ARMONK, N.Y. – After moving to three different studios in Thornwood, John Fanelli, founder and director of the Lighthouse Youth Arts Center, has seen his “dream child” finally come to fruition in Armonk.
His new studio, Standing Ovation Studios, is at 1 Labriola Court. Fanelli aims to provide the highest quality performing arts education to the youth of Westchester County.
For Fanelli, the fourth time was the charm.
“This is what I’ve envisioned my whole life,” he said.
Fanelli, 41, brought more than 200 students with him to his new studio, which is customized to cater to any musical theater needs. He said his previous studios in Thornwood “can’t even compare.”
“We now have the space and equipment to further expand our students’ talents,” he said.
After opening the studio on Jan. 20, Fanelli has been flattered by the community’s warm welcome.
“Everyone has been absolutely amazing,” he said. “We could not have asked for a better reception. I think it’s going to be a special fit.”
Fanelli pinpointed Armonk as a destination after C.W. Brown Inc., which owns the building, told him about the open space.
“The owner’s daughter came through the ranks of Lighthouse Youth Theatre, and that experience helped her get into college,” he said. “So they’re happy to have us as neighbors.”
Fanelli is happy to be one.
“I just love this area of Westchester,” he said. “Northern Westchester is where the majority of our clients come from, so it made sense to move a little more north.”
Old and new clients alike will be excited to follow.
“This space is an all-encompassing performing arts center,” said Jesse Pellegrino, director of communications for Standing Ovation Studios. “For those pursuing a path in performing arts, it is a one-stop shopping experience. This studio is John’s dream child.”
The studio’s “one-stop shopping” showcases all angles of theatrical production, including performance lecture halls, video production studios, an acoustic “rock and roll room” and finally, its heart and soul, a 1,800-square-foot dance studio.
Fanelli said plans for finding ways to use all of those venues are “already in play,” with Mommy & Me and a variety of fitness classes such as Zumba slated to begin in the middle of March.
The studio’s multifaceted program offering is what Fanelli had in mind almost 20 years ago.
“It is a dream come true. Every time I walk through the doors, I can’t help but get a big smile,” he said. “It’s been an overwhelming experience.”