New York Times focuses on the new Molloy/CAP21 theatre program

By Karin Lipson

New York Times focuses on the new Molloy/CAP21 theatre programPeggy Sue Johnson, a theater arts student at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, didn't sing her best at the audition for "Celebrating the Music of Marvin Hamlisch," a musical theater event set to take place Saturday at the Madison Theater on the Molloy campus.

"I wasn't on my 'A' game," she said; she was recovering from the flu. Ms. Johnson, 20, from Wildomar, Calif., is one of 27 students in a new joint program of the college and CAP21, a musical-theater conservatory based in Manhattan.

With 22 students auditioning, had she made the cut?

She had. Aaron Gandy, the show's musical director, saw past her 24-hour bug, just as he had looked beyond other problems like forgotten lyrics, songs performed in too high a key and overenthusiastic hand gestures. "I knew there was a big old voice in there," Mr. Gandy told Ms. Johnson after she had let loose, at his suggestion, with a rendition of "Over the Rainbow."

In the end, eight students were chosen from the Molloy-CAP21 program (CAP stands for Collaborative Arts Project; 21 for 21st century). They will perform alongside several Broadway professionals, including Annie Golden ("Violet," "The Full Monty") and Kacie Sheik ("Hair"), in the tribute to Mr. Hamlisch, the composer. Selections will range from the 1963 Lesley Gore hit "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows" to "The Nutty Professor," Mr. Hamlisch's last completed stage score before his death in 2012.

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