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Everybody’s Port: July 25, 2013

New York City’s Carnegie Hall is the ultimate destination for aspiring singers and instrumentalists to establish their legitimacy as concert artists.  For a performer, the approval of Carnegie Hall audiences and critics is a mountain to be climbed. At its apex is a fountain of fame and fortune from which only the successful climbers may drink. And everyone says the acoustics of this historic venue are the best – even some who’ve never been there.

One cold, snowy day in Manhattan, on Fifth Avenue off 55th, a sad-looking old geezer is playing a violin (violin case open at his feet to catch the occasional coins from sympathetic passersby. A sweet young thing in a hurry spots him and asks, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall.” Without missing a beat, he replies, “Practice, practice, practice.”

Taken seriously, that old joke is subtly profound. To master anything – especially the theater arts — requires practice, practice, practice, which, in turn, requires discipline, which-in-turn requires commitment. Nowhere is commitment more evident than in the continuing career of Port’s Anne DeAcetis, a 1990 Schreiber graduate.

Uncommonly multitalented, Anne is an actor-writer-director-producer who can do well almost anything the theater requires of her. Well, perhaps, not everything. As a dancer, Anne says she is “an impressively well-coordinated non-dancer.” Her first acting performance before an audience was in her fifth grade classroom at Main Street School. It was an anti-smoking play. “My character’s name was Smoke. The other kids played body parts, and I wore black cloak. I went where each stood and symbolically damaged them.” That’sall it took. She took the hook, bait and all. Anne and the theater have been going steady ever since.

Young and eager, Anne participated in local amateur theater activities such as The Play Troupe’s Teen Summer Theater productions. She credits the Summer Show’s Pam and the late Ron Meadows for developing in her a “can-do” sense of self-confidence — a must for any theater-career aspirant.

At Schreiber, Anne did whatever she could — chorus singer, bit parts, backstage crew – to participate in the school’s productions of Broadway plays and musicals. The experience whetted her appetite for leading roles. So, in her junior year, despite thinking that she would never have a chance to get the part, Anne auditioned for the leading female role in Schreiber’s staging of “Annie Get Your Gun”.
“I’ll never forget the disbelief when I went down the hallway and saw my name posted on the cast list,” said Anne. “I couldn’t believe it.” Voila! A star is born — at least in Port Washington. She was a hit as Annie Oakley, sang 11 Irving Berlin songs and performed like a pro. “It was my breakout role,” she recalls proudly.

At Mount Holyoke College, Anne pursued her, “twin passions”: English (major) and Theater (minor). Not satisfied, in 2009, she also earned an MFA in acting from top-rated California Institute of the Arts. She co-founded a notable drama-oriented theater company in Chicago. After 13 very busy years in Chicago and Brooklyn, Anne returned to Port Washington, where she now lives. “I write from my home-office overlooking Manhasset Bay, work the independent-actor-hustle as much as I can, sing with a Willie Wolf’s band at East Village bars and other hotspots, and support Port Washington Play Troupe.”

Since Schreiber, her commitment has paid off. As a member of Actors Equity (professional actors only), she has built a solid reputation in the trade. A long list of her theater accomplishments, her honors and credits is inspiringly impressive — and also includes film and television. The latter includes Japanese television, in which her lines were dubbed.

A life in the theater includes being “at liberty” every now and then. To survive, many showbiz people wait on tables. Not our Anne. Remember? She is an excellent writer. Fortunately, she’s able to shift gears and write successfully for the business-client base she developed in recent years. In other words, Anne is her own Sugar Daddy, if necessary. Any regrets? Her commitment continues. “I’m a lifer,” she said happily. “I want to be a crazy, old-lady actor.”