The Drowsy Chaperone


Siena College’s Creative Arts Department and Stage III collaborate once more to bring the community yet another brilliant and respectable production. This year, the stage focused their efforts on the production of The Drowsy Chaperone. This musical within a comedy directed by Sharon Paluch with musical direction from Tom Reno surely did not disappoint. The acting and musical talent of the students combined with the compelling set and technical support transported the audience to the home of an elderly man and even further into the play he was narrating. The fundamental execution of this play says wonders about all who were involved in its creation and about the program in general. Furthermore, the outstanding turnout enhances and proves that if there is a good show, people will be in attendance.

This play, set in the 1920’s, includes plenty of uplifting Jazz tunes and demonstrates the stirring effect it had (and is still having) on individuals. The inception of this play portrays a man sitting in a chair in his lonely apartment. To cure a case of the blues, this man decides to listen to his record of The Drowsy Chaperone. Almost instantly, the audience is transported into the midst of a Broadway musical. The man’s apartment takes on a whole new life as new props and characters demand the stage. This show within a show then finds its focus on a showgirl, Janet Van De Graaff, who is to marry Robert Martin. However, marriage does not come without sacrifice in Janet’s case. After her wedding, Janet plans on giving up her career in show business, as she no longer is in need of it. Unfortunately, this does not bode well for her producer who finds himself in deep with some gangsters that require further work from Janet. It is at that point that the producer, Feldzieg, begins devising an elaborate plan to cancel the wedding. He recruits the help of Aldolpho, a European self-proclaimed ladies man, to seduce Janet and ruin the marriage.

The marriage may not need outside intervention though, as Janet finds herself with cold feet and rethinking her decision to get married to Robert. Those scary notions of regret push Janet into do something outside the ordinary. On the day of the wedding, Janet disguises herself through means of a French accent and confronts Robert out in the garden. Robert proceeds to kiss this French woman after a short conversation and musical number, which sends Janet off in a fit, cancelling the wedding. Eventually however, after a series of quirky and eccentric events, these two characters find their way back to each other to finally be wed among a number of secondary characters.

Throughout this entire unfolding of events, the elderly man still sits and narrates. Yet, there is a sense of loneliness and discomfort on his face as he struggles to act as a passive audience member rather than a part of the play. This internal struggle and hopelessness constantly disrupts the flow of the record in a comedic yet gloomy way that forces the audience to feel sympathy for the man. At the end, the line between reality and fantasy is blurred and the audience is left with a feeling of satisfaction knowing the old man has found happiness and belonging in this record he holds so dearly.

The directors, cast members, producers, technical staff, and musical support did an outstanding job recreating this production and the extensive rehearsal period leading up to this show was extremely present. This play was both meaningful and quirky in the most entertaining and delightful way. It would seem implausible that anyone left that theater unsatisfied in the past two weekends and, if anything, these viewers were wishing it had lasted longer than it did.

Student Internship Panel

As a part of the School of Liberal Arts “Trilogy of Opportunity”, a student internship panel was held on Wednesday, November 4th. This internship panel allowed five students to discuss their experiences as interns at a number of various organizations. This diversity was greatly appreciated as it allowed students from several disciplines to attend and experience some type of relevance and familiarity. The majors covered among these five interns included Economics, Computer Science, Social Work, Political Science, Finance and History. This event, held by the School of Liberal Arts in conjunction with the Career Center and the Community Living Sophomore Year Experience, was extremely valuable to all those in attendance, especially as a result of the mixtures of positions. As the administrators fired questions at the panel of students, they each had an opportunity to speak about their individual knowledge and experiences within the internship world.

While all of these students worked at an internship or entry-level position, their experiences were subject to the corporate cultures and job duties that they were thrust into. However, each individual’s advice is just as valuable as the next regardless of what type of internship they acquired. These internships included Zakir Hussain’s internship as an Analytics and Business Strategist at JP Morgan Chase, David Etkin’s extensive computer science internship, Stephanie Schoonmaker’s position at the Albany Medical Hospital Critical Care Unit, Kaitlyn Krolik’s White House as well as NYS Senate internship’s, Erik Bereshein’s demanding internship at Ayco and finally Matt O’Keefe’s international internship in Australia as a U.S. Consulate. These immense differences in positions lead to immense differences in advice, however that is not to say that one persons advice was more valuable than another’s. It all depended on what field interested the audience the most. Advice was given on a variety of subjects that a student attempting to get an internship would be dying to know. This included instructions on how to efficiently secure an internship, the interview process, following up, as well as standing out above other interns. They also thoroughly discussed the after thought of an internship and the importance of staying in touch with people and bosses at previous jobs. The connections made at an internship may, in fact, lead to a full time secure job in the future so it is important to be noticed and hardworking at whatever position one is given.

