Faculty members prove they can do more than teach

Singing deans, dancing faculty, the newly released Martha Stewart and the aged Nicole Ritchie and Paris Hilton.

Such were the sights and sounds of the College’s fourth annual Faculty/Staff Variety show.

Family, co-workers and even some students spent their Friday night in Kendall Hall watching the College’s finest prove they can do more than run a school.

“TCNJ, All my troubles just won’t go away. Transformation got the best of me,” James Lentini, dean of art, music and media, sang as he strummed his guitar to the Beatles’ “Yesterday.”

“Should be a member of the faculty. Work two days a week, maybe three,” he sang.

Lentini, hidden behind his sunglasses, was accompanied on guitar by the leather-clad dean of the school of science, Gail Simmons.

Simmons had just finished her renditions of the Monkees’ “Last Train to Clarksville” and the Austin Lounge Lizards’ “Shallow End of the Gene Pool” when she and Lentini slowed things down with their reworded song.

“It was a real variety show,” Ann DeGennaro, director of Campus Wellness and organizer of the show, said.

There were more office-based skits last year, she said, but this year they had real performers.

DeGennaro said the show was a tradition back in the 1980s, but then it fizzled out. She brought it back when she reorganized it four years ago and is now looking for it to gain momentum.

Magda Manetas, director of Student Life, and Health Services’ Nurse Practitioner Holly Heller were masters of ceremonies at the show, dressing as a 70-year-old Nicole Ritchie and Paris Hilton, and later as Martha Stewart.

They cracked jokes about the celebrities and about the College, saying the show needed to be reformed after last year because the school just couldn’t afford another $50 fine, comparing the show to the halftime Super Bowl show in which Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunctioned. Proceeds from the show benefited the College’s tsunami relief fund. The audience realized the importance of the cause they were helping during director of Community Standards Lynette Harris’ performance of Yolanda Adams’ “What About the Children.”

Pictures of tsunami victims appeared on a screen behind her as she sang, “Remember when we were children. And if not for those who loved us and who cared enough to show us, where would we be today?”

Technical difficulties did not bog down the performers, though sound technicians dominated stage time for the first few acts, making frequent trips to center stage to change microphones, it only made the audience appreciate the laid back atmosphere.

One of the disrupted acts was that of Alvin Figueroa, associate professor in the modern languages department, member of the New Jersey Gay Men’s Chorus and a four-year veteran of the variety show. He sang Frank Sinatra’s “I’ve Got a Crush on You.”

After the problem was fixed, he was joined by Marimar Huguet-Jerez, assistant professor of the modern languages department, who slinked out in a satin dress and danced across the stage with Figueroa.

Genevieve Perkins, Student Life Program Coordinator, sang a version of “Angels,” made popular by Jessica Simpson, that sent chills down the listeners’ backs.

The audience became emotional when Jacquie Norris, assistant professor of educational administration and secondary education, performed Barbara Streisand’s “The Way We Were.”

The variety show committee opened the show with a song and dance number to “These Paws Were Made for Walking” to honor the College’s mascot, Roscoe the Lion.

A returning act, The Sizzlettes (composed of Harris, associate professor of communications studies Anntarie Sims, and director of College and Community Relations Patrice Coleman-Boatwright) lip sang and danced to Aretha Franklin’s “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.”

Sandra Whaley, head clerk of psychological counseling services, performed a dramatic reading of poetry by Edgar A. Guest with her grandson Jeremy.

“You were born with all that the great have had, With your equipment they all began, Get hold of yourself and say,” Whaley read to Jeremy, and together they finished, “‘I can.'”

DeGennaro performed an original skit entitled “The Self-Scanner” along with alcohol and drug counselor Joe Hadge and Stacey Pannone, scheduling assistant for Records and Registration.

The skit illustrated the direction in which technology could be headed: scanners that allow you to pay for your items without having to face a cashier. Instead, it would give you the commentary about your purchases that a person would keep to themselves.

Out of 100 audience members, only about 20 were students.

DeGennaro said she is looking to sell out the show in the future, and the best way to do that is to get more students to come.