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On&Off York Street--E-newsletter for the Yale School of Drama Community
On&Off York Street--E-newsletter for the Yale School of Drama Community On&Off York Street--E-newsletter for the Yale School of Drama Community On&Off York Street--E-newsletter for the Yale School of Drama Community On&Off York Street--E-newsletter for the Yale School of Drama Community On&Off York Street--E-newsletter for the Yale School of Drama Community
  volume 3, issue 1
WINTER 2014  
 
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  ON YORK STREET

Honoring Julie Harris

Julie Harris and Joan van ArkThe Julie Harris Scholarship has been established by friends of the six-time Tony Award-winning actress and Yale School of Drama alumna in memory of her life and career. The scholarship, which will provide annual support to an actor studying at the School, was announced by Joan van Ark ’64 at a memorial service at Broadway’s Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on December 3.

 “Julie Harris had a profound impact on generations of actors,” Joan said in a press release. “The Julie Harris Scholarship at Yale School of Drama is a unique way for all of us who loved Julie to pay our gratitude forward by supporting actor training for generations to come.”

Joan credits Julie Harris ’47, DFAH ’07, with helping to launch her own acting career by encouraging her to attend YSD in the early 1960s. Years later, they played mother and daughter on the television series Knots Landing. Following Julie’s death last August, Joan was eager to find a way to honor the legacy of her mentor, colleague, and friend.

Joan recruited her former Knots Landing cast mates: Alec Baldwin, who played Julie’s son, made the first contribution through The Alec Baldwin Foundation. “It’s our hope,” Joan said, “that others will help us pay tribute to Julie’s truly extraordinary contributions to the American theatre by making their own gifts.”

For more information about the Julie Harris Scholarship, please contact Deborah Berman, Director of Development & Alumni Affairs, at (203) 432-2890. Contributions also can be made online.

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Costumes and Edibles

YSD Holiday Costume Shop Party For more than two decades, the Costume Shop has hosted the Yale School of Drama’s annual Holiday party. “It started as an event for design students,” says Tom McAlister (Faculty), head of the Costume Shop. “Somehow the rest of the School found out about it and now everyone participates.”

To get the shop ready, the myriad accoutrements of costume design—bolts of fabric, patterns, needles and threads and sewing machines, foam padding, sketches, mannequins, magazines, ribbons and measuring tapes—are moved out of the way. And in their place is an abundance of holiday delicacies, all contributed as a School-wide pot luck luncheon: platters of turkey and stuffing, meatloaf, cranberry sauce, deep dishes of macaroni and cheese, lasagna, corn bread, dozens of fruit pies, Napoleons, cookies, mousse, cupcakes, and layer cakes adorned with clouds of whipped cream and dripping in chocolate. It's amazing how many people can fit into the Costume Shop. Somehow, the staff, faculty, and students manage to work their way in, sample, nibble, and leave muttering, “Great party, but I can’t believe how much I ate.”

It’s a good thing that the holidays only come to the Costume Shop once a year.

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Walton’s New Chair

Walton WilsonBeginning July 1, Walton Wilson (Faculty) will be the new chair of the Acting Department—and continue as head of voice and speech—succeeding Lloyd Richards Professor Ron Van Lieu (Faculty), who will continue to teach full-time.  Now, six months before he is to assume the chairmanship, Walton is already thinking ahead to next year. The first thing he wants to do is meet with faculty members and observe their classes. “I haven’t seen what each one does,” he said. “I want to know how I can help support them.  The more experiential understanding I have of what they do, the better I’ll know what students are doing and what they need.”

James Bundy ’95 (Dean) was full of praise for Walton in the announcement of his new position. “Walton has served the School and Yale Rep with tireless discernment and generosity of spirit that wholly qualify him to assume leadership of a department with more than 20 faculty members and nearly 50 students.”

