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Fall 2009, Volume 20
Theatre at
Published for our Alumni, Students and their Families,
Friends and Supporters
In This Issue:
Student Awards and Honors 2008—2 | Student Perspectives—3 | Spotlight on Faculty—5
The Place Where Anything is Possible—9 | Shakespeare ‘08—15 | Scholarships 2008–2009—16 | Spotlight on Alumni—17
Left to right: Seon Britton and Seth Moore, Timothy Douglas, BFA Clown Class.
Left and center photographs by Peter Smith Photography. Right photograph by Malcolm Tulip.
One of Life’s Most Civilized Experiences
The late actor Robert Prosky really loved the theatre. He died in December 2008, at
age 77, having appeared in more than 200 plays, ranging from Broadway’s Glengarry
Glen Ross to Arena Stage’s Death of a Salesman. He also appeared on TV and in
films as diverse as Mrs. Doubtfire and The Natural. I very much enjoyed seeing his
performances when he was a company member at Arena Stage.
Prosky once said, “When human beings onstage interact with human beings in
the audience…together they create the event of performance. It’s one of life’s most
civilized experiences.”
I like to think that’s why we all love the theatre and what our department is all about.
Whether a performance is on the stage of the Arthur Miller Theatre or in a Basement
Arts production, there is generated an exhilaration that only humans can share and
embrace. It is the aim of our accomplished faculty to work with our talented students
in helping them develop to their fullest capacity as emerging theatre practitioners,
whatever their particular focus. Thank you to all of our friends and patrons who help
us make this possible. And we salute Mr. Prosky and his spirit, which I think speaks to
everything that makes a life in the theatre so special and rewarding.
See you soon,
Gregory Poggi
The Charles R. Walgreen, Jr. Drama Center & Arthur Miller Theater received the 2009 Architecture Merit
Award from the United States Institute for Theatre Technology. Representatives of the architectural
firm Kuwabara Payne McLenna Blumberg Architects accepted the award in March at the USITT
annual conference and state expo in Cincinnati, Ohio.
An exhibit board showcasing the Center was on display at the conference, and will be available
for exhibition at schools and other institutions across the country.
Inside its 80,000 square feet, the Drama Center on North Campus houses classrooms,
faculty offices, the 280-seat Miller Theatre, studios, lighting labs and the costume
shop. It opened in 2007 and has won praise from faculty, students and visitors alike.
Students Earn Awards in ’07 and ’08
American College Theatre Festival
Department of Theatre & Drama students earned awards in both the 2007 and 2008 Kennedy Center American
College Theatre Festival. This national theatre education program identifies and promotes quality in college-level
theater productions. All university productions are entered and are eligible for a response from a regional KCACTF
Students in Design & Production attended and competed in regional finals in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in January
2008, and they were joined by Performance majors in Saginaw, Michigan, in January 2009. Students received awards
based on works they participated or performed in during 2006–2007 and 2007–2008 academic years.
The 2007 award winners, all BFAs in Design & Production, were:
Justin Lang, who won the Regional Design Projects
With three U-M teams entered in the Tech Olympia
Lighting Design Award for Titus Andronicus and also a
and the rest of the group cheering them on, the team
Barbizon Honorable Mention for his lighting design of
of Stephanie Shechter and Adam McCarthy received a
Two by Fassbinder.
Bronze Medal and Certificate of Merit.
Elyse Handelman, who received the Barbizon Award for
In January 2009, for the first time in several years, we
Theatrical Design Excellence in Scenery Design for her
had four teams of BFA Performance majors participating
design of Two by Fassbinder.
in the Irene Ryan Awards competition. Two of the teams
Stephanie Shechter, who received the Stage Management
Award for her work on J.B. This is the third year in a row
one of our students has won this award.
As Region III winners, both Elyse and Stephanie
participated in the Kennedy Center American College
Theatre Festival in April 2008 in Washington, D.C.
made it to the semi-finals: Joe Moses, nominated for
Madmen and Specialists, with partner Seth Moore; and
Lee Tyler (Chrisman), nominated for You Never Can Tell,
with partner Jaime Lyn Beatty.
U-M students also received Performance Awards for
Associate or Participating Productions. The company
performance of You Never Can Tell was awarded a
The 2008 award winners, all BFAs in
Certificate of Merit and the four "Madmen"—Corey
Design & Production, were:
Dorris, Seth Moore, Joe Moses and Joe Walker—also
Betsy Lynch, who won the Regional Design Projects
Lighting Design Award for The Menaechmi.
Justin Lang, who received the Second Place Barbizon
Award in Scenic Design for Madmen and Specialists.
Mitchell Hodges and Angela Kiessel, who both received
Stage Management Award Honorable Mentions for their
work on Pride and Prejudice and Rent respectively.
received one for Ensemble Performance in Madmen
and Specialists.
Lastly, the entire U-M team received the Congeniality
Award for their team spirit.
Twenty-two BFA Design & Production and Performance
majors participated in the Festival in 2009, and we are
proud of them.
By Alex Bisker, (BFA Directing, 2009)
By Rikki Gimelstob, (BTA, 2010)
During the later half of November 2008, I was fortunate
I spent summer 2008 in New York City as an intern
enough to take part in the visiting workshop of Ask Your
at Abrams Artist Agency. My responsibilities included
Mamma, a new multimedia piece by Emmy Award-winning
setting up client audition appointments with casting
composer and Michigan alum, Laura Karpman. Karpman’s
directors and creating a talent database which
innovative piece, based on the work of poet Langston
organized all of the client's special skills. With the click
Hughes, incorporated everything from the spoken word to
of a button, agents knew which of their clients could
kazoos. During the workshop at the School of Music, Theatre
drive a stick-shift vehicle or land a double axel figure
& Dance, Michigan students made up the ensemble, and
skating jump.
served as stand-ins for legendary soprano Jesse Norman, who
premiered the show March 2009 in Carnegie Hall.
a talent agency is run. Abrams represents artists in
I worked as the assistant to the director, and found the
theatre, on-camera commercial, commercial print,
production team warm and welcoming from the start.
voice-over, literary and children’s departments. I
Everyone in the rehearsal hall had so much to offer, and they
learned to read a breakdown and analyze headshots.
each took time to get to know me and offer advice.
