What is your involvement with RRS?
I am making my assistant director debut this Fall with Riverdale Rising Stars Jr and “Oklahoma!”!
Have you worked with RRS before and in what capacity?
I became involved with RRS via RPAC, where I directed Close Harmony adult chorus and Glee children’s chorus last Spring.
What is your favorite thing about working in theater?
For me, theater is the feeling that anything is possible! You are able to transform not only yourself into a different person, but your environment into a different place and/or time.
What excites you most about your role as Asst. Director?
Directors have to see the “big picture” while simultaneously enjoying the incredibly involved process. The majority of my work as a singer has involved performing, and that’s only one tiny part of the entire process. As an assistant I am truly learning how a show works if every single part works: like a clock, even the smallest gear is essential to success.
What made you ask to Asst. Direct vs Direct?
I have benefited the most in my education via hands on training. The gift of experience is incredibly valuable to me not only as a performer, but as a teacher and parent. Thanks Laurie for the opportunity to shadow! Hopefully, this leads to directing further down the road.
When not with RRS what are you doing?
I perform with Opera on Tap ( a wonderful non for profit arts education organization) monthly at Indian Road Cafe in Inwood. Join us for our first fall performance based upon Carmen Monday night 9/24 @ 8PM! Carmen was my first opera during my adult career and remains near and dear to my heart-not to mention it’s saucy!
Teaching this Fall includes Toddler/PreK Music and Welcome to Theater for RPAC, Kindergarten Music for Midori and Friends in Harlem at p.s. 180 and studying theater dance with Broadway Dance Center in Midtown.
When you close your eyes and think of theater, what experience first pops in your head?
The first time I walked into a theater like RRS, it was sheer magic! The Blue Ridge Alliance for the Performing Arts, or BRAPA, is where I spent my childhood and experienced the standard rep: Annie, Oklahoma, South Pacific, Barnum, Cabaret, King and I, etc. etc. etc. Whenever I get anxious about an audition or performance, I try to conjure the feeling and strength from learning in that secure environment. When I teach/direct I remember gratefully how my first soft spoken director Martha Lynch directed more with modeling than her voice.
What made you connect with RRS in the first place?
Recent relocation to Riverdale sent me on a search for new work. Armed with the internet and friendly opinion, I decided to google “children’s theater”. Luckily, RPAC was just finding footing and willing to try out a chorus curriculum!
Lesly de Groot sings morning noon and night live from her living room for favorite agents Amelia( age 7) and Jonah (age 5). Between command performances she can be seen/heard locally with Opera on Tap at Indian Road Cafe in Inwood, the New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble, and most recently with the Stamford Ballet as Hansel in Hansel and Gretel.