In the fall 2013 semester, two visiting artists will enrich Geneseo’s department of music. Aaron McAllister ‘03 is teaching a music course titled “Top Musical Theater Performance and Practice,” and Melissa Rain Anderson is directing the fall musical “Anything Goes.” After graduating from Geneseo, McAllister attended graduate school at the University of Maryland. He works as a musical director and conductor at Fulton Theater in Lancaster, Pa.
He said it was a rare break from his normal workload that allowed him to come to his alma mater and teach the eight-week course for musical theater majors.
“My main role here is teaching my course,” McAllister said. “I am [also] coaching students, working with them one-on-one outside of class, making myself available to majors and having an open-door policy so they can take advantage of what my experience has been.”
Fulton Theater’s typical season includes four to five musicals, which McAllister described as a rollercoaster of different styles that appeal to the theater’s broad audience. Additionally, he creates his own musicals with librettist Daryl Lisa Fazio.
McAllister performed as a tenor soloist in April alongside the Chamber Singers in a production of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana.”
Anderson is a musical director, actor and acting coach whose repertoire includes multiple performances at Geva Theatre in Rochester, notably as Mrs. Cratchit in “A Christmas Carol.” She is also a TV actor and teaches graduate courses in musical theater.
Anderson’s work while visiting Geneseo will be to direct this semester’s main stage musical, “Anything Goes” by Cole Porter, set to hit the stage on Nov. 6-10 in
Alice Austin Theatre. Gerard Floriano, professor of music, director of choral activities and interim director of musical theater, is responsible for the positions McAllister and Anderson currently hold in the music department.
“We want to have a knowledge of our guest artists: what their background is and how much they’ve worked with students,” Floriano said. “I want our students to get a positive experience, to learn from it, to gain from that person’s experience in the real world, or in the business, as we say. But that person has to be able to meet our students where they are.”