In addition to teaching, casting, and serving as an understanding mentor and sympathetic ear, Walton will also be selecting the classes with Ron and Dean Bundy, auditioning upwards of 900 applicants.  “In terms of accepting students into the program,” Walton said, “James, Ron, and I mostly agree or finally buy in.” Ron and Walton have worked so closely and collegially during Ron’s time as chair, that the transition from his leadership to Walton’s shows every sign of proceeding seamlessly.

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The Robe of Many Colors
University President Peter Salovey and Robin Hirsch

The October 13 inauguration of University President Peter Salovey was attended by scholars from the world’s great universities, as well as Yale fellows and corporation members, faculty, staff, and students in attendance. At the ceremony, President Salovey was presented with “the symbols of authority,” including the 1701 University Charter, the University Seal, and the keys to four campus buildings. During his inaugural address, President Salovey bore a silver gilt mace and wore the presidential collar with discs representing Yale College and the graduate and professional schools. The collar’s central pendant, made of rock crystal, bears the University shield in gold and reads “Light and Truth” in both Hebrew and Latin.

The President also wore a new academic robe, the design of which has its roots in the traditions of medieval European universities where robes were worn all the time because the buildings were cold and drafty. The new robe was designed and sewn by Robin Hirsch, associate costume shop manager at the School and the Rep. It took her three weeks to hand stitch the silk and velvet robe. President Salovey had only one request, according to Robin. “He asked, half  jokingly, if he could have a cell phone pocket. Since President Levin’s robe had small pockets behind the lapel, I gave them to President Salovey, too.  They are just the right size for a cell phone.”

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Doing Good

Tommy Rose Texas native Tommy Rose ’15 was unprepared for his first winter during New Haven’s blizzard last year, and wondered how people who couldn’t afford to buy winter clothes stayed warm. “It’s terrible to see how children can suffer, through no fault of their own,” Tommy says. Coming from a single-parent home, he knows first-hand how difficult such situations can be, and felt that YSD, as a community-oriented organization, would benefit from being charitable. As further motivation, he pointed to the busy schedule of a second year TD&P. “We’re submerged in work,” he said. “I needed time not to think about my own problems.”

The combination of all these factors led him to start a clothing drive with this email to the YSD community: I will have a large trash bag labeled “winter clothes donation” in the back of Student Tech. Over the next few days take a look and see if there is anything you can donate.  If so, great! If not, no big deal.
 

As of December 15, Tommy had collected more than one hundred items to donate to the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Southwestern Connecticut. And just in time, too. Now that winter is here in full force, and navigating the corner of York and Chapel on a January day is a continuing battle against the elements, Tommy’s coats and scarves are surely keeping kids warm throughout New Haven.

   
ON STAGE
& SCREEN

Below is a sampling of the work of YSD alumni and faculty.

JANUARY

Tribes by Nina Raine, directed by David Muse ’03, YC ’96, began January 8 at The Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C., Richard Gallagher ’06, sets by Wilson Chin ’03, and lighting by Matthew Richards ’01.

Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, adapted and directed by Tarell Alvin McCraney ’07, began performances January 9 at GableStage in Miami. The show will begin performances February 18 at The Public Theater.

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical opened January 12 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, with sets by Derek McLane ’84.

Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Shanley opens January 23 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, with sets by John Lee Beatty ’73, costumes by Catherine Zuber ’84, lighting by Mark McCullough ’91, and sound and original music by Fitz Patton ’01.

Luna Gale by Rebecca Gilman opens January 27 at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, with sets by Todd Rosenthal ’93 and lighting by Robert Wierzel ’84 (Faculty).

Above the Fold by Bernard Weinraub, directed by Steve Robman ’73 and featuring Seamus Mulcahy ’12, begins previews January 28 at the Pasadena Playhouse.

In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play by Sarah Ruhl (Faculty), opens January 29 at the Zach Theatre in Austin, TX, with costumes and sets by Moria Clinton ’09.

Hannah Sorenson ’13 has a recurring role on Season 5 of The Good Wife on CBS.

FEBRUARY

David Henry Hwang’s ’83 Yellow Face opens at Theatre J in Washington, D.C. February 3.