After looking at hundreds of resumes, I began to
Professional Director Annie Dorsen (Passing Strange,
Democracy in America, Ecstatic States) was no different.
She was very open about her process and encouraged
questions of all types. Nor was she reluctant to put me to
work, which I greatly appreciated. I took part in rehearsal
set-up, kept track of script changes, and helped maintain the
Throughout my summer at Abrams, I learned how
understand what makes certain ones stand out. I
learned the importance of an actor's reputation and
work ethic. I saw a side of the entertainment industry
that was completely new to me. Everyone in the office
respected the work U-M does and the quality of its
master tracking document that guided the show through its
In summer 2009, I am interning in New York again,
New York premiere.
with Telsey + Company, a casting house that works
By far the most interesting part of assisting Ask Your
Mamma was learning how Dorsen incorporated
technology into her productions. Watching her balance
the work of singers and musicians with recorded sound,
super titles and video showed me just how far you can
push the boundaries of traditional expectations.
The Michigan workshop ended November 23
with a small informal performance and lots
of positive feedback.
closely with Abrams and other
talent agencies in casting
Broadway shows,
movies, television
shows and
MPulse Program 'Amazing'
Twenty-four students from eight states attended
the Department’s second Theatre & Drama
Academy for high school students for two weeks
during summer 2008.
the two weeks was remarkable. They really learned a
From 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each weekday, the students
faculty taught me so much that I am now excited to apply
participated in intensive sessions of acting, voice,
here.” The summer 2009 Theatre & Drama Academy
movement, stage combat and play analysis taught by faculty
took place under the School of Music Theatre & Dance’s
members Janet Maylie, Annette Masson, Jerry Schwiebert,
MPulse banner from June 28 to July 11 in the Walgreen
Greg Poggi and alumnus Dan Grandke.
Drama Center.
tremendous amount as emerging theatre artists.”
Feedback from the students was uniformly positive. One
student wrote, “All the classes were amazing. The superior
The sessions culminated in a public performance in the
Arthur Miller Theatre. As Chair Poggi observed, “Seeing
the growth and development of these young people over
“So much of what I learned in school holds water in the professional world
…how I was taught to think, what I was taught to look for, and what I actually
learned academically at University of Michigan was dead on.”
—Gina Rattan, 2008 BFA Performance/Directing graduate
It is the mission of the Department of Theatre & Drama in the School of Music,
Theatre & Dance to nurture our students in an environment of open artistic
expression and academic excellence in expectation of professional development.
The Department’s goal is to provide student actors, directors, designers,
stage managers and scholars with an environment that strengthens their
individual creative growth while celebrating imaginative collaboration.
The faculty of the Department of Theatre & Drama possesses rich and
varied professional backgrounds and expertise. Combined with the
unparalleled academic and cultural resources of the University of
Michigan’s diverse community of learning, the department delivers
a distinctive and rigorous educational experience.
u Ladyy off 121st Street, 20088
majors to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival
in Saginaw, Michigan. On sabbatical during the winter 2009
semester, she worked on a new play with Timothy Douglas for
the Virginia Stage Company, Line in the Sand, which opened in
February. The play centers on the resistance movement of 1958 in
Norfolk, Virginia, to stop the desegregation of public schools. In
addition, she is doing a project with the Kent State Museum and
co-designing the installation of an exhibit about the Kokoon Arts
Photographs by Peter Smith Photography.
Club of Cleveland while learning about the preservation of historic
clothing. She hopes to showcase garments from U-M's historic
clothing collection in the near future.
Philip Kerr
(Claribel Baird
Halstead Professor
of Theatre) directed
Erik Fredricksen (Professor, Acting and Stage Combat)
and performed in
conducted a master class for the Irene Ryan finalists
a presentation of
at the Kennedy Center in April 2008, and awarded a
A Number by Caryl
scholarship to the International Society of American
Churchill, as part
Fight Directors seminar at North Carolina School
of a cross-discipline
for the Arts. Following that, he participated in the
International Birankai Aikido Seminar in San Diego,
with the U-M
which hosted visiting Shihan from Japan, China and
Ross School of Business, the School of Public Health and the
Europe. In July 2008, Erik was a guest master teacher
Medical School. Bachelor of Fine Arts acting senior Joe Moses
for the Nordic Society of Stage Combat, an organization
performed with Kerr in this two-person play in which a father
he helped found in 1992. Students, actors and teachers
and three identical sons deal with some unexpected issues of
attended from Russia, Finland, Denmark, Norway,
cloning. The Business of Biology—presented in fall 2008 as part
Germany, England, Sweden, Estonia and Latvia.
of a U-M class—explored the intersections between science,
Philip Kerr and Joe Moses in A Number, 2008
technology, commerce and social policy. This production was the
Jessica Hahn (Associate Professor of Costume Design)
inaugural presentation of a full dramatic play in the new Stamps
has been quite busy since the 2008–09 academic year
began. She designed the costumes for Madman and
Specialists directed by Mbala Nkanga at the beginning
Annette Masson (Associate Professor, Voice) serves as the
of the fall 2008 semester and Pride and Prejudice in
current president of the National Society of Arts and Letters, Mid-
December with guest director, Timothy Douglas. In
Michigan Chapter. She also organized the voice competition at
January 2009, she accompanied 14 design & production
the School of Music in 2008, and organized the NSAL Drama
Competition at the Walgreen Drama Center, which took place
Mbala D. Nkanga (Associate Professor, Theatre Studies)
in March 2009. The winner traveled to Washington, D.C.,
attended a workshop on Kongo Culture and Performance
for the National Competition in May. Masson also produced
in Oakland, California, in June 2008, leading two sessions
a theatre installation on Picasso as part of the celebration for
on the performance of Kongo history and its major figures.
