Connecticut College Magazine · Spring 2011

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On the cover: Writer/producer Lee Eisenberg '99 entertainS a packed evans hall in the first of a series of centennial "Conversations with alumni" in January. Photo by Bob Macdonnell

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Peggy Sperling Galanty '99

Lives: Peggy Sperling Galanty '99

By David A. Brensilver


Peggy Sperling Galanty '99 was twice the age of most students when she enrolled at Connecticut College. Through the Return to College program, she received a self-designed degree in dramatic literature and playwriting.

Now 61, Galanty is a founding member and producer of PlayMakers Theatre, which semiannually produces staged readings of 10-minute plays by seasoned and less-experienced Connecticut writers.

“I am so shocked that this thing has even gone on five times,” Galanty says.

But it's no surprise to Allan Appel P'00 '04, whose short play “The Lesson” was given a staged reading at the inaugural PlayMakers “Shorts” Festival, in November 2008. “It's a nice venue where people with some experience … are part of the program, along with beginning writers,” says the New Haven-based novelist, playwright and journalist.

Frank Izzo's short play “Greek Revival” was read during the “Shorts” Festival in December, after his wife, Cheryl Savitsky Izzo '71, saw a PlayMakers Theatre call for playwrights in a local newspaper.

“The nice thing about working with those guys is that … you kind of find out that when you spend a few nights there and you have a few readings … (your work) may have longer legs,” Izzo says.

The idea behind each “Shorts” Festival is to have “playwrights work alongside the actors and directors for a few nights to get their play up on stage,” Galanty says. The organization took shape after one of Galanty's students at the erstwhile New England Academy of Theatre told her, “I got a play published but I still can't get a play put on.”

Galanty, who lives in Shelton, Conn., approached the Hamden Arts Commission, which, since the first “Shorts” Festival three years ago, has provided a venue and sponsorship.

None of this, though, had crossed Galanty's mind when she enrolled at Connecticut College.

Galanty was born in Michigan and raised in Georgia, where she studied at Gordon College and worked as a nanny for then-college president Robert Rue. When Rue and his family relocated to Connecticut, where he became the founding president of Mohegan Community College (now Three Rivers Community College), Galanty followed.

Years later, having raised two children and retired with a disability from the nursing industry, Galanty thought: “I haven't finished my degree.”

She enrolled at Connecticut College and took several courses at the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center.

While it took a decade to earn her degree, Galanty's studies provided “a really good foundation for knowing plays, reading plays,” she says.

“They really want you to succeed,” she says of the staff and faculty.

Now Galanty is focused on future PlayMakers festivals.

“I think the greatest thing that I find rewarding is that the playwrights are really engrossed,” she says.


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