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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 2
SPRING 2014  
 
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  ON & OFF YORK STREET

And the Oscar Goes to…

Lupita Nyong’oOn March 2, Lupita Nyong’o ’12 received the Academy Award for best performance by an actress in a supporting role for her work on the film 12 Years a Slave. The audience at the Dolby Theatre stood and cheered as her name was called, and shouts went up at the Yale Cabaret and apartments in New Haven, New York, and Los Angeles, where friends and classmates of Lupita gathered to watch the ceremony.

Lupita accepted the award with the same grace and dignity with which she’s handled all the attention her performance has brought her, expressing her gratitude to Yale School of Drama for the training she received. “I am thrilled for Lupita,” said James Bundy ’95 (Dean), “and filled with admiration, both because her performance was so remarkable, and because she has so graciously and eloquently expressed the importance of 12 Years a Slave.”

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Meryl Streep Speaks
Meryl Streep
Photo by Michael Marsland

On Tuesday, February 18, the entire YSD community gathered at Yale Rep to enjoy the company of Meryl Streep ’75, DFAH ’83, who visited New Haven on her way home from the promotional tour for her latest film, August: Osage County, for which she received her eighteenth Academy Award nomination.

Meryl reminisced on her days at the School, reminding herself aloud that it had been more than 30 years since she’d last been on the Rep stage. For 90 minutes, students, staff, and faculty engaged her in a question-and-answer session. Meryl was thoughtful, witty, and direct in her remarks, candidly discussing her career, and balancing work and family, and the kinds of roles she’s been offered.

Prema Cruz ’14 appreciated the intimacy of Meryl’s visit, calling it “a testament to how special the School is.” And Stephen DeRosa ’95, one of the actors in Yale Rep’s current production, These Paper Bullets!, found the afternoon inspiring. “ Her words were a profound comfort. If Meryl Streep—arguably the most powerful actor on the planet—compares managing a career to strategizing fate…well, I don’t feel so bad!”

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The Price Was Right

Michael PriceAt the end of 2014, one of the longest runs in the American theatre will come to an end: Michael Price ’63, executive director of Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam, CT, is retiring. During his 46-year tenure, Michael has overseen Goodspeed’s transformation from a summer theatre into a full-fledged regional theatre with stages in two towns, extensive costume storage, a musical theatre library and research center, seasonal housing for artists, and the largest scenic and paint shop in New England. Goodspeed has the unique distinction of being the only regional theatre to win two Tony Awards and, under Michael’s leadership, the theatre has produced hundreds of musicals, several of which—Annie, Shenandoah, Very Good Eddie, and By Jeeves, among othershave moved to Broadway.

“I was going to leave at the end of 2013 but I didn’t want to announce it during the theatre’s 50th anniversary season,” Michael says. “But I think it’s time now.” As for the future, Michael sits on several boards, including the Foundation for Jewish Culture, the Union for Reform Judaism and the American Theatre Wing, and he plans to devote his time to these organizations. “There’s a lot out there for me,” he says. “It’s going to be good.”

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Hot Topics

Martin PuchnerTheatre and philosophy have quarreled ever since Socrates excluded artists from his ideal republic. On February 20, Martin Puchner, Harvard philosopher and literary scholar, visited Yale School of Drama to reconcile these longtime adversaries in a talk entitled “A Defense of the Drama of Ideas.” Puchner explained that classical philosophers and dramatists traditionally kept their distance, apprehensive that collaboration would result in either bad drama or bad ideas. But in fact, the two disciplines were intertwined from the beginning: “theatre” and “theory” share a Greek root meaning “to see.”

The talk was part of the Hot Topics lecture series organized by the Department of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism. The series, which began in 2012 as a way to augment the department’s core curriculum, has brought lecturers from a variety of fields in its two brief seasons. On March 6, in the final of this semester’s Hot Topics sessions, Vali Mahlouji, an independent curator, spoke about the Shiraz Arts Festival, considered the most radical meeting of the performing arts in history.

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Goodbye, Vicki

Vicki ShaghoianAt the end of the current semester, after 12 years as a full-time faculty member, voice teacher Vicki Shaghoian (Faculty) is taking her act on the road and returning to her roots in California. Throughout her time here, Vicki has commuted to New Haven from her home in New York City, and she says, “I want the opportunity to teach and perform in the same city.” She also cites family as one of the chief reasons for her move west. “I want to be in the place where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.”

It won’t be easy to replace her and it will be even harder to see her go. Says Chair of Acting Ron Van Lieu: “It is very difficult to say goodbye to a teacher who has been so generous with her time, so attentive to each of her students, and so effective at bringing out the best in each of them.”

“I’m filled with joy and scared to death,” Vicki says. “I’m taking a leap of faith but I know I’ll land on my feet.”

