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SNL stage manager to teach acting classes through village


Longtime Valley Streamer and Saturday Night Live Stage Manager Gena (pronounced Jenna) Rositano will be teaching a ten-week introductory acting class at the Firemen’s Field Clubhouse for anyone who wishes to sign up. The class begins on Jan. 27.

Spearheaded by Community Center Manager SallyAnn Esposito, the classes will teach some of the basics of acting, according to Rositano.

“It’s a very basic acting class,” she said, and will include activities such as theater game playing, which demonstrates the elementary components of character building.

“It sets the ground work,” Rositano said.

Among those games, for example, is mirror, which tasks a student to follow another as they move.

“It’s a way of communicating with someone else. Most of these games teach us to communicate and really observe the other person,” she explained.

Rositano will be drawing from her theater training at New York University, where she studied stage acting. Later, she volunteer-taught theater at Shaw Avenue Elementary School while her son attended.

Characters, she said, whether they be in theater, television, or film are informed by observations made of other people, and this class is intended to hone those observational skills and form the basis of character building.

“If you don’t know how to observe people and understand people, it would be really hard to build a character,” she said.

After studying theater, Rositano made the transition to television, first working at MTV in the mid 1980s. While at the station, she discovered her love of production, and has spent the rest of her career behind the camera.

In 1996 she was brought on to Saturday Night Live, where as stage manager her primary task, among many, is to shadow the weekly live show’s celebrity guest to make sure they know where they need to be and what they should be doing at any given point in time during the broadcast.

Her theater studies have also come in handy in that role, Rositano said, providing skills in how to read people and communicate. Over the years she said she has seen cast members come and go and met dozens, if not hundreds of celebrities. Among her highlights, she said, was Paul McCartney and Tom Hanks, and more recently Adam Driver.

Rositano said she hopes the classes also serve as a way for Valley Stream community members to meet and communicate with each other, and if they prove successful may be expanded in the future. There are still a few slots open, so sign up today!

The class costs $100 for village residents and $125 for non-residents. For more information visit the Community Center in Hendrickson Park, email vscomcenter@vsvny.org or call (516) 825-8571