Chargers in Shorecrest’s Performing Arts programs learn versatile and transferable life skills. In addition to honing communication and creativity, theatre classes foster empathy and bring a higher understanding of humanity. Performers also have to be critical thinkers, problem solvers and good listeners. They learn creative self-expression, confidence, motivation, commitment, collaboration, focus, time management, resilience – all while touching the lives of others.
In this Faculty Spotlight, new Upper School Arts and Humanities Department member Scott Warfel (Musical Theatre Teacher) shares a little about himself and the subjects he teaches. Mr. Warfel has 19 years of experience teaching educational theatre and has been working in theatre and music his entire career. Since joining the Shorecrest community, he has continued to expand on the foundation built by those before him by adding his expertise and experience to our Upper School Performing Arts program.
After two years at The Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, PA, Scott was looking for an opportunity to return home to the Tampa Bay area.
“I applied, met with Nancy Spencer and Erich Schneider, and learned about their vision for the program,” Warfel said of his introduction to Shorecrest. “But what really sealed the deal was meeting with three students who shared their enthusiasm and passion for theatre. Lo and behold, I became a member of the Shorecrest community!”
Can you tell us about your experience in theatre and music?
“I have worked in theatre and music my entire career. Professionally I worked as an actor and musical director in theaters throughout the Northeast. I then co-founded FIRST STAGE THEATRE in Lancaster, PA, where we adapted literary classics for the stage. FIRST STAGE produced over 100 productions; most were original plays and musicals. I have composed 15 full-length musicals, and continue to write original shows today. In 1998 the theatre company began producing works in New York City as well as Pennsylvania, including an original musical entitled “A Connecticut Yankee” which played at the Judith Anderson Theatre on 42nd Street. I moved into educational theatre in 1999, taking a seven-week long substitute position at York Country Day School. Those seven weeks have turned into a 23-year career! I also have built theatre programs at Tampa Prep and The Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, PA.”
Describe your approach to teaching Upper School musical theatre.
“My approach to teaching has always been to provide students at all levels the opportunity to explore, examine, and experience. Within a theatre class, you have a wide variety of skills and experience. In many ways, it does not differ from a professional production where you have actors at many levels. So I look to give each student the ability to improve and hit their own goals within the crafts of acting and singing.”
What’s something not many people know about the arts at Shorecrest?
“I wish people could see these students during the rehearsal process. The commitment that is on display is second to none. Currently, our student-actors are working on “Sweeney Todd,” one of the most demanding vocal scores in musical theatre. Our cast must remain focused at each rehearsal. When you think about the demands of a school day and then add to that a two-plus hour rehearsal, the word that comes to mind is respect. So when the audience watches the final product, I hope they realize the time and passion that each student-actor and technician has invested in the production.”
How does philanthropic support from the community impact your work in the classroom?
“The philanthropic support that the Shorecrest community provides makes it possible to continue the quality productions that have been a hallmark of the Performing Arts program. But more importantly, it provides validation for a program where the skills taught go beyond the classroom and the stage. It honors students who make that commitment to the Shorecrest community, and truly reflect the mission of the school.”
One of Shorecrest's greatest assets is our faculty. Educators at Shorecrest prepare students to become responsible, active global citizens. Our dedicated teachers create extraordinary experiences in the classroom each and every day. It is these experiences that make Shorecrest a special place.
To learn more about how you can support the people and program at Shorecrest through the Shorecrest Fund, visit www.shorecrest.org/giving