Our Alumni

Our Alums

“What is your favorite part of Garden Players?”

Ooh, there is so much I love about Garden Players.

I love so much about it!

  • writing an original musical every year
  • directing and choreographing
  • seeing our children and teen actors put their whole hearts and talents into our fully staged May musical
  • bringing the community together to create sets, costumes, props
  • continuing to grow a legacy of theater that’s been around since 1916
  • connecting with pianists, composers, our local businesses,  and fellow educators and performers.
  • Bringing in a top notch Broadway quality band. (Yes, that trumpet player took off from Phantom of the Opera on Broadway to play our show – he’s my Dad.)

All of this fills my heart and makes the behind-the-scenes work I do worth it.

My Favorite Part Is Our Alums

My very favorite part lately – the alumni! Seeing these kids grow up, go out into the world, and then come back as adults. It’s the biggest thrill of all.

How Are They Involved Now

  • They help out in the classroom as volunteers.
  • They show up for Sunday show rehearsals.
  • One or two are invited to become paid assistant directors.
  • They help out backstage during our show performances.
  • They create musicals and plays, and share them with us.

Why Do They Return?

Volunteers have strong memories, loved their time here, they feel like Garden Players helped shape them, and they want to reconnect, visit their own pasts, and give back to the next generation of kids.

There is a wave of Alumni who come back. We are grateful to all of you! Some are in H.S., some in college, and some in their careers.

Congrats, Alumni!

Congrats to those of you performing in Indie films (Amanda Talero), Off Broadway Plays (Michaela Pascuzzi), Broadway shows (Mateo Lizcano), and more! We are also proud of our actors who have carried their stage presence and creativity into business careers (Isabella Perkins, Shay Baxter).

A Few Of Our Alumni Helpers

  • Aviv Fetaya (assistant director and pianist) is now at Yale studying music and theater. He was an assistant for 3 years during H.S.
  • Paige Levy (assistant, teacher, and social media advisor) is now in London studying at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She was our first 8th grade assistant, returned as a teacher and social media adviser during her gap year after H.S., and is now off in the acting world!
  • John Buckley, a dedicated backstage assistant for many years, has worked in casting and writes show reviews.
  • Nicollette Barsamian writes articles, runs a poetry collective, and is always ready to help.
  • Ioana Preda Buburuzan has written her own musicals and performed selections in our concerts. She works at the Dramatist’s Guild, helps us with feedback at our readings or original musicals.
  • and there are so many more!

Many more working as opera singers (Victor Starsky, Carina Kahane), film creators (Gabriel Kahane), songwriters (John Mauro), and more. I am always thrilled to see them again.

Alumni Nicholas Bompart

Last year Nicholas Bompart returned to Garden Players, bringing in a director friend Stefania Papadopoulos to volunteer at rehearsals, share their insights and love of theater, and get to know our actors.

NY Theater Festival

When Nicholas had his play accepted into the NY Theater Festival, he and Stefania, who is directing the play, asked a few of our actors to audition, and this coming week you can see Benny as the lead role, and Chloe in a strong supporting role.

“Idols” is playing at The NY Theater Festival, located at Teatro LATEA on 107 Suffolk Street, NY, NY, 10002; playing Monday October 24th at 9:00PM, Wednesday October 26th at 9:00PM and Saturday October 29th at 6:45pm. 

The running time of the show is 70 minutes. The show is about a young piano prodigy diagnosed with ADHD and the clash his parents and grandparents have regarding the boy’s school issuing an ultimatum that the boy must take medication or face expulsion. 

I will be there on Saturday October 29th at 6:45pm with my tweens. I hear this show is 10+ (one scene with a curse word, and it is written for adults, but all about a kid.)

Keep Coming Back

I look forward to more visits from Alumni, more news to share with you, and more theater adventures. Please, keep coming back!

Classes For Students (grades K-9)

Every September through May we are in class inspiring and teaching our current generation of Garden Players kids grades K-9. (No, we don’t teach K9’s, but we have some funny scenes about how K9’s think, played by our actors.)

Want to join our shows and classes? Ask about Musical Theater – Acting Improv – Audition Monologues & Scene Study classes. We start late September and mid January. Joining late? We’ll prorate! View our classes.

You can also volunteer with us and share your own alumni news!

Thank you!

You are all dear to me. Yes, you are my favorite part of Garden Players!

– Betina Hershey (performer/director/writer/composer/educator)

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