Chair’s Corner –
Welcome from New Department Chair Randy Mugleston
Hello and welcome to the Department of Theatre and Dance. I’m the newly appointed chair of the department, taking over the reins from outgoing chair Professor Eric Diamond, who did a great job in his tenure. Thanks Eric!
We have a lot of great things afoot in the department. Our current season opened with A Chorus Line, the winner of nine Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for drama, from the book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante; lyrics by Edward Kleban and music by Marvin Hamlisch.
The cast and production team for A Chorus Line were treated to a Skype meeting on October 5 with Broadway's Priscilla Lopez. Lopez took time from her busy schedule to answer questions about her life, her career, and what it was really like to be a part of the revolutionary original production of A Chorus Line, which was one of the first Broadway musicals to be created from a workshop process. Lopez originated the role of Diana Morales and stayed with that production for the first year and a half of its record-breaking 15-year run at the Shubert Theatre. Lopez' advice to our Chorus Line team was surprisingly simple; "Don't feel like you have to fulfill any special 'thing.' Bring your special thing...just be truthful. Live it, do it and, remember, it's make believe!" We will have five more staged productions throughout the semester, so please be sure to attend as many as you can.
Over in our musical theatre division, I am thrilled to report that Montclair State University has just been accepted into membership for The National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT). Founded in 1985, NAMT is a national service organization whose mission is to advance musical theatre. Montclair State University is now included in distinguished company with other musical-theatre programs such as: Boston Conservatory; Brigham Young University; NYU Steinhardt; NYU Tisch; Northwestern University; and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, among others; and professional companies including BMI Lehman Engle Workshop (NYC); Ford's Theatre (Washington, DC); Paper Mill Playhouse (Millburn, N.J.); The Public Theatre (NYC); and Harold Prince Theatre (NYC), to name a few.
The dance division also has three great programs featuring choreography by world-renowned directors and choreographers Bill T. Jones, Earl Mosley and Chase Brock.
Our five undergraduate degree programs in Theatre Studies, Acting, Production & Design, Musical Theatre, Dance and Dance Education, and our three graduate programs in Theatre Studies, Production/Stage Management and Arts Management, are all nationally accredited and progressing successfully. As a matter of fact, our Arts Management concentration is working toward being offered as a fully online program.
Life Hall, our home base, has also received some much-needed improvements and a nice face-lift. We have received new flooring in our hallways, a fresh coat of paint, new A/C units in our large studios and a newly renovated dance space downstairs. We are looking forward to complete renovation in the not-too-distant future.
I am thrilled to be the new chair and will do all I can to make the Department of Theatre and Dance a vital and exciting department.
Prof. Randy Mugleston,
News Highlights . . .
Dance Studio Life Magazine Profiles University’s
New Dance-education Program
Montclair State's new dance education-studio program, which debuted this fall, got
some glowing press from Dance Studio Life in the magazine's August issue.
"Professional dance-educator organizations have long lamented the dearth of any universal standards, studio-educators programs, or required training certification for dance teachers in this country. Now, Montclair State University...is launching a concentration option this fall, joining programs like Oklahoma City University's American Dance Teacher Program, in an effort to help fill the void," the article begins. Read the full article.
MSU Theatre On The Move!
The Department of Theatre and Dance is on the move! To extend Montclair State University’s outreach, our touring company takes theatre, featuring contemporary social issues, to schools throughout the state. This adventure begins with the world premiere of a play that commemorates the 10th anniversary of September 11 and explores the teenage experience in this post 9/11 world. Both wildly entertaining and deeply provocative, this very personal story will touch students and stimulate discussions and writing. Read the full article.
Montclair State’s Dance Students
Receive ACDF Recognition
After participating in the recent 2011 Mid-Atlantic American College Dance Festival (ACDF) Conference at Elon University, N.C., 25 dance majors at Montclair State University returned home with more than just tired feet and sore muscles. Out of a field of about 50 dances, both pieces presented by the Montclair State contingent were given the prized recognition of being selected to be among 10 dances to be presented on the final evening of the festival as part of the Gala Performance on March 26. Read the full article.
NEW WORKS INITIATIVE - Opportunity
for Professional Artists
The New Works Initiative is a special project of the Department of Theatre & Dance at Montclair State University committed to the development and production of new original works in theatre and dance. Modeled after the Sundance Lab in Utah and the O’Neil Theater Center in Connecticut, Montclair State University’s New Works Initiative aims to be a home where the American professional performance community can experiment with and develop exciting new professional work that incorporates Montclair State’s theater and dance students. Read the full article.
People Spotlights . . .
ERHARD ROM, assistant professor and scenic designer, designed a new production of Cardillac for Opera Boston (read the Wall Street Journal article about it here). Also, at Wolf Trap Opera, he designed the world premiere of The Inspector (read the Washington Post article about it here).
