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|Michael Allen, MFA
Deputy Chair of Production
Stage/Production & Arts Management
Michael Allen has earned professional credits in a variety of areas in theatre including Arts Education, Performance, Administration, Production/Stage & Arts Management, Production Design and Directing. Organization and committee affiliation include the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Regional II (Chair for Design Technology and Management). Additional University service affiliations include, Student Conduct Council, Minority Student Retention Committee, Student Grade Grievance Committee, and Graduation Senior Speaker Selection Committee. Prof. Allen is the faculty advisor for SGA University Players, The Student Campus Ministries and Buddhist for Peace International. He also serves on a variety of committees within the Department of Theatre and Dance. Prof. Allen has directed two joint projects, one with the Justice Studies Department, The Exonerated and African American Studies Department, Requiem for Brother X. Also as a director, he has worked on productions for Players including Twilight of the Gold’s, In the Blood, The World Goes Round, and Lysistrata (adapted by Karen Anslem). In the department, he has designed lights for the dance production Works A Foot; worked as the scenic designer for the production of Working and stage-managed Steel Magnolias and Trojan Women. He has also written and directed three children’s theatre plays for the Gifted and Talented Program, An African Tale, Cindy and the Battle of Aspru and Robin the Hood.
|||Neil Baldwin, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance
Director, The Creative Research Center
Danceaturgy, Dramaturgy, Theatre Criticism, Play Script Interpretation, The Entrepreneurial Imagination, Honors Program Seminars
Neil Baldwin received his PhD in Modern American Poetry from SUNY/Buffalo. He is the critically-acclaimed author of biographies of William Carlos Williams, Man Ray, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford. For fifteen years prior to joining the faculty at Montclair State, he was founding executive director of The National Book Foundation, sponsor of the National Book Awards. As Professor of Theatre & Dance at MSU, he originated and teaches the undergraduate writing seminar, Danceaturgy: The Performer as Spectator; and is also the Director ofThe Creative Research Center. Dr. Baldwin is currently under contract with Alfred A. Knopf Publishers/Random House for his forthcoming biography, Martha Graham: When Dance Became Modern.
|Heather Benton, MFA
Coordinator, BFA Acting Program
Heather Benton received her MFA in Acting from the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at the American Repertory Theatre/Moscow Art Theatre at Harvard University in 2003. She joins MSU from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts conservatory in New York where she was a member of the faculty for five years and the head of the movement department. Prof. Benton’s expertise is in a multiple-technique approach to actor training that includes Stanislavsky, Practical Aesthetics and Viewpoints. As a professional Equity actress she has participated in several national tours and worked in regional theatres across the country including American Repertory Theatre, Montana Repertory Theatre, North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, Sierra Repertory Theatre, Annex Theatre, Book It Repertory Theatre, Village Theatre and the Children’s Theatre Company. Benton is a company member of the international theatre company East River Commedia and has created and performed several original pieces (Living With Betty, Half Awake and Falling Through the Sky and Chasing Immortality, a Performance-Lecture) for various festivals in New York City.
|Jessica Brater, PhD
Coordinator, Theatre Studies BA & MA Programs
Dr. Jessica Brater comes to Montclair State from the University of New Haven, where she served as Visiting Assistant Professor, Theater Program Coordinator, and Assistant Dean. Her book, Ruth Maleczech at Mabou Mines: Woman’s Work, was published by Methuen Drama in 2016. Chapters on Mabou Mines appear in two forthcoming anthologies on collective creation from Palgrave Macmillan. Other writing has appeared in publications including Aujord’hui/Samuel Beckett Today and Theatre Journal. Brater’s research aims to bring attention to art and artists who have been underrepresented historically in theatre criticism and onstage. Brater is the founding Artistic Director of Polybe + Seats. Over the company’s fifteen-year history, they have partnered with other Brooklyn cultural organizations including the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92, the Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge, and the Old Stone House to create socially engaged work. With Polybe + Seats, Brater is directing Sarah Badiyah Sakaan’s The Art of Hijab, Kohl Black, and the Right Way to Pray, a new play that explores Muslim feminist identity. Following a 2014-16 residency at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, Polybe has a Creative Space grant from ART/NY to develop the project and has partnered with the Arab American Association of New York to present a full production. Brater’s teaching encourages students to map connections between theater literature, history, and theory and their own stage practice, challenging them to excel both intellectually and creatively and to examine connections between the performative and the political.
