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Welcome to the seventh IPA newsletter! The Institute of Performing Arts at Tisch School of the Arts includes the Department of Dance, Design for Stage and Film, Graduate Acting, Department of Drama, Graduate Musical Theatre Writing, Graduate Theatre Production and Department of Performance Studies. In addition, Open Arts and the Department of Art & Public Policy are now officially part of the Institute of Performing Arts. Chairs, Associate Chairs, faculty and students from these departments are meeting on a regular basis and sharing concerns, ideas and plans for the future. This newsletter highlights Fall 2017 events sponsored by IPA and significant happenings in each of our Departments. What we’re able to share here represents only a small portion of the exciting work that is going on in all corners of the IPA in both our conservatory and academic programs. Our IPA office is in Room 267 at 715 Broadway, Second Floor. It is being run by Hali Alspach and her office hours 9:00am-5:00pm, Monday through Friday. Danny Larsen is the Program Coordinator and can be reached at 212-992-9322. Sarah Schlesinger can be reached at We’re anxious to hear your ideas for collaborative programming, events, etc., so feel free to contact us at any time. Sarah Schlesinger Associate Dean, IPA


-IPA Department Highlights-

Art & Public Policy

Faculty Updates • • •

Karen Finley performed The Expanded Unicorn Gratitude Mystery in Los Angeles at REDCAT, Oct. 12th-15th. Dr. Ella Shohat's new book On the Arab-Jew, Palestine, and Other Displacements: Selected Writings was shortlisted for the Middle East Monitor Book Awards, London. Dr. Hentyle Yapp has published articles in American Quarterly and GLQ: A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies and also recently presented a talk at Brown University on the artist Ai Weiwei.

Alumni Updates CRITICAL COLLABORATIONS IN BUENOS AIRES Led by Professor Pato Hebert, the Critical Collaborations project gathered in Buenos Aires in early November. Hebert and APP alumni Horacio Pérez ('12), Leticia Gutierrez ('14) and Mariana Lorenzi de Azevedo ('11) presented at NYU Buenos Aires as part of the public conversation, La Boca Imaginada: La Boca On Everyone's Lips. Pérez also led a community theater workshop at Teatro Brown, and Gutierrez conceptualized and held a dinner with artists at La Verdi. Throughout their time in Buenos Aires, the group engaged with NYUBA Professor Florencia Malbran, who curated the exhibition, Read My Lips at Usina del Arte. The exhibition featured the photographs of Critical Collaboration Fellow Gian Paolo Minelli. Minelli led the group on visits to community-based arts and mobilization projects in three different neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. APP alumna Joy Zimmerman ('16) also led the group on a walking tour of Buenos Aires architecture


Community theater workshop at Teatro Brown led by Horacio Pérez Photo by: Pato Hebert

Dinner with artists at La Verdi conceptualized and hosted by Leticia Gutierrez Photo by: Pato Hebert



Dance Faculty Updates -Pamela Pietro was featured in Dance Teacher magazine in the December 2017 issue. Also featured in the article was 3rd year BFA Dance student Zuri Ford. -Rashaun Mitchell performed with BAM December 13-16, 2017. -Tisch Dance is pleased to announce the recent publication of faculty member Patricia Beaman’s World Dance Cultures: From Ritual to Spectacle (Routledge Press, 2017). This textbook is based upon the global dance courses she has taught at NYU since 2000, and investigates dance as a pivotal component in healing, fertility, religious rituals, death ceremonies, and ancestor worship, as well as in theatrical entertainment. World Dance Cultures examines how constellations of history, politics, economics, and societal/religious values have impacted dance, and focuses upon the fragility and resilience of cultural traditions. -Professor Cherylyn Lavagnino was in Prague in November on a GRI (Global Research Initiative) fellowship.


Pam Pietro and Zuri Ford

Patricia Beaman’s World Dance Cultures: From Ritual to Spectacle 6

Translucent Borders Imagine stepping into a gold shipping container in Times Square and interacting live with dancers in a similar shipping container in Gaza. The Times Square Portal is a project initiated by Shared Studios, and the dance experience is part of a partnership with NYU's Translucent Borders project, a Working Group of the Global Institute for Advanced Study, that observes the effects of dance and music at borders. On Thursday November 2nd, an adventurous group of third year Tisch Dance Department BFA students volunteered to enter the Times Square Portal to dance with members of the Al-Anqaa Dance Company, who specialize in Dabke dancing. Our dancers set about learning a few key dabke steps. In reciprocation, Tisch dancers offered a phrase from Paul Taylor's Promethean Fire. During this exchange with a distant geography and culture, the door of the portal was opened onto Times Square and passersby. Participants included Bethany Puente, Sabrina Karlin, Miranda Vilars, Zuri Noelle Ford, Polly Jacobs, Ayala Abrams, Grace Stingle, and Annalise Van Even, and musician Kane Mathis, on oud. Faculty incuded Professors Patricia Beaman and Andy Teirstein. Bravo to our dancers for volunteering for this extraordinary opportunity.


Times Square Portal in collaboration with NYU’s Translucent Borders


Times Square Portal in collaboration with NYU’s Translucent Borders


Design for Stage and Film

Design Department/NYCI Collaboration Four years ago, Susan Hilferty, Chair of the Department of Grad Design, and ML Geiger, faculty, were approached by the New York Choreographic Institute in an effort to begin incorporating designers into the program. Founded in 2000 by Peter Martins, Ballet Master in Chief of the New York City Ballet, and patron Irene Diamond, the Institute was devoted to providing opportunities for choreographers, dancers, and composers to develop their talents. Alumni of the Department of Design, a program that prioritizes collaboration, were a perfect fit. In its current iteration, which wrapped up November 4th, there were three collaborative groups, each one compromised of an emerging choreographer and Tisch lighting and costume design alum: Kate McGee ‘15, Jennifer Hill ‘16, and Reza Bejat ‘17, Ilana Breitman ‘16, Kat Jeffrey ‘17, and Lily Prentice ‘17.

