'Smash' Performer Returns To Elmsford's Hamilton To Teach

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Alexander Hamilton graduate and Broadway performer Rob Jacoby returned to the high school to teach and produce the students' musical, "Footloose." Photo Credit: Rob Jacoby

ELMSFORD, N.Y. — Alexander Hamilton alumnus Rob Jacoby has proved his musical talent on Broadway, television and in the recording studio, but now he's taking his skills to a new challenge: teaching.

This year, Jacoby started juggling Broadway plays with a career as a music teacher for grades 7 through 12 at Hamilton. His students will also be able to find him on an episode of NBC's television show "Smash" next week, where he'll play his saxophone as the show's star characters sing along.

Being a former student at Hamilton, Jacoby said he decided to take on teaching this year because he wanted to strengthen the school's music program.

"I want the students to take a new pride in music," said Jacoby, who still frequently plays saxophone for Broadway plays including "Phantom of the Opera" and "The Book of Mormon." "The big thing I like to see is progress, and I've already seen huge amounts of it."

And progress is evident in the number of students who showed interest in participating with Hamilton's spring musical, "Footloose." Jacoby will switch roles as a performer to become the play's producer and conductor.

Eighty students will take part in the musical — a growth from last year — and Jacoby hopes his success in the music industry can encourage other students to be involved in the school's music programs.

"I think the fact that I do still perform motivates them to want to do it," he said.

Jacoby also brought his network of professional directors and choreographers to help train students for the musical, which is set to premiere in May.

Being a producer and a teacher and moonlighting as a Broadway performer hasn't been easy, but Jacoby said he loves teaching — and he has no plans to give up the sax.

"Without good teaching, music is going to die," Jacoby said. "I'm passing along my experience to students, but I also still get to use it. It's the best of both worlds."

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