Weathervane Playhouse will kick off its first Welcome Home Weathervane Master Class Jan. 19 with one of its favorite sons — actor John Magaro.

Magaro, 35, acted as a child at Weathervane as well as at Porthouse Theatre, Goodyear Theater and Cleveland Play House. He is a Munroe Falls native who graduated from Stow-Munroe Falls High School and Point Park University, with a B.F.A. in theater. Magaro, based in New York for about 16 years, works in theater, film and TV and has seen his career explode in recent years.

The actor made his Broadway debut as escaped convict Earl Williams in the revival of "The Front Page" in 2016, opposite Nathan Lane, John Slattery and John Goodman, and starred as legendary Public Theatre founder Joseph Papp in "Illyria" Off-Broadway in 2017. He's also had a memorable recurring role as comical tough guy Vince Muccio in the Netflix series "Orange is the New Black."

In Magaro's latest film and TV news, he stars as rogue sniper Tibbet in Paramount's World War II horror movie "Overlord," which came out in November and arrives on digital home video Feb. 5. He plays Leonard Peabody, the love interest of Ellen Page's character Vanya, in the Netflix TV series "The Umbrella Academy," which will premiere Feb. 15.

For his two-hour class, he'll share tips on good audition practices, getting into the business and maintaining a successful career, as well as perspectives on transitioning from stage to film and living as a professional actor.

"He was on board right from the get-go," Education Director Lauren Sprowls said of Magaro's visit for the inaugural Welcome Home Class that features theater alumni. "We're really excited to have him, especially now: He's really blowing up with all the projects he's involved with." 

Magaro is the son of the late James Magaro and Wendy Cooley and stepson of Ralph Cooley. The Cooleys are both longtime Weathervane volunteers.

Magaro's class, open to those ages 16 and up, will run from 2 to 4 p.m. Cost is $10. See www.weathervaneplayhouse.com/master-classes- to register.

Educators are invited to a pre-show reception with Magaro at 6 p.m. Jan. 19 before the performance of "Almost, Maine." The event includes light refreshments and a $10 discounted ticket to the show. Call 330-836-2626 for reservations. 

 

Inspiring talk

Akron-area residents will get the chance to hear Maestro Benjamin Zander give another inspiring talk on leadership at a luncheon hosted by the Akron Symphony Guild at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 18 at Fairlawn Country Club, 200 N. Wheaton Road, Akron.

Zander has been conductor of the Boston Philharmonic since its founding in 1978 and tours extensively as a guest conductor and with his recently formed Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. He will take the podium in Akron Jan. 19 as guest conductor of the Akron Symphony in a program featuring Tchaikovsky's masterful Fourth Symphony.

The concert, which will take audiences into the heart of Russian repertoire, will also feature music by Mussorgsky and Georgian pianist Alexander Korsantia in Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major. Call 330-535-8131 or see www.akronsymphony.org for concert tickets, which start at $25.

Zander's talk Jan. 18 promises to offer a startling new perspective on leadership, through stories, music and concepts. More than 400 people enjoyed his last talk in Akron in 2017. Cost for the luncheon is $35, with reservations required by Friday. Call 330-535-8131 or see www.akronsymphony.org.

 

Orchestra news

In other local music news, Diana Sims Gayer, who played violin for the Akron Symphony Orchestra for 45 years, died Dec. 23 at age 86. The Chicago native studied at Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the University of Michigan. She served on the board of trustees for the symphony after retiring from playing.

She also played in the Canton and Youngstown symphonies. Sims Gayer was a child-care specialist with the Summit County Welfare Department and was honored with the Hower House award for volunteer services with the Akron Symphony.

 

Opera exhibit

Guests attending the Cleveland Orchestra's production of Richard Strauss' opera "Ariadne auf Naxos" on Sunday as well as Jan. 17 and 19 can check out an opera retrospective with the MagicBox interactive touch screen display, which showcases the history of opera at Severance Hall from the 1930s to today. The free exhibit, available through Jan. 19, includes photos, videos and artifacts such as pages from the "Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District" prompt books and scrapbook. See clevelandorchestra.com for tickets.

 

Arts writer Kerry Clawson may be reached at 330-996-3527 or kclawson@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her at @KerryClawsonABJ or www.facebook.com/kclawsonabj.