Former Northport teacher impacts students decade after retiring

League of Professional Theatre Frances McGarry taught English and theater in the Northport-East Northport school district until 2004. Her former students include Tony and Emmy winner Edie Falco, a graduate of Northport High School and a star of “The Sopranos” and “Nurse Jackie.” Photo Credit: Blanche Mackey image[1]

Updated June 18, 2016 10:18 AM
By Joe Diglio  joe.diglio@newsday.com

The biggest piece of advice Frances McGarry gave students over the course of her 30-year teaching career — take risks and don’t be afraid of failure — was crystalized in one young man who overcame his fears and found his voice.

McGarry said an eighth-grade student she once had was terrified of a public speaking assignment because of a speech impediment. His mother asked that he not participate, but McGarry refused. She worked with him to overcome his barriers.

“By the end of the year, he was speaking freely and confidently,” McGarry said. The student had revealed himself to be “a bright kid who had a lot to share and was eager to voice his opinions.”

McGarry, who taught English and theater in the Northport-East Northport Union Free School District until 2004, said she was fortunate to come across many students with whom she could share her passion of literature and the arts. Often, the roles between McGarry and her students reversed.

“The honors English classes’ literary discussions kept me on my feet and taught me to listen and guide their queries and observations,” McGarry said.

A decade after retiring, though, McGarry still is heavily involved in both teaching and theater. She continues to work as an actress, most recently performing in the off-Broadway musical “Votes.” As a board member of the League of Professional Theatre Women, she serves as a mentor to young actresses. McGarry also runs an arts advocacy blog called “First Online with Fran.”

She said it’s been rewarding to see her impact on those she taught.

One former student went on to become a famous actress of stage and screen. In a 2013 Broadway.com interview, she said McGarry was the teacher who inspired her to pursue acting.

High praise for the teacher, but to McGarry, she was still Edie Falco, the shy teenager who graduated from Northport High School. McGarry said she maintains a relationship with the former “Sopranos” star to this day and attends many of her performances.

“She’s just ‘Edie’ to me,” McGarry said.

Other students have reached out to her over the years, submitting testimonials on her blog about how the arts — and McGarry — have transformed their lives. Considering her continued involvement in theater and the lasting connections she has maintained with her students, it’s no wonder McGarry said she doesn’t miss teaching.

“I’m always amazed at the lives I’ve touched,” McGarry said. “There are so many paybacks to being a teacher.”

Editor’s note: This story is part of an ongoing series on the careers of retired Long Island teachers and where they are now. If you are a retired Long Island teacher and would like to share your story, click on the Newsday  link.

 

Memorial Day 2016

 

Lin Manuel Art Advocacy

As we celebrate our bravest of soldiers who gave their ultimate sacrifice to protect our  freedom, I would like you to take some time to reflect on what it means to be An American.  Amid the bitterness and rancor of the 2016 Elections. . .

How haveThe Arts ( Dance, Theatre, Music, Photography, Graphic Arts) prompt a change in your life?

How did it change and/or alter your perspective about a viewpoint?

Share you story with First Online With Fran HERE

VOTES! Whatever They Cost!

There are two common ways to think of art: some consider it to be an expression of what is original and unusual in human thinking; Aristotle, on the other hand, argues that that art is ‘imitative,’ that is to say, representative of life. This imitative quality fascinates Aristotle. He devotes much of the Poetics to exploring the methods, significance, and consequences of this imitation of life. Aristotle concludes that art’s imitative tendencies are expressed in one of three ways: a poet attempts to portray our world as it is, as we think it is, or as it ought to be.

Feeling cynical about the politics of the 2016 Elections?

Here’s a little Rx from Dr. Muriel Shrunk…don’t miss my performance as the Jefferson’s family psychiatrist in…

VOTES

Extended Run!

Runs April 1st through May 22nd

Castillo Theatre

543 West 42nd Street • New York City • 212-941-5800

Tickets

Broadwayworld.com

It’s the eve of the 2016 election and America is hours away from choosing its first woman president. The former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State, Melanie Jefferson and her husband the former President William Jefferson, are ready to count the votes, when the arrival of an unexpected visitor threatens to disrupt everything. What happens next makes for an election eve unlike any other.

