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Greensboro College Theatre Alumnus Leads New Musical Production in Two Countries and Languages

December 6, 2018 9:53 am
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GREENSBORO, N.C. – Tony Sportiello ’80, artistic director of Algonquin Theater Productions, is leading the company in producing two simultaneous versions of a new musical in 2019, one in New York in English and the other in Guadalajara, Mexico, in Spanish.

The musical is “The Paparazzi,” by Al Tapper; it already has been produced in Mexico to great acclaim. This new production will be directed in Mexico by legendary director and actor Mauricio Cedeño.

“We have an extraordinary opportunity here,” Sportiello told Broadway World after having flown down to see the Mexican version.

“We need to be collaborating with the artists and musicians from Mexico, not alienating them,” he said. “These are incredibly creative, passionate actors and directors who want the same thing we do — a chance to tell a story and connect with their audience. Lately our country has been taught to fear anyone who does not look like us, does not talk like us. But once you sit down with someone from a foreign land you quickly understand that they are absolutely no different from us.”

Tapper agreed: “The conversation is always about building a wall. A wall between white nationalists and the anti-fascists who believe in equal rights. Also a wall between Mexico and the United States. So what can be done? The answer is ART, which crosses all boundaries and builds bridges between peoples and knocks down any real or perceived walls.”

“The Paparazzi” tells the story of people who work at The New York Beacon, a news outlet far more interested in gossip and Facebook likes than all the news that’s fit to print. Tapper wrote the music and lyrics, Sportiello the book.

Algonquin has a history of partnerships with Cedeño. Their 2010 production of Tapper’s “Sessions” became the first Off Broadway musical to play in Guadalajara, the country’s second-largest city, Broadway World reported. They followed up with the award-winning musical comedy “National Pastime.”

“It is about breaking borders positively, to demonstrate that art cannot depend on politics,” Cedeño told Broadway World. “It is about making the cultural hearts of two countries … join a single rhythm and make history, to open roads for both cities. I hope this is the beginning of a gap that many artists from the USA and Mexico can successfully cross.”

Sportiello has been artistic director of Algonquin Theater Productions since 2004. Previously he had worked as a television supervisor and video and film editor with WGNO-TV and Bloomberg News. He holds a B.A. in Theatre and English from Greensboro College.

Greensboro College’s Department of Theatre seeks to provide a strong foundation in theatre while allowing the student to emphasize in a particular area such as directing, acting, musical theatre, or arts administration.

The coursework is integrated with the production work to provide a better understanding of the many facets of the theatre. Required participation on stage or backstage on all theatre productions allows the techniques and theories that are examined in the classroom and the laboratory to be tested in a performance setting.

For more information on the program, contact David Schram at 336-272-7102, ext. 5243, or email schramd@greensboro.edu.

Greensboro College provides a liberal arts education grounded in the traditions of the United Methodist Church and fosters the intellectual, social, and, spiritual development of all students while supporting their individual needs.

Founded in 1838 and located in downtown Greensboro, the college enrolls about 1,000 students from 29 states and territories, the District of Columbia, and seven foreign countries in its undergraduate liberal-arts program and six master’s degree programs. In addition to rigorous academics and a well-supported Honors program, the school features a 17-sport NCAA Division III athletic program and dozens of service and recreational opportunities. Learn more at greensboro.edu.

Think critically. Act justly. Live faithfully.

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Media Contact:
Lex Alexander, Director of Communications
lex.alexander@greensboro.edu

Greensboro College
815 W. Market St.
Greensboro, NC 27401
336-272-7102, ext. 5398
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www.greensboro.edu

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