When the Dream That You Wish Comes True

By Emily Fedor

*Correction to print edition made in bold.*

Two Dunmore High School alumni, Alee Bevilacqua ‘11 and John Glinsky ‘13, both went away for school to pursue their dreams upon graduating.

Bevilacqua enrolled at Temple University in Philadelphia to further explore her love of the Spanish language. Glinsky traveled to Hyde Park, New York to earn his associate’s degree from the Culinary Institute of America. Two very different paths indeed, but those paths eventually crossed in a magical way.

Both DHS alum ended up finding employment with a little company started by a man you may have heard of before. Does Walt Disney ring a bell?

Bevilacqua moved to sunny California to take on an global publicity internship with Walt Disney Studios, and Glinsky took on an externship position as a prep chef in a famous boardwalk restaurant at Disney World in Florida.

Online editor Emily Fedor caught up with both of the mouseketeers in the making to chat about their big moves, their impressive gigs and, of course, the wonderful world of Disney.

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Alee Bevilaqua is currently working as a global publicity intern at Walt Disney Studios as a part of Disney’s professional internship program. (Photo Credit: Alee Bevilacqua)

Emily Fedor: Let’s start from the beginning. How did finding a job with Disney first come into the picture?

Alee Bevilacqua: I was looking for [jobs with] advertising and digital marketing agencies—things of that sort.  I just threw it into the mix. They had a public relations position open with Lucasfilm (Disney owns Lucasfilm). I applied for that, and the woman who gave me a phone screening told me about the position I have right now. She said, “We didn’t post it on the website yet, but based on your interests, I really think you would like this one.”

EF: And what are you doing in this position?

AB: I’m a publicity intern. I work on a team that does publicity with Disney Studios, and I worked on a team that does global publicity for live action films—so anything along the lines of Marvel, Lucasfilm.. I’ll help out at premieres and any other publicity events for the movies. I handle a lot of different odds and ends.

EF: You graduated from Temple with a degree in Spanish. Does that come into use at all?

AB: On the publicity team, we have some hispanic media outlets. So my Spanish does actually come in handy.

EF: So working in the publicity field in Disney, nonetheless, wasn’t ever a part of your plans?

AB: No, I definitely didn’t have this planned. When Mario [Bevilacqua] first started off with his food truck [What the Fork], I helped him out with that. I started to realize I was really interested in digital marketing. So once I got to school, I had a little marketing internship, and I did a PR internship. Then last semester, I was an intern at a digital marketing agency.

EF: How has the transition of moving to California been?

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Alee Bevilacqua made her move to California only a few weeks after she graduated from Temple University in May. (Photo Credit: Alee Bevilacqua)

AB: I live in Burbank, so I’m still in a little residential area. There’s a lot more driving which I didn’t expect. It’s impossible to get around if you don’t have a car because the public transportation is not that great. People out here are much more relaxed,  too, and the weather is just perfect year-round.

EF: What do you miss most about Dunmore?

AB: I miss the community feeling for sure. It’s easy to walk into somewhere and see someone you know and start up a conversation. But honestly, I miss NEPA food. The best food you’re going to get here is Mexican food and sushi, because that’s what’s big out here. I could be bias because half of Dunmore is Italian, but I have yet to try good Italian [food] down here.

EF: What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had so far?

AB: I was able to go and volunteer at Comic-Con, which is absolutely incredible. We took a bus down to San Diego, and I got to watch the entire panel at Hall H, which I never thought I would ever do. People wait in line for days for that. There were 6,000 people there. It was insane just being a part of that.

EF: So what’s next for you? Is this move permanent for you?

AB: As of right now, my internship is until December 30th, but it’s up in the air. They can ask you upon mutual agreement to extend your internship for another six months. After that, there’s always a possibility I could get offered a position if there’s a job opening. I have been toying with anything though. As of right now, I’m just rolling with it.

EF: But you’re happy with the decision you made to take the job at Disney?

AB: I’m absolutely happy to be here. I could hop down to Disneyland any day, and it’s a work environment that I think everyone dreams of. I think what I love about publicity is that at Disney, it’s more of a female-dominated field. So I think being around these powerful, goal-oriented women is so inspiring. I can’t believe this is my life.

