Iona College Performing Arts Students Get Intimate, Early Exposure to Broadway Actor

Iona gives a warm welcome to first class of recruited performing arts students

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — Iona College recently hosted its first group of recruited performing arts students, organizing a new “Experience Gael Nation” orientation for those passionate about dance, theatre, orchestra, choir and other multicultural artistic expressions.

A highlight of the day included sessions with Broadway actor Nathan Lucrezio, who conducted one-on-one instruction with students who have a particular interest in singing and acting. An accomplished performer, Lucrezio has been a part of breakout shows such as “Disney’s Aladdin,” “Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” “Diana the Musical,” “A Chorus Line” and much more. He is also a champion Irish dancer and has appeared on popular television shows such as “SMASH” and “First Wives Club.” Lucrezio worked with students on various techniques – switching vocal registers, belting songs in a healthy way and learning to sing from the abdomen – while also reflecting on his own experiences in school and on stage.

“Performing arts in schools is so important; it was a saving grace for me as a kid,” Lucrezio said. “I had a lot of energy; I loved to dance and I loved to sing, so being able to see that in my middle school and my high school shaped my whole life. And now because of that, I am a professional performer.”

Iona’s inaugural director of performing arts, Kelly McKenna Beyrer ’16MA, spearheaded the Experience Gael Nation events. The day kicked off with presentations at the Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, where students were able to tinker in the new makerspace. From there, students were able to participate in other creative workshops such as an improvisation lesson with actor, writer and improviser Chad Anthony Miller or work with Iona alumnus Giancarlo Becattini ’21 on mastering their chosen instruments. Those interested in dance learned different warm-up methods as well as a combination from experienced dancer and choreographer, Gina Duci. Finally, students were able to explore theater with the chair of Fine and Performing Arts, Professor Thomas Donnarumma, who also founded the theater program and developed the full curricula in theater for the College.

In addition to recruiting its first group of students interested specifically in the performing arts, Iona also recently announced it would be looking to expand its creative offerings with the acquisition of the Concordia College campus in Bronxville.

“Our orientation events provided a first taste of the invaluable and unique experiences we plan to offer future Gaels,” Beyrer said. “It’s an honor to lead and build Iona’s performing arts programming and I can’t wait to watch the ways we continue to grow and develop creatively in the future.”

Nathan Lucrezio works with a group of students on vocals.

Broadway actor Nathan Lucrezio practices vocal techniques with students.

Founded in 1940, Iona College is a master's-granting private, Catholic, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers. Iona's 45-acre campus is just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of over 50,000 around the world, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science, and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona’s LaPenta School of Business is accredited by AACSB International, a prestigious recognition awarded to just five percent of business schools worldwide. The Princeton Review recognized Iona’s on-campus MBA program as a “Best Business School for 2021.” Iona College also recently launched a new, fully online MBA program for even greater flexibility.