the University of Michigan Museum of Art reopening on
In September, he participated in the Conference on
March 28. She has conducted workshops in “Presentation
African & Afro-Caribbean Performance at the University
Skills for Public Speakers” for the University’s Enriching
of California-Berkeley, presenting a paper titled “Mvett
Scholarship program, Library Science Center and the Medical
Performance: Retention, Reinvention, and Exaggeration
Education Scholars program.
in Remembering the Past.” He directed Wole Soyinka’s
Madmen and Specialists, which opened on October 9 in the
Janet Maylie (Assistant Professor, Acting and Acting for
the Camera) represented the Department in spring 2008
at the National Congress of Acting Teachers in New York
City, hosted by J. Michael Miller of The Actors Center.
Representatives from major acting programs attended,
including Tisch School of the Arts, The Juilliard School and
Yale School of Drama. In summer 2008, she served as Acting
and Scene Study Director of the MPulse Theatre and Drama
Academy Ann Arbor.
Christianne Myers (Assistant Professor, Costume Design)
was busy with University Productions, designing the
Madmen & Specialists, 2008
costumes for As You Like It, Rent and Ella Minnow Pea. She
designed two world premieres at The Purple Rose Theatre
Arthur Miller Theatre, and Eugene Ionesco’s Exit the King
in Chelsea: Vino Veritas and Panhandle Slim & the Oklahoma
presented November 30–December 1 in Studio One. In
Kid. She collaborated with Malcolm Tulip, (Assistant
November, he attended the 51st African Studies Association
Professor of Movement, Acting and Directing), on his new
Meeting in Chicago, presenting the paper “Radio-trottoir
piece The Day Everything Went Wrong at The Performance
or the Rumor Machine and Artistic Creation in Mobutu’s
Network in Ann Arbor. She also designed the clothes for
the April 2009 production of The Magic Flute for The
Florentine Opera in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her design for
Jerald Schwiebert (Assistant Professor of Acting &
the Queen of the Night was featured in the Slusser Gallery's
Movement) has taken his movement training (physical
exhibit Imagining the Universe in February 2009. The
expression) into the broader performing arts community.
dress was constructed by Lea Morello, painted by Elizabeth
Since the last printing, he has been the featured guest
Gunderson, with accessories crafted by Renae Skoog, all
clinician at the Inspiring Musicianship: The Conductor’s
members of University Production's staff.
Art symposium co-sponsored by the University of Georgia
...Faculty Spotlight continued on page 7
S P O T L I G H T O N F A C U LT Y ( c o n t i n u e d )
Our Lady of 121st Street, 2008
Ugh Hodgson School of Music and Georgia State
E.J. Westlake (Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies) is
University. With Annette Masson, he offered a three-
co-editing a book on political theatre. Political Performances:
part workshop for the University of Michigan’s Medical
Theory and Practice was published by Rodopi Press in
Education Scholars Program. Also at U-M, he and
summer 2009. She also has completed the research for a
Amy Porter offered the Anatomy of Sound workshop
book on the Nicaragua national dance-drama El Güegüence
for flutists and for members of the Wind Conducting
and will have two essays on the subject published in 2010.
Department. In Maine, he and Ken Kiesler, director
Her essay “Friend me if you Facebook” was published in
of University Orchestra, offered a three-week summer
The Drama Review fall 2008 issue.
program for orchestral conductors, and repeated
the program in France at the Académie de Direction
Jonesin’, April 2009
d’Orchestra of the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris. He
also assisted with the department’s MPulse summer
program for high school students teaching Tai Chi and
Improvisation. In February, 2009, he directed Barrio
Bohéme (an adaptation of La Bohéme) for the Syracuse
Opera, worked with its Resident Artist Program, and
offered master classes for the Syracuse University
School of Music and the Syracuse Opera Chorus.
The manuscript of his book on expression for the
performing artist is being published by the University
of Michigan Press.
Nancy Uffner (Production Stage Manager for University
Productions and Assistant Professor of Theatre)
received a call in June 2008, while standing on the top
of the Hoover Dam during a family vacation, to stage
Leigh Woods (Professor, Theatre Studies) spoke about
manage All Shook Up at Music Theatre Wichita. She
George Kelly's The Show-Off at the Ann Arbor District
joined colleagues Mark Madama and Arthur Ridley and
Library in January 2009. He acted in the U-M Residential
several SMTD alumni and current students to work
College production of Brecht's Galileo in March 2009 and
on the production, using the sets, props and costumes
led the U-M Alumni tour of the Stratford and Shaw Festivals
from the national tour on which she had worked the
in August. His essay, "Degrees of Choice," on the ethical
previous year.
dilemmas posed by undergraduate degrees in acting, will
be included in The Culture of American Actor Training to be
published by Routledge at a later date.
Photograph by Peter Smith Photography.
Drama Students
‘Fool Around’ at the Kennedy Center
A troupe of drama students journeyed to Washington, D.C., in May 2008 to present an original work
highlighting Shakespeare’s clowns and fools on the stage of the Kennedy Center Family Theatre.
Malcolm Tulip (Assistant Professor of Theatre and Production Director) assembled a group of eight acting students,
who had three weeks to develop a one-hour program, Quick Comedians and Changeable Taffeta, featuring Shakespeare’s
clowns. The project is part of the Kennedy Center Educational Department’s Shakespeare Project, which invites
universities around the country to produce versions of specific aspects of Shakespeare’s works.
