Photo of Marc Danni

The renowned percussionist and founding artistic director of TheatreZone in Naples, Florida, was presented the award during a two-day residency.

BW honors Mark Danni '88 with 2018 Conservatory Alumni Achievement Award

November 14, 2018

Photo of Marc DanniBaldwin Wallace honored Mark Danni '88, founding artistic director of TheatreZone in Naples, Florida, with the 2018 Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music Alumni Achievement Award.

Danni was in residence at the Conservatory on Thursday and Friday, November 8 and 9, interacting with students and faculty, visiting classes and participating in an all-Conservatory Convocation. He was presented with the award prior to the November 9 performance of "Cabaret."

Undergraduate potential

Danni earned a Bachelor of Music Education with a major in percussion. He focused heavily on conducting and studied directing with Maestros Dwight Oltman and Stuart Raleigh.

Oltman writes, "When Mark arrived on campus as a freshman, it was clear that he was a talented percussionist … he was musical, intelligent, eager to learn, and enthusiastic. Therefore his achievement in building a flourishing theater company was not a surprise."

Broadway percussionist

Photo of Marc Danni with Jack LeeAfter his time at BW, Danni connected with musical director and conductor Jack Lee '51 who helped to fuel his first gigs playing in musical pits.

Danni was a percussionist for "Les Misérables," "Miss Saigon," "Grand Hotel," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," "Annie Get Your Gun," "Nunsense" and "Chicago" on Broadway. He served as music director for the national tours of "Les Misérables" and "Barnum," and also played for eight national tours including "Phantom of the Opera," "Hair," "Evita," "42nd Street" and "Fame."

From New York to Florida

In 2005, Danni and his wife, Karen Molar Danni '87, moved from New York City to Florida where he launched a theatre program at the Community School of Naples. He still serves as director of theatre at the PreK-12 college preparatory day school.

Subsequently, the couple established TheatreZone, a professional equity theatre. As TheatreZone's artistic director, Danni produces and directs four to six musicals a year and collaborates widely with Florida Gulf Coast University and regional opera companies.

In 2015, Danni received a BW Outstanding Educator award, honoring him for the significant contributions he has made to the lives of others as teachers, mentors and role models – both in and out of the classroom.