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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.
Neil Baldwin, PhD, critically-acclaimed author, editor, and cultural historian, has published many works of nonfiction and biography over the course of his long career in the arts. As Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance, he has created two new courses representing his teaching passions: Introduction to Dramaturgy: The Questioning Spirit (for undergraduates); and How to Run a Nonprofit Arts Organization (for the graduate MA Program in Arts and Museum Management). He also focuses upon introductory classes in The Theatrical Medium and Play Script Interpretation. Dr. Baldwin invented a new writing and critical discipline, "Danceaturgy," in which he works in close collaboration with the Dance Division faculty and students exploring the arc of the repertory every year; and shares his broad historical expertise as "Talk Back" moderator for many performing arts productions. As a further teaching innovation, Dr. Baldwin engages in ongoing email correspondence with faculty and students in drama and dance over the course of the semesters' productions. He is founding Director of The Creative Research Center, and serves with great pleasure as Faculty Advisor to the Theatre and Dance Honor Society, Theta Alpha Phi.
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. 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
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.
Brian Cichocki, MFA
Eric Diamond is a Professor of Theatre and Deputy Chair 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 as Pippin, 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.
Mark S. Hardy, MFA
Mark Hardy (B.F.A. in Acting, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and M.F.A in Theatre Pedagogy, Virginia Commonwealth University) comes to Montclair State from Northern Kentucky University, where he taught Acting and Musical Theatre Performance. His direction of plays and musicals has garnered awards from the League of Cincinnati Theatres and the Cincinnati Acclaim Awards, including a recent production of the Alice Childress play Trouble In Mind. Other notable directing credits include successful productions of Carousel, Titanic, The Taming of the Shrew, and The Women. Ongoing international teaching has taken him to China, Croatia, Romania, London, and Greece. As an actor and singer, he worked professionally in NYC for 18 years in such productions as Les Miserables, Titanic, A New Brain, and The Rothschilds, and in national tours of Sunset Boulevard, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Les Miserables. His regional credits include Dan in the regional premiere of Next To Normal at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, and leading roles at GeVa, Denver Center Theatre, and Houston Grand Opera, among others.
Clay James, a native Miamian is a three-time recipient of the American Regional Theatre Award for Outstanding Direction and Choreography, the Moss Hart Award, the NHTA Award for Outstanding Choreography, and currently serves as Coordinator of Musical Theatre for Montclair State University – John J. Cali School of Music, Department of Theatre and Dance. For MSU, he directed and staged the NJ premiere of Parade, A Grand Night For Singing, Cabaret, And the World Goes Round, The Full Monty, A Bernstein Tribute, Crazy for You and Side Show among others. He has directed and/or choreographed for the St. Louis Muny Opera, Playhouse in the Park, Shores Performing Arts Center, North Shore Music Theatre, Kenley Players, Smithville Theatre, Jones Beach Marine Theatre, Resorts International, Walt Disney Productions, Mt. Washington Valley Theatre Company, Zeiterion Theatre, Flint Star Theatre, Westgate Dinner Theatre, Fiesta Dinner Theatre, Star Theatre of Taunton, The New Bedford Festival Theatre, The Pink Garter Theatre, and repeatedly served as Associate Choreographer for the Orange Bowl Halftime and Parade for NBC. As a performer, he has appeared in over 40 productions on Broadway, off Broadway, national tours, regional and Summer Stock. Prof. James's education and training includes a B.F.A. in Theatre (Acting/Directing) with a minor in Music (Vocal Performance) and an M.F.A. (Directing) from Florida Atlantic University. He is an active member in Actors Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, The Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and the National Alliance for Musical Theatre. Other choreographic and directing assignments include industrials for IBM, FTD, Gulf and Western, American Parts Service, Children’s Resources and The City of Miami.
Joe Joyce graduated with honors from the M.F.A. Musical Theatre program at San Diego State University and earned his B.F.A. in Drama from Boston University College of Fine Arts. He has taught on the faculties of San Diego State University and AMDA (American Musical Dramatic Academy) College and Conservatory in Los Angeles. He has also appeared on Broadway in Swinging On A Star and toured with the Broadway companies of La Cage Aux Folles and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. He is a proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA.
Lori Katterhenry received her BFA and MFA degrees in Dance from Florida State University and earned a CMA from the Laban Institute of Movement Studies in New York City. She was the Program Coordinator for the Montclair State University Division of Dance since 1986 and has been the Deputy Chair for the Department of Theatre and Dance since 2008. She is also the Artistic Director for the MSU Repertory Dance Company. Her works have been selected for performance at numerous Regional American College Dance Festivals and at three National American College Dance Festivals in 1983, 1986 and 1990. Prof. Katterhenry has been a guest artist at Rice University, University of New Mexico, Theater on Podol in Kiev, and Theatre et Mouvement Festival in Montpellier, France. Her work Undone was selected for performance in the Humor Unplucked Festival in New York City in 1996. In June ‘97, she traveled to Australia with members of the MSU School of the Arts, MSU dance students and alumni for performances and cultural enrichment in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. She choreographed and performed in the Pro Danza Italia Summer Dance Festival in Castiglioncello, Italy in 1998 and 1999. Prof. Katterhenry was a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Schools of Dance from 2003-2009.
