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Local actor Harley Yanoff puts Spotlight on young actors

ESSDRAS M SUAREZ/GLOBE STAFF Harley Yanoff (sitting) directs young locals (from left: Anna Wells, Chloe Winston, Alana Speth, Emma Klapper, and Nora Dowd) during a Spotlight Summer Theater Workshop rehearsal in Weston. ESSDRAS M SUAREZ/GLOBE STAFF
Harley Yanoff (sitting) directs young locals (from left: Anna Wells, Chloe Winston, Alana Speth, Emma Klapper, and Nora Dowd) during a Spotlight Summer Theater Workshop rehearsal in Weston. (Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff)
By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / July 9, 2011

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Wayland native Harley Yanoff has made it onto both the small and big screens. He’s had tiny parts in “The Town,’’ “Gossip Girl,’’ and “Fringe’’ under his stage name, Harley Harrison, but back in Wayland, he’s still a hometown guy who spends his summers teaching youngsters how to make it big. Harley is the director of Spotlight Productions, a summer acting program at the St. Julia Parish Center, Weston. Young locals ages 7 to 17 work with Yanoff on plays throughout the summer. (Right now he’s working on “Grease.’’ “Seussical’’ is next.) They are taught how to get started in the business. “We have a camera here. We go over the difference between stage acting and film acting. We have headshot workshops,’’ Yanoff told us. Spotlight Productions started as Yanoff’s thesis project at Brandeis (he’s an ’08 grad), but he promises to keep it going. And maybe one day the New York-based actor can do his day job here, too. “The Boston market keeps fluctuating. There’s definitely a lot to do here - but New York is New York. The number of projects outweighs Boston, but I would love to do something here. I like to drive around and see grass.’’