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Yale Rep Announces 2014-15 Season

Yale Repertory Theatre has announced its 2014-15 season, which will include new productions of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia directed by James Bundy ’95 (Dean) and Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle staged by Resident Director Liz Diamond (Faculty); and the world premieres of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s War directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz ’12, OBIE Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist Danai Gurira’s Familiar directed by Rebecca Taichman ’00,  and Sheila Callaghan’s Elevada directed by Jackson Gay ’02.

All three world premieres were commissioned by Yale Rep and developed by Yale’s Binger Center for New Theatre. Since 2008, this program has become a leader in the development and production of new work for the American stage; already, the Binger Center has supported more than 40 commissioned artists and the production of 18 new plays and musicals here at Yale Rep and around the country, including Rolin Jones’s ’04 These Paper Bullets!,  Belleville by Amy Herzog ’07, YC ’00, David Adjmi’s Marie Antoinette, and The Realistic Joneses by Will Eno, which opens on Broadway on April 6, following its critically acclaimed world premiere at Yale Rep in 2012.

   
ON STAGE
& SCREEN

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

APRIL

4000 Miles by Amy Herzog ’07, YC ’00 opens April 2 at Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, FL.

Dear Elizabeth by Sarah Ruhl (Faculty) opens April 2 at People’s Light & Theatre Company in Malvern, PA, with lighting by Mary Louise Geiger ’85.

Camp David by Lawrence Wright opens at Arena Stage on April 3, with sets by Walt Spangler ’97.

The Realistic Joneses by Will Eno, which was commissioned and first produced by Yale Rep in 2012, opens April 6 at the Lyceum Theatre.

The Heir Apparent, adapted by David Ives ’84, opens April 9 at Classic Stage Company, with sets by John Lee Beatty ’73.

Bullets Over Broadway, a new musical adapted by Woody Allen from his 1994 film, opens April 10 at the St. James Theatre, with sets by Santo Loquasto ’72, costumes by William Ivey Long ’75 and lighting by Donald Holder ’86.

Of Mice and Men, based on the novel by John Steinbeck, opens April 16 at the Longacre Theatre, directed by Anna D. Shaprio ’93.

Tribes by Nina Raine opens April 16 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, directed by Jonathan Moscone ’93.

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark by Lynn Nottage ’89 (Former Faculty) opens April 16 at the Everyman Theatre in Baltimore, directed by Walter Dallas ’71.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang ’74 opens April 16 at Center Stage in Baltimore, in co-production with Kansas City Repertory Theatre. Other productions of the play open at the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego on May 17, at Hartford Stage on May 22, at the Alley Theatre in Houston, TX, on May 23, and at the Zach Theatre in Austin, TX, on May 28.

Act One, adapted by James Lapine from the memoir by Moss Hart, opens April 17 at Lincoln Center Theater with costumes by Jane Greenwood (Faculty) and featuring Tony Shalhoub ’80.

The Velocity of Autumn by Eric Coble opens April 21 at the Booth Theatre, with costumes by Linda Cho ’98 and sets by Eugene Lee ’86.

The national tour of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess opens April 22 at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, with book adapted by Suzan-Lori Parks (Faculty), lighting by Christopher Akerlind ’89, and sets by Riccardo Hernandez ’92.

Casa Valentina, a new play by Harvey Fierstein, opens at the Manhattan Theatre Club on April 23, with sets by Scott Pask ’97, sound by Fitz Patton ’01, and costumes by Rita Ryack ’80.

Venus in Fur by David Ives ’84 opens April 24 at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.

Cabaret, produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company, opens April 24 at Studio 54, with costumes by William Ivey Long ’75 and make-up by Angelina Avallone ’94.

A Song at Twilight by Noël Coward opens April 29 at the Westport Country Playhouse, featuring Nicholas Carriere ’08, sets by Alexander Dodge ’99, and lighting by Matthew Richards ’01.  

Bliss Point by Shishir Kurup opens this spring at the Cornerstone Theatre in Los Angeles, directed by Juliette Carrillo ’91.

MAY

The City of Conversation opens May 5 at Lincoln Center Theatre, with sets by John Lee Beatty ‘73.

M. Butterfly by David Henry Hwang ’83 opens May 8 at the Court Theatre in Chicago.

The Substance of Fire by Jon Robin Baitz opens May 12 at Second Stage Theatre in New York, directed by Trip Cullman ’02, YC ’97.

Cock by Mike Bartlett begins May 14 at the Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C., directed by David Muse ’03, YC ’96.

