Teaching Artist Spotlight: Wendy Lanxner
We are thrilled to have Wendy Lanxner in the Teaching Artist Spotlight!
Wendy is a Washington area teaching artist and arts in health practitioner. She is Musician in Residence at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, and provides programming through several agencies including Arts for the Aging and Washington Performing Arts. Wendy is also a music director with Lumina Studio Theatre, plays bass with the band Wendy & the Lost Boys, and volunteers in hospital settings through Musicians on Call. She received a Master’s in Music Education from the University of Florida. Wendy is thrilled to be working with such wonderful actors at ArtStream!
We chatted with Wendy to learn more about why she loves ArtStream.
Tell us about yourself. What is your background and how did you get involved with ArtStream?
I did a lot of music and theater in high school – I attended Montgomery Blair in Silver Spring, and then went on to study music, theater and creativity in college. I taught music lessons for 25 years, worked as a music director for Lumina Studio Theater, and then I found out about ArtStream and was hired as a music director for Gaithersburg Company A. Also, my son Robin, who’s now an ArtStreamer, used to be in the Pegasus Ensemble at Imagination Stage. As you might know, ArtStream grew out of that program, since people aged out but still wanted to do theatre.
How did you first get involved in theatre?
When I was eight years old, I had a small non-speaking role in an Oberlin College production of Moliere’s Tartuffe, and it was the most exciting thing ever! Plus, the director had a bag of candy under his desk and told me and a boy who was also in the play that we could have some whenever we wanted.
Why did you decide to become a teaching artist?
I love sharing my joy of music and theater with others, and I love the collaborative creative process.
What is something the ArtStreamers would be surprised to find out about you?
I have six siblings: two brothers and four sisters!
What do you feel is most important to teach/offer your students?
Finding your voice, speaking your truth, and having fun!
What advice would you offer to someone who is nervous to perform on stage?
Make the most of your time here on earth. Every moment is a gift. Be present in the moment, including those moments on stage. Concentrate on what you’re doing, not on the audience. Also, remember that an audience is just one person. And another one sitting next to them. And so on.
What is your favorite play or musical?
One of my favorites is West Side Story. I love shows that have incredible music, make me laugh and also cry. I’m going to see Wicked this weekend for the first time, so this answer might change!
If you could create a new play or musical about anything, what would it be?
I would love to create a musical or play about life in a hospital! I think the dynamics among the different groups – patients, nurses, visitors, doctors and so on – is incredibly interesting and patient stories can be inspiring.
Please share an example of something that happened at ArtStream that really inspired you.
I love the way everyone is so supportive of each other. I find that really inspiring!
What kinds of changes have you seen ArtStream students make in classes and rehearsals?
It’s wonderful to see ArtStreamers become more confident, learn skills and develop their acting roles. A lot of progress happens in ArtStream and a lot of it happens because everyone is celebrated!