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4 Responses to "Did you ‘spring’ into the arts this weekend?"

  1. Barb Van Atta

    Editor’s note: The following was submitted by BAM reviewer Nicholas Linnehan. (BAM doesn’t publish formal reviews of youth productions.)
    For the last two years, I have seen many productions at the Endicott Performing Arts Center, which recently renamed its performance space the Robert Eckert Theatre. I always have been amazed by the high-quality productions that EPAC does. This is certainly true of their Kids’ Theater Workshop.
    I saw “Hairspray” and was blown away by the talent that Artistic Director Pat Foti cultivates. I have worked with him in many capacities, and he is a dynamic leader. As a teacher, I like to see my students grow. As an artist, I want to be a part of good, creative theater. Mr. Foti manages to combine these two qualities well, which make his Kids’ Theater Workshop productions both memorable and poignant.
    But what perhaps impresses me the most about this workshop is not so much the unbelievable talent of some of the participants but rather EPAC’s mission to work with every student, regardless of their ability. I spoke with Executive Director Lou Ligouri, and he informed me that some of the participants receive financial aid, while some do not pay at all due to financial predicaments. This type of accessibility and inclusion is inspiring. Every kid gets to perform, which means four brutal weeks, in which Pat, Lou and their team of volunteers don’t get a night off. Their dedication is profound and makes me wonder what more I can do to help out. While they definitely have some knockout talent, I find the true celebration of their efforts in the quieter moments. The moment when a kid, who never spoke on stage, delivers his first line in front of an audience. Or the moment when a less developed singer sings a solo and gains a confidence that will stay with her for the rest of her life.
    If you can attend the production of “Hairspray” (running Thursday-Sunday through March 27), please do so. You will be astonished by the skill level of these kids. But even if you’re not impressed, please stand up and cheer for this program as it transforms these kids’ lives, perhaps more abundantly offstage than on.

  2. Many thanks for your kind words, Nick. We’re proud to be part of this wonderful arts community. It is these young people and their inspiring hard work and talent that give us hope for the future. Community theater is GREAT for the community. Thanks, United Cultural Fund, Sharon and Mary Jo for all you do to help make our community a better place to live.

  3. I, too, am impressed with the quantity and calibre of shows I have seen at EPAC. My 13-year old daughter has been in about 10 shows (or maybe 100, it is quite a blurr) and has found a home with the other talented kids and adults there. Her involvement has enabled me to also find an outlet for both my creativity and for volunteerism.
    I have had the opportunity to design and build sets, run the annual EPAC Idol fundraiser, and now I am teaching Improv Acting workshops for kids and adults.
    There are also countless numbers of other community members who volunteer in hundreds of capacities to allow EPAC to thrive.
    At EPAC, one would expect to meet people from the Triple Cities area, and it is exciting to meet others from surrounding communities such as Norwich and Whitney Point. It seems that EPAC and its community theater is not only good for our community, but good for other communities too!
    — Russ The BIG Guy

  4. Kris Gilbert

    It is my HONOR to be able to have been a part of several productions at EPAC. “Hairspray” marks my 30th show there as either music director or pit member, and it never ceases to amaze me when I watch these children grow from day one to closing night. EPAC continues to bring artistic opportunities to young and old alike, and for that, I am grateful. Every show, whether it is for the Kids Theater or the Rep Company, brings new performers to the stage. In a day and age when schools are eliminating the arts, I sit in the pit and thank God and EPAC for keeping the arts and arts opportunities alive and well!!!! Much love to Lou and Pat for allowing me to be a part of the magic.