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David Manly
Freelance Science Journalist
Toronto Ontario CAN

David Manly is a freelance journalist who will blog about a wide range of topics that all fall under the umbrella of zoology and ecology. While his expertise lies with reptiles and amphibians, he has a wide array of knowledge and interest in all animal species - from the sponge to the great ape. He hopes you will enjoy his blog, as he plans to make it both entertaining and enjoyable (as well as fill it with interesting facts, tidbits, photos and videos).

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Today's theme of, "What would you be doing if I wasn't doing science," is a very interesting question for me, as I have been into science my entire life! My parents still mention at their attempts to get me into pee-wee soccer, but realizing it was futile when I spent more time looking at the ants in the grass than on the actual ball.

All of my career goals have also been pretty much science related: Paleontologist, Biologist, Zoologist, Microbiologist, and science writer. But, even though I love science, there was one hard choice I made as a kid that could easily have been an alternate career path.

When I was a kid, up until the end of high school, I was an actor.

Ever since I acted in my first elementary school play, I was hooked! I went and saw plays, musicals, movies, etc... and fell in love with the wonderful world of acting.

So, I acted, and I ended up being thrust into the world of musicals. Yes ... musicals.

My first part was in a camp production of Beauty and the Beast, where I played Belle's horse, Phillip (pronounced PHILL-eep). I had one line, but I went after it like lion stalks a gazelle. And it was GLORIOUS. I still remember the line:
"It's getting dark out here, Belle. We better be careful *neighs*"

Once the play was over, I was officially bitten by the acting bug.

Over my time as an actor, I eventually got better and better roles and even snagged the leads in some plays. They were always musicals, and man could I sing. I loved singing on stage, and being in front of a crowd (which probably explains why I still love presenting to large groups).

Some of the roles I played were:

Benjamin in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Judah in another performance of Joseph

Scar in The Lion King

A member of the company in a production of Guys and Dolls

The Pinball Wizard in Tommy

Vince Fontaine (host of the dance competition at Rydell High) in Grease

The Dentist in Little Shop of Horrors

Assistant Director in another production of The Lion King

Member of the company in Les Miserables (but had a number of solo's in different songs)

Captain Hook in Peter Pan

And my favourite role was Benny in a production of RENT.

Of course, to get me to sing now (as it has been years) takes some persuasion, and ingesting a certain amount of ethanol.

I loved it, and even took drama all throughout High School. I loved it, but I also loved biology. Biology was my passion, and acting was a hobby that I was passionate about doing.

So, in OAC (which is grade 13 for those outside of Canada), I had to decide what I applied to university for: Acting or Biology. And, as you all know, I chose biology. I have no regrets about the choice, and I have loved and continue to love working in the science field. But, if you take a look at my iPod, you'll see quite a few musical songs there from plays that I have seen or acted in (and still know the words too).

Learning, doing and teaching about Biology and Zoology is what I love to do, but I do miss acting every now and then. But, if you believe in the multiverse theory, there are many universes out there where I make the other choice and become an actor.

Of course, if we take that line of reasoning, there are other universes where I am none of them, and spend my time picking up scat at Jurassic Park.

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Blog Comments

UC Davis
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You could combine your two passions and write a biology musical, definitely a niche market!

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That's not a bad idea @Janede! @David, I think you should consider that :)

Dr Becca, Ph.D.
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Awesome!! The LSoH dentist is one of the best roles ever!  I played Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when I was 7. We had to tuck my hair up into a hat so I looked like a boy, but it kept falling out. Hilarity ensued!

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Yeah, for sure, you can do for bio what little shop of horrors did for botany.


Jason Goldman
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You could make a career out of only playing animals. Like your debut performance as the horse. You could also do the croc from peter pan, and all of Lion King.

Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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I think that if you make a post about playing starring roles in musicals that you need an accompanying YouTube video of you either playing those roles or of you singing now.  It's just not fair.

Dub C Med School
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Biology the Musical?  Do it!  It must be done!  You could have Kristin Chenoweth and Jonathan Groff and Idina Menzel in it!  And dancing organelles!

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Man, I wanna be a dancing mitochondria! SUPERFAST DANCE! YAY!

Also, I have always thought of malaria as "falciparum and the amazing technicolor var coat"... is there a market for incredibly geeky biology musical parodies?

Dub C Med School
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@becca It may be a small market, but it has to exist.  There's just no way it couldn't.

Kelly Oakes
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i would definitely watch biology the musical.


love the multiverse reference btw, i nearly went down that road with my post too but it got way too complicated so i backtracked...



David Manly
Freelance Science Journalist
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Glad you all like the post!

As for Biology the Musical, maybe when everything slows down and I find someone who can help me write music and lyrics, then maybe. Just maybe.

Brian - There is evidence of me singing out there (most fo which are on VHS tapes now), but you would have to sweeten the deal for me to post anything like that! Might I suggest a new iPad? :)

Kelly Oakes - :) I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to throw in a multiverse reference somewhere, and figured that most people reading this would already know what it was (therefore didn't have to explain it too much).


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Biology the Musical- Yes! It must be done!

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