TAMPA — Nobody can say that Seth Travaglino isn’t passionate about his job. He can out-dance and out-sing just about anyone in his summer troupe and his students don’t have any problems with that.
Travaglino works the drama department at the Corbett Preparatory School and recently ran three shows of the Broadway hit “Pippin,” well-known for its feature song, “Magic to Do.”
It wasn’t easy to get a bunch of kids together for a big-time production, but to make things even more complicated, Travaglino only had a week to put the whole thing together. It wasn’t much of a problem considering that he had a group of kids who were totally committed to getting it done. Travaglino says he can be tough and his kids agree, but the chemistry is there.
While his students were rehearsing, Travaglino was a whirlwind, dancing, singing, shouting out ideas, and trying to cram a long rehearsal session into one week.
Travaglino, known as Trav by his actors, got his degree from the University of South Florida and decided he was going to be a lawyer. He only performed in one show in his life, and that was at Seminole High School in St. Petersburg. In high school, he was asked to try participating in a show. In the three weeks between taking on the role and learning to dance, he was hooked.
“That’s when I realized I had a passion,” he said. “There’s nothing like it. You can live the life of a kid.”
Recruiting kids to perform at Corbett during the summer is all about word of mouth. His Pippin show included kids from all over the Tampa area. Travaglino is known well enough in the area that he has plenty of connections, but he still has to recruit students to participate. It wasn’t tough this year.
“It can be tough to get a show together in one week that we have to practice, but the kids come in ready to work and it all comes together,” Travaglino said.
Once the performers get a chance to meet with Travaglino, they seem to be hooked. “He’s crazy to be around,” said Mike Mikus, who played the role of Pippin. “He makes it fun and makes sure we need to know what we are doing even if we don’t know what we are supposed to be doing. He gets us where we need to be.”
Blake senior Briana Blandford said she has been encouraged to follow a career in dance and acting because of Travaglino.
“We can learn to live our lives through these songs that he lets us sing,” she said. “He’s the perfect director.”
Travaglino said it is all a labor of love.
“I never thought of doing this for a living,” he said. “I wanted to be a lawyer. It turned out this way so I guess it was meant to be.”