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John Glinsky worked as prep cook at a signature restaurant at Disney World in Florida last year as part of an externship program. He will be returning to work at a different restaurant this month.

John Glinsky worked as prep cook at a signature restaurant at Disney World in Florida last year as part of an externship program. He will be returning to work at a different restaurant this month. (Photo Credit: John Glinsky)

Emily Fedor: What attracted you to Disney World and made you want to get a job there?

John Glinsky: My family goes to Disney for vacations, so Disney is a big part of my life in general. I wanted to work at Disney so I can continue a family tradition my grandparents started the tradition of going to Disney every year. I was just thinking how awesome it would be to work at Disney and take my future child there and be like “Hey, I worked at this place.”

EF: How was the transition of moving to Florida?

JG: We drove—well, my dad drove—down to Disney straight through without stopping. I would never recommend that to anyone. I’d never been away from home, but it was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done. It was like I was meant to be there. It was scary to go down, but I was more excited than anything.

EF: What kind of work did you do while you were in Disney?

JG: I worked at the Flying Fish Cafe, a signature restaurant in Walt Disney World. It was ranked the fourth best restaurant in Disney at the time. I was mostly a prep cook there. Usually my shift was 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and throughout that time, I would prep for that night cooking wise. It would be a fresh prep every day, which I enjoyed.

EF: You’ve been to Disney quite a few times before working there. How was being an employee versus a tourist?

JG: I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil the magic. There were just moments when I was walking backstage—they use theatre terms like backstage, audience, costumes—and I’d be walking with Woody. But then you’d see another Woody switching out with him. It’s actually really funny.

EF: Do you have a favorite memory from your time there?

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John Glinsky’s place of employment, the Flying Fish Cafe, was ranked the fourth best restaurant in Disney. (Photo Credit: John Glinsky)

JG: When I started doing prep work, I almost got transferred to a different location because I couldn’t keep up. But one of the head chefs named James said he would take me under his wing, and he just brought me to a whole different level. I had talked to him about buying a new knife. And when I was leaving on my second last day, he gave me his first knife that he ever bought.

EF: What was the biggest difference between Florida and Dunmore?

JG: There’s more diversity there, and a lot of the people didn’t speak English. But that’s why I like food so much, because language barriers don’t matter. It’s a language in itself.

EF: Now you’re going back to work at Disney. Tell me about that.

JG: I applied back and they greeted me with open arms. They wanted to put me at Victoria & Albert’s which is the number one restaurant in Disney, but there weren’t any openings until November. So I’m working at Artist’s Point in Wilderness Lodge. It’ll be a good experience.

EF: Pick three words to describe your time working at Disney.

JG: Magical, extraordinary, and humbling. Seeing what people go through to make the magic was really humbling.  My tier in the totem pole was giving them a meal they’d never forget. That’s the whole reason I do what I do. I want to be a chef because it makes people happy.

Dunmore Drama Directors Celebrate 10 Years

By Emily Fedor

Dawn and Brian McGurl prepare to put on a summer show at Dunmore High School.

Dawn and Brian McGurl play some tunes in the Dunmore High School auditorium as they prepare to put on their upcoming production, the 10 Year Alumni Cabaret. (Credit: Emily Fedor)

Brian and Dawn McGurl have created not only a club at Dunmore High School, but a family. This year marks the their 10-year anniversary as directors of the Crimson Company, Dunmore’s distinguished drama club, and they’re choosing to plan a family reunion the only way they know how—as a show.

The McGurls put together a show-stopping “alumni show” for their five-year anniversary with the club back in 2010, but this summer’s production is bound to be bigger and better as it will showcase double the talent.

Crimson Company alumni of the past ten years have been invited back to the stage they once called their home to take part in a cabaret style production. It will commemorate both past and future Crimson Company shows as well as celebrate the art of theatre as a whole with a plethora of toe-tapping musical numbers.

Emily Fedor sat down with Brian and Dawn to take a trip down memory lane and talk about their ten year journey as well as the upcoming alumni show and their plans for the future.

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Emily Fedor: So how did you two first get involved with the DHS Crimson Company?

Brian McGurl: Mary Errico was the drama director, and our son Michael was involved.