Tulip and his students combed all the plays, and came up with 15 scenes ranging from slapstick to verbal sparring to
malapropisms. They strung the scenes together then devised transitions that helped one scene flow into the next.
“The nature and scope of the production highlighted and expanded the students’ talents” said Tulip, who teaches a
class on clowning. “These characters are archetypes in the history of Western comedy and offer invaluable insight into
human foibles and human nature. We hoped to reveal these historic roots as vibrant, contemporary and alive.”
Roles included Bottom of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Dogberry of Much Ado About Nothing, Lear’s Fool, bumbling
murderers from Richard III and Touchstone of As You Like It.
The production, which played to a packed house two days running, was simulcast and archived at Type “Shakespeare’s Clowns” in the box under ‘Archives.’
The cast included drama students Rebecca Whatley, Mckean Scheu, Brian Holden, John Jarboe, Joey Richter, Nicholas
Strauss-Matathia, Seth Moore and Pat Rourke. The production crew included students Angela Kiessel, stage manger,
and Yael Kiken, assistant director; Theatre Professor Gary Decker, lighting designer; and theatre alumna Taran Muller,
costume designer.
“Finding new and compelling ways to connect with audiences is an ongoing challenge, and our students are getting
a first-hand look at the power of filmed productions broadcast via the internet in creating a 21st-century theatrical
experience,” said Greg Poggi, Chair and Professor of Theatre and Drama at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
Material for this article was obtained from The University Record and Michigan Muse.
the place where
With the Department of
Theatre & Drama settled
into the state-of-the-art
Walgreen Center and several
successful productions
The following stories describe three examples of how fresh ideas, fresh
faces and fresh initiatives generate new energy, enthusiasm and pride in our
students, faculty and alumni.
In these stories, you will learn of a new program, the first of its kind in the
nation, that establishes a collaboration between the School of Music, Theatre &
Dance and the School of Art & Design. The program, the Bachelor of Fine Arts
in Interarts Performance, is a response to the real-world need for artists who are
staged in the Arthur Miller
interested in multiple fields of expression.
Theatre, more innovations
Then there is the profile of guest director Timothy Douglas for a student
and new approaches keep us
production of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Getting his inspiration from
a picture in a fashion magazine, he set the production in a different century,
moving forward and create
with— horrors!—music from the likes of The Yardbirds and Petula Clark.
an atmosphere charged with
Finally, you will meet the remarkable young student playwright Seth Moore,
whose work is the first student-written piece to be performed on the main
stage of the Arthur Miller Theatre. How he developed the play, including a
rather unorthodox method of organizing the scenes, makes for a fascinating tale.
We believe these three initiatives broaden and enrich our students’ experiences,
and give them valuable tools for beginning their own successful careers.
Schools Launch Interarts Performance Program
A cutting-edge new performance program debuts in September
2009, the first of its kind in the nation.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interarts Performance is an interdisciplinary
collaboration between the School of Music, Theatre & Dance and the School
Examples of performance work by
A&D undergraduate students, graduate
students and faculty. These and more are
viewable at:
of Art & Design. The program is a direct response to what was already
happening in performing arts—works that combine several avenues of
creative and interpretive expression.
degree. The program is limited
to 20 students, with only five admitted in
any one year. Each will receive intensive
faculty mentoring and work closely with
advisors to develop an individual program
tailored to his or her interests. Only the forum
and survey classes will be required.
Tulip said he expects the program will attract
students who are curious, but not sure what
their own style will be, and that competition
will be stiff. A graduate could become a
Holly Hughes and Malcolm Tulip
designer in a theatre company that creates
A committee co-chaired by Malcolm Tulip (Assistant
original work, a multimedia performer,
Professor of Theatre) and Holly Hughes (Associate
or an actor who performs his or her own
Professor of Art and Design and Theatre) spent four
years developing the program from existing classes
in both units. Two new classes were added: a weekly
forum in which students will share ideas and meet
guest artists, and a survey course on live arts and
collaborative media.
Hughes said the program also grew out of interests
that many students have in working in both theatre
and art and design. In addition, faculty in the
two units have been involved in creating works
that borrow from both disciplines—including
performance art, monologues, physical theatre,
performance for video, site-specific theatre and video
Students will be enrolled in both Art & Design and
Music, Theatre & Dance, and will receive a joint
“The program is not just for performers,” said
Tulip. “A student could go through four years
without taking an acting course.”
Hughes echoed that sentiment. “While
we anticipate that many students will be
interested in performing, we also expect
that some will want to work with design,
installation, video, costume, writing and
music,” she said, adding the program will be
geared toward creating new works, rather than
interpreting existing scripts.
{ 10 }
Guest Director Crafts a New Pride and Prejudice
Timothy Douglas went to Hollywood to become a movie star.
He left Hollywood a stage director. That switch proved fortunate
for theatre arts in general and the University of Michigan
Department of Theatre & Drama in particular.
Douglas served as guest director for the fall 2008 production of Jane
Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. He brought to the project a wide range
of experience as a theatre professional, a connection to the real world
for both students and faculty, and a means of letting the theatre
community know what academics are interested in.
As a director, Douglas said he has learned not to question his creativity,
just to let it happen and then organize it. Much the same can be said
of his shift to directing, a career that he said chose him. On his way
to becoming a movie star, he taught voice for actors at the University
of Southern California. Because he was a faculty member, he was
required to direct a play. More directing experiences convinced him to
Director Timothy Douglas
set aside acting for the other side of the curtain.