The panelists continued on about how instrumental these experiences were to their growth personally and as professionals. They also discussed how these same experiences have given them enormous opportunities as they graduate from college and search for a career. As a college student, it is easy to assume that life has not even started, but attending this internship panel proves just the opposite and secures the notion that the future is now. Sitting on an internship panel were physically five students that started to pave a path to their future and took full advantages of the opportunities presented to them now rather than waiting.

Tom Mazzarelli: The Today Show

Tom Mazzarelli,  Sr. Producer of The Early Show.CBS PHOTO BY JOHN PAUL FILO©2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Tom Mazzarelli, Sr. Producer of The Early Show.CBS PHOTO BY JOHN PAUL FILO©2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

It was Siena College’s distinct honor to welcome back Tom and Caryn Mazzarelli to Siena’s Campus on Monday, November 2nd for the School of Liberal Arts Lecture Series event. Now a husband and father of two daughters, Tom graduated from Siena College in 1993 with a major in History. However, he did not let this specific major dictate his occupational path. Instead, Tom drew from his extensive liberal arts knowledge that he acquired at Siena College to move forward in his career. Tom is currently a three-time Emmy Award winner as the Co-Executive Producer of NBC News’ “Today” Show. As the Co-Executive Producer, he oversees the first two hours (7-9am) of the show by coordinating with the anchors and workers from a control room each morning. Tom has had the privilege of covering hundreds of breaking news events over the duration of his career, some more uplifting than others. A number of these stories include five presidential elections, ten Olympic Games, the Oklahoma City Bombing, 9/11, Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and the capture of Osama Bin Laden. This fast pace, demanding job is not for everyone but Tom Mazzarelli is a man who clearly knows what he is doing.

However, Tom, much like a majority of college students, was not exactly sure what career he wanted to embrace at the time. At first, he tried his hand at teaching but quickly realized this job was not exactly to his liking, so he was on the hunt once again for a new profession. Then, one day, Siena College invited back Susan Bennett, who at the time was a producer at CNN, to give a presentation pertaining to her job. Tom, already being somewhat interested in broadcasting, was instantly drawn into this presentation and ended up connecting with Susan Bennett following her visit. After staying in touch with Susan for a while, Tom was able to secure his own internship at CNN. It was then that Tom knew this was the career he would embrace for the rest of his life. Tom went on to work for a number of different broadcasting stations including an internship at CNN’s “Larry King Live”, a producer role at MSNBC working alongside Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann, a segment producer role at “Today”, he helped launch “CBS This Morning” with Charlie Rose, Gayle King, and Norah O’Donnel on CBS, and finally returned to the “Today” Show in 2013 where he continues to work extensively with Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker, Natalie Morales, and Carson Daly.

Throughout his speech, entitled “A Career in Television with a Liberal Arts Degree”, Tom put a large amount of emphasis on opportunity and how his Liberal Arts background was the perfect stepping stone when it came to finding a fulfilling career. He went on to explain how experiences, internships and an individuals’ passion for a subject are the driving forces of employment, not so much the degree in which one acquires at the end of their schooling. However, one of the most valuable ideas that Tom pushed in his presentation, which seemed to strongly resonate with all those in attendance, was the notion of “getting to yes”. As an intern, Tom explains, there will be tasks that no one particularly wants to do or even tasks that are challenging or outside the norm. If someone has the ability to get to yes and do whatever he or she is asked of without hesitation, they will easily stand out above the rest. That is not to say that getting to yes is easy, quite the opposite in some cases actually, but the ability to push through and meet expectations is a skill set of tremendous value. Tom gives his personal examples of trekking through blinding snowstorms to do the school reports or squeezing Larry King’s cashew chicken until it was dry. While these tasks may seem ridiculous and extreme for an internship position, it is those who accomplish these exact tasks that move upward in their careers.

Tom Mazzarelli’s hilarious anecdotes, encouraging triumphs and relatable experiences easily put him at the top of Siena’s most valuable and informative visitors. The advice that students were able to take away from this lecture was priceless and the VIP NBC Tour tickets raffled off were not too shabby either. Students who attended were able to make an amazing new connection as he graciously provided his email address and offered a helping hand to those in need much like Susan Bennett did before him. It is in high hopes that Siena College has the privilege of welcoming Tom back to campus at some point in the future.