Marcus Gardley’s ’04 The House that will not Stand opens February 5 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, directed by Patricia McGregor ’09, with costumes by Katherine O’Neill ’09, and sound design by Keith Obadike ’04. The production will open at Yale Repertory Theatre on April 24.

David Ives’s ’84 Venus in Fur opens February 7 at Seattle Repertory. Other upcoming productions open March 12 at the Vermont Stage Company in Burlington and March 19 at American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, starring Brenda Meaney ’13.

Dinner with Friends by Donald Margulies (Former Faculty) opens February 13 at the Laura Pels Theatre in New York, with costumes by Ilona Somogyi ’94 (Faculty).

Stage Kiss by Sarah Ruhl (Faculty), directed by Rebecca Taichman ’00, opens February 7 at Playwrights Horizons with Patrick Kerr ’87 and costumes by Susan Hilferty ’80.

4000 Miles by Amy Herzog ’07, YC ’00 opens February 19 at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven with costumes by Ilona Somogyi ’94 (Faculty) and Matt Frey ’96 (Faculty).

The Bridges of Madison County, adapted from the novel by Robert James Waller, opens February 20 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, with sets by Michael Yeargan ’73 (Faculty), costumes by Catherine Zuber ’84, and lighting by Donald Holder ’86.

Kung Fu by David Henry Hwang ’83 opens at the Pershing Square Signature Theatre in New York, on February 24, with costumes by Anita Yavich ’95, and featuring Peter Kim ’04.

The Architecture of Becoming, by Dipika Guha ’11 and four other playwrights, begins performances at City Center Stage 2 on February 25, with costumes by Melissa Trn ’08.

Repentance, a thriller directed by Philip Caland and featuring Sanaa Lathan ’95, opens nationwide on February 28.

MARCH

The Gospel of Lovingkindness by Marcus Gardley ’04 opens March 3 at the Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago.

Bullets Over Broadway, a new musical adapted from the film by Woody Allen, begins previews March 11 at the St. James Theatre, with sets by Santo Loquasto ’72, costumes by William Ivey Long ’75 and lighting by Donald Holder ’86.

Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) by Suzan-Lori Parks (Faculty) begins performances March 11 at The Public Theater.

Following its December run at Yale Repertory Theatre, Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist, directed by Chris Bayes (Faculty), opens March 12 at the Roda Theatre at Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

Rocky, adapted from the film by Sylvester Stallone, opens March 13 at the Winter Garden Theatre, with sets by Chris Barreca ’83 and lights by Christopher Akerlind ’89.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee with book by Rachel Sheinkin ’95 (Faculty) opens at the Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. on March 14.

Tales from Red Vienna by David Grimm opens March 18 at City Center Stage 1, with sets by John Lee Beatty ’73 and costumes by Anita Yavich ’95.

Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, begins previews on March 19 at the Longacre Theatre in New York, directed by Anna D. Shapiro ’93.

Act One, written and directed by James Lapine and starring Tony Shaloub ’80, begins previews March 20 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, with costumes by Jane Greenwood (Faculty).

 
 
  OFF YORK STREET
Venus Has Legs

Venus in Fur posterVenus in Fur by David Ives ’84 is the most-produced play of the 2013–2014 season. According to a list compiled by TCG for American Theatre magazine from its 499 member theatres, Venus has had—or is booked to have22 productions across the country this year, from Seattle Rep to Vermont Stage. The play had its premiere at the Classic Stage Company in New York on January 13, 2010, before opening on Broadway at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on November 8, 2011. Roman Polanski’s film adaptation, with a screenplay co-written by Ives and Polanski, was released in November 2013.

Also appearing on the top ten most-produced list are plays by two other YSD alumni: Amy Herzog’s ’07, YC ’00, 4000 Miles is the sixth most produced play, with 12 productions, and Christopher Durang’s ’74 Tony Award-winning Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is in eighth position with 11 productions.