New York Choreographic Institute



The process began with a Lighting Lab at NYU, led by Clifton Taylor ‘86 and Mark Stanley, the Resident Lighting Designer for NYCB, to develop an understanding of dance lighting basics. The designers and choreographers momentarily switched roles: designers described, using director language, their vision of their piece, and the choreographer responded as a designer might, in an effort to develop a visual language. Participant Ilana Breitman ’16 said, “This exercise was the most Fall 2017 Session successful cross-vocational moment” that she’d ever experienced at Tisch. The very next day, the groups dove directly into choreography. The designers were present in the rehearsal room and dancers were encouraged to interact with the design table, to the effect of breaking down barriers between disciplines. During the two-week program, the collaborators saw several different Fall 2017 Session dance performances together and met daily. Works included new choreography by ABT, the Ballet Collective, the Red Shoes at City Center, and Dresden Semperoper Ballett at the Joyce Theater. At the end of the first week costume designers presented sketches to the NYCB Costume Shop and were given guidance about how their ideas could develop. The entire group, including dancers, used the performance space at Manhattan Movement Center to look at light and costume colors moving in space. The session culminated with several presentations where the groups shared their processes, followed by a performance of the choreography in the studio. The Institute provides an unusually rich process driven environment to explore for the next generation of dance artists.

Photo (c) Ellen Crane


West Coast Design Alumni Brunch West coast-based Design Department alumni gathered in downtown Los Angeles in late September. Administrative director Barbara Cokorinos hosted an informal brunch that was attended by alumni representing the class of 1973 to the class of 2015 and many years in between. Old friends were reunited and lots of new introductions were made.



Design Faculty Updates

Brett J. Banakis is currently the International Scenic Supervisor for NYC and worldwide productions of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, with set design by Christine Jones. Christine and Brett are also actively working on renovations to the Lyric Theater in anticipation of the opening of Harry Potter. Additionally, they are co-designing a new Broadway-bound musical called The Cher Show, based on the life of and featuring the music of Cher, which is set to play a pre-Broadway engagement in Chicago next summer. M.L. Geiger designed the lighting for Man of LaMancha at Arizona Theatre Company in December. The piece is set in Madrid of 1968 and has been orchestrated to include Flamenco influences, with actors playing instruments. She also designed The Diary of Anne Frank at the Cleveland Playhouse, which runs thru November. Anne Frank is being played by Annie Fox, NYU Grad Acting 2017. Upcoming in January is Deal Orlandersmith’s Until the Flood, commissioned by the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, about the Michael Brown killing in Fergusson. It will be presented at the Rattlestick Theatre in NYC, and then move to Milwaukee Rep and the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Paul Hackenmueller designed lighting for The Golden Cockerel at The Santa Fe Opera this past summer. Fall work includes Macbeth at Opera San Antonio and a co-production of Tosca with Boston Lyric Opera and Opera Omaha. Susan Hilferty designed sets and costumes for Illyria (written and directed by Richard Nelson at the Public Theatre) and Turn Me Loose, celebrating the Civil Rights activism of the late Dick Gregory, at the Wallis Annenberg Center in LA. She is designing La Traviata at the Met, which, though it opens in December 2018, is in production now. Susan is in pre-production for An Ordinary Muslim at New York Theatre Workshop and Uncle Vanya at the Old Globe. She is currently working with alumni Christine Jones ‘92, Brett Banakis ‘10, Jason Ardizzone-West ‘12, Ilana Breitman ‘16, Mark Koss ‘13, Tricia Barsamian ‘07, Sarita Fellows ‘08, Dina Abd el-Aziz ‘15, Meriwether Snipes ‘13, and Glenna Ryer ‘13. Constance Hoffman designed costumes for The Huguenots, The Deutsche Oper, Berlin, directed by David Alden; Sadko, The Vlaamse Opera, Ghent, directed by Daniel Kramer: Dimitrij, The Bard Summerscape, directed by Anne Bogart, set design by alum David Zinn ‘91; M Butterfly, the Cort Theatre, Broadway, directed by Julie Taymor. Her upcoming costume designs can be seen in The Marriage of Figaro, Cosi Fan Tutti, and Don Giovanni for the San Francisco Opera, directed by Michael Cunningham, set design by alum Erhard Rom ‘92. Andrew Jackness is currently completing his third season as Production Designer on the NBC show Blindspot, as well as the upcoming feature by Julian Fellows - The Chaperone. He has previously designed the pilot and first season of The Blacklist, and has received a primetime Emmy nomination for his design of pilot for the series Masters of Sex. His career includes numerous works in: theater, opera, ballet, and film.


Christine Jones is currently working on set design for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, set to open in New York in April 2018, as well as La Traviata set to open at The Metropolitan Opera Dec 2018. Andrew Lieberman designed Noura, a new play by Heather Raffo at The Shakespeare Theater in D.C., as well as At Home at the Zoo by Edward Albee at the Signature Theater. He is beginning work on an adaptation of Don Delillo’s novel White Noise for Theater Freiburg; Into the Air, a new opera about Alzheimer’s disease at Philly Opera, and Het Hout, a new play at Toneelgroup Amsterdam, for which he will design both sets and lights. Peter Nigrini just completed work on the out of town try out of Ain’t Too Proud - The Temptations at Berkeley Repertory Theater, which has announced a move to Broadway in the 2018-2019 season, and The SpongeBob Musical, which recently opened at the Palace Theater. In the winter and spring, he will be working on a new play by Claudia Rankine and a Gluck Orpheus and Eurydice. Paul Steinberg designed The Met Opera’s production of Rosenkavalier (directed by Robert Carsen) which was presented in Buenos Aires, M Butterfly (directed by Julie Taymor) which opened at the Cort Theater on Broadway on October 26th, and The Twilight Zone (directed by Richard Jones), which will be in rehearsal at the Almeida Theater, London, previews beginning December 5th. Robert Wierzel is designing the upcoming projects: 1. Sovereignty, a new play by Mary Kathryn Nagle; originally commissioned by Arena Stage, Power Plays Initiative; directed by Molly Smith; scenery by Ken MacDonald; costumes by Linda Cho; projections by Mark Holthusem. World premiere. Arena Stage, Washington DC. 1/18. 2. We Shall Not Be Moved, a new, hybrid opera with music composed by Daniel Bernard Roumain; libretto by Marc Bamuthi Joseph; conducted by Viswa Subbaraman; directed & choreographed by Bill T. Jones; scenery by Matt Saunders; costumes by Liz Prince; projections by Jorge Cousineau; sound by Robert Kaplowitz. Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam. 3/18. 3. Enemy of the People, by Henrik Ibsen, adapted by Richard Nelson, based on translations by Mrs. E. Marx-Aveling (1893) and R. Farquharson (1911); directed by Robert Falls; scenery by Todd Rosenthal; costumes by Ana Kuzmanic; sound and composition by Richard Woodbury. Goodman Theatre, Chicago. 3/18.



