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Cloudy,46°
Thursday, April 24, 2014
To entertain or to be entertained
(Page 2 of 3)
Andrew Hackmack/Herald
John Blenn and SallyAnn Esposito, who have known each other since their days of working at Sam Goody at the Green Acres Mall, have teamed up to bring several new arts and entertainment classes to the Valley Stream Community Center.

For the second time, Blenn will be offering a stand-up comedy course in Valley Stream, which will be held from 7:45 to 8:45 p.m. Over the summer, Blenn taught five up-and-coming comics from the area, four of whom will open up for comedian Chris Rush in a show at Village Hall on Oct. 5.

Blenn said he will help participants discover their “voice.” For example, he said his comedic style is observational humor based on the idiosyncrasies of humanity. Additionally, he will help people with their timing and delivery. “There is nothing more difficult than going on a stage and having your material not work,” he said.

Guy Ferrara, president of the Valley Stream Historical Society, was one of the participants in the summer stand-up comedy session. “I loved it,” he said. “It’s a whole new world that it opens up.”

Ferrara said he was always good at roasting people, or telling jokes to one or two people, but wanted to improve his skill set. He learned how to make a connection with the audience, how to be confident and how to handle hecklers.

Citing actors Steve Buscemi, Jim Breuer and Ed Burns, Blenn said Valley Stream has a history of people who have made it big. He hopes his classes can create the next generation of celebrities from Valley Stream. “You can come from here and go all the way and be successful,” he said.

Community Center Manager SallyAnn Esposito said the expansion of cultural arts classes was at the request of Mayor Ed Fare and the village administration. “I’m very excited,” she said. “This is what the community needs. The residents have been yearning for this.”

Fare said that while the village has always offered a lot of programs for children and senior citizens, there has not been much for everyone in between. These new offerings, he said, will change that.

Village officials are looking to host more programs in the courtroom at Village Hall. In addition to Chris Rush’s comedy show, Blenn’s theater group will present “American Dating Catastrophes” from Sept. 20-22. It features nine short pieces developed by five writers based on real-life situations. It stars both members of Blenn’s troupe as well as actors from Valley Stream.

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