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Eagle News Online featured Dyson Professor Brendan Malafronte in "Manlius native launches ‘Dusty & Dot’"

05/07/2020

Eagle News Online featured Dyson Professor Brendan Malafronte in "Manlius native launches ‘Dusty & Dot’"

We never know when an new opportunity may present itself, the trick is to be ready for it when it does come along.

That is something actors Andrea Dotto and her fiancé Brendan Malafronte have learned over the past couple of months.

Dotto, a Manlius native is working with Malafronte to present a weekly story time via Youtube titled “Dusty & Dott” featuring Dotto as well as a puppet dog named Dusty created by Malafronte.

Prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus, Dotto and Malafronte were both living and working in New York City and were working on a show at the Westchester Broadway Theater.

As concerns with the virus spread and things were shut down, Dotto said her father came to get her and Malafronte and bring them back to Manlius to hunker down until things improved.

“We lost our shows due to the coronavirus,” Dotto said. “We’ve been here for six weeks and now that we are home we have found our own silver lining.”

Dotto said Malafronte in addition to being an actor is also a puppeteer and builder, who also teaches at Pace University, and also created Dusty.

Dotto and Malafronte have used the puppet in performances for organizations like the Ronald McDonald House in Syracuse with a focus on musical performances.

Fortunately among the items the couple brought back to the area with them was the puppet.

“We are back and we are full of creative energy,” Dotto said.

When they were asked to do some videos of bedtime stories, the idea of Dusty and Dott began to really take shape and move in a new direction.

“We wanted to do something for the community,” Dotto said. “And from there we started doing more.”

Dotto and Malafronte have been creating videos that feature a story as well as activities connected with the story or that offer creative and constructive ideas for parents and children that they hope will entertain as well as inform.

Topics have focused on subjects like reading and good hygiene practices and hand washing.

“We just did one on bath time,” Dotto said. “That involved some creative camera work with the puppet. We usually read a book and have an activity. We want kids to use their imagination and get creative.”

Also during these stressful times, an effort is being made to share some tips for dealing with the pressure everyone, including children, is contending with..

“We have been doing some stress management like breathing exercises,” Dotto said.

The couple launched a Youtube channel about five weeks ago and as of press time the channel has surpassed 100 subscribers.

“We had 25 subscribers,” Dotto said. “And then I said let’s see if we can get 100 and we did and we will just see where it goes from there.”

Their work has also garnered attention on a larger stage being featured on Good Morning America on Sunday, April 25 and Dotto said virtual childcare companies have also picked up on Dusty & Dot.

“We are growing every single day,” she said.

Dotto said from feedback the couple has received, their work is entertaining across age groups.

“We didn’t want to do something too saccharine, something adults had to leave the room,” Dotto said. “We have had some really nice responses. Someone sent us a video of their child with his teddy bears Dott and Dusty and said Dusty was taking good care of Dott. That was really special to see.”

If there is one overarching message, Dotto said she wants to encourage everyone to stay active and stay creative during this difficult time.

Read the Eagle News Online article.