Tisch Drama Holds Its First All-Department Meeting On Sept. 15, some 1,400 members of the Tisch Drama Community— faculty, students, and staff—filed through the doors of the Gershwin Theater, currently home to Broadway’s Wicked, for a department-wide meeting, the first in the department’s history. During the meeting, Tisch Drama Chair Rubén Polendo shared his vision for the department, an overview of the 2017-18 Drama STAGEworks production season, and opportunities for engagement, including a new Women in Theatre series, the Community Call-In series, and more. Polendo brought everyone together under the same roof to reaffirm values and set goals for the coming year. “It’s our responsibility as artists and scholars to develop community, to support it, and to determinedly take on the wonderful responsibility that it is to be a part of one,” he said. Lorielle Mallue, studio administrator and associate director at the Atlantic Acting School, one of Tisch Drama’s ten professional training studios, thought the gathering was a success. “Hats off to Rubén for giving the department such an inspiring launch,” she said. “It was great to celebrate the work we were all about to roll up our sleeves and begin to do together.” Her sentiments were echoed by students. “We’ve never had anything like that, where we could all just come together to talk about Tisch Drama,” said Jasmine Lucy, a senior training at Stonestreet Studios. “It really got me excited, not just for this year, but for the future.” And that future will include more Tisch Drama all-department meetings.


Tisch Drama Chair Rubén Polendo shares the vision for the new school year. (Photo: Emilio Madrid-Kuser)

The full Tisch Drama Community gathers at the Gershwin Theater for its All-Department meeting. (Photo: Emilio Madrid-Kuser) 18

Drama Student Launches Hurricane Relief Effort Kayla Zanakis, a second-year student in Tisch Drama’s Meisner Studio, has added “social advocate” and “philanthropist” to her portfolio of roles. Disheartened by news this fall of the devastating effects caused by natural disasters in the Caribbean, Zanakis was inspired to lend a helping hand after hearing a talk by Tisch Drama Chair Rubén Polendo. “Rubén was talking about community, and something just snapped inside me,” said Zanakis. She had the idea to launch a relief drive and reached out to Drama advisor Colleen Seeber. “We were able to get the ball rolling,” Zanakis said. “I created a poster online and we sent out a mass email to the Tisch Drama Community.” Tisch Student Affairs, with the support of Senior Associate Dean Robert Cameron, helped spread the word beyond Drama. From Oct. 2-23, Tisch Drama collected items including diapers, batteries, baby food, first aid supplies and more, in coordination with the New York City Mayor’s Office, which had established drop-off locations throughout the city—one in the East Village, near NYU—to aid hurricane victims. Kayla was also inspired by the plight of classmates. “One of my closest friends at Tisch is from Puerto Rico”, Zanakis explained. “She couldn’t talk to her family for three days. I could only imagine what she was going through.” Overall, the effort brought in “three trips worth” of donations,” Seeber said. “Large rolling hampers of items to help.” Friends and family members also contributed, purchasing items and shipping them to Tisch. “It was beautiful seeing the community come together in that moment,” Zanakis said.


Making a difference: Diapers and baby food were among the items collected by Tisch Drama student Kayla Zanakis. They were sent to support victims of recent hurricanes. (Photo: Kayla Zanakis) 20

Women in Theatre Series This fall, Tisch Drama launched its Women in Theatre series, produced with support from Tisch Institute of Performing Arts. Held at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, the series enables Drama to partner with other departments at Tisch to explore the work and contributions of female artists. Collaborating departments include Grad Acting and Dance. Each installment of the Women in Theatres series features a conversation and masterclass with a leading creative arts innovator who has impacted the field. “The series celebrates the many contributions female artists have made across the creative landscape,” said Michael McElroy, Associate Chair of Tisch Drama and curator of the series. “These women of diverse backgrounds have careers that have spanned years as actors, dancers, and directors. Each still influences the field, gives to the next generation, and transforms and innovates the arts.” In September, the series welcomed 2017 Honorary Tony Award-winner Baayork Lee, who played Connie Wong in the original 1975 production of A Chorus Line, to explore the work of Michael Bennett. The program was moderated by Rubén Polendo and Tisch Dance Chair Sean Curran. During the event, Lee spoke of her work with Bennett and taught choreography from A Chorus Line and Promises, Promises to Tisch Drama and Dance undergraduate and graduate students. The most recent Women in Theatre program, held in November, welcomed Tony Award-winning actor and director Phylicia Rashad, who Seán Curran (Chair, Department of Dance), Dean Allyson Green, Baayork Lee, Rubén Polendo (Chair, Department of explored the works of August Wilson’s. Known to many for her portrayal of Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show, Rashad has subsequently directed Drama) and Jay Wegman. (Photo: Ella Bromblin) several of Wilson works. At the November event, she worked on scenes from Wilson plays with Tisch Drama and Grad Acting students. Rubén Polendo, chair of Tisch Drama, hosted the series along with Mark WingDavey, chair of Graduate Acting.


