Tony and Geraldine Dibari
We are Geraldine (Parascandolo) and Tony DiBari and from 1983 -1987 St. John University was our “Home” but The Chappell Player Theater Group was our “Heart”. We met auditioning for The Scarecrow, fell in love, married in 1990 and raised two beautiful daughters, Emily and Julia.
Stepping into the Little Theater in 1983 we were embraced by fellow students who shared the love of theater and creative expression. Our contribution to the group was rooted in our overall dedication to the various stages of the productions we were blessed to be a part of. We never wanted to miss an opportunity to be part of the process and together with the group. Whether performing on stage, building or striking a set, working on lighting and sound, applying stage make-up to fellow actor or cleaning out the green room, it was clear, no contribution, no matter how small went unnoticed or unappreciated. On the stage or off, a Chappell Player could safely put themselves out there emotionally or physically without fear of falling; yet knowing if you did, you would be caught by your fellow player. (Chappie as they say these days!)
How was the transition from college to the real world? How was life after graduation?
Tony: I transitioned to a career in Television Production and Development and was able to build upon the creative foundation and confidence I gained as a Chappell Player. I even won a few Emmys along the way.
Geraldine: In 1987 my eldest nephew Steven was born with Down Syndrome and I became inspired to return to St. John’s University and earn a MS in Special Education in order to work with children with special needs. My time with the Chappell Player Theater Group enhanced my communication skills and my ability to be truly vulnerable, empathetic and open to the needs of others. Chappell Players have a way of seeing one’s gifts and the beauty of one’s individuality.
Did being involved in the Chappell Player prepare you for life after college? How so?
HELL WEEK! The ability to work under pressure, through exhaustion while keep you eye on the common goal with humor, humility and pizza. Hell week was always the best and the worst time all wrapped into one. We bonded so much as a cast and crew. So many real life HELL WEEKS since our days as a Chappell Players. We grow through the intense times of life, through joy and sorrow supported by the people who surround us and God’s grace.
What was your favorite CPTG memory?
Tony: My favorite memory as a Chappell Player was in Freshman year when I participated in an ensemble comedy farce called The Butler Did It. I'll never forget the feeling I had during our first rehearsal when I walked into The Little Theater and stepped up on a real stage with a professional caliber set that rivaled Broadway.
Geraldine: I’m afraid of heights and the director of Barnum insisted I sang on a platform built on the stage. It was probably only 7 feet off the stage, but felt like 70 to me. At one point during the number I had to stand on a chair on the platform. The song was “Black and White” and I didn’t fall! I felt very brave and sassy.
Geraldine & Tony: Meeting Robert Hand, fellow Chappell Player who became our best friend. Bob and his wife Lori are our dearest friends today and Bob is the proud Godfather to our daughter Julia. Back in the day he stole the show as Pellinore in The Little Theater’s production of Camelot.
Have you been able to remain involved in theatre as much as you hoped/wanted?
We have stayed connected to the theater in large and small ways over the years. Whether its a role in a community theater production, or supporting fellow actors, we have found that our love for theater and our deep connection to it is never far from the surface. We have even had the good fortune to perform together recently in a two-person comedy drama called Talley's Folly by Lanford Wilson.
What is professional theatre like compared to what you accomplished with CPTG?
We never performed professionally, but you would be amazed at the number of professionally trained actors who come out for Community Theater Productions.
Geraldine: I use to think one needed to have a paying job to be considered a “real” actor. If you love it, and you do the work with dedication and professionalism.....you’re real!
Do you have any advice for Chappell Players who are going through college or have recently graduated?
Geraldine: Thank God for your individuality and gifts.......Enjoy the Process.....Savor the laughs.....and cherish the friendships!