Go Deeper

Artist Profile: Nick Anselmo, curator of the Late Night Series

Posted May 15th, 2009

“I’m an enabler,” says Nick Anselmo. “I give my students ownership and freedom, the ability to learn.”

A singer, dancer, and actor whose main concentration is musical theater, Anselmo came to Philadelphia from Chicago four years ago to teach at Drexel University. “I love the little, intimate theaters in Philly.” This appreciation led to his creation of the successful Late Night Series (LNS) at Mercer County Community College and Drexel University. This weekly, two-hour event showcases poetry, drama, dance, comedy, and live music.

“LNS is supposed to be like a salon, a gathering at your house, a party,” says Anselmo. “It’s the culmination of live music and indie artists.” Anselmo’s LNS has become a success for emerging performers, established artists, and the “people on the fringe who are drawn in to this great place to hang out. …It becomes a second home.”

Anselmo is the theater program director at Drexel University. He is an accomplished actor who has performed in Off-Broadway shows at The York and Ensemble Studio Theatres, and was a member of the Pulse Ensemble (New York City). He’s also appeared at the Walnut Street Theatre and the Williamstown Theatre Festival.

“I remember I was in the eighth grade on a school trip . . . and I saw a production of Peter and the Wolf. I was mesmerized by the movement and the sound. Something about it was wow,” recalls Anselmo. “I’ve spent the rest of my career trying to achieve this magical movement. I believe all theater is an incredible tool to change people’s lives. That’s what I’m hopefully doing.”

Anselmo is currently co-writing a musical with Hedgerow Theatre about Halloween’s brush with cancellation. A workshop is set for sometime this fall. He also works with inner city kids in Trenton’s Passage Theatre. It’s a program that teaches children how to write their own plays, form their own concepts, and see their work come to fruition. The plays are then performed by established actors under Anselmo’s direction. Be sure to check out the release of LNS’s new CD available June 4th, The Best of Live Recordings of the Late Night Series.

–Jennifer Burrini