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Tony award winner honors his roots

Early inspiration led Altamont native toward theater fame

Leon Rothenberg, front row left, poses alongside his Tony award during a ceremony on Tuesday, July 30, honoring him for his achievement, along with his girlfriend, Jenny Slattery, and his mother, Carol, behind him. Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, front row right, is joined by Altamont Mayor James M. Gaughan and State Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk.

Leon Rothenberg, front row left, poses alongside his Tony award during a ceremony on Tuesday, July 30, honoring him for his achievement, along with his girlfriend, Jenny Slattery, and his mother, Carol, behind him. Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, front row right, is joined by Altamont Mayor James M. Gaughan and State Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk. Photo by John Purcell.

— Rothenberg studied music composition in college, and he said Corigliano was the person that led him down that path.

“(Corigliano) really encouraged me to figure out how to write music,” Rothenberg said. “It was through his tutelage that got me writing music and then got me applying and gave me a portfolio so that I had some to apply.”

Rothenberg went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in composition from Oberlin Conservatory and then earned a bachelor’s in computer science from Oberlin College. He later earned a master’s of fine arts from California Institute of the Arts.

He has served on the Theater faculty at CalArts and also spent the fall of 2009 teaching at Bennington College in Vermont.

Some of his recent credits include plays and musicals performed at the Arena Stage, Seattle Repertory Theater, New York Stage and Film, La Jolla Playhouse, New York City Center, The Theater at Madison Square Garden and on Broadway. He also designed sound for Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza and Cirque’s winter holiday show, “Wintuk,” performed in NYC.

Rothenberg said his advice to anyone interested in entering the entertainment industry or a creative field isn’t too different from the standard guidance someone might hear: “Do what you want to do and go at it full blast.”

He said pursuing your dream “won’t ever be easy,” but you have to go after what you love. A little bit of luck doesn’t hurt, too, he said.

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