Roxborough resident Dana Corvino, mother of two girls, is starring in “Ordinary Days” at Old Academy Players through May 12.

by Rita Charleston

Directed by Annie Hnatko and written by Adam Gwon, “Ordinary Days” continues at Old Academy Players through May 12. The musical tells the story of what happens when Deb, a frazzled, uptight graduate student. loses her thesis notebook in New York City. Warren, a struggling artist, finds it and returns it to Deb. Their actions subsequently affect Jason and Claire, a couple inching toward marriage who can’t seem to comprehend each other due to unspeakable tragedy.

The audience joins Claire and Jason, Deb and Warren as they search a post-9/11 New York City for love, happiness and meaning in life. Through the message of music we learn that one person can change everything, even in a city of eight million.

Roxborough resident Dana Corvino plays Claire, a modern 30-something caught in an emotional rollercoaster of dealing with her past while trying to fit Jason into her present.

“Claire seems a very real person to me, and yet there are challenges in trying to make her seem believable and relatable to the audience. It’s my job to make her someone audiences can sympathize with,” Corvino said.

Thanks to Corvino’s dad, Tony, Corvino herself was able to relate to musical theater ever since she was a little girl.

She said, “My father used to take me to see shows, mostly musicals, and we would watch old-time movies together on TV. So as long as I can remember, I felt a connection with theater. Then, when I was in the eighth grade, I was in a school production of ‘The Wizard of Oz.’”

Captivated and convinced she was meant to be an actress, Corvino, a Media native who went to Cardinal O’Hara High School, went on to major in theater at Temple University. Always wanting to sing as well as act, and with no musical theater program at the time at Temple, Corvino, who requested that her age not be mentioned, took private singing lessons, looking forward to a career she had always dreamed about. But luck was not on her side at the time.

“In fact, when I graduated it was about the time of the downfall of the economy, so if I couldn’t get a job in the theater, I would have to get any kind of job just to survive,” Corvino explained. “In those days, you had to be willing to be a starving artist if you wanted to make it, and I wasn’t prepared to do that.”

So in order to pay her bills and put food on the table, Corvino worked as a house cleaner for a few years while continuing to try to work in community theater. Today, and for the past 11 years, Corvino has worked in the real estate department at Wawa’s corporate office.

“And I am still there,” Corvino said, “and I enjoy my work very much. But at the same time, I’ve been able to do more and more shows locally at companies like The Plays and Players Club of Swarthmore and Bravo Theater Company. This is my first time at Old Academy and I’m loving every minute of it. Old Academy is a lovely little theater, very quaint, very comforting and very intimate. And I hope to be able to do many more shows there as the years go by.”

Married and the mother of two little girls, Corvino, like many others, dreams of the future.

“I’d love to keep doing something theater- related and getting paid for doing the thing I love doing most.”

Old Academy Players is located at 3544 Indian Queen Ln. Ticket information at 215-843-1109.