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Actor Gary Sandy Mentors MPH Students

Published: June 2, 2017

The Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts and Ruth Eckerd Hall is honored to have an in-residence instructor this summer – Gary Sandy! Gary is a long-time friend of Ruth Eckerd Hall and previously starred in our production of Agatha Christie: The BBC Murders. Gary is best known for his role as program director Andy Travis in the classic television series WKRP in Cincinnati – and also starred in Broadway’s Bye Bye Birdie – which happens to be the big summer production that the students will be performing. The students who enroll in the special 3-week long Bye Bye Birdie camp will work alongside Gary Sandy, director Jack Holloway of Hat Trick Theatre, musical director Yohance Wicks and choreographer Chris Liddell as they prepare for on-stage performances at the Capitol Theatre!

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We had a chance to ask Gary a few questions:

Who did you play in Bye Bye Birdie and when?

I did Bye Bye Birdie twice – At least 30 years ago and I played Albert. I did it in Kansas City in a place called Starlight Theatre, which had 10,000 seats outdoors. I played Albert again 10 years later in Phoenix Arizona – and I won a best actor award.

Is Bye Bye Birdie different now than what it was when you were in it?

I don’t really know. We’ll see what it becomes these days when we start the production… I wonder if they are going to try and update at all. Is there even a possibility of making it newer? I don’t know but it probably has to be set in the 50s because of Conrad Birdie, who is a take on Elvis. If it’s possible though, I don’t think it would be a bad idea.

What got you into acting and what has been the most rewarding?

When I was 19, I went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts – North America’s oldest acting school. Everyone went there, Spencer Tracy, Robert Redford, everybody. I started on soap operas when I was 22, which was the most rewarding. I’ve done a lot of theatre, one of the coolest things was The Pirates of Penzance. I’ve been on Broadway 3 or 4 times and I’ve done 3 national tours – a year and a half each tour and 55 cities each tour. It was a major part of my life. You had to do 8 shows a week, you can’t be sick. I’ve never missed a show.

What are you most looking forward to being an in-residence instructor?

I realized with my career that the teachers have been the most important thing. All the way back to junior high school, I had a teacher who was just wonderful and in college I had a terrific professor. Education is everything and with the program that the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts has going with Zev Buffman (Ruth Eckerd Hall President and CEO) and Sharon Reid-Kane (Ruth Eckerd Hall’s VP of Education & Outreach)  trying to put it together – it’s great – it’s giving back to the community and I’m glad to be a part of it. Whatever I owe is because of the teachers who taught me, and I’m hoping we are able to help some of these verging stars of the future.


Gary Sandy Visits Great Day Tampa Bay to talk more about his in-residence teacher opportunity at the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts this Summer. Watch Video

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Fore more information on summer classes or to register, please click here.