Baayork Lee teaches students choreography from A Chorus Line and Promises, Promises at the Women in Theatre series. (Photo: Ella Bromblin)


Senior Vice President for Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation, Dr. Lisa Coleman, Senoir Associate Dean for Strategic Initiative, Sheril Antonio, Graduate Acting Chair, Mark Wing-Davey, Phylicia Rashadm Tisch Drama Chair, RubĂŠn Polendo, and Jay Wegman (Photo: Ella Bromblin) 23

TISCH DRAMA STAGEworks Introduces Its Artist-In-Residence Program Tisch Drama STAGEworks launched a variety of new initiatives during the 2017-18 season, including an artist in residence program designed to develop partnerships with exciting and innovative artists. “Tisch Drama is a community devoted to creation and collaboration,” said Rubén Polendo. “Our intent is to program STAGEworks with a range of important artists in the field that present a wide spectrum of views and processes—theatre artists committed to investigation, interrogation, and innovation.” In September, Drama welcomed renowned director and playwright Young Jean Lee— who the New York Times lauded as “the most adventurous playwright of her generation”—as the season’s first artist in residence. Over the course of several weeks, Lee worked with students on the production Safety Net, giving them an opportunity to shape the piece in its early stage of development. Drama students not only performed in the show, they also created material via improvisation with Lee, who wrote the play from the work. In November, STAGEworks presented its “Festival of Voices,” a collaboration with alumnus David Mendizábal and The Movement Theatre Company. The festival featured two new plays and readings highlighting a diverse range of potent and underrepresented voices, aesthetics, and points of view. This spring, Steve Cosson and his company, The Civilians, will present a musical adaptation of the film Times Square, about two queer runaway girls on the dangerous streets of New York City. Young Jean Lee, the first artist in residence of the 2017-18 Drama STAGEworks season has been called “the most adventurous playwright of her generation.” (Photo: Blaine Davis)


Tisch Drama students in Safety Net, a play by Young Jean Lee. Students created material via improvisation with Lee, who wrote the play from the work. (Photo: Emilio Madrid-Kuser)


Faculty Accomplishments Narda E. Alcorn, will serve as Production Stage Manager for the Broadway revival The Iceman Cometh. The production stars Denzel Washington and is directed by Graduate Musical Theatre Writing alumnus George C. Wolfe. Performances begin in March. Gwendolyn Alker published the essay “From a Contract Faculty Member to Her Colleagues: It’s a Feminist Issue” in the American Association of University Professors’ (AAUP) November Academe. Additionally, she will host and moderate La MaMa’s Coffehouse Chronicles #145 on María Irene Fornés in December. Awam Amkpa curated the following exhibitions: "Africa: Significations " on African Diasporic Aesthetics in Havana, Cuba; "Lines, Motions and Rituals" at Magnan-Metz Gallery, New York; "Wole Soyinka: Antiquities Across Times and Place" at the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery at Hutchins Center, Harvard University; "Interwoven Dialogues: Asian and African Art of Textiles" at AICON Gallery, New York. Gigi Buffington directed The Maids and was the Voice and Text Coach for Pericles, directed by Eric Tucker, at the American Players Theatre. Additionally, she served as Company Vocal Coach for Steppenwolf Theatre Company productions of The Rembrandt by Jessica Dickey, The Minutes by Tracy Letts, (world premiere) and BLKS by Aziza Barnes, (world premiere) directed by Nakaki Garrett. Erin B. Mee directed Café Play at the Cornelia Street Café, featuring Kathleen Chalfant. Erin was interviewed for two episodes on the HowlRound Theatre History Podcast; served on the SAG-AFTRA panel "Release and Recovery from Intense Roles;" and participated in talkbacks for The Freedom Theatre's The Siege at NYU Skirball. Rubén Polendo's Theater Mitu presented Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, directed by Polendo, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in July. The production traveled to DUOC Theatre in Santiago, Chile and The Cairo International Festival for Contemporary Theatre. Louis Scheeder served as faculty for Shakespeare at The Huntington, an institute for teachers held at The Huntington Library in San Marino, California, where he also participated in the alumni workshop. In other achievements, he served as a guest artist for the Much Ado About Shakespeare workshop at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth, Texas; taught for the Faculty Resource Network at NYU; and worked on Macbeth with The Factory Theatre in London. Daniel Spector gave presentations at two conferences this past summer: “Playing Offense: Rehearsing Shakespearean Bigotry” at the Offensive Shakespeare Conference in Newcastle, England, and “Shakespeare’s Changing Minds: The Performance of Contradiction in the 21st Century” at the Shakespearean Theatre Conference: Shakespeare 401 in Stratford, Ontario.


Graduate Acting

NEW PLAY PROJECT This year marks the 9th iteration of the New Play Project with The Great Disappointment, written by Rinne Groff and Directed by Mark Wing-Davey and A Daughter and Some Sons, written by Lucy Thurber and directed by Lisa Rothe. The new plays are developed through the Joint Stock method, which begins in the spring with a two week workshop as actors, directors, designers and playwrights all delve into a subject, and through a series of exercises, research and games, begin to explore themes and characters. The playwright then takes the summer to write a script specifically tailored to cast. Amongst the playwrights that have written original works for our actors are Whiting Award winners Mona Mansour, Keith Reddin and Lucas Hnath and Pulitzer finalists Adam Rapp, Rajiv Joseph and Sarah Ruhl, with Mr. Joseph’s play, Describe the Night going on to play at the Atlantic Theatre Company, and Sarah Ruhl’s Scenes from Court Life receiving a staging at Yale Repertory Theatre.

The Great Disappointment, photo by Ella Bromblin


AUGUST WILSON MASTERCLASS WITH PHYLICIA RASHAD Students from Grad Acting and Tisch Drama participated in a Masterclass with Phylicia Rashad on November 21st at The Skirball Center. Ms. Rashad discussed her life, career, and the work of August Wilson with Chair of Tisch Drama, RubĂŠn Polendo and Chair of Graduate Acting, Mark Wing-Davey along with students from each department. The discussion was followed by a masterclass on August Wilson's work featuring students from both departments working together on scenes guided by Ms. Rashad. Women in Theatre series is produced with support from Tisch Institute of Performing Arts.