Votes questions the nature of feminism, of power and of the political game itself.  By turns dramatic and comedic, Votes draws on a 1999 musical The Last Temptation of William Jefferson, written in the wake of the infamous Monica Lewinsky scandal by Castillo’s late artistic director, Fred Newman and Grammy-nominated composer Annie Roboff. Seventeen years later, Jacqueline S. Salit takes Temptation and wraps a new story around it, examining the political and personal conflicts of the famous First Couple.

The Cast

Lisa Ann Wright-Mathews (Melanie Jefferson), Wayne Miller (William Jefferson), Debbie Buchsbaum (Vivian Traveler), Bryan Austermann (Brett), Frances McGarry (Dr. Muriel Shrunk), Art McFarland (Newscaster)

The Creative Team

Gabrielle L. Kurlander (Director), Mary Fridley (Assistant Director), David Belmont and Michael Walsh (Music Team), Lonné Morreton (Choreography), Kerry Gibbons (Costume Design), Nick Kolin (Lighting Design), Miguel Romero (Set Design), John Rankin III (Producer), Lindsay Bleile (Stage Manager), Joseph Spirito (Technical Director)

About the creators of Votes

Director Gabrielle L. Kurlander has been a member of the Castillo Theatre company since 1989. Her production of the musical Sally and Tom (The American Way) by Fred Newman and Annie Roboff, won five 2012 AUDELCO Awards, including an award for Outstanding Director of a Musical. Ms. Kurlander’s other directing credits include:  Clare Coss’s Dr. Du Bois and Miss Ovington (2014); Playing with Heiner Müller, winner of a 2011 AUDELCO Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance; Coming of Age in Korea (co-directed with Desmond Richardson); Still on the Corner; Billie and Malcolm: A Demonstration; Revising Germany; Lenin’s Breakdown; all by Fred Newman; The Task and Heiner Müller: A Man Without a Behind, by Heiner Müller; and Hot Snow by Laurence Holder. A longtime activist and non-profit leader, Ms. Kurlander is President and CEO of the All Stars Project.

Fred Newman was the artistic director and playwright-in-residence of the Castillo Theatre from 1989 until his retirement in 2005. He wrote 43 plays, including: Sally and Tom (The American Way), Billie & Malcolm: A Demonstration, Lenin’s Breakdown, Outing Wittgenstein, and Stealin’ Home. His play Satchel: A Requiem for Racism was co-produced by Castillo and the New Federal Theatre in 2008. In 2002, he wrote and directed the independent film Nothing Really Happens (Memories of Aging Strippers), which won several film festival awards. In addition to his theatrical work, he was an independent political pioneer, a social therapist and a philosopher. He was a co-founder of the All Stars Project, Inc.

Songs by Grammy-nominated composer Annie Roboff have been recorded by artists as diverse as Faith Hill, Whitney Houston, Bonnie Raitt, The Indigo Girls, Tim McGraw and The Dixie Chicks. With five #1 hits to her name, Ms. Roboff is considered one of the most important songwriters working today. Her songs appear on albums that have sold over forty-five million copies. Theatrically, Ms. Roboff collaborated with late Castillo artistic director Fred Newman on several political musicals, including Sally and Tom (The American Way) and Still on the Corner.

Playwright Jacqueline S. Salit has a 30-year history in independent and insurgent politics.  An agitator and “outsider” strategist, she managed Michael Bloomberg’s three successful mayoral campaigns on the Independence Party line and was a key figure in the longshot presidential bids of both Ross Perot and Lenora Fulani.  She is the author of Independents Rising: Outsider Movements, Third Parties and the Struggle for a Post-Partisan America (Palgrave Macmillan) and publishes regularly on the Huffington Post. Her theatrical credits include co-writing Crown Heights with Fred Newman and Dan Friedman (1998), and Newman’s Women (2012). She made her acting debut  in Sally and Tom (The American Way) in 2012.

