e-Newsletter of Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary | May 7, 2013 Twitter Facebook

In their free time …

Santo Marabella: from professor of management to writer and director of musical theatre

This is the first of an occasional series of profiles of faculty and staff that will focus on what they are passionate about when not working.

Santo Marabella

In his childhood dreams of being a star performer on Broadway, Santo Marabella, professor of management, probably never imagined himself writing theatrical presentations about business management concepts. But that is where his career in business management and teaching, combined with his passion for music and theatre, has brought him today.

In their careers, many people face a common dilemma: their dreams and passions may point them in one direction, while practical needs direct them down a different career path. Growing up, Marabella watched his father endure this very conflict as he struggled to balance his passion for music with his everyday U.S. Postal Service job to support his family.

Marabella has found a way to combine his dreams with practicality. According to Marabella, “We can achieve our dreams. They just might not look like we thought they would.”

In Marabella’s largest production thus far, a musical titled Symphony of Dreams, he addresses the issue of how to coordinate dreams and practical jobs. Based loosely on his own and his father’s experiences, Symphony of Dreams tells the story of a fictional character, Sal, who is both an accountant and a musician. Marabella used fifteen of his father’s original songs in the musical, and added two of his own.

In July 2011, a full-cast production of Symphony of Dreams premiered at the Miller Center at Reading Area Community College. Currently, Marabella is working on submitting the script to the New York Musical Theatre Festival and the ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop.

More recently, Marabella wrote a script for Latin Flair, a Latino dance troupe from Reading. The production, titled Baile Abuela (Dance, Grandmother), showcases the troupe’s dances while also telling a story which incorporates the history of salsa dancing.

Over the past year, Marabella has been working on another project that ties together theatre and business. He has developed a theory that customer service could be improved by teaching customer service representatives to be actors. “I believe every customer-service job has a character, much like a character in a play,” he says. If customer service representatives understood the role they were to play, they would be better at providing quality service to their customers.

In order to teach the principles of his theory, Marabella has written a 3-act play entitled Customer Service—It’s All an Act. The interactive performance presents examples of bad, but realistic, customer service, and invites the audience to correct the situations.

Marabella has experimented with this presentation in several of the classes he teaches at Moravian, letting his students workshop the play and provide feedback. Marabella says that throughout all his creativity and experimentation with theatre, “Moravian’s always been supportive,” even allowing him to create an entire class based on his customer service act theory, which he taught as a special topic course for the Spring 2013 semester.

Marabella’s next project, titled Senior Exploits, is a play that will be produced and filmed to help senior citizens protect themselves against scams.  Marabella says, “It’s a fun and entertaining way to deliver a very serious message.”