Stage Notes Celebrates LGBT Pride Month

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playbill-supports-gay-pride-665x385 Is The Great White Way Gay?

A good friend of mine was in a lead role in a blockbuster musical on Broadway. After the Saturday evening performance, it was customary for the cast and crew to chill out at what they called “their place.”  Since I was a frequent attendee, I became an honoree part of the group.   On one such night, I asked my friend “is —- gay.” He responded: “Robert, on Broadway you don’t ask if a person is gay, you ask if they’re straight.”

For certain, I knew about the stereotypes and flamboyancy that often surrounds theatre people, but I had not developed such a hard core syllogism:  If you’re in theatre you must be gay.  I don’t believe that.  However, I do believe that the theatre is a safe haven for many LGBT people, especially gay men.

I was thrilled that Dr. Allan O’Grady Cuseo joined me on this important edition of Stage Notes.  Broadcast date June 21, 2014.  Take time to read his impressive bio:

allan_ogrady_cuseo-170x213Dr. Allan O’Grady Cuseo earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1988. He also holds a Masters in Library Science from SUNY/Geneseo and a BS in Education from SUNY/GENESEO.  He holds a Master of Theology from St. Bernard’s College of Theology and Ministry plus a certificate in Scriptural Studies from Education for Ministry from Sewanee. He holds a certificate in Irish Theatre from the University College, Galway Ireland.

Dr. Cuseo was Building Leader for Library Services at Greece Arcadia High School and was instrumental in establishing the Project Pride, a student teaching, program there. He was on the adjunct faculty of Nazareth College of Rochester for over 25 years and 10 years for the School of Library Science at UB/SUNY’s School of Information and Library Science. He was on the adjunct faculty of the now closed Graduate School of Information and Library Science, SUNY/GENESEO. Allan resigned as Director of Library Services for Bishop Kearney High School in June 2009. He is currently General Manager of the Rochester Association of Performing Arts/Main Street (RAPA).

As a member of the American Library Association he has served as chairperson for the Outstanding Books for College Bound (Fine Arts) Revision Committee and has been a member of the Outstanding Books for College Bound (Fiction) Committee and the School Library Journal/Young Adult Services Division Committee to choose the Young Adult Author of the Year Award. He was awarded a position on the Best Books for Young   Adults, one of 15 librarians nationwide so honored. He was the Chair of the Religion Committee for the Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults Committee of the Young Adult Services Association of the American Library Association. He also was Chair of Books That Don’t Make you Blush for the same committee. He recently resigned as a major book reviewer for Catholic Library World magazine.

For his volunteer work with the City of Rochester PAC-TAC program he has been awarded merit honors for his service as Security chairperson for the Corn Hill Neighbors Association (CHNA). He served on the Board of Directors of CHNA and on the Corn Hill Arts Festival Executive Board. He has been the Chairperson of Security for the famous Corn Hill Arts Festival for 26 years.

He was President of Blackfriars Theatre of Rochester, New York, having served as President of the Board of Directors for over 40 years. For 7 years he was President of the Rochester City Ballet, the city’s only professional ballet company. He has served on the Planning Committee for the Right-On Summer School for the Church of St. Luke and St. Simon Cyrene, Chairperson of the Evangelism Committee, Co-chairperson of the Ambassadors ministry, and a member of the Christian Education Committee. He was on the church’s vestry and serves as a delegate for the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester. He was a member of the planning committee for the Lay School of Theology (Colgate Rochester Divinity School/Wellspring.

Dr. Cuseo has lectured and offered over 200 workshops nationwide for the New York Library Association and the American Library Association. Allan O’Grady Cuseo, PhD has a Doctorate in Literary Analysis from Columbia University. Formerly a librarian for the Greece Central School District, Dr. Cuseo retired June 2009 as Director of Library Services for Bishop Kearney High School.

He began his theatre career as a young teen with the Rochester Community Players and Catholic Theatre of Rochester (later renamed Blackfriars Theatre). He was the co-founder of the Rochester Repertory Company and starred in over 200 children and adult productions. The company specialized in children’s shows and performances for shut-ins in the community.

He is currently Managing Director of the Greater Rochester Repertories Companies  (GRRC) and has  directed Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap twice for them for which the Theatre Association of New York (TANYS) awarded him an Outstanding Director designation. For GRRC’s production of Love Letters he received an award from TANYS for Excellence in Acting.

Professionally in New York City he was a member of the Jewish Theatre for Children and also performed in Macy’s Christmas shows. He did summer stock at the famous Theatre-by-the-Sea in Matunuk, Rhode Island. He has worked on tour, both on-stage and technically,  with Debbie Reynolds, Imogene Coca, Judy Garland, Kim Hunter, Patrice Munsel, Patty Duke, John Astin, Godfrey Cambridge, Hans Conried, Lou Jacobi, and Jane Connell.

It has been estimated that he has been in over 400 theatre productions. In a review in Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle it was said of Allan that “he has the most perfect comedy timing of anyone in Rochester Theatre.” Another review stated, “he walks on stage and the audience immediately loves him. He is pure magic on stage.”

Allan is a vowed religious brother of the Mercy of God Community, known as Br. Allan. In 2011 he was ordained by Open Ministry.

Twitter Crashed, Travolta tanked, Idina soars, and Ellen Rules! An Oscar Recap on “Stage Notes”

selfie-413x233Broadway was represented in full-force at this year’s Academy Awards! Although John Travolta decimated the pronunciation of her name, Tony Award winner (Elphaba in Wicked) Idina Menzel, did the Great White Way proud with her performance of “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen.  Broadway songwriter (The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q) Robert Lopez not only won his first Academy Award but also became one of only 12 EGOTs — people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony.  A full Stage Notes recap with host Robert Hammond  is just a click away.

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A Stage Notes Oscar Party Act One

It’s an Oscar party on Stage Notes!

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After eighty-five Academy Award ceremonies and hundreds of films nominated for Best Motion Picture, only ten of those winning films have been musicals. The American Film Institute defines a “musical” as “a feature-length film in which music and lyrics significantly advance the plot, develop character, or are otherwise integral to the film narrative.”

Join host Robert Hammond as he showcases musicals that have won the coveted Best Motion Picture Oscar.

Television icon Ellen DeGeneres returns to host the Oscars for a second time. The Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center.