Scene Design, Drafting I
Kumi Dikengil Kay
Kathleen Kelley is a choreographer, dancer, and dance filmmaker who recently joined the faculty of Montclair State University as an Assistant Professor of Dance Technique and Technology. Her choreographic work integrates the logic of dance performance into fields such as film, interactive technology, poetry, sculpture, and software design in addition to live performance. She has taught and designed courses in choreography for the camera, dance documentation, the history of dance cinema, and interactive performance technology with iPads. Originally from North Carolina, she received her BFA from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and her MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prof. Kelley is the artistic director of the independent dance and media company, Kathleen Kelley Dance (2010-present) and she was the co-artistic director of the NYC-based Labor Force Dances from 2006-2010. Her choreography has been shown at venues in North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, and New York, including the Center for Performance Research, the Tank NYC, the John Ryan Theater, Triskelion Arts Center, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Chez Bushwick, Dance New Amsterdam, Movement Research Open Performance, and Studio A.I.R. Her latest project, Digitized Figures, premiered in Boston at the Dance Complex in October 2014. As a performer, Prof. Kelley has performed internationally with artists such as NYC choreographers Deganit Shemy and Mei Yin Ng.
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.
Gary John La Rosa
Elizabeth McPherson, Ph.D.
Dr. McPherson is an associate professor and coordinator of the BA in Dance at Montclair State University. She received her BFA from Juilliard, followed by an MA from The City College of New York, and a PhD from New York University. She is the author of The Bennington School of the Dance: A History in Writings and Interviews and The Contributions of Martha Hill to American Dance and Dance Education, 1900-1995, in addition to articles and reviews for Ballet Review, Dance Teacher Magazine, Attitude: The Dancers’ Magazine and The Journal of Dance Education. Dr. McPherson has staged numerous 20th century dance works from Labanotation and other sources. Recent projects include Charles Weidman’s Lynchtown and excerpts from Anna Sokolow’s Scenes from the Music of Charles Ives. She is a board member of the Martha Hill Dance Fund and on the professional advisory committee of the Dance Notation Bureau. Performance credits include: Ernesta Corvino’s Dance Circle Company, Avodah Dance Ensemble, and the Louis Johnson Dance Theatre.
David Morgan, MFA
Randy Mugleston is the Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Montclair State University. He has an undergraduate degree from Utah State University and a graduate degree in Theatre Technology from Indiana State University. Over the years, he has designed many productions at Montclair State, as well as served as the Technical Director for most of the theatre department’s productions. He has also designed lights off-Broadway in New York City and sets and lights for several dance spaces.
Debra Bergsma Otte, MFA
Debra Bergsma Otte (Program Coordinator for Production and Design) is a professor of design at Montclair State University. She teaches in both the Fashion Studies Program and the Theatre and Dance Department. Her design credits include costume designs for many regional, off-Broadway and University productions, television, dance, puppet design for Henson Associates and industrial design work for Parker Davis, Chrysler and Burger King. In 1999 and again in 2005, she was honored to receive the Kennedy Center Gold Medallion for her work with the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. She holds an MFA in Design from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University.
Linda Roberts was on the faculty of Montclair State University from 1971-2013. In 2001, she was awarded the Alumni Association Outstanding Faculty Award. Over the years, she has developed and taught a number of courses and helped to establish degree programs for the University. She has also been active at the state level in developing teacher certification for dance. Prof. Roberts currently teaches Dance History, Improvisation, Dance Appreciation, Methods and Materials for Teaching Dance and a section of the New Student Seminar course for dance majors. As a leading dancer in the DANCES/Janet Soares Company from 1971-1982, she performed in several New York City venues including ChoreoConcerts at The New School for Social Research, Dance Uptown, the American Theatre Laboratory, Dance Theatre Workshop, and The Little Orchestra Society concerts at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center. Under the auspices of the DANCES/Janet Soares Company, and sponsored by Young Audiences, Prof. Roberts served as an artist in residence in New York City Schools from 1975-1980. After leaving the company, from 1987-1992, she gave solo performances of reconstructed Baroque dances from the 17th and 18th centuries.
Erhard Rom (set designer) is currently the head of the Scenic Design area in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Montclair State University. He has designed settings for more than 150 productions throughout North America, including the recent Canadian premiere of John Adams' opera Nixon in China. His designs have been featured in the Prague Quadrennial International Design Exhibition.
His work includes numerous engagements with Minnesota Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Virginia Opera, Wolf Trap Opera and Lyric Opera of Kansas City. His work has also been seen frequently at Syracuse Stage and Geva Theatre Center in New York State. Other Theatre Companies he has worked for include: Indiana Repertory Theatre, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Folger Shakespeare Theatre, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Interact Theatre, and the Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington DC. He has also designed for Opera Cleveland, Kentucky Opera, Ordway Music Theatre, Opera Festival of New Jersey, Curtis Institute of Music, San Francisco Opera Center, Oklahoma Mozart Festival and for ABC Television.
