will be a special memory. Many will attend Broadway Musical(s) for the first time. “On our Trip we saw three different musicals,” said Finocchiaro. “I had the opportunity to talk about how each had a different vibe, style, approach and story line.” The trip further enhances “the variety of subjects being taught on a semester by semester basis,” said Finocchiaro.
Plus the student group interacted with diverse ethnicities and cultures while traveling in and around New York City. Finocchiaro observed, “These students need to see everyday life: neighborhoods, good areas, bad areas, dance classes and all of the offerings of a major East Coast city.”
Speaking of dance classes, students loved the dance class their professor and the student travel company arranged for them to attend. “They were so impressed that the dance captain from Wicked taught it,” said Finocchiaro. “Even the acting major loved it. The talk back at the end was SO beneficial. And of course, they loved being invited to the stage door after the performances. “
For some students, a treasured remembrance may be a chance to visit the most famous sites in America, such as the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and the 911 Museum and Memorial. These sites can also be included on an itinerary, but for theater and dance students, visits to these sites may or may not be a priority.
One night, the University of Tampa students even visited a cabaret. The student group visited the Iridium Jazz Club. “We saw a different kind of cabaret,” said Finocchiaro. “The students really enjoyed it, and the food at the Iridium Jazz Club is REALLY GOOD! That was unexpected,” he added.
At home in Tampa, Florida, Finocchiaro says one of his favorite things to do is walk. “There is the longest continuous sidewalk in America here,” he says, “It’s 7 miles. One side is Tampa Bay and on the other are multi-million dollar homes. This walk is breathtaking every time I do it.” Known by his students as Fino, he also says he’s a fabulous baker and he LOVES landscaping.
To learn more about dance and theater tours of New York City, visit: http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.