  HONORED
A Dream Come True

Lynne Meadow Director Lynne Meadow ’71 is among eight inductees this year to the Theater Hall of Fame for Lifetime Achievement in the American Theater. The awards will be presented at the Gershwin Theatre on January 27.

Attaining membership in the Theater Hall of Fame is the crowning touch for a life spent in the theatre. “I am honored,” she says, “ to join my distinguished colleagues in the Theater Hall of Fame. This is pretty heady stuff for a girl who grew up in New Haven and who fell in love with the theatre at age four in the basement of Temple Mishkan Israel and at the Jewish Community Center on Chapel Street. My mother wrote and acted in musicals and I was her side kick. When I was 12, she and I were cast in an original musical at the Yale Dramat, written by undergraduates Richard Maltby ’62, YC ’59 and David Shire YC ’59. As a young girl I saw pre-Broadway try outs at the Shubert Theater on College Street and it is thrilling that my childhood fantasies became reality through my directing and producing on and off Broadway. I have worked with the absolute best in every area of my professional life. Joining so many of them on the walls of the Gershwin Theatre is just one more dream come true.”

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Alumni Heading Toward Oscars

Lupita Nyong’o Three alumni of Yale School of Drama have been nominated for an Academy Award: Meryl Streep ’75, DFAH ’83, for best actress in a leading role in August: Osage County, Adam Stockhausen ’99 for production design for his work on 12 Years a Slave, and Lupita Nyong’o ’12 for best actress in a supporting role in 12 Years a Slave.

Lupita was cast in the film during her last semester at the School, and has also received supporting actress awards from the Screen Actors Guild and The Broadcast Film Critics Association. “I feel truly blessed to be a part of something so monumental,” Lupita says. “I knew the first time I read the script that this would be an important and powerful film, especially in the hands of Steve McQueen, so now it is really exciting to see other people receive it so fervently. This film tells the unflinching truth so beautifully and I am relieved that people are embracing it and being challenged by it.”

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Breakthrough

Sarah Sokolovic In preparing their second annual list of 30 actors on the verge of career breakthroughs, Backstage surveyed casting directors, talent reps, and studio and network executives, asking them to recommend actors on their radar screens—but not necessarily in the public eye—then factored in social-media scores. Prominent among these top 30 actors is Sarah Sokolovic ’11, who recently received rave reviews for her role as Stella in the Yale Rep production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Sarah’s response was characteristically modest. “I often have no idea how my work is received by other people,” she says, “particularly from those on the other side of the table. I just try to do the best work that I can, work that I am proud of. Making a list like that must mean I have earned some fans and some respect, and that is something I am always grateful for.”

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New Theatre Fellow
National Troupe of Nigeria
Nigerian National Troupe
Photo by Akin Ajayi

Olusegun Ojewuyi ’98 has been named a Fellow of Theater Arts by the National Association of Nigerian Theater Arts Practitioners at an investiture ceremony on November in Ibadan, Nigeria. The honor is the highest professional recognition for theatre arts in Nigeria, and is awarded to those who demonstrate “outstanding support, service and commitment to the development and growth of theater and the arts in Nigeria.” In 2011 Olusegun was a distinguished speaker for Nigeria’s National Institute for Cultural Orientation and also directed the National Troupe of Nigeria on a performance tour in Israel.

Upon receiving the award, Olusegun said, “I have been a tireless critic and advocate for the efficacy of theatre as a defining cultural expression. Theatre not only educates, but also provides society with the compass to navigate the most compelling issues of our social and personal human dilemmas.”

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Schulman Elected President

Susan H. Schulman Susan H. Schulman ’67 has been elected executive board president of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), the national labor union representing professional stage directors and choreographers.

 “For over 20 years SDC has been there to support and to inspire me,” Susan said in response to her election. “It is my privilege to serve as president in this tradition of community while continuing to empower and protect professional stage directors and choreographers.”