Fly By Night begins previews May 16 at Playwrights Horizons in New York. The musical was conceived by Kim Rosenstock ’10, with book, lyrics and music by Kim, Will Connolly ’10, and Michael Mitnick ’10. Its original production was at the Yale Summer Cabaret in 2009.

The Killer by Eugène Ionesco, translated by Michael Feingold ’72, opens May 17 at the Polansky Shakespeare Center in New York, produced by Theatre for a New Audience.

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry opens May 21 at the California Shakespeare Theater in Orinda, CA, directed by Patricia McGregor ’09.

His Girl Friday, adapted by John Guare ’63 (Former Faculty) from The Front Page by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur and the Columbia Pictures film, His Girl Friday, opens May 28 at the Mandell Weiss Theatre in La Jolla, CA.

Dog and Pony, a new musical with music and lyrics by Michael Patrick Walker and book by Rick Elice ’79, opens May 28 at the Sheryl & Harvey White Theatre at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego.

Third by Wendy Wasserstein ’76 begins previews May 31 at Two River Theatre in Red Bank, NJ.

The Who and the What by Ayad Akhtar opens May 31 at Lincoln Center Theater’s LTC3 opens May 31, with costumes by Emily Rebholz ’06.

 
  HONORED
Helen Hayes Award Nominees

Helen Hayes Award On April 21, the 30th Helen Hayes Awards will be presented in a ceremony at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. Since 1985, the awards—named for the actress known as “the First Lady of the American Theatre”—have celebrated outstanding achievement in more than 80 professional theatres throughout the Washington metropolitan area.

Two current Yale School of Drama students and two alumni have six nominations among them: Andrew F. Griffin ’16 for Outstanding Lighting Design for Henry V at the Folger Theatre and The Tempest at the Synetic Theater; Julian Elijah Martinez ’16 for Outstanding Lead Actor in 9 Circles at the Forum Theatre; Ted van Griethuysen ’60 for Outstanding Supporting Actor in The Apple Family Plays at The Studio Theatre; and David Muse ’03, Artistic Director of The Studio Theatre, for Outstanding Productions of Baby Universe: A Puppet Odyssey and The Rocky Horror Show.

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Liz Lerman Honored by Dance/USA

Helen Hayes Award Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance, will honor Liz Lerman (Faculty) with the Dance/USA Honor Award at the opening night celebration of the 6th Annual Dance/USA Conference on June 18 in Minneapolis, MN.

 “Liz is an extraordinary leader who has had a tremendous impact on our field,” said Dance/USA Executive Director Amy Fitterer. “She has received numerous accolades, but there is nothing so special as being recognized by your peers for truly outstanding work. The Dance/USA membership singled out Liz for recognition because she is unique and competitive, and we look forward to celebrating her accomplishments this June in Minneapolis.”

A choreographer, performer, writer, educator, and speaker, Liz has already received numerous honors, including a 2002 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship and a 2011 United States Artists Ford Fellowship in Dance. Nevertheless, Liz was “shocked to get the call,” she says, “and so pleased to be honored by peers.”

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Ojai Honors Treem

Sarah Treem On Saturday, April 12, the Ojai Playwrights Conference will honor playwright and screenwriter Sarah Treem ’05, YC ’02 at its annual “Farm to Stable” benefit dinner. Proceeds from the event will go to the Playwrights Conference, which supports new work by playwrights across the country. Ojai has developed and produced several of Sarah’s plays, including When We Were Young and Unafraid and Vienna’s Amazing, and Sarah acknowledges the Conference as an artistic home. “Ojai gave me a safe place to find out where my half-written play was going,” Sarah says. “I’ve participated in many playwright development programs at this point in my career, and I find Ojai to be the least competitive and the most satisfying. These people are truly dedicated to enabling writers to tell stories that matter. They believe in the power of theatre to change people’s minds. It’s thrilling.”

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USITT Winners

Lupita Nyong’oAmong the eleven recipients of The United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) 2014 Young Designers & Technicians Awards were C. Nikki Mills ’14 and Nicholas Christiani ’14. Nikki received the KM Fabrics Technical Production Award and Nick received the Bernhard R. Works’ Frederick A. Buerki Scenic Technology Award, better known as the “Golden Hammer.” The awards were presented on March 26, during the opening night of USITT’s 2014 Conference & Stage Expo, held this year in Fort Worth, TX.

Nick and Nikki each earned a $1,000 cash prize and had the opportunity to meet industry leaders, including their award sponsors, and participate in some of the 200 conference sessions, workshops, and activities. This year’s winners were chosen by a committee of experts in each field, and were based on nominations and recommendation letters, as well as student portfolios, and personal statements on their approach to their craft.

Ben Sammler ’74 (Faculty) wrote of his two honored students, “Nikki’s personal warmth, her devotion to excellence, and her unending patience mark her as one of the most polished department heads I have known.  As for Nick, he has continued to learn and grow at an astounding pace, and stands alone at the top of his class.”