|Eric Diamond, MFA
Deputy Chairperson, Theatre
Theatre, Musical Theatre
Eric Diamond is a Professor of Theatre and Deputy Chairman of the Department of Theatre and Dance, as well as coordinator of the Musical Theatre minor. He has written and directed two original musicals produced by the department, Speak Easy and A Day in the Life. Prof. Diamond earned his BFA in Music Composition from Penn State University, and his MFA in Musical Theatre from Temple University. Before coming to Montclair State, Prof. Diamond spent over eleven years working in professional theatre in New York City. Off-Broadway he musical directed and/or composed music for Playwright's Horizons, The American Globe Theatre, The Acting Company, and on Broadway for George Abbott's musical play Broadway which played at the Royale Theatre. He was a member of ASCAP’s Musical Theatre Composer’s Workshop has spent two seasons at both the Williamstown Theatre Festival as resident composer and musical director, and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. He has musical directed departmental productions such asPippin, Gypsy, Grease, Godspell, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, A Chorus Line and Fiddler on The Roof and has composed and arranged incidental and vocal music for productions such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Inherit The Wind, The Grapes of Wrath, and Nicholas Nickleby. Prof. Diamond created the musical arrangements and orchestrations and played keyboards for The Best of Broadway, a College of the Arts' musical production that traveled to the Ukraine and to Holland. He composed and arranged music for Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost at the University of the Arts’ Artsbank Theatre in Philadelphia.
*Note: Based in the College of Humanities
|Susan Kerner, MFA
Susan Kerner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance. A member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, her directing credits include productions in New York, London, Shanghai, and at major regional theatres throughout the United States including the Tony Award-winning Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Indiana Repertory Theatre, and Meadow Brook Theatre (MI). As Resident Director at George Street Playhouse for 10 seasons, her critically acclaimed productions include the American premiere of Tom Kempinski’s Separation, and the world premiere of James Still’s award-winning And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank. Prof. Kerner has taught and directed at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, New York University in London, Rutgers University, and Drew University. She served on a National Endowment for the Arts' Theatre panel for Education and Access and the National Advisory Committee for the Theatre Praxis. A 1996 recipient of the New Jersey Governor’s Award in Arts Education, she holds graduate degrees in Dramatic Literature from Columbia University and Directing from Boston University. She was a Fulbright Scholar in India and has taught and directed theatre programs in Greece, Italy, England, China, and Korea.
|Deborah Saivetz, Ph.D.
Acting, Directing, Concept & Collaboration
Debbie Saivetz has directed and/or developed new plays at New York and regional theaters such as the Foundry, the Lark, Fulcrum, Clubbed Thumb, Rattlestick, Ensemble Studio Theater, Voice & Vision, Red Bull, INTAR, American Lyric Theater, the Playwrights' Center, Hartford Stage, the Goodman, the Guthrie, Long Wharf and Seattle Rep. Her international directing work and collaborations include the New York premiere of Javier Malpica's Our Dad is in Atlantis (Working Theater, NYC); the Mexican premiere of Sarah Ruhl's La Casa Limpia/The Clean House (Teatro Helénico, Mexico City); Verónica Musalem's Rebanadas de vida/Slices of Life (Lab Trece, Mexico City); Ruhl's Eurídice (La Casa de los Teatros, Oaxaca) and Roland Schimmelpfennig's Noche Árabe/Arabian Night and El Dragón Dorado/The Golden Dragon (Teatro La Llave, Santiago, Chile). Recently she performed in Exodus:LONEtheater (teatroSOLO), a site-specific theatrical intervention created by Argentine theater artist Matías Umpierrez for New York City's Underground Zero Festival and Umpierrez's Novela at the Martin E.Segal Theater Center, CUNY. Debbie is a Drama League of New York Directing Fellow, a New Georges Affiliate Artist and Audrey Resident, an alumna of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab and was a George Abbott Resident Director at New Dramatists. She is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and Actors' Equity Association.
Voice for Performer
Movement for the Actor
Theatre History, Senior BA Project