Go to enough rehearsals and you’ll see patterns emerge.
Some directors yell and scream.
Others want to be your best friend.
After years of watching him work, I can reasonably conclude that Dr. Jack Gremli at Nanuet High School runs a mild-mannered and polite rehearsal.
He connects with individual actors, but there’s an esprit de corps at work in Nanuet.
So, appropriately perhaps, this year’s musical is “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying,” the story of J. Pierrepont Finch, a window-washer who finds a book of that title and begins a meteoric — and hilarious — journey up a slippery corporate ladder.
“How to Succeed” has a slew of great tunes, from the title song to “Old Ivy” to “The Company Way,” as sure a prescription for corporate success as was ever written.
But the song that makes this a good Gremli fit is “The Brotherhood of Man,” with its lyric:
“There is a Brotherhood of Man,
A Benevolent Brotherhood of Man,
A noble tie that binds
All human hearts and minds
Into one Brotherhood of Man.”
In rehearsal, he gently discusses staging with a few kids, asks his stage crew to set the stage, confers with his wife-choreographer-collaborator, Carol.
You can’t argue with the results: Nanuet produces toe-tappers, year in, year out.
Gremli has come up a way to succeed at musical theater by really trying to be himself and treat the kids with respect.
Here’s the Running Lines video I shot at Nanuet. Enjoy!