SPEAKERS ON THE SQUARE As part of the Tisch Community Day, graduate actors of all three years took to Washington Square Park to share great orations from the past. With speeches from Malcolm X, JFK and Eva Peron, amongst many others, we were all reminded of the power of leaders to inspire, the power of words to create action, the power of community to create change.

Amanda Figueroa reads Eva Peron 28

Phylicia Rashad Explores August Wilson, 11-2017, photo by Ella Bromblin (27)


ALUMNI UPDATE Sterling K. Brown (‘01), This is Us, NBC, Emmy Award Jin Ha (‘16), Clea Alsip (‘11) - M. Butterfly, Broadway Carvens Lissaint (‘17) - Hamilton, Broadway Karen Pittman (‘07) - Pipeline, Lincoln Center Annie Fox (‘17) - The Diary of Anne Frank, Cleveland Playhouse Meredith Garretson (‘17) - Robin Hood!, The Old Globe Robin Weigert (‘94), Will Seefried (‘16) - Dietland, AMC Fedna Jacquet (‘16) - A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hartford Stage Sue Jean Kim (‘03) & Greg Keller (‘06) - Office Hour, The Public Theater Bhavesh Patel (‘07) - Present Laughter, Broadway Rick Holmes (‘91) & Matthew Saldivar (‘96) - Junk, Lincoln Center Danai Gurira (‘04), Sterling K. Brown (‘01), Atandwa Kani (‘20) - Black Panther, Marvel Erica Tazel (‘00), The Good Fight, CBS Isaiah Johnson (‘10) - Hamilton, National Tour Danny Pino (‘00) - Gone, NBC Billy Crudup (‘94) - Gypsy, Netflix Peter Krause (‘90) - 9-1-1, FOX Amirah Vann (‘07) - How to Get Away With Murder, ABC


Graduate Musical Theatre Writing

Creating an Immersive Hit: KPOP This last fall, KPOP, a new immersive musical inspired by the beloved pop genre exploded onto the New York City theatre scene at Ars Nova. Produced in partnership with Ma-Yi Theater Company and Woodshed Collective, with music and lyrics by GMTWP alums Helen Park & Max Vernon (both Cycle 22), book by Jason Kim, direction by Teddy Bergman, and musical direction by GMTWP alum Sujin Park (Cycle 22), KPOP received critical acclaim as well as an extension due to its popularity.

Photo by Ben Arons IN PHOTO: Jason Tam


World Premiere of BENNY & JOON at Old Globe The Old Globe located in San Diego opened its 2016-17 season with a new musical written by GMTWP alums Mindi Dickstein (Cycle 5, GMTWP Adjunct Faculty) and Kirsten Guenther (Cycle 16). Dickstein, who wrote lyrics, and Guenther, who penned the book, collaborated with critically acclaimed composer and pianist Nolan Gasser, who served as composer for the piece. With musical direction by another GMTWP alum, J. Oconer Navarro (Cycle 15), the new musical, which is based on the offbeat 1993 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film of the same name, ran at the prestigious regional theatre from September 7th through October 22nd, 2017 and received three San Diego Theater Critics Award nominations, including one for Outstanding New Musical THE BENNY AND JOON WRITING TEAM (from left to right): Kirsten Guenther (book), Nolan Gasser (music), Mindi Dickstein (lyrics)


Halloween at the GMTWP On the evening of October 29th, The Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program had been massively transformed into a Pleasantville-esque township called Twyp (pronounced “twip”). Practice rooms and offices became locations of the township’s drug store, police station, chapel, funeral home, grocer, library, radio station, science lab, nursery, and town dump. Hallways were transformed into back alleys, a cemetery, and a town square. At 6:30 PM sharp, around 60 costume-clad individuals, all of whom had received a mysterious invitation to The 24th Annual Twyp Township Community Players Halloween Ball, were funneled into the fully decorated, chandelier-lit “Twyp Town Hall” to dance the night away. Unfortunately for them, their night was about to take a terrorizing turn. After a mysterious power failure threw the entire town into darkness during the Twyp Mayor’s speech, the guests were cast into a complex horrorfilled storyline in which they would encounter alien larvae, secret tasks, and strange-acting community shop and business owners whose bodies had been taken over by malicious extraterrestrials. The objective? Uncover the alien threat and save their sleepy town from being completely overrun by an invasion. A result of months of preparation and planning, this was the second haunted house-style, immersive, story-driven event that the GMTWP had hosted. Created and run by students, faculty, and staff at the GMTWP, with lighting designs by students from the Department of Design for Stage and Film, the evening, aside from being a spooky and entertaining soiree, was a way for students to explore world building and storytelling techniques in an immersive and interactive way. The concept for such an event was devised by GMTWP faculty member and program alum, Robert Lee (Cycle 6).


Faculty and Alumni Update • •

Amanda Yesnowitz (Cycle 8) won the 2018 Kleban Prize Department Chair Sarah Schlesinger, along with collaborators Mike Reid and John Dias celebrated the cast album release of their musical The Ballad of Little Jo at Feinstein’s/54 Below on November 12th. The release concert and album were produced by Sean Flahaven, CEO of The Musical Company and Cycle 7 program alum and adjunct faculty member.

Adjunct faculty member Michael John LaChiusa’s celebrated Off-Broadway musical Hello Again was adapted into an exciting new film and presented for a limited engagement in movie theatres across the country.

Joel B. New (Cycle 15) was the 2017 recipient of the John Wallowitch Award for Songwriting, presented by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets (MAC).

Rachel Peters (Cycle 14) had the world premiere of her new children’s opera Rootabaga Country at the Sarasota Opera House in November.

Cycle 24 alums Greg Moss and Casey O’Neil had a cabaret reading of their musical comedy The Great Cat Massacre at the Kraine Theatre on October 30th. The event was directed by alum Marella Martin Koch (Cycle 24) with music direction by Mark T Evans (Cycle 18).

