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Delayed Vroman offers Crane students advice on performing


POTSDAM — Even after an eight-hour flight delay, the show must go on.

SUNY Potsdam Crane School of Music alumna Lisa Vroman is back in town to give a performance with the Community Performance Series on Saturday. Two hours after she arrived in the north country, she was on the stage, working with students who are performing "On the Town" later this semester.

The quick pace was nothing new for the Adams native, who has played Christine Daae, the lead female role in "The Phantom of the Opera," and both Cosette and Fantine in "Les Miserables."

"We may only do one rehearsal and then be on stage. It's stressful, but that's the business. Time is money and money is time," Ms. Vroman said. "Standing here, this is where it all began."

Her flight from California was delayed eight hours and she ended up with only about two hours to nap between landing at JFK International Airport and taking off for Syracuse. After that, it was into a rental car and the drive up to Potsdam.

It has been about a year since Ms. Vroman was last in the north country; she came to Adams last year to get married and visit family members still in the area.

"I'm always hoping every summer I could do a trip, but it never seems to happen," she said. "I've been on a plane constantly for the past year, it seems. That's the nature of the business."

Since her wedding, she has been busy traveling, including performances in Spain and the United Arab Emirates.

Running on about two hours of sleep, Ms. Vroman, who graduated from SUNY Potsdam in 1979, was on Snell Theater's stage critiquing and advising students on how to make their characters real people, rather than just pretty singers.

"It looks like you're carved in stone," she said to a group singing a love song from "On the Town." "Right now it's just pretty music. There's no story. I want as much story in this musical as there is pretty music."

The five men looked more like a barbershop quintet the first time they sang, standing still in a row throughout the song. The second time around, their characters were smoking cigarettes, leaning on each other and falling asleep during a scene that is set at 6 a.m. The rest of the crowd at the class, which consisted of about 100 people from the college and community, were laughing and clapping by the end of their time on the stage.

"Our students greatly benefit from working with our accomplished alumni who know exactly what it was like to be a student at SUNY Potsdam," director Carleen Graham said in a statement. "They inspire our students to pursue their dreams and they give thoughtful and honest feedback."

When Ms. Vroman returns to Crane's stage, she will be performing a selection of songs, mostly from Broadway shows, but with a twist.

"It's a lot of original arrangements of things people may know," she said. "It's something I've wanted to try out for a while, and what better place to be creative than at a music school?"

There will be no program when she performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Hosmer Concert Hall. The performer said that having a program is distracting and she wants people to be able to listen to the music.

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