Lou Trapani directing Rip the Musical

Meet Lou Trapani


Lou Trapani has been teaching at LLI for 15 years. His classes on dramatic literature and history of the theater are among the most popular ever presented –many of us have taken every single one.

He became interested in the theater world as a child growing up in Brooklyn at the time when New York television presented live drama. This early interest followed him to college where he received a degree in dramatic literature at Hofstra University. From 1969 to 1983, he was a part of the professional theater world in New York — acting, writing, directing, and producing. At the tail end, he says, “I was dead broke, my dog died, and my girlfriend left me.”

Lou Trapani
Image courtesy of Radio Rotary June 6, 2015
Image courtesy of Daily Freeman, March 15, 2019

Out of the Theater

Lou next went to work for a local nonprofit organization where he started as a typist — and ended up as CFO. After receiving a master’s degree in public administration at CUNY, he “met a bazillion guys” who worked for Governor Cuomo, various federal agencies, and Mayor Ed Koch. Lou himself went to work for David Dinkins’ political campaign in 1989 and for Governor Cuomo from 1990 to 1995. “Then everybody was fired when Cuomo left office.”

Back to the Theater

At this point, Lou came to Rhinebeck as site manager at The CENTER for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck, back in the days when it was a tent. He became a member of the board in 1997, served as president of the Rhinebeck Theater Society, and became executive director of The CENTER for Performing Arts in 1999. Recently, his long-time companion Kevin Archambault joined the staff as assistant artistic and managing director.

Dramatic Favorites

Lou’s personal dramatic favorites include Elizabethan theater, Euripides’ The Trojan Women, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, and Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire and The Glass Menagerie.

In 2020, Lou continues his presentations at LLI with “Truth Through Theater,” the first of this year’s intersession classes, on Wednesday, January 8, at 11 a.m. in Weis Cinema in the Bertelsmann Campus Center. During the spring semester, Lou’s class will feature three plays by William Inge: Come Back Little Sheba, Picnic, and Bus Stop.