Cycle 19 alums Brandon James Gwinn and EllaRose Chary had an Encore Performance of their new show Thelma Louise; Dyke Remix! At the Duplex Theater in NYC on October 11th.

Cycle 19 alums Brandon James Gwinn and EllaRose Chary had their wild, new, immersive musical Cotton Candy and Cocaine workshopped by Theatre C in Long Island City, NY in September.

Cycle 15 alum Mike Pettry and Cycle 18 alum Sara Cooper had their work Mechanical presented as part of the In the Lounge Series at Dixon Place on Tuesday, November 7th.



TEN HUTS: Book Launch and Signing Open Arts partnered with the Initiative for Creative Research and Performance Studies to welcome Spring 2017 Visiting Artist Jill Sigman back to Tisch to celebrate the release of her new book TEN HUTS, published by Wesleyan University Press. The book signing and launch event featured selected readings from the book followed by a conversation between Jill and Andre Lepecki of Performance Studies. "An artist’s book that explores the ability of art to engage us and re-envision our environment," says the publisher, "TEN HUTS documents a series of site-specific huts that were hand built from found and repurposed materials ranging from the mundane ... to the bizarre ... Each of the extraordinary huts ... is a structure, a sculpture, and an emergency preparedness kit that raises questions about sustainability, shelter, real estate, and our future on this planet."

FACE-OFF: Special Effects Makeup Exhibit, Workshop and Costume Contest Continuing the tradition of celebrating and showcasing top notch Special Effects Makeup work from the classes of Distinguished Teacher Rob Benevides, Open Arts hosted a Halloween celebration this fall in cooperation with the Dean's Office. This year the celebration featured an expanded window exhibit in the Tisch lobby coordinated with the Department of Design, a film screening of The Exorcist coordinated with the Kanbar Institute of Film and TV, a maskmaking demonstration, and costume contest judged by faculty from the Departments of Dance, Design, and Film & TV.


BODY AS COMMERCE: Guest Lecture with Darrell Martin from Paris is Burning

Patricia Hoffbauer's new course Body as Commerce presented a special guest lecture session with Darrell Martin from the acclaimed documentary Paris is Burning. Darrell shared a thoughtful discussion with students about questions and problems of access and power in nonfiction storytelling, and the session concluded with a voguing workshop for students. Darrell Martin


Performance Studies

Spring Semester Events

NYU PERFORMANCE STUDIES PRESENTS THE THIRD ANNUAL JOSÉ ESTEBAN MUÑOZ MEMORIAL LECTURE WITH JUDITH BUTLER: PRESENTING NEW WORK ON SUSCEPTIBILITY AND SOLIDARITY. WHEN: Monday, February 12th at 6:30pm WHERE: NYU Skirball RSVP: The Department of Performance Studies inaugurated the distinguished José Esteban Muñoz Memorial Lectures, on an annual basis, starting in the Spring of 2016. We envisioned the series as an annual event that both honors the memory of this celebrated teacher and scholar, and focuses attention on the cutting edge of the field of Performance Studies. Each year we seek out an eminent scholar whose work is setting forth new waves of interdisciplinary work. In establishing this important series, they hope to bring together campus constituencies across fields (such as Art & Public Policy at Tisch, Social and Cultural Analysis at FAS, and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality), as well as connecting with New York-based artists, performers, and their audiences. Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and the Program of Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author or co-author of more than a dozen books, including Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990); Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex” (1993); Excitable Speech (1997); Precarious Life: Powers of Violence and Mourning (2004); Undoing Gender (2004); Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable? (2009); and Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly (2015). Her books have been translated into more than 20 languages.


CELEBRATING RICHARD SCHECHNER WHEN: Saturday, February 17th, 7pm-9pm WHERE: Rosenthal Pavilion, Kimmel Center for University Life RSVP: Please join the Department of Performance Studies, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University to celebrate the remarkable, field-creating, globe-spanning career of our dear colleague, Richard Schechner!

BLACK PERFORMANCE ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF THE LEFT: A HISTORY OF THE IMPOSSIBLE In his just published Black Performance on the Outskirts of the Left, Malik Gaines illustrates the black political ideas that radicalized the artistic endeavors of musicians, playwrights, and actors beginning in the 1960s. These ideas paved the way for imaginative models for social transformation through performance. Looking broadly at performances found in music, theater, film, and everyday life—from American singer and pianist Nina Simone, Ghanaian playwrights Efua Sutherland and Ama Ata Aidoo, AfroGerman actor Günther Kaufmann, to California-based performer Sylvester—Gaines explores how shared signs of racial legacy and resistance politics are articulated with regional distinction. Three distinguished scholars of performance studies offered responses to Gaines's book, followed by formal remarks from Gaines. 38

BARBARA BROWNING'S "THE GIFT" REVIEWED BY THE NEW YORKER Associate Professor Barbara Browning received a stunning review of her latest novel "The Gift (Or, Techniques of the Body)" in The New Yorker. Alice Gregory writes: "Browning is adept at intellectual seduction: she prolongs largely irrelevant anecdotes, pauses just before imparting crucial exposition, teasingly asks your permission to reveal information she knows you desperately desire." Barbara Browning is the Director of Undergraduate Studies and Associate Professor of Performance Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Her BA is from Yale University, and MA and PhD from Yale University. She is a member of the Editorial Board for Women & Performance and the Advisory Board of the Dance Research Journal. Currently, Barbara is working on intermedia fiction/performance, including a novel with ancillary dances, and a semifictional documentary film on an aging French rock star who may or may not exist.