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Scott Pask Honored

Scott PaskAt the University of Arizona’s commencement ceremony in May, set designer and Yuma, AZ native Scott Pask ’97 will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from his alma mater, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1990. Scott’s Broadway credits include The Pillowman (for which he received his first Tony Award), A Behanding in Spokane, and A Steady Rain, to name a few. His work on the Lincoln Center production of The Coast of Utopia received the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Hewes Awards for Best Scenic Design.

In choosing Scott to receive the Honorary Degree, Janice A. Cervelli, Dean of the College of Architecture, said this: “Scott is an incredibly creative and prolific designer with a very generous spirit. Hard working and amazingly humble, Scott is a professional of the highest order. His work expertly draws on his training in both architecture and theatre, and his numerous accolades speak for themselves. This distinguished award is well-deserved, and we are immensely proud that Scott is an alumnus of our college and university.”

   

JUNE

Healing Wars, created and directed by Liz Lerman (Lecturer), opens June 7 in the Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle Theatre at Arena Stage.

The new musical, The Last Ship, opens June 10 at the Bank of America Theatre in Chicago, with lighting by Christopher Akerlind ’89.

Richard III by William Shakespeare, directed by James Bundy ’95 (Dean), opens June 13 at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, featuring Franchelle Dorn ’75, Al Espinosa ’94, costumes by Ilona Somogyi ’94 (Faculty), and sound by Sarah Pickett ’08.

When We Were Young and Unafraid by Sarah Treem ’05, YC ’02 opens June 17 at the Manhattan Theatre Club’s City Center Stage I.

A Little Night Music, directed by Ethan Heard ’13, begins June 30 at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA, as a part of the Berkshire Theater Festival. The production features Ariana Venturi ’15, costumes by Hunter Kaczorowski ’14, lighting by Oliver Wason ’14, and sets by Reid Thompson ’14.

Marissa Neitling ’13 will be seen regularly on The Last Ship, airing this summer on TNT.

 
  THE FACES OF YSD

Seth Bodie, Jabari Brisport, and C. Nikki Mills
Hannah Sullivan Andras Viski Pornchanok (Nok)
Kanchanabanca

Hannah Sullivan ’14 (Stage Management) “Vulnerability, curiosity, and community are the words that come to mind when I reflect on my time at Yale School of Drama. From my first day on campus, I felt enveloped in a community that put me up on the high wire—but not without a net(work) of support below. My most cherished moments are those that involve a dynamic dialogue among artists in training and practicing professionals, inside and outside of the classroom. I have had the good fortune of working on a plethora of remarkable projects that have tested my emotional, intellectual, and artistic fortitude. My work on The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls at Yale Rep was particularly challenging, as it involved original punk rock music composed in the rehearsal room. It required me to approach my relationship with the composer and the actors/musicians in a new way. As I near the completion of my training here, I am humbled by the commitment and openness that I see in my colleagues. The questions never end, the community grows ever bigger, and even at our most intense moments of frustration and despair, it is a privilege to be artists.”

Andras Viski ’15 (Directing) “From the very first day of my life at YSD, I have felt as if I’m in the middle of a fast-moving subway car. Everything is constantly changing, and I feel I’m defined as a director by the movement of wonderful people, fascinating ideas and challenging projects around me. It’s an extremely, if sometimes exhausting, rewarding state, in which my sense of self and how I think about theatre is always shifting. And there are little things I still can’t figure out—how am I supposed to file my US taxes correctly, or set up my VPN connection?! Luckily, even on this crazy train ride I can see what lies just ahead: the next stop for me at the School is directing As You Like It, a play about people transitioning from a duchy to the forest. Nothing is accidental, after all.”

Pornchanok (Nok) Kanchanabanca ’16 (Sound Design) “I am the only Thai student in the School—and I’m kind of proud of that, even though it means that the question I get asked most often is, ‘Which is the most authentic Thai restaurant in New Haven?’ I don’t know why there are so many Thai restaurants here and I still haven’t eaten at all of them! Another thing I get asked about all the time is my name, which is incredibly long. It makes people remember me, but it is also a task for faculty, staff, and friends to pronounce. But here’s a tip: my nickname is much shorter and easier to remember—it’s Nok. The hardest thing for me at Yale is being so far away from home. Luckily, I have found a new home here at YSD. I would like to thank my Yale parents, David Budries (Faculty) and Matthew Suttor (Faculty), and all my wonderful talented classmates for taking care of me—you are my mentors and my family here. I am so lucky to be part of YSD—what an awesome community!”

 

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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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Spring 2014, Vol. Three, Issue 2