Elle Sprague: Hey David! Congrats on your new position as Production (Artistic) Director of Spotlight Youth Theater! I know that you’ve taught a few classes for us in NW Cook and Oak Park, but I think that you are still a new face to most people in Spotlight. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? In other words …. Who IS David Fiorello?
David Fiorello: Of course! Well, I grew up on the South Side…of Northwest Connecticut. I have an awesome Mom and Dad that were always incredibly encouraging of the arts. I’m one of 5 kids, and all of them have musical gifts of some sort! My older brother is a worship leader, I have 2 younger brothers that are twins, and one spent some time at the Brownsville Revival in Florida, then the Toronto Revival, and the other brother was at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. Now the first one works with Patricia King’s ministry in Arizona, and the other is getting married in a couple of weeks! Then I have a baby sister (not a baby anymore) and she’s got a beautiful voice as well, married, has a kid. It’s great to see how God’s grace has been on our family, not only with the gifts he’s given, but his protection and patience with a bunch of brash Italians! But it all started at home, with an encouraging, Christ-centered family unit that is so present in the Spotlight Community! It’s probably something that draw me into Spotlight early on!
In terms of school, I went to a Performing Arts school in CT during High School, and then for college went into a Musical Theatre program at Shenandoah Conservatory/University in Virginia. It was there that I met my incredible, gorgeous Warrior Princess of a wife, Sarah, and the rest is sweet history. I went straight away into a Masters of Muisc Program upon graduating, while my wife went to The New School for Drama’s masters program in NYC. She also ended up going to culinary school (God blessed me with that one, FOR SURE), and worked in famed chef Daniel Boloud’s restaurant on the Upper East Side called, what else, Restaurant Daniel. This year’s Elite Traveler magazine listed Daniel as #2 in the world. So, yeah, she can cook! We got married 4 years ago, and life has been pure bliss!
ES: Spotlight Youth Theater isn’t your first rodeo. Tell us about some of the other times you’ve worked in the performing arts.
DF: Sure! Performed a lot in High School, and performed a TON in college. Also went into Producing, Directing, Music Directing in college, and founded (and served as Artistic Director) for The Renaissance Theatre Project, and by the time I finished my undergraduate degree, I had probably racked up over 250 musicals and plays. I knew early on that if I wanted to pursue something, I needed to go all in. The world pays for people who are 9s and 10s, and so I became a bit of a musical theatre historian, and tried to learn just about every musical there is. I left school for a year to do a National Tour of a show called PUTTIN’ ON THE HITZ, an Irving Berlin revue, where I served as Music Director and Lead Performer, singing many songs from the piano, and playing several roles. It was a blast, and it prepared me well for my next tour, which was John Doyle’s SWEENEY TODD, where I served as Music Director as well. It was based on the Broadway production where the cast members also play instruments, and was an unforgettable experience that taught me a lot! I’ve done work on Broadway, Off-Broadway, Regionally, and recently my wife and I moved from NYC to Chicago, as I accepted a position at Northwestern University in their Music Theatre Certificate Program!
I’ve written shows, served as Show Doctor for many productions, Music Directed, Choreographed, you name it! Much like many of the wonderful folks at Spotlight! My wife and I are also Worship Leaders, and we fully believe in giving our best to the Lord, and going where he sends us. Right now, it seems to be the Northern Suburbs, which coming from the city of Chicago, is truly a return to our Connecticut and Virginian roots!
ES: That’s awesome. I know you have watched a lot of our shows and have familiarized yourself with Spotlight Youth Theater recently. So, what we all want to know is… Why are you excited about working with Spotlight?
DF: My goodness, there’s probably 400 reasons why I’m excited about working with Spotlight! We won’t get into all 400 now, but find me and ask me, and I’ll give you some more! I have to say first and foremost that it’s clear that God has his hand on this endeavor. As I’ve joined the team, it’s very clear that Teri, Darlene, the Board Members and the Office Staff are invaluable tools that make this joint tick. I’ve been blown away by the organizational skills and attitudes of the Area Coordinators, and it’s so clear that these kids are being given the best of the best. The attention to detail from the Area Coordinators is stunning, and I couldn’t be more excited to add value. The productions themselves were so knockout. I couldn’t believe that I was watching shows that were better performed, better Directed, better sounding, better looking than many college shows I’ve seen friends in before. The quality of Spotlight is radically important if we’re going to continue to expand the Lord’s vision for this endeavor, and it all boils down to the vision. The Directors, Vocal Directors, Choreographers, Assistant Directors, Technical Directors, Production Area Coordinators, all of it results in the incredible quality of these shows, and it has me so excited to join such a stellar well-oiled machine!
But if I have to say the thing that impressed me the absolute most? It has to be the parent volunteer system. There’s no secret that parents being invested in their kid’s lives is something not only biblical, but physiologically crucial to development, and like any great enterprise, the core of the system is the volunteer army that makes the engines run. I know it sounds like high praise, but in reality, it’s the best thing that Spotlight has going for it. The parents, kids, Area Coordinators, Production Teams, Staff, all of it works well because of the core. And it’s something that can take Spotlight to the next level, when the foundation is in the will of the Lord!
ES: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us David. Any parting words for our readers?
DF: The power of positivity is something I believe in fully, and I think it’s an attitude that Spotlight has in spades. And as we navigate the treacherous waters of the arts, especially the need that many artists have to just do “what feels right” or “live in the moment”, it’s important to know that a standard of right and wrong has already been set before us! So many times we try to fit God’s word and God’s plan into our own narrow construct of what we want right now, or what feels right. But God created music, God created the power of the spoken word (on a stage or otherwise), and God created our vision and capacity to make beauty. By giving our gifts back to him, we focus on goodness, not the world’s view of moral relativity. That’s why when I heard about things like prayer in the classroom and worship on Saturday morning rehearsals and the like, I knew instantly why Spotlight was more successful than the other childrens’ theatre companies. With Christ on our side and love in our hearts, and kindness of spirit, I think we make something that brings honor and glory to Him! And I’m so excited to share in that, and help continue the expansion of Spotlight’s mission!
If you have any further questions for David or would like to welcome him personally, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.