Prof. Rom received his BA in Music from the University of Washington, and his M.F.A. in Design from the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. He is a member of the United Scenic Artists, Local 829.
Deborah Saivetz has directed and developed new work with New York and regional theaters such as The Foundry, Rattlestick Playwright’s Theater, Ensemble Studio Theater, New Dramatists, Voice & Vision, Red Bull Theater, INTAR, the Goodman, the Guthrie, Long Wharf and Seattle Rep. Her directing credits include Javier Malpica’s Our Dad Is in Atlantis (Working Theater), Sarah Ruhl’s Late:A Cowboy Song (Clubbed Thumb), Catherine Filloux’s Passion.com (HB Playwrights’ Theater), Carmen Rivera’s The Next Cycle (Women’s Project & Productions), Caridad Svich’s Twelve Ophelias (Baruch Performing Arts Center), and Elizabeth Egloff’s The Nose (Drama League of New York). Regional theater directing credits include Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas’s Bird in the Hand (Hartford Stage), Svich’s Perdita Gracia and Egloff’s Phaedra (New York Stage and Film/Powerhouse Theater), her own adaptation of Donald Barthelme’s Novel The King (ShakespeareTheatre of New Jersey), and Wallace Shawn’s Marie and Bruce (Parallax Theater, Chicago). For the Lark Play Development Center’s U.S./Mexico Playwright Exchange, she directed Irela de Viller’s Quetzalcoatl Puddle, Cutberto López’s Yamaha 300, Verónica Musalem’s Adela and Juana, and Jorge Celaya’s Van Gogh in New York. She directed the Spanish-language translation of Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House for Mexico City’s DramaFest ‘08, and is collaborating with the Oaxaca-based Teatro Cuauhpanco on a Spanish-language production of Ruhl's Eurydice. Prof. Saivetz is a New Georges Affiliate Artist, an alumna of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, a Drama League Directing Fellow, and was a 2004–2005 Resident Director at New Dramatists. She is the author of An Event in Space: JoAnne Akalaitis in Rehearsal.
Maxine Steinman has had an extensive career as a performer, teacher, and choreographer, spanning over 24 years. Her company, Maxine Steinman & Dancers, has been presented in numerous festivals and venues in the US and abroad such as Joyce Soho, The 92ndStreet Y Harkness Dance Festival, the Westfest Dance Festival, the American Dance Guild Festival, DUMBO, the Joan Weil Center for Dance at Alvin Ailey, and in Taiwan, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Japan, Italy, and Cyprus, where she also taught classes. The O'Donnell-Green Foundation for Music and Dance awarded Prof. Steinman two grants for her choreographic work in collaboration with composers Dred Scott and Matthew Ferry. Over the past 16 years, she has been creating choreographic works for colleges and conservatories in the US and abroad, consistently setting new work on students from Montclair State University, Hofstra University, Marymount Manhattan College and the Ailey School, where she also served as faculty. Prof. Steinman was a soloist with the Eleo Pomare Dance Company for 12 years and has performed with Denishawn Repertory Dancers, Mafata Dance Company, Robin Becker, Regina Larkin, Sue Bernhard, Spiritdance, Danceimprints, and in special projects with the José Limón Dance Company, among others. For two years, she directed the LINKS Program (the Limón Initiative Nurturing Kids Program), for the Limón Foundation, and currently stages excerpts of A Choreographic Offering by Jose Limón for universities. Prof. Steinman's education includes a BFA in dance from Adelphi University, an MA degree in Dance and Dance Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and an MFA in Dance/Performance from the University of Wisconsin Peck School of the Arts.
Christian von Howard, MFA
Christian von Howard holds advanced degrees in Performance and Choreography from the School of Classical and Contemporary, Texas Christian University, and Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Prof. von Howard is the Artistic Director of the VON HOWARD PROJECT, a New York-based contemporary dance company. As an international dance artist, he has worked with many renowned choreographic and producing artists such as Doug Varone, Fernando Bujones, Douglas Becker, Germaul Barnes, Daniel Gwirtzman and various others. He is a NJ State Council of the Arts Choreographic Fellow (2006). His choreographic work has been produced in various venues across the globe including Germany, Japan, Bulgaria, Colombia, Chile, South Korea, and in the states at Dance Theater Workshop (now New York Live Arts), Joyce SoHo, Dixon Place, Ailey Citigroup Theater and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., to name a few. His teaching artist highlights include the Interlochen Arts Camp, Dance New Amsterdam, the American Dance Festival, Korean Dance Festival and the Dance It! Festival (Bulgaria). Prof. von Howard is a 2013/2014 recipient of the Distinguished Achievement in Teaching Award from Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of the Arts, where he was on faculty from 2008-2014. Outside of his academic and creative work at Montclair State University, he concurrently teaches at the Alvin Ailey School in New York City where he has been on faculty since 1998.
Eva Yaa Asantewaa