Summer Stage alum Andrew Baglini’s career brings him in front of the camera as meteorologist for nationally syndicated AccuWeather. “If I hadn’t done Summer Stage I think I’d still be a shy person. I don’t think I’d be doing something in the public eye like this.”
Andrew Baglini moved to Drexel Hill when he was nine years old and wasn’t very happy with the idea. New to the area and shy about the prospect of meeting new friends, his mother signed him up for the Apprentice Program at Summer Stage when he was 11 years old. “I was kind of against it at first,” said Andrew. But that summer “just flew by…that was just so much fun. I met a couple good friends. I met someone who actually turned out to be one of my best friends in my life, Mark Dietzler, in the Apprentice program. That’s how I got involved [in Summer Stage]. It was a kind of a random occurrence.”
The next year Andrew was in the cast of the “Wizard of Oz” in 2000. “Coming back [after the Apprentice program] that first year was amazing,” said Andrew. “It was whole new thing. I was very nervous coming back. I walked into the audition room with a whole bunch of people. I was very anxious, excited, nervous.” But then he spotted a couple of his friends. “I walked over to them and then it just kept growing every day from there, every hour it got better and better.”
By the time he entered his final year of Children’s Theater, Andrew wanted to soak up every minute of the experience. “The summer of 2005 I’d be here from 9am to 10pm and that wasn’t quite enough! (laughs).” He participated in Dance Troupe, One Acts, ushering, counting tickets and more. “I wanted to be involved in everything. Even then I wanted to see if there was more that I could do. That summer I got to be a part of almost every aspect. “
“The best summers of my life were here,” and it all culminated when he was awarded Summer Stager of the Year that summer. “It was one of those moments I’ll never forget. It was an incredible honor.”
A leading role in a feature film
While Andrew was discovering his love of theater during his time at Summer Stage, Mike Sammaciccia, an Upper Darby High School alum and executive producer of several feature films, came back to Upper Darby. He dreamed of a filming a coming-of-age story at his alma mater. He wanted to cast the entire show with people in the community and at the high school. Mike shared his plans with Summer Stagers during one of the general meetings and began casting in the fall. The movie entitled “Almost Will” featured Andrew in the leading role as Will. Andrew looks back on the experience with fondness and gratitude. “It was an amazing experience,” he added.
A storied Summer Stage event
In one of the legendary Summer Stage events, Andrew happened to be home for a weekend from Stage College during the Mainstage performance of “West Side Story” in 2010.
Unfortunately one of the cast members sustained an injury during the first Friday performance that kept him from performing the next night.
After the Friday show his friends introduced the idea of Andrew stepping in. What started as a joke, quickly escalated to a serious discussion about the possibility of Andrew filling in. “The next thing I know, they’re on the phone with the director.”
For all of those who know “West Side Story,” it’s an intense dance and movement show, with complicated choreography and aggressive fight scenes. In less than 24 hours Andrew studied the blocking, the choreography, memorized the lines, and the vocals. Before he knew it, he was waiting in the wings to join the cast members on stage as the orchestra played the overture.
For any of us who witnessed his performance, none would ever know he wasn’t part of the production from day one. His performance was seamless. Andrew is humble about the fabled feat. “I didn’t think it was real until the next day I came in. And truth be told it was fun, it was very fast-paced, it was very interesting, kind of difficult learning everything in one day. I learned everything from Kevin Dietzler and Matt Cloran. They made it very easy, very quick. Eric Thompson came in and taught me the vocals. These are all people I worked with many times before. If they were people I hadn’t worked with, it probably would have been a lot more difficult. But these were people I grew up with and worked with many, many times. And it made it very easy, really. It was a lot of fun.”
While Andrew would have loved to pursue a career in theater, he was also realistic about two more passions beyond theater, math and science. While brainstorming with his mother during the college application process, they came up with the idea of Andrew studying meteorology. After graduating from Penn State in 2010, Andrew was hired by AccuWeather, based in State College, PA. He is often featured on on-line broadcasts and on television broadcasts throughout the country.
Andrew credits Summer Stage not only for the tools he uses each day on the air, but for “making me into the person I am.” He points out two main aspects of his Summer Stage training. One includes memorizing the lines, the dance steps, and the simple act of stepping out onto the stage. “I developed a comfort to be on stage or in front of the camera. I feel very comfortable and that’s a big part of my job.”
The confidence to do most anything
But most importantly, he credits Summer Stage with helping him become a confident person. “I used to be a very, very shy person. I still am in a lot of ways. But from the moment I came in here, I felt supported. You go up, your very first audition in front of 80 people, you’re nervous, and you don’t want to embarrass yourself. But everyone is having such a good time that there’s no way you could possibly embarrass yourself,” said Andrew.
“I’ve never run into a time where there was drama or people not being supportive, it’s just very, very positive. And so I very quickly broke out of my shell, thanks to that. I didn’t think that would ever happen. I was not open to new things, new people. And that has not been a problem since Summer Stage.”
Andrew reflected, “If I hadn’t done Summer Stage I think I’d still be a shy person. I don’t think I’d be doing something in the public eye like this.”
Andrew took a moment and paused. He finally added, “Summer Stage is the most special place in the world.”