The opportunity to work with U-M students on Pride and
the play's costume designer) he happened to glance at
Prejudice also came about through much serendipity. Douglas
a magazine on her desk that suggested clothing of the
was recommended for the job after the original director had to
1960s. That glance was the inspiration for setting the
bow out for medical reasons. When Douglas got the telephone
production in the 60s, on a country estate outside London,
call, he had only one six-week period of free time in his busy
where tradition had been forced on the young people, and
year—one that coincided exactly with the production schedule.
the swinging London scene had not yet arrived.
“It was supposed to happen,” he said.
{ 11 }
The ideas just kept coming, he said, including using
Douglas stopped in Ann Arbor on September 4, 2008, for four
period music from The Yardbirds, Dusty Springfield,
hours on his way to California. He saw the beginnings of the
Petula Clark and Donovan. “These are privileged kids;
design process and the script that had been chosen. The play
they haven’t met the Beatles yet,” he said. He instructed
he directed in California closed on October 11, and on the 12th,
the actors to read the novel because the script was very
he was in Ann Arbor conducting auditions. Rehearsals began
on October 21, after he made quick trips to New York City
and Florida.
Douglas directs at least one production a year at a
conservatory or training center, but confessed he rarely
“I really started talking to the cast and crew,” he said. “There was
works with undergraduates. He said he found “great
a pressure cooker of a time limit, and I had to cut to the chase.”
joy doing this,” adding that the students “folded me in”
He also had to determine how to present the piece. While
meeting with Jessica Hahn (Associate Professor of Theatre and
to their lives. He even joined his students on Thursday
evenings at a local restaurant, just to hang out.
Pride and Prejudice
His directorial goals were to assure students’ success, to tell
During the day, there was a constant flow of faculty members
the story as Austen intended it, and to trust the audience.
into his office, talking about trends in the profession or inviting
The 20-member cast included sophomores, juniors and
him into their classrooms.
seniors. While they had varying degrees of accomplishment,
As a freelance director, Douglas has headed almost 90 full
he found a high level of confidence. “The environment
productions in venues including the Guthrie Theatre, the
here helps them be so confident in their work so early in
Mark Taper Forum, The Juilliard School, the National Theatret
their careers, but with a total lack of arrogance,” he said.
in Oslo and Toi Whakaari in New Zealand. He has been a
“Something really right is going on here, and the facilities
voice instructor on the faculties of the University of Southern
are terrific.”
California, the Theatre School at DePaul University, Shakespeare
Douglas said he had to slow down his internal rhythm while
& Company and the National Theatre Conservatory.
working with students. With professional actors, he could
He holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from Marymount
reference a scene in the film Dark Victory where Bette Davis
Manhattan College and a master of fine arts degree from the
used a particular technique, and they would know what he
Yale School of Drama.
was talking about.
At some point, Douglas plans to return to the classroom as
Students, however, might not know the film, forcing
a full-time faculty member. Perhaps his time at Michigan
Douglas to explain what he was looking for. From this,
reinforced that intention. “Here, there is no distraction of
he said, he discovered more about himself, because in
looking for the next job,” he said. “Here, I’m a rock star.”
explaining the reference, he realized why it made such an
impression on him.
Almost as good as being a movie star.
{ 12 }
Student Play Gets Main Stage Production
When theatre performance major Seth Moore was asked to show some
of his work to Assistant Professor of Theatre Malcolm Tulip for a possible
production, he printed out every play he had written. Then he handed Tulip
400 pages of material. From that stack came the Department of Theatre &
Drama’s first student-written play presented on the main stage. Moore’s
Jonesin’, winner of a 2008 Hopwood award for undergraduate drama,
premiered April 2, 2009, in the Arthur Miller Theatre.
Moore, a 22-year-old graduate from New York, said he felt incredibly excited
because it was his secret dream to see one of his plays produced. “It hadn’t been
done in the Department before, and I didn’t think it was an option,” he said.
“Then someone produced my play, putting money into it, with designers, a crew
and a theatre. There was a lot riding on it.”
Student playwright Seth Moore
Tulip, the faculty director for the 2009 winter-term production,
“The subject is dependency,” said Moore. “I made a list of
was looking for a play, and had a conversation with Associate
the forms it takes —technology, chemicals, power, religion
Professor of Theatre OyamO. Oyamo had worked with Moore
—and tried to expand it. The concept behind it is addiction
on Jonesin’ in his intermediate playwriting class. He mentioned
and how much it makes up our personalities. Addictions
the quality of Moore’s work to Tulip.
separate people from their lives and the planet. It’s a way
“I asked Seth to meet with me and bring some of his work,” said
Tulip. “He brought in a whole folder, and I asked him which
The play, he said, is also a love story, exploring what love is
piece was strongest. He said the latest, and I agreed to read it. I
through Terry’s relationships with other characters.
thought, there is a strong voice here, and with some rewriting it
could be a very strong piece.
{ 13 }
of ignoring our inherent humanity.”
Moore has been writing for as long as he can remember,
and has wanted to be in the theatre since age nine when
“I also thought it would be good for the program to do a student-
he played Jack Sprat in elementary school and turned
written play. I think it says that playwriting students can have
into a “big ham.” He enrolled in a young people’s theatre
the same chance as the acting and design students. I spoke to
group in Westchester County, New York, and acted in
the faculty and department chair, and people said, ‘Why not?’”
its productions. He choose the University of Michigan
Tulip described the play as contemporary, with a very personal
voice. It centers on the character Terry, a drug addict, and his
journey to become drug free through use of another drug,
because he wanted to get a sense of the country outside
New York, was impressed with the U-M theatre program,
and was accepted into the program.
ibogaine. Ibogaine is plant-based compound from Africa that
Jonesin’ itself was somewhat of an addiction with Moore.
has anti-addictive qualities and is used to treat addiction. It also
He heard of ibogaine at a party in the summer of 2007,
can produce vivid hallucinations, and users must be closely
and the idea stuck with him. He found information about
the drug on the internet and read accounts of people who
used it.