Barbara Browning


PERFORMANCES STUDIES ANNOUNCES ANDRÉ LEPECKI AS NEW CHAIR The Department of Performance Studies is happy to announce Professor André Lepecki has been appointed as our new department chair. Recognized internationally as a leading theorist of dance and contemporary performance art, André has published some of the most influential performance theory in the past decade. André Lepecki works and researches at the intersection of critical dance studies, curatorial practice, performance theory, contemporary dance and visual arts performance. Selected curatorial work includes Chief Curator of the festival IN TRANSIT (2008 and 2009 editions) at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin. Co-curator of the archive Dance and Visual Arts since 1960s for the exhibition MOVE: choreographing you, Hayward Gallery (2010). Curator of the lecture series Points of Convergence: performance and visual arts (2014) and Off-Hinge Off Center: alternative histories of performance, for the Museum of Modern Art of Warsaw (2014 and 2015). Also for MoMAWarsaw he curated the series Performance in the Museum (2015). He also curated the project “The Future of Disappearance” for Sydney Biennial 2016, and co-curated with Adrian Heathfield the symposium Afterlives of Performance, at FiAFF and MoMA 2015. In 2008 he received the AICA Award for Best Performance as co-curator and director of the authorized re-doing of Allan Kaprow’s 18 Happenings in 6 Parts (commissioned by Haus der Kunst, Munich 2006; presented at Performa 07). Selected lectures include Museo Reina Sofia, MoMA-NY, Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio, MACBA, Para Site, Hong Kong, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, WIELS, The Gauss Seminars at Princeton University, Freie Universitä t, Berlin, Brown University, UC-Berkeley, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Ez cole Superiore des Hautes Ez tudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. In 2009 he was Resident Fellow at Institute Interweaving Performance Cultures at Freie Universitä t, Berlin. In 2015 he was Artistic Professor at Stockholm University of the Arts, where he helped develop the research profile area on Concept and Composition. He is the editor of the anthologies Points of Convergence: alternative views on performance (MoMA-Warsaw and Chicago Univ. Press 2016, with Marta Dziewanska), Dance (Whitechapel, 2012), Planes of Composition: dance, theory and the global (Seagull press, 2009, with Jenn Joy), The Senses in Performance (Routledge 2007, with Sally Banes), Of the Presence of the Body (Wesleyan UniversityPress, 2004). His single authored books are Exhausting Dance: performance and the politics of movement (Routledge 2006), currently translated in 10 languages, and Singularities: dance in the age of performance (Routledge 2016).


AndrĂŠ Lepecki 41

Institute of Performing Arts


Women in Theatre This year, Institute of Performing Arts has teamed up with Tisch Drama to produce the series “Women in Theatre”. The series brings prominent women in theatre to Tisch to speak about their careers and to work with students from Tisch Drama and a partnering department. This Spring we will be welcoming Sara Bareilles and Kirsten Childs. For the 1st Women in Theatre event, Seán Curran (Dept. of Dance Chair), Rubén Polendo (Dept. of Drama Chair), Ashley Chiu (Dept. of Drama student) and Polly Jacobs (Dept. of Dance student) were joined in conversation by recipient of the 2017 Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award, Baayork Lee. Baayork Lee spoke about her impressive career, legendary choreographer, Michael Bennett ("A Chours Line" and "Promises, Promises") and taught his choreography to Tisch Drama students and Tisch Department of Dance students combined. The audience and participants gained insight into the idiosyncrasies of Michael Bennett's choreography and left inspired by her words of encouragement to always practice and stay disciplined. Baayork Lee with Rubén Polendo (Chair, Department of Drama), Seán Curran(Chair, Department of Dance) (Photo: Ella Bromblin) 42

For the 2nd in Women in Theatre event, Rubén Polendo (Chair, Tisch Drama) and Mark Wing-Davey (Chair, Grad Acting), Caitlyn McCain (Tisch Drama) and Grace Porter (Dept. of Graduate Acting) were joined in conversation by Tony Award-winning actor and director, Phylicia Rashad. Students from Tisch Drama and Tisch Graduate Acing performed scenes from August Wilson’s Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Piano Lesson, and, Seven Guitars and received feedback from Ms. Rashad as she explored the rhythm and history embedded in August Wilson's works. The event ended in a powerful Q&A.

"Take the knowledge when you find it. And don't imagine that it can't come from someone who doesn't look like you. And don't imagine that it will necessarily come from someone that does look like you." - Phylicia Rashad

Phylicia Rashad and students from Tisch Drama and Tisch Graduate Acting


IPA’s Conversation with Playwrights Series This semester, Tony Award-winning playwright J.T. Rogers was in conversation with Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing graduate student, Barbara Bellman to discuss his work and experience in the theatre. The audience was made up of students, staff and faculty from all corners of Tisch and many were given the opportunity to ask specific questions about craft and how make the political personal for a theatre audience. J.T. Rogers’s plays include Oslo (Lincoln Center Theater, then Broadway; National Theatre, London, then West End); Blood and Gifts (Lincoln Center Theater; National Theatre); The Overwhelming (National Theatre, then UK tour with Out of Joint; Roundabout Theatre); White People (Off Broadway with Starry Night Productions); and Madagascar (Theatre 503, London; Melbourne Theatre Company). For Oslo he won the Tony, New York Critics, Outer Critics, Drama Desk, Drama League, Lortel, and Obie awards. As one of the playwrights for the Tricycle Theatre of London’s The Great Game: Afghanistan he was nominated for an Olivier Award. His works have been staged throughout the United States and in Germany, Canada, Australia, and Israel. He is a Guggenheim fellow and has received three NYFA fellowships in playwriting. Rogers is a member of the Dramatist Guild, where he is a founding board member of the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund. He is an alum of New Dramatists and holds an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.


Tony Award-winning playwright J.T. Rogers


Creating KPOP: A Conversation with the Creators of KPOP On September 25th, Associate Chair of Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing, Fred Carl, was joined in conversation by Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Alumni, Max Vernon and Helen Park, co-composer/lyricists of Ars Nova’s immersive production of KPOP. They discussed the themes of the show, the highs and lows of developing a highly complex new immersive show, and treated the audience to a performance of three numbers from the show!

Creating Come From Away: A Conversation with the Creators of Come from Away

On October 12th, the writers of the Broadway musical Come from Away, Irene Sankoff and David Hein joined librettist, playwright and GMTW faculty member Mindi Dickstein (Little Women, Benny and Joon) for a riveting conversation about Come From Away’s journey to Broadway.


