The students did a commercial for their newscast for Tony’s, said Dorinda E. Bagwell, adjunct professor who teaches media production classes at Woodbury.
“Tony told us about Joseph’s script, and we thought we could use it for one of the students’ projects,” she said. “And that relationship developed with Mr. Di Sante. Then he recommended the reading so we could use it as a fundraising opportunity for the university.”
The cast has been rehearsing the piece since May after getting the OK from the communications department to do the fundraiser, Di Sante said.
“I had done it as a reading last year for [Burbank Temporary Aid Center], so I had a good portion of the cast in place, but I had to replace a couple people,” he said.
The play stars Geri Jewell, of Toluca Lake, who has appeared on “Facts of Life,” “21 Jump Street” and HBO’s “Deadwood.”
Jewell, who has cerebral palsy, often plays characters with the disability. Di Sante wrote the play with her in mind, he said.
“I always wanted to write something for her” he said.
She plays the lotto lady, who comes to the market to buy her lotto tickets to supplement her income, he said.
Actor Robert Nobel plays Tony.
Di Sante met him when they were both doing a Washington Mutual commercial.
A veteran actor, Di Sante said he is happy to be doing something that will help the growing media segment of the communications department.
“I have a lot of years in broadcasting,” he said. “When you can bring new people into the broadcast world, hopefully these people will go on and make broadcasting worth it again.”
Funds raised will go toward purchasing lighting, cameras and other equipment that allow students to produce news segments, Bagwell said.
Bagwell teaches media production classes twice a week at Woodbury and then returns to her full-time job as a camerawoman for WABC-TV Eyewitness News.
“What I’ve brought to the communications department is a TV production element,” Bagwell said.
She has taught the students to edit, shoot and produce clips for Woodbury University’s newscasts, she said. One student who graduated in May is a staff production assistant with the “Ellen Degeneres Show” after combining her knowledge of theory and what she learned in the media production classes, Bagwell said.
“She was able to get a job right out of college on a major show,” she said. “We are competing with students at other campuses in the area for top jobs in the field, and we don’t want to be overlooked.”