Professor ELIZABETH MCPHERSON also moderated a panel discussion, “Passing on Legacy,” at the White Mountain Summer Dance Festival held at Sarah Lawrence College in July of 2010, and moderated a panel discussion on Juilliard’s Move to Lincoln Center for the Martha Hill Dance Fund’s Fall Event in December of 2010. She has written several articles on dance that have been published in Ballet Review and Attitude: The Dancers’ Magazine in the Summer and Fall of 2010. She continues to stage dances from Labanotation for the Montclair State University dancers. She was recently awarded The American Association of University Women (AAUW) 2011-’12 American Fellowship. McPherson will be using the award to complete her book Voices from the Bennington School of the Dance (1934-42), to be published by Cambria Press. Read the full article.
Professors LINDA ROBERTS and ELIZABETH MCPHERSON attended the National Dance Education Organization Annual Conference in Arizona in October of 2010. McPherson moderated a panel discussion on staging dances from Labanotation. Roberts was one of the five distinguished dance professionals on that panel.
MAXINE STEINMAN, choreographer and assistant professor of modern dance, performed at the WestFest Dance Festival May 1, which made the front page of The New York Times’ Arts section. Read the full article.
Prof. SUZANNE M. TRAUTH was co-editor of Katrina on Stage: Five Plays (Northwestern University Press), an anthology published this past August, along with a former department colleague Lisa S. Brenner. Included in the anthology is Trauth’s and Brenner’s 2007 play, Katrina: the K Word. Read the full article.
Montclair State University’s Dance Majors performed at Bradford Elementary School in November, 2010; Mt. Hebron Middle School in February of 2011; and Clifton High School and the 92nd Street Y in NYC in the spring (read the full article about the 92nd Street Y performance).
JOSH DELA CRUZ (BFA Musical Theatre 2011) was cast in an Equity production of The King and I that played at Kansas City Starlight, a summer stock theater in Kansas City, during the summer.
TIANA TAYLOR, (BFA Dance Major 2011) is an apprentice with the Lula Washington Dance Theatre.
JULIAN MORALES and MELISSA FUENTES performed their duet, Overtime, at Long Island University in January 2011 as part of the Kids Go To College Festival. They also performed the duet at the American College Dance Festival at Elon University in Elon, N.C., in March 2011.
DANA BALSAMO, (BFA Dance Major 2011) performed with world-acclaimed mime artist Yass Hakoshima in the New Jersey premiere of Arguments at the Westminster Arts Center, Bloomfield College, March 16, 2011.
GREG OSBORNE (BFA Dance 2012) is on tour with the Doug Elkins Dance Company.
LAUREN PANZICA, (BFA Dance and BA Dance Education 2011), performed her solo Not What It Seems, in the DUMBO Dance Festival at the White Wave John Ryan Theater, September 25, 2010.
Congratulations 2011 Department of Theatre and Dance Graduates and Award Recipients! Montclair State University’s College of the Arts held its Convocation ceremony on Saturday, May 14, at the University’s Amphitheater. Read the full article and complete list of award recipients.
MIDGE GUERRERA (BA and MA Theatre, 1971) had her play, E-Mail: 9/12, produced this fall by Project Rushmore Theatre Company (N.Y.), Black Box Theatre of Asbury Park (N.J.), Union County Performing Arts Center with the Alliance Repertory Theater (N.J.), Somerset Valley Players (N.J.) and Company Theatre (Philadelphia).
LISA PELUSO (BFA Dance 2004) was recently selected as understudy/apprentice for the Elise Monte Dance company. Her choreographic work was accepted at WestFest dance festival at Merce Cunningham Dance Space with over 250 applicants.
LISA GREENBERG (BFA Dance 2010) was also selected for an understudy/apprentice position with the Elise Monte Dance Company.
NICOLE SMITH (BFA Dance 2007) is having a banner year. She is currently working and training with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. This year, she is also touring with Doug Elkins & Friends as a Maria/Swing, in Fraulein Maria, as well as performing with Donna Scro/Freespace Dance. She recently presented her Dreamtime in the Cool NY Festival.
Freespace Dance, directed by DONNA SCRO (class of 1991), performed at St. Marks Church in NYC June 23, 24.
MAUREEN GLENNON (BFA Dance 1991) and her company, moe-tion dance theater, had a very successful launch of Maureen's new venture, Project Support at Montclair State University this past October. A recent breast cancer survivor, Glennon is now committed to help promote breast cancer awareness.
TIM KOTCHKA (BFA Dance 2009) is a member of the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company.
RACHEL GALLART (BA Dance Ed 2009) started a new dance program at Jefferson Township Middle School in fall of 2010.
MEGAN FIBKINS (BA Dance Ed 2010) holds a full-time teaching position at Mary Help of Christians Academy in North Haledon. She is teaching math and dance.
MICHELLE PARADISE (BA Dance Ed 2010) holds a full-time teaching position in dance at Lincoln Avenue Elementary School in Orange.
TIFFANY ROLSING (BA Dance Ed 2009) is the Dance Director for Studio 691, The Visual and Performing Arts School of the Wyckoff YMCA.
ALYSSA STROMAN (BA Dance Ed 2010) keeps busy teaching 22 dance classes a week at two private studios, three recreation programs and an afterschool program.