“I wanted something completely
each change, and the truth is it wasn’t
different and wrote the first
that painful after the initial shock.”
scene, but didn’t know what to do
Tulip explained that his goal was to
with it,” he said. “Another scene
refine the play to be the best and
came out randomly, and then 30
clearest it could be.
pages came out all at once. I read
it and was really excited. It was a
“I learned a tremendous amount
magical experience. It was in my
working with others,” Moore said. “I
head. I knew what was going to
was going after a style—a voice. This
is the first time I’ve hit that, a sound I
He ended up writing 85 pages.
wanted associated with me.
At one point, he didn’t like the way the play flowed, so he
“The play takes place in Terry’s head. It is his journey, the ride
put the individual scenes in a pile on his bedroom floor and
of his life. At the end of the day, Terry still has his soul. I don’t
kicked it. The order in which he picked up the scenes became
sympathize with Terry; I want him to get a grip.”
the order in which they occurred.
From a director’s perspective, Tulip said the play is challenging
In OyamO’s playwriting class, Moore read excerpts of Jonesin’
because the locations move quickly from place to place, and the
and received a page-and-a-half, one-sentence critique from
themes involve both being on or withdrawing from drugs, in
OyamO, written in the play’s style. “I wrote, ‘Seth, the play
which the characters’ reality is not totally grounded. “I looked at
reminds me of William S. Burroughs, connected from
using projections as part of the scenery,” Tulip said. “Light is
beginning to end, like one long river.’ I also said I thought the
as much a part of the set as physical walls or objects. Seth
play was brilliant.
attended the meetings with the set and lighting designers. It is
“I can’t tell you why he wrote what he wrote. Breakthroughs
come from those who do something different, who take the
an interesting process for a writer to give up the play a little to
the director.
same conventions of the theatre and use them as tools to
“The important thing to Seth is that it’s not a play about the drug
create what’s coming from their soul. This person is an artist.
experience, but addiction in all its forms and society’s hypocrisy
To him, art is a very serious, wonderful, energizing experience.
about which addictions to accept and which to wag a finger at. It
It’s something he just does.”
questions whether anyone exists who doesn’t have some form of
OyamO also chose Jonesin’ for a public reading in front of
an audience, after which members of the audience could
comment on the work and question the author.
By the time Moore met with Malcolm Tulip to discuss
producing the play, he had done some rewriting. After his
second meeting with Tulip, Moore found that Tulip had cut 22
pages. “It was eye-opening,” said Moore. “There were big Xs
in the script and entire scenes were gone. Malcolm explained
addiction. If you take away your addiction to work or art, what are
you left with?”
With the world premier of Jonesin’ and graduation behind him,
Moore has moved back to New York, where he will get a survival
job while submitting plays to companies and producers. “I’m on
a honeymoon with writing,” he said. “I always have something
cooking. I always have a project in the back of my mind while
I’m doing other things.”
{ 14 }
Left: Paul Molnar, BFA Acting, 1996
Department Participants Vital to
Success of ’08 Shakespeare Festival
Several students and personnel from the Department of Theatre &
Drama played vital roles in the success of the Michigan Shakespeare
Festival’s 2008 season. The Festival, located in Baughman Theater
in the George E. Potter Center on the Jackson Community College
campus, formed an affiliation with the Department in 1997. It offers
regional audiences high-quality performances featuring local and
professional actors.
The Department’s artisans, actors and production personnel were, in large part,
responsible for the successful costume, scenic and property elements, as well as
the exceptional performances of the Festival’s two plays, All’s Well That Ends Well and
Julius Caesar.
Also, the production staff was instrumental in transferring the plays
to the Festival’s successful residency in Grand Rapids’ Peter Martin
Right: Dana Dancho, BFA Acting, 1998
Wege Theatre and returning them to Jackson.
In 2008, the Festival celebrated 14 years of quality Shakespeare
productions, and the 10th year of Professor of Theatre John NevilleAndrews’ tenure as Festival Artistic Producer. The governor and state
Senate have designated the Festival the Official Shakespeare Festival
of the state of Michigan.
Performers from the Department of Theatre & Drama included:
{ 15 }
actor Dana Dancho, a 1998 graduate of the Theatre Department;
actor Mark Gmazel, a 1998 Theatre Department alum; actor Paul
Molnar, a 1996 alum of the Theatre Department; actors Marc Paskin and Alex Polcyn, 2008 graduates of the Theatre
Department; actor Brian Rosenthal, a Theatre Department sophomore; and fight director Christina Traister, a 1994 Theatre
Department graduate. Also taking part was actor Zachary Barnes, a senior in the Musical Theatre Department.
Those involved in production included: Michael Bou-Maroun, properties, a sophomore in Design & Production;
Elizabeth Gunderson, craft, University Productions Costume Shop; Rich Lindsay, production manager, University
Productions, Walgreen Production Manager; Taran Muller, crafts/wardrobe, 2007 BFA in Design & Production, University
Productions Costume Shop employee; Rebecca Rothman, assistant stage manager, sophomore, Design & Production;
Emilie Samuelsen, assistant stage manager, sophomore, Directing Program; Daniel Silverman, carpenter, Walgreen Scene
Shop; and Marguerite Woodward, production apprentice, sophomore, Design & Production.