Over the course of her long and illustrious career, Susan been nominated multiple times for Drama Desk and Tony awards and won an OBIE for directing the first New York revival of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s musical Merrily We Roll Along at the York Theatre, which also featured fellow alum Malcolm Gets ’92 in an OBIE-winning performance. Currently, she is the head of the MFA Directing Program at Penn State University and recently returned from Fredericia, Denmark, where she directed a new musical Esaura—in Danish!—composed by John Bucchino. Her newest project is Stardust Road, the Music of Hoagy B. Carmichael, which she conceived and is directing.

   

Cabaret, with costumes by William Ivey Long ’75, begins previews March 21 at Studio 54.

And Baby Makes Seven by Paula Vogel (Faculty) opens March 23 at the New Ohio Theatre.

Beyond Therapy by Christopher Durang ’74 opens March 25 at the Beckett Theatre.

The Heir Apparent by David Ives ’84 begins previews March 27 at Classic Stage Company.

Time and the Conways by J. B. Priestly, directed by Rebecca Taichman ’00, begins performances March 29 at the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego.

Save the Date! The Los Angeles alumni party is coming up on March 9. Watch for your email invitation.

 
 
  THE FACES OF YSD

Seth Bodie, Jabari Brisport, and C. Nikki Mills
Seth Bodie JABARI BRISPORT C. NIKKI MILLS

Seth Bodie ’14 (Costume Design) “I personally had a blast designing Caryl Churchill’s Owners this year at the Rep. The Costume Shop staff were collaborators (one could say, co-conspirators) in my attempt to create humorous but lethal looks for the character of Marion and to round out the remaining ensemble with clothes that brought us back to London in the 1970s. What’s amazing is how much the process of working on a show of that period allowed the team to bring their own experiences to the table—treasured photographs and well-loved clothing patterns were produced, stories recounted, and memories relived. These things helped me feel connected to the Costume Shop on a more personal level. I hope to get a chance to come back to Yale and work with this fabulous group of talented individuals again one day. Truly, my dream.”

Jabari Brisport ’14 (Acting) “Wait! What? I’ve been here for two and a half years already? Impossible. It was definitely only yesterday that I brought cookies to my Drama 50s group as a peace offering, and that I emailed my classmates with anxieties about finding an apartment. It was only yesterday when Paul Giamatti inspired me with his Hamlet and Joe Manganiello shouted “Stella!” I feel like I just experienced YSD Night for every show I’ve performed in at the Cab, and it was sublime. Yesterday, my teacher (insert any acting faculty here) blew my mind, and I fell in love with each one of my classmates: I can’t even begin to say how awesome they are. I’m so incredibly grateful to be here, surrounded by so much love, talent, intelligence and generosity. It’s hard to wrap my head around it all. So instead I’ll listen to the voicemail Ron Van Lieu left me two and a half years ago, saying I’ve been accepted. I still keep it on my computer. It seems like he only called me yesterday.”

C. Nikki Mills ’14 (Technical Design & Production) “Three years is simply not enough. Consider this my official petition to elongate our graduate study here at YSD. My beginnings at the School were a bit atypical as I stage-managed at the Cabaret and worked calls at the Rep before becoming a student. I then spent two years in the internship program, overloading my schedule as much as Ben Sammler would permit and cramming in as many opportunities and exposure to Yale life as humanly possible. That’s why we’re here, right? Now I am looking down the barrel of only five short months left, during which I will be entrenched in thesis writing and distant from my class, which has just started to meld nicely into the “family” I have always heard reference to in the tales of the infamous Yale Mafia. This is my fifth year on campus and my graduate school bucket list still has many items yet to be checked off, so I maintain: three years is simply not enough!”

 

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  Yale School of Drama

Yale School of Drama
P.O. Box 208244
New Haven, CT 06520-8244
203 432 1559
drama.yale.edu/alumni

 

ON & OFF YORK STREET is a publication of the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs, Yale School of Drama

Deborah S. Berman, Director
Barry Jay Kaplan, Editor
Jane Youngberg, Associate Editor
Kathleen A. Martin, Graphic Designer

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Winter 2014, Vol. Three, Issue 1