Irene Sankoff and David Hein


Tisch’s Institute of Performing Arts and NYU Tisch Dance present: Community Forum: Come Together On Sept. 20th, Anooj Bhandari, M.A. Arts Politics, 2017, was joined in conversation with Bill T. Jones. Bill T. Jones is an American choreographer, director, author and dancer. He is the co-founder of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. Jones is Artistic Director of New York Live Arts, the company's home in Manhattan, whose activities encompass an annual presenting season together with allied education programming and services for artists. Independently of New York Live Arts and his dance company, Jones has choreographed for major performing arts ensembles, contributed to Broadway and other theatrical productions, and collaborated on projects with a range of fellow artists. Jones has been called "one of the most notable, recognized modern-dance choreographers and directors of our time."


Projects Class with Special Guest Artist David Rousseve

On November 13th, IPA students, faculty and staff had the opportunity to observe the SADC December Choreographic works in progress and hear constructive feedback and critical response from David Rousseve. David Rousseve: Choreographer/writer/director/filmmaker David Roussève is a magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University and a Guggenheim Fellow. He has written, directed, and choreographed 13 full evening works for David Rousseve/REALITY including three commissions for the Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Roussève has also created 12 commissions for other companies including Ballet Hispanico (in collaboration with Eddie Palmieri), Dancing Wheels, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theater, Atlanta Ballet (with a live performance by the Morehouse College Glee Club), Houston Ballet, Dance Alloy (in collaboration with Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock), and Ilkhom Theater Company of Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Roussève’s writing has published in collections by Bantam Press’ and Rutledge Press. Roussève’s awards include a “Bessie” (N.Y. Dance and Performance Award), three (LA) Horton Dance Awards, the Cal Arts/Alpert Award in Dance, seven consecutive NEA Fellowships, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Association of Black Princeton Alumni, 2 Irvine Fellowships in Dance, and a Creative Capital Fellowship. Among others David has served on the faculty of Princeton University, Columbia College summer program, and Randolph Macon College. In 1996 he joined UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance where he is Professor of Choreography and former Department Chair. In 2014-15 David served as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the School of the Arts and Architecture and is currently serving as Interim Dean until spring 2017. David Rousseve


COLLAB FEST III Devise by Day // Perform by Night

On October 13th-14th, a variety of Grad and Undergrad students, in a 24-playslam fashion, came together in random teams with members from every department to create an artistic, site-specific piece centering answering the question: “Who am I online versus who am I in real life?� The teams had exactly 24 hours to put their work together to present to the Tisch and NYU community Saturday night and ranged from an immersive theatrical experience to a scene featuring the computer speech function as a character!

Collab Fest III


Students gathered on Oct. 13th in the GMTW Black Box to get to know each other.


IPA Summer Indoor Picnic On July 12th, Institute of Performing Arts held it’s 3rd Annual IPA Summer Indoor Picnic, bringing together faculty and staff from all over Tisch in the middle of the summer for good food and good conversation!



Tisch Institute of Performing Arts "Students of Color Mentorship Program"

The Tisch IPA Students of Color Mentorship Program held three events during the fall, building on last year’s foundational work spearheaded by director of Tisch’s New Studio on Broadway Kent Gash. The first event, a frank group discussion October 3 about the ongoing challenges facing artists of color, was led by faculty members Fred Carl (Graduate Musical Theatre Writing), Shanga Parker (Drama) and Karen Shimakawa (Performance Studies) and attended by over sixty faculty and students of color. A second event on November 8 had students working in teams to conceive of a cross-disciplinary “dream project”. Senior Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives Sheril Antonio (Art and Public Policy) led the third and final event on December 7, screening Kamau Wainaina’s short film Clean Water as a springboard for a remarkable conversation about art, identity and community. The Program is committed to providing a welcoming, forward-focused environment for mentorship, fellowship and the sharing of experiences among faculty of color and students of color from all departments based on a common rising passion around the intersection of race, heritage and culture within the performing arts. Each monthly event is held on a different day of the week to accommodate varying class schedules, and is planned and led by an individual faculty mentor or group of faculty mentors with an eye towards reflecting the diversity of the Tisch IPA faculty and student body. The success of any mentorship program hinges on the quality of its participants, and though the students and faculty who have attended this year have been an extraordinary group, new members are very much encouraged to join. Any students of color, faculty of color or staff of color interested in participating should feel free to contact Hali Alspach at


IPA Ticket Initiative In its fourth successful year, the IPA Ticket Initiative has continued to send classes within the IPA to shows all over Manhattan, Brooklyn and a few outside New York! This semester alone the IPA funded the attendance of Nuevo Jaza Latino, Rite of Spring, Tesseract, The Red Shoes, Raisin in the Sun, KPOP, Mud, Amateur Night, Torch Song, Jesus Hopped the A Train, M. Butterfly, Come From Away, Au Hazard Balthazar (The Luck of Balthazar), Once on This Island, Describe the Night, and Alvin Ailey Continuing IPA’s collaboration with Skirball, IPA funded the attendance of Adrienne Truscott’s Asking For It, The Siege, DJ Spooky, Mette, Faustin, The Hypocrites Pirates of Penzance. Additionally, Tisch Institute of Performing Arts took 50 students to see A Raisin in the Sun at Two River Theatre. The Tisch-wide bus trips to Two River Theater in New Jersey not only gives the students an opportunity to see theatre outside of the city but also gives them the chance to meet students in other departments.


Dean Allyson Green Associate Dean of the Institute of Performing Arts Sarah Schlesinger Program Coordinator, Institute of Performing Arts Danny Larsen

Program Coordinator, Institute of Performing Arts Hali Alspach

Institute of Performing Arts Tisch School of the Arts 715 Broadway, New York, NY 10003 Second Floor, Room 267 212-998-1654


IPA Winter 2017 Newsletter  

IPA Winter 2017 Newsletter

IPA Winter 2017 Newsletter  

IPA Winter 2017 Newsletter