BFA in Performance Acting
Irene Bychinsky Bendler Award
Bonnie Gruesen
Seon Britton
Hal Cooper Scholarship
Lee Tyler
Nita Wakefield Eggertsen
Joseph Walker
Julian & Vera McIntosh
Memorial Scholarship
Corey Dorris
Louis Marino
Devin Lytle
Nicholas Strauss-Matathia
Torrey Wigfield
L. Lamont Okey Prize
McKean Scheu
William & Claribel Halstead
Dylan Saunders
Jim & Millie Irwin Performance
Jonathan Samela
Betty Jean Jones Scholarship
Kelli Rasmus
Betty Pease Scholarship
Seth Moore
Judith Dow Rumelhart
Jaime Lyn Beatty
Alan F. Smith Scholarship
Trueblood Scholarship
Tedra Millan
Ruth & Monroe Lippman
Joseph Moses
U-M Theatre Associates
Tempest Tribute
Julia Albain
Phyllis Wright Scholarship
Joseph Richter
BFA in Performance Directing
Wandalie Hanshaw Scholarship
Yael Kiken
Emilie Samuelsen
Sarah E Metzger Memorial
Alexandra Bisker
Kathryn Edwards
BFA in Design & Production
Irene Bychinsky Bendler Award
Michael Bou-Maroun
Mitchell Hodges
Meaghan Shelly
William Hawes Family
Rachel Jahn
Trueblood Scholarship
Michelle Bryan
Corey Lubowich
U-M Theatre Associates
Design & Production Award
Justin Lang
Corey Lubowich
U-M Theatre Associates
Stage Manager’s Award
Stephanie Shechter
Julian & Vera McIntosh
Memorial Scholarship
Justin Lang
Stephanie Shechter
Bachelor of Theatre Arts
Theatre Department
Merit Award
Janelle Korzeniowski
Betty Pease Scholarship
Justin Lang
Andrew Hill
Sarah Petty
Rebecca Rothman
Marguerite Woodward
U-M Theatre Associates
BTA Award
Erica Ranade
Angela Wetherby
U - M F R I E N D S O F T H E AT R E
I want to support our Theatre students with a gift to:
Theatre Department
Merit Award
Amalea Chinnis
Cassandra Flowers
Elisabeth Griebel
Craig Kidwell
Angela Kiessel
{ 16 }
Theatre Associates (364139)
Theatre Associates Endowment (796749)
Home Phone (
School of Music, Theatre &
Dance Development Office
Stearns Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2075
(734) 647-2035
For online giving, visit
Phone: (734) 763-9769
Enclosed is my employer (or my spouse's) matching
gift form.
My check is made payable to the University of Michigan.
Charge my gift to
Master Card
American Express
Account Number
Expiration Date
April 2009
Enclosed is my gift of
Pride & Prej
e 200
Brad Frazier (BFA Performance, 2004)
played the lead role of Vincent in the new
play The 13th of Paris by Mat Smart at The
Public Theatre in Auburn, Maine. The
production ran through March 2009.
Steve Best (BFA Performance, 2002)
finished a 16-week run with TimeLine
Theatre Company's remount of its
award-winning production Fiorello!
Earlier, he played Charlie Guiteau in
Porchlight Music Theatre's production
of Assassins, which was nominated
for three Jeff Awards including Best
Production. He lives in Chicago with
his wife Kelly Leamon (BFA, 2002),
who will finish her master’s degree in
education at DePaul University.
Adam Greenfield (BFA Performance, 1996)
serves as literary manager at Playwrights
Horizons in New York, a 42nd Street theatre
devoted to creating and producing new
Sara Greenfield (BFA, Performance, 2008)
did the voice-over narration for the on-line
description of a new certificate program at
the U-M Department of Public Health.
Beth Hoyt (BFA Performance, 2005)
collaborated with Reggie Watts on the piece
Transition, which was performed at the
Time-Based Art Festival in Portland, Oregon.
In January 2009, it was performed at the
Under the Radar Festival at The Public
Theater in New York City. She performed
with Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver
in The Oldsmobiles, a new play by Roger
Rosenblatt, in a one-night benefit for The
Flea Theater in New York City, and opened
in the world première of A Light Lunch by
A.R. Gurney, at The Flea in December 2008.
Sophina Brown
Sophina Brown (BFA Performance,
1998) has worked steadily since leaving
U-M. Her theatre experience includes
The Lion King on Broadway and Betrayal
in Los Angeles’s Matrix Theater. Her
work also includes guest appearances
on several television shows, and as a
series regular on Shark and Chappelle’s
Show. She is currently a series regular
on Numb3rs.
{ 17 }
Cassandra Flowers (BFA Design
& Production, 2009) will work as
an assistant stage manager at the
Minnesota Opera for the 2009–10
Chris Jamros (BFA Design & Production,
1999) finished his master’s degree in digital
imaging and design at New York University,
and is lead graphic designer for Behind
the Emerald Curtain, a behind-the-scenes
guided tour of the stage set and props for
Wicked. Along with freelance graphic and
broadcast design, he designs for Keen
Company in New York and the Dorset
Theatre Festival in Vermont.
John Jarboe (BFA Performance, 2008)
performed a "movie trailer style" voice-over
for U-M Marketing and Design.
Benjamin Klein (BFA Performance, 2002)
received a Mike Ockrent Fellowship, awarded
by the Stage Directors
and Choreographers
m & Specialists, 2008
Foundation. Broadway
director Scott Elliott
chose Klein from
among nine early-career
directors nominated by
members of the Society
of Stage Directors and
Choreographers. In addition
to a monetary award, the
fellowship allows Klein to
assist Elliott in directing
the upcoming revival of
Neil Simon's Barefoot in the
Park from first rehearsal to
opening night.
Nick Lang (BFA Performance, 2008), who
currently works with ABC, edited a clip of
The View in which actress Patricia Heaton
praises the work of U-M grad James Wolk,
who played the lead in a Hallmark Hall of
Fame movie, Front of the Class.
