Classics study supports musical theater dreams
Santino DeAngelo seems to be taking an unusual path to a career in writing and composing for musical theater, one that bypasses creative writing and music programs and steamrolls through Classical and Near Eastern Studies. But to him it makes all the sense in the world.
“Any story you are going to tell is grounded in the classics and the classical constructs of characterization and plot,” he says. “You study from the masters. The knowledge learned there strengthens everything the writer does.”
The classical civilization sophomore, who is minoring in theatre, is already an accomplished musical writer — working for a local recording studio and for the Know Theatre in downtown Binghamton. He composed “The Fantasy Overture to the Trojan War” performed by the Binghamton Community Orchestra and even recently work-shopped a musical based on “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a script he hopes to sell.
DeAngelo chose Binghamton partly because of location — he’s from Endicott and has contractual obligations in the area — but mainly because of its Classics department.
“The best thing about the Classics Department is the personal attention,” DeAngelo says. “You are getting a really individualized education from some incredibly brilliant professors who care a lot about you. They really understand the way you learn. They understand your interests. And that makes a big difference at the end of the day.”
DeAngelo says it’s unfortunate that the Classics aren’t a main aspect of education because there’s a richness to the material that rounds out students’ education, giving them a deeper understanding that reflects their personal interests.
“Classics translates well into almost any major you could possibly have,” DeAngelo says. “If you wanted to study law, there’s Cicero. If you wanted to study science, you can see where the ideas developed. Of course philosophy is obvious. It translates to everything because it’s dealing with universal truths.”