Jeremy Giovinazzo remembers having a rough time in high school. He was struggling with several learning disorders, including ADHD and a sensory processing disorder coupled with anxiety and depression. His only success was being cast in a high school musical. “I got the main character in The Music Man,” he said. “I quit every sport I was in so that I could perform because I was so excited about the show.”
Despite his success on stage, Jeremy dropped out of high school. His issues remained undiagnosed and untreated. Realizing things weren’t working for him, Jeremy sought help. “I went to this place called Brain Balance. It’s a place where people on the spectrum seek help,” he said. At Brain Balance, Jeremy completed a three-month treatment and learned that dancing and listening to music can help coordinate the brain and improve function in people experiencing cognitive disabilities like his.
“It was tailored to trigger the switches in my brain that hadn’t been turned on before,” Jeremy said. He saw
improvement, but couldn’t afford to continue with the program. Then a friend suggested that he audition for Catch Me If You Can with The Naples Players. Jeremy was cast in the ensemble and began rehearsing on a regular
basis. While he was thrilled to get the part, he didn’t realize how much The Naples Players would change his life. Jeremy found that rehearsing musical numbers was similar to some of the treatment he received for his issues.
“Moving around, I was able to express myself at rehearsal and on stage,” he said. “Like treatment, it helped me turn on the switches that were never switched my whole life.” “The more I did musical theater, the more I listened to music every day. “The more I danced and the more I exercised, the more I spent time with my friends and my community,” Jeremy said. Four years have passed since his first show with TNP and Jeremy said he feels as if musical theater has cured him of some of his problems. He’s able to sit and read for extended periods, and his stutter went away. Plus he can work his creative muscles on the stage where it’s okay to fidget, to move about and shout all in the name of fun.
“The Naples Players became my life because I realized how much I needed theatre,” he said. “And it’s a family. It’s a community. But also for me, it’s a remedy.” Jeremy credits The Naples Players with giving him a sense of community, for supporting him personally and as an actor, and for helping to improve his disorders through work he enjoys and can do for free. “I don’t have to search for answers anymore because I know where I belong: at The Naples Players.”