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17

www.lycoming.edu

F E AT U R E S

D

Dr. N. J. Stanley, or simply J. to anyone who has known her for more than

20 seconds, wears lightly and with melodic grace, the accent of her native

New Orleans. “I am very much a deep Southerner,” Stanley remarked. “We

are an effusive people. I embrace the heritage.”

Stanley, associate professor of theatre, now in her 13th year of teaching at

Lycoming, will retire at the end of the academic year this spring.

Spending her formative years in the most festive and flamboyant of

American cities was not lost on the young Stanley. “Mardi Gras, the music,

the second line-the city shaped me. I love the place and all of its theatrical

public shenanigans,” she said. “Deep down we all have an urge to be in the

spotlight. I’m sure that New Orleans influenced my love of theatre.”

Her family helped things along. At the instigation of eager older siblings,

Stanley’s performing career began where they all begin-and where most

mercifully end-in the family living room. “I was the youngest of five

children, and I always credit them with planting the theatre bug in me,”

Stanley said. “They literally put the Rogers and Hammerstein LPs on the

record player and taught me all the musical theatre classics. I loved it-the

singing, the dancing.” Soon her gift was obvious, and she was traveling with

her family, scouring the region for bigger challenges and developing her

craft. “I was in every talent show and tried out for all the plays,” she said.

“There never seemed another path.”

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