• Megen Banas will be attending Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania.

  • Taylor Zabrenski will be attending Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

  • Brandon Murtha will be attending LCCC in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania.

  • Hunter Yale will be attending LCCC in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania.

  • Codi Hornlein will be attending Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania.

  • Megan Murphy will be attending Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania.

  • Katie Butczynski will be attending Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania.

  • Miranda Bohn will be attending Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania.

  • Aaron Miller was accepted to Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts.

  • Brandon Karavitch will be attending Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts.

The GNA Insider

Where are they now? Michael Height: GNA ’01

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Have you ever imagined living the dream in the city that never sleeps? Michael Height, a Greater Nanticoke Area High School graduate, has achieved this very dream. Michael has traveled around the world on tour with The Lion King and Mary Poppins Broadway groups. Not only did Height attend prestigious New York University Tisch School of Arts, he also studied abroad in London in 2004, where he graduated with honors. After college, he began working with an Off-Broadway production, which eventually led him to work for The Walt Disney Company. Height has worked as the production assistant of The Lion King Worldwide and as assistant company manager for The Lion King on Broadway, resulting in him becoming the associate company manager for The Lion King and Mary Poppins North American Tours. Today Michael Height is the general manager for the Disney Theatrical Group. Holding this position, he oversees all current and upcoming productions of The Lion King and Mary Poppins musicals. This includes the launch of the productions in São Paulo and Sydney. Height has supervised 10 productions of The Lion King from North America all the way to Germany, Spain and Brazil. Graduating from our high school began Michael’s journey into success.

What are your fondest memories of GNA?

My fondest moments were the events where individual people’s differences melted away, and the focus was on celebrating ourselves as a whole school. What stands out in my mind most are the school dances and the all-school assemblies, such as the Halloween parade or the Talent Show. In those moments, the day-to-day squabbles we all had with each other disappeared. What we were left with was a celebration of just how incredible we were as a group.

What extracurricular activities were you involved in at GNA? How did this participation help prepare you for your life after high school? 

I was involved in the Student Council, the Chorus, the Theater Department and Television Studio. Participating in these groups prepared me tremendously for life after high school. The most important things I learned were to stay organized and to keep your promises.

As a student, what role has the arts played in your overall character development? 

The arts have played a tremendous role in my overall character development. For me, the most important thing that the arts provide is the chance to get inside another person’s head. Whether you are acting onstage, playing a symphony, or dancing someone else’s choreography, you learn to appreciate someone else’s thoughts and perspective. If you’re lucky, that perspective will surprise you. It might even change the way you think about the world.

Why did you choose to attend New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts? How has it helped prepare you for your career? 

I left GNA knowing that I wanted a career in the theater. For that type of work, there were (and still are) only two places in the world to go where it is a major part of the culture: New York City and London. Since I thought London was very far away, I chose New York. 

I looked at the major schools here, and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts had an incredible program that focused on teaching the whole theater arts. We had to learn about not just acting, but directing, design, and management.

NYU helped prepare me for my career in ways both small and large. I learned small things like how to navigate a city as big as New York and how to network at a party. It also helped me in large ways, such as creating a network of friends and colleagues who I would come to work with for years after graduation.

In 2015, you will be graduating from Columbia University with a Masters of Business Administration. How will you use this degree to help further your career? 

There have been two parts of this degree that I think will help further my career the most: management training and strategy formulation. Before attending graduate school, I’d held a variety of different jobs that required managing large groups of people. For the most part I had succeeded based solely on luck. Now I am learning the actual tools to help the people and projects that I manage reach their fullest potential. 

Business strategy formulation will also help me tremendously to further my career. It’s been huge for me to understand that all business plans require trade offs. There will always be pluses and minuses. The best strategy is one that creates as many pluses as possible and lessens risk for the minuses.

What achievements are you most proud of and why?

I am most proud of the things that were the hardest to do. One of my proudest parts of my life is the three years that I spent on tour with Disney Theatrical on The Lion King and Mary Poppins. I worked very, very hard. I managed over 120 people with very different needs and personalities. The days were long (sometimes over 18 hours) and the work was exhausting. At the end of the day, I would stand in the back of the theater. When the audience jumped to their feet for a standing ovation, it all felt worth it. 

What are your future aspirations? 

I aspire to continue to create shows and tell stories that move people. 

What advice can you offer to the current students at GNA?

My best advice is something that I learned recently at Grad School: all of life is strategy. You will always have to make choices. Some will be easy and some will be hard. But a good strategy involves realizing that every choice means you have to give up other things. Saying “yes” to one thing requires saying “no” to many other things. Be certain that the things you say “yes” to are valuable enough that you don’t mind saying “no” all of the rest of the time.

 

 

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Where are they now? Michael Height: GNA ’01