Theater is the threshold to education

By Matthew Santangelo
October 2, 2019

I have been involved with theater for most of my life. The first production that I can remember being in was in I believe first grade. I was asked to be in an ensemble of children in the musical, “The King and I.” Since then, I have been doing shows off and all on multiple stages for multiple different programs.

Though I had been involved with the theater to a certain degree throughout my grade school years, my true love of theater began in high school. I remember the first show in high school I did was “West Side Story.” It was truly a magical experience and it really cemented my interest in theater. I was in every single show after that throughout high school.

When I came to Cabrini University, I had intended on continuing my theater journey but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to start right away or wait to get used to college first. Kaitlin Glenn, the wonderful director of Cabrini theater who I had also had as an instructor for a musical theater class at the time, had convinced me to audition for the very first show of my freshman year, which had happened to be Neil Simon’s “Rumors.” I was very grateful and excited to be cast as the police officer of the show, Officer Pudney.

Me playing the role of Officer Pudney in Cabrini Theatre’s production of “Rumors”
Photo courtesy of Hope Daluisio.

I knew no one at Cabrini, let alone anyone in the theater department, so naturally, I was a bit nervous at first since I did not know what to expect. My fears were quickly swept away as I was welcomed immediately into the Cabrini theater family with open arms.

Although I was the only newcomer to the group, no one discriminated. Every single person I met was so incredibly helpful and generous with their kindness. Needless to say, I had a blast during this production, which only left me wanting more.

I have been involved with over five productions in Cabrini theatre now and have not looked back. We have done everything from “The Laramie Project” to “The Addams Family” musical and each show has been uniquely immersive in its own way.

Me in Cabrini Theatre’s production of “The Addams Family” my freshman year
Photo courtesy of Hope Daluisio.

“Theater is vital for well-rounded youth development,” said. According to the website, being involved in theater from a young age can have a positive impact on a child’s self-confidence, empathy, communication, as well as many other skills.

I can certainly attest to the fact that theater has helped me dramatically in my development as a person (no pun intended). I used to be terrified to read in front of the class when I was younger but now I am comfortable with performing in front of crowds.

“[Theater is] one of the most beneficial experiences that a high school person can have,” the National Association of State High School Associations said. It goes on to explain how it benefits every aspect of adult life.

I am now a junior at Cabrini and working in our production of “Almost Maine.”  I have the privilege of having two roles in this show, Dave and Lendall. We are still early in rehearsals now, but I am very excited to be able to perform this in front of a live audience. I think people will love it.

I do not know what the future holds for me at Cabrini and beyond, but I do know for certain that, for me, nothing will ever beat the rush of live theater.

As the great Bard of Avon once said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”

The audition flyer for Cabrini Theatre’s current production, “Almost Maine”
Photo courtesy of Cabrini Theatre’s website.

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Matthew Santangelo

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