Dawn McGurl: We helped out because that’s our thing, and I costumed “Guys and Dolls.” We were sitting in the house watching a rehearsal and Ms. Errico said that she was about to get married, and she thought it was time for her to step down. She just said “Would you two be interested in taking over? And we were like: “Wow. Yes, we’d love it!”

EF: How was the beginning of that journey for you?

DM: It was awesome. The kids were great. It was tough because the culture here is so sports-oriented. So for us, it was difficult to try to make those in-roads in the community. But everyone—Coach Henzes, Mr. Forgione, the parents, the community—was so welcoming and so supportive.

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Members of the Crimson Company perform in “A Shepherd’s Christmas Play,” an original play by the McGurls, in 2011. (Credit: Kyle Svecz)

EF: Were there any big changes you made?

DM: We took the program to a different level. Before we took over, they used to do a musical every other year and then one play. We said that we can’t truly instruct that way. When you’re starting out, there are kids who aren’t quite there yet, and they need to have that experience before it’s their time to shine. So that [doing two shows a year] was the biggest change.

EF: What was the biggest challenge or obstacle you’ve had to tackle?

BM: When we started, our own kids were in it [the club], and all of the kids who were involved were our kids’ friends. Half the cast had been at sleepovers at our house throughout the years. These we like our kids, basically. Then once they graduated, the challenge has been trying to keep up with those kids that aren’t our own kids.

DM: That was a very big shift. Mr. McGurl teaches here so he knows the kids, but the feeling is different. We’ve also had other things that have happened, like losing Kelcey [Hallinan]. There are a lot of problems people don’t know are happening, and those things are heartbreaking. Life itself is always such a big challenge.

EF: What’s been the biggest reward for you over the years?

BM: Every show is its own reward. It’s so much fun to work on every show with the cast that we have and to create the thing that happens up on the stage. It’s really so much fun to have an idea and make it happen with a big group of people. It’s a ball.

DM: The most rewarding thing is sharing our passion with others and seeing what it does to their life. To see that freshman who is nervous and scared and see that transformation that they don’t see up close. That growth—that change—that you see in a kid…it’s so amazing to see.

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Crimson Company alumni perform a number from Dunmore’s 2009 production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” (Credit: Emily Fedor)

EF: Do you have a favorite show out of those that you’ve done?

DM: We talk about this all the time. I loved “Once Upon a Mattress.” But I loved “Joseph [and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat],” too. That was such a special show—it was the perfect storm.

BM: I have a hard time picking because I love major parts of every one.

EF: Let’s switch to the present then: the alumni show. Where did that idea come from?

BM: We had a five-year plan when we took over. Dunmore is a sports town, and people thought “Oh, you can’t do theatre in Dunmore…” But our goal was to make Dunmore a theatre town, too, which we did. It’s on the map now of something that could happen. That was our goal for five years.

DM: Once we got there, we asked the kids if they wanted to come back, and they did. So we did that.

EF: What’s this show going to be like? Will it be different from the five-year anniversary show?

DM: This will be interesting to see because this spans ten years. Some of the kids are married and have kids. They have big boy and big girl jobs. But we’ve gotten a great response so far. It’s going to be the same format as the fifth year show. We’ll do a couple production numbers—maybe the Megamix [from “Joseph”]—and a choral piece. We’d really like to do something from all ten shows, but we’ll throw some new stuff in, too. It’s going to be a nice reset and energizer for the community and the students.

EF: Not that I want to ask this, but it’s my job… Now that it’s been 10 years, do you see an end in sight?

BM: I’m in my thirtieth year of my teaching career. 35 is the goal so I’m looking at retiring from Dunmore. The thing is that this is a club here, and the thing about extracurriculars is that this extends the classroom. There should be an active teacher in the district doing this.

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The alumni of the Crimson Company will take the stage on June 23 and 24. (Courtesy: Brian and Dawn McGurl)

DM: We want to leave it in capable hands because it’s important to us, and we think it’s important to the community and the students—especially when they’re cutting art funding left and right. But…we have planned out the next five shows. We’ll probably get a fifteenth year, but that could change. We don’t know.

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The Crimson Company’s 10 Year Alumni Cabaret will be held Tuesday, June 23 and Wednesday, June 24at the Dunmore High School auditorium. The curtain will rise at 7:00 p.m. All proceeds from the show will help fund future Crimson Company productions and endeavors.

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