By Katelyn Massarelli
For UT professor Paul Finocchiaro, his work doesn’t end with the semester, as he prepares for his performance at Stageworks Theatre of Neil Simon’s Broadway Bound. Finocchiaro will play Jack Jerome, a father working as a garment district worker who has two sons trying to break into the comedy-writing business.
“[Jerome] is a good guy who has done a bad thing,” Finocchiaro said. “He’s trying to get through it and will go through a range of emotions like anger, exhaustion and frustrations. He’ll reach a quiet resolution thrown in with a little bit of pride.”
Broadway Bound is set in Brighton Beach, New York during the winter of 1949. Jerome’s two sons, Eugene and Stanley, get to write for the radio. Eugene is the comic and Stanley is the business-like brother who decides they should team up to work in radio broadcasting.
Hearing about the part from a fellow theatre professor playing his character’s wife, Finocchiaro reached out to the production’s director, Kara Hartley. According to Finocchiaro, his audition was not easy when having to read with one of the two actors playing his sons.
Finocchiaro’s last non-musical performance was in 2002 and on top of that, the play is the most dialogue he has had to work with. With only a few weeks of rehearsals, Finocchiaro is hard at work learning the script by identifying objectives for the scenes and ways to achieve the goals despite possible obstacles.
“If there is something I’m reading that reminds me of something personal then I will write it down,” Finocchiaro said, “I use the emotional attachment to help me memorize my lines.”
As a professor, Finocchiaro has directed hit mainstage shows Les Miserables, The Rocky Horror and Thoroughly Modern Millie. He also helped freshman musical theater major Maeve Osgood when she directed Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead last month.
According to Osgood, Finocchiaro was helpful in preparing for rehearsals. The large amount of scheduling and paperwork that went into making the play come to life in the Cass Building Black Box came with the help of Finocchiaro.
“I want to encourage my students to not wait around and make something happen for themselves and Osgood was motivated,” Finocchiaro said.
Working with the cast and crew of Broadway Bound has been a great experience, according to Finocchiaro. Stageworks Theatre is made up of all professionals in theatre industry.
“I love working with people who have a passion for what they are doing,” Finocchiaro said. “It’s nice to get back into [acting].”
Broadway Bound will be performed from April 28 to May 15 and tickets can be bought online or by calling Stageworks Box Office for $40.
Katelyn Massarelli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.