Saturday,  April 2              7:30 pm

Sunday,  April 3                  2:00 pm

Friday, April 8                      7:30 pm

Saturday, April 9                7:30 pm

Sunday, April 10                 2:00 pm

Friday, April 15                    7:30 pm

Saturday, April 16                7:30 pm

Sunday, April 17                   2:00 pm

Friday, April 22                    7:30 pm

Saturday, April 23                 7:30 pm

Sunday, April 24                    2:00 pm

Friday, April 29                     7:30 pm

Saturday, April 30                 7:30 pm

Sunday, May 1st                     2:00 pm

Friday, May 6                           7:30 pm

Saturday, May 7                      7:30 pm

Sunday, May 8                         2:00 pm

Friday, May 13                           7:30 pm

Saturday, May 14                     7:30 pm

Sunday, May 15                         2:00 pm

Friday, May 20                           7:30 pm

Saturday, May 21                      7:30 pm

Sunday, May 22                          2:00 pm

TAKE IT AWAY! UNSUNG HEROES: BACKSTAGE PROFESSIONALS

Best advice of the evening offered by these backstage pros: “Gather the women around you!” And we did.  And we shall.

The League of Professional Theatre Women’s Networking Committee leaped forward February 29, 2016 to a packed house honoring Broadway’s UNSUNG HEROES: BACKSTAGE PROFESSIONALS  at TheatreLab 6-8 pm with star panelists:

Carey Bertini (Broadway dresser); Wendy Davidson (Local One Stagehand); Christina Grant (Hair & Make-up Artists); Starlet Jacobs (Set Designer); Eileen Macdonald (Sound Engineer); Marilyn Rennagel (Lighting Designer) and Sylvia Yoshioka (House Electrician).  Moderated by Broadway Producer, Jane Dubin.

Guests included members of  International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees( I.A.T.S.E.) Local One President James J. Claffey, Jr., Roundabout Theatre’s Stage Manager, Karen Loftus, SAG-AFTRA members, Dr. Christin Essin, Vanderbilt University, Pat Addis, Producer AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, League Board members, Co-President Pamela Hunt, among others.

Listen to some of the Take It Away! responses that resonated with audience members: Rachel Brill, Julia DuCordis, Rebecca Meckler, Carolyn Meckler, Stella Berg, Lizzy Bryce, Paula Cohen, Sandra M. Bloom, Fern Jones, Celeste Kirkland, Briana Stuart, Judy Binus, Martha Steketee, Judie Tallman, Yana Landowne, Jane Dubin, Kelly Mele, Erica Payne, Pat Addis, Jessica Parks, Mae Framleberger, Debbie Slevin, JennyLyn Bader, Lorca Peress, Julie Sylvestor, Melanie Sutherland, MariLyn Henry, Christin Essin.

Take It Away! Interviewer:  Richarda Abrams

Brought to you by your LPTW Networking Committee:  Joan Kane and Frances McGarry, Co-Chairs; Richarda Abrams, Ivy Austin, Katherine Elliot, Victoria Hale, Lorna Lable, Dorothy Leeds, Mary McGinley, Romy Nordlinger, June Rachelson-Ospa, Wendy Peace, Amie Sponza; Elizabeth Strauss, Apprentice

 

 

 

Unsung Heroes: Backstage Professionals

LPTW logo

Networking Logo

Monday, February 29, 2016, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

TheatreLab 357 West 36th Street, 3rd Floor

Unsung Heroes: Backstage Professionals

Beyond the Spotlight ~ Career Choices in the Theater

Learn from the backstage pros.

Designers, Stage Hands, Sound Engineers, Dressers, Hair & Make-up Artists

The women who make it happen! Hear their success stories and be inspired.

Panelists includeCAREY BERTINI (Broadway Dresser), WENDY DAVIDSON (Theatre Director/Stagehand), CHRISTINA GRANT (Hair & Make-up Artist), STARLET JACOBS (Scenic Designer), EILEEN MACDONALD (Sound Engineer), MARILYN RENNAGEL (Lighting Designer), SYLVIA YOSHOIKA (House Electrician), KAREN ZABINSKI (Audio Engineer & Stage Technician

Moderated by: JANE DUBIN, Broadway Producer

Join your colleagues, expand your networks, bring a potential new member!

LPTW Members: FREE

Non-Members $15

Non-Members with Theatrical Union Affiliation $10

Brought to you by your LPTW Networking Committee: Joan Kane and Frances McGarry, Co-Chairs; Richarda Abrams, Ivy Austin, Katherine Elliot, Victoria Hale, Lorna Lable, Dorothy Leeds, Mary McGinley, Romy Nordlinger, June Rachelson-Ospa, Wenday Peace, Amie Sponza; Elizabeth Strauss/Apprentice. 

Save the Date Monday, May 9, 2016, 6pm – 8pm New Wave: Young Members and their Projects