Reaching for the Stars

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Broadway Role Model Inspires SHS Theatre Students

Students in Valley Stream South High School’s theatrical troupe were inspired to reach for their dreams, thanks to a guest presentation from alumnus Paul Ianniello. Ianniello is starring in the Broadway musical Elf and shared details of his experiences on stage and advice for performers and aspiring actors.

Ianniello held roles in a number of productions while attending the Valley Stream schools, and was guided by many of South High School teachers that are still in their respective buildings. He was greeted by the staff members whom he studied under, and after being introduced to the students, he sang one of the compositions from Elf.

Students asked a number of questions, and Ianniello offered his input, knowledge and advice. He addressed the topic of being nervous, and explained that he believes it is okay to feel nervous as this indicates that the professional still cares about what they do.

Ianniello shared suggestions around several topics, such as keeping ones voice strong and handling rejection.

“I think the biggest piece of advice is that half the time that you don’t get the job, it has nothing to do with talent,” he said. “It’s all circumstance.”

Ianniello also described the auditioning process, how to be best prepared and the ways casting calls can vary depending on the type of show.

“It’s an interesting world, but you have fun within it,” he said.