Rachel Laritz (BFA Design & Production,
2002), a busy costume designer based in
Chicago, received a 2008 Joseph Jefferson
Award nomination for her costume design
of The Philadelphia Story produced by the
Remy Bumppo Theatre Company. She
also designs for the Milwaukee Repertory
Theatre, Northlight Theatre and Court
Theatre, and was a 2009 nominee for the
Michael Maggio Emerging Artist Award.
Angela Lewis (BFA Performance, 2000)
performed in the new play Inked Baby at
Playwrights Horizons in New York City in
spring 2009. Damon Gupton, U-M Music
Education 1994 graduate, also acted in
the play.
Taran Muller (BFA Design & Production,
2005) recently designed Albert Herring for
University Productions before leaving for
the Utah Shakespearean Festival where she
worked as a first hand in the costume shop.
Muller will be an MFA candidate at Penn
State University starting in fall 2009.
Jennifer Nweke (BFA Design & Production,
2004) just completed her MFA in costume
design from New York University.
Alex Odell (BFA, 2008) continues to make
English-as-a-second language recordings
for the English Scholars company, and also
recorded the book More Speak English Like
an American by Amy Gillett.
Photographs by Peter Smith Photography.
Jeff Bender (BFA Performance,
1998) portrayed Porthos in The Three
Musketeers October 2 through
November 9, 2008, at the Seattle
Repertory Theatre.
Our Lady of 121st Street, 2008
Mark Paskin (BFA, 2008) participated
in casting the spokesperson voice of
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ANNEX NYC
while working in voice-over casting in
New York City.
Gina Rattan (BFA Directing, 2008) has
been busy working as the assistant director
on Little House on the Prairie—The Musical
which began a 40-week tour in summer
2009. She also is serving as associate
director on First Wives Club, which
premiered at the Old Globe in San Diego in
July 2009, and is slated to transfer to New
York City. In the meantime, she is temping
in the office of Thomas Schumacher at
Disney Theatrical Productions.
Lena Sands (Design & Production, 2008)
is a member of The Juilliard School's
professional internship program, where
she works mainly as an assistant costume
designer. She has assisted Ann Kennedy
on a production of The Misanthrope,
Clint Ramos on a production of Dancing
at Lughnasa, and Olivera Gaijec on a
production of The Royal Shakespeare
Company's The Greeks: Part III—The Gods.
She also designed a production of Bill
Irwin's adaptation of Scapin at Juilliard in
December 2008, working with director
Orlando Pabotoy. Before settling in New
York, she spent her last semester in Paris
studying French and finishing her art
history minor.
also guest-starred on an episode of
Eli Stone, and occasionally appears as
Meredith's other half-sister, Molly, on
Grey’s Anatomy.
James Wolk (BFA Performance, 2007)
appeared in a Hallmark Hall of Fame
movie, Front of the Class, in December
2008. He played the lead role of Brad
Cohen in the true story of a man with
Tourette Syndrome.
Alana Zonen (BFA, 2008) is in charge
of Scheduling & Booking at Howard
Schwartz Recording, a large studio in
New York City. She deals with voiceover and television casting.
Aaron Seeburger (BTA, 2008) continues to
record for the English Scholars company.
Mandy Siegfried (BFA Performance, 1994)
played Sonya in Uncle Vanya opposite Peter
Dinklage. She performed in the original OffBroadway production of The Scariest. Mandy
Robert Schnitzer, Professor Emeritus
of Speech, died on January 2, 2008, in
Stamford, Connecticut, at the age of 101.
Schnitzer established the Professional
Theatre Program at the University of
Michigan in 1961. The PTP became
a major regional theatre, which, in
affiliation with the APA and the Phoenix
Theatre, sent many productions to New
York. During his years at Michigan, he
also was a founder and executive director
of the University Resident Theatre
Association. Professor Schnitzer's career
included stage acting on Broadway,
building and directing theatre for the
Works Progress Administration, and
establishment and administration of the
American National Theater Academy for
the State Department.
{ 18 }
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From Russia with Love
Department Chair Greg Poggi and his wife Allison
hosted a group of alumni on the “Waterway of the
Tsars” Alumni Association boat tour in Russia in
June 2008. Starting in St. Petersburg with Moscow
as the final destination, the boat tour covered 1,800
kilometers during 15 days, visiting various world
heritage sites and picturesque villages.
The tour included extensive visits to the renowned
museums and attractions in St. Petersburg and
Moscow. Alumni from other schools including Rice
University, The University of Wisconsin, Madison,
and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill,
also participated.
Dr. Poggi gave a series of PowerPoint lectures about
Russian theatre, highlighting the accomplishments
of Konstantin Stanislavski and the development
of his “system” of acting, the work of the Moscow
Art Theatre and the innovations in playwrighting of
Anton Chekhov.
Trafford Tanzi
by Molière, translated by Ranjit Bolt
Directed by Priscilla Lindsay
October 8–18, 2009
Arthur Miller Theatre
by William Shakespeare
Directed by Philip Kerr
December 10–13, 2009
Power Center
by Claire Luckham
Directed by Malcolm Tulip
April 1–11, 2010
Arthur Miller Theatre
Uncommon Women
and Others
Our Town
by Wendy Wasserstein
Directed by John Neville-Andrews
November 19–22, 2009
Arthur Miller Theatre
a d Kaara
n e Kers
cky Se
a ageau
K thl
h een Hu
TW Desi
g Gro
tee Sm
t Ph
g aphy
by Thornton Wilder
Directed by Jerry Schwiebert
February 18–21, 2010
Mendelssohn Theatre
hee Re
ts of the
v sit
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i n
Julia Don
Donovaan Darlow
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D ise
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er Ne
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A drew C.
h er,
S. Mar
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(ex offfi
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and Ragtime) are currently
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For information, call the League
Ticket Office at (734) 764-2538,
or visit
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