Today: Apr 14, 2024

Professor choreographed parade performance


The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of the most popular and most watched events on TV. According to the parade’s website, more than three million people line the streets of New York City each year while another five million watch on their TV sets at home. For any musical theater act, it is an honor and privilege to perform at this event and to be seen by millions.

Larry Nye, associate professor of theatre at Southern, was one of the few who were given the opportunity to choreograph the opening number at the 85th annual Macy’s Parade.

The performance featured 148 students from Stagedoor Manor, a well-known performing arts camp in the Catskills, where Nye has worked as a director of dance for the last 15 summers. Alumni at the camp include Lea Michele from “Glee,” Michelle Federer from “Wicked” and many more.

“It is 280 kids from 10 to 18 from all over the world who come for the summer,” said Nye. “We put on a total of 40 shows in that summer. The kids who come to the camp are kids who love what they do.”

This is Nye’s second year directing and choreographing the opening performance for the parade and Stagedoor Manors’ third year performing in the parade. Last year he choreographed for a new float by Office Max with a performance called “Elves Raise the Roof.”

This year’s performance was an original song called “Won’t You Join Our Parade” that featured Grandma from Big Apple Circus, a performance-based circus in New York City.

“It was a very quick process,” said Nye, whose students only had three days to rehearse the routine.

Nye choreographed the song based on “High School Musical.” The start of the performance was his alma mater fight song. The concept, said Nye, was a college pep rally where everyone in the end joins in to be a part of the parade.

“It was very successful and the kids rose to the occasion,” said Nye. “It was the biggest number of people I have worked with on a routine. You learn after years that it is what it is. It can only work out once and you can only stress so much, but in the end you need to enjoy the moment.”

Along with director of Stagedoor, Nye is also a professor of children’s musical theatre and dance at Southern.

“He is very popular in the department,” said Katherine Sedlock, junior theatre major. “He is committed to what he does. His door is always open for us.”

Nye has been at Southern since 2004 and has directed and choreographed many musicals on campus, along with teaching classes, being a member of the faculty senate and mentoring his students.

“It is good to know we have a professor who is in the business,” said Ashley Dampowski, sophomore theatre major. “He is the real deal.”

Nye has helped direct and choreograph musicals at Southern like “Cabaret,” “Pippin,” and “Bye Bye Birdie.” He has also directed and choreographed musicals around the country as well as at Stagedoor Manor.

Nye has been dancing for the last 37 years and shows no signs of stopping. He has made the dreams of some of his past students come true.

“I get paid to do what I love since I was a child,” he said. “For my students if it’s their wish and dreams and they are fulfilling them, that is great. I am very fortunate the kids work as hard as they do.”

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