By Sydney Spector
With dance teacher and Performing Arts Department Chair Michele Koziara changing her roles in both the Upper School Play and Musical this school year, a new person must step in to lead those productions. That person is Tanner Efinger, owner of Breadcrumbs Productions here in Syracuse, New York.
Koziara originally found Efinger through a movement exploration workshop he was hosting for local artists in the Syracuse Area.
“I really liked his energy and the way he communicated with people, and I thought he was a great teacher,” said Koziara.
Since he was new and didn’t know either the school or the students who would audition, Efinger picked a few plays and musicals, and Koziara made sure that they were a good fit for the school and the community. The two eventually decided on “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” for the Spring Musical and selected two short dramatic works for the Fall Play, “Coming Through the Rye,” by William Saroyan, and “The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden,” by Thorton Wilder.
Efinger grew up near Boston in Andover, Massachusetts, where his father was a high school theatre teacher. He closely watched his father’s work and performed in his shows when they called for a child actor. Efinger then attended Marymount Manhattan College and lived in New York City for five years, where he performed Improv in Times Square with the company ComedySportzNYC. Efinger appeared in various shows while living in NYC and, later, Los Angeles, and had the chance to tour the country while acting in shows like “Macbeth,” “A Christmas Carol,” and “The Velveteen Rabbit.” After his stints in New York and Los Angeles, Efinger lived in England for five years.
“I felt as though the way English theater was being made and was being created I found really fascinating,” Efinger said. “Particularly they have a really good fringe circuit, so this sort of experimental, avant-garde style of theatre was more prevalent there.” (Fringe theater is outside of the mainstream theater that features original work.) “That really influenced the way I look at the art of theater and also create.”
Hannah Warren ’19 has been in every play and musical since sixth grade and is hoping to be on Broadway when she is older. She has nothing but praise for the new director. “He’s a really great director,” Warren said. “He really knows what he’s doing and you can tell. He has this really commanding yet calming presence, and it’s great to work with.”
The Upper School performances of “Coming Through the Rye” and “The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden” open on Friday, November 9, and run until Saturday, November 10.