Spotlight on Alumni - Fall 2012

Students graduating from the College of the Arts go on to pursue successful careers as actors, dancers, directors, choreographers, technicians, producers, filmmakers, teachers and arts administrators, among others. The alumni are part of our extended family and their numerous successes are our successes:

 Montclair State Theatre Alumni Make Their Mark

What do Kevin Carolan, currently on Broadway in the musical Newsies, and Edward Gero, who recently completed a seven-week run in Washington, DC, as artist Mark Rothko in the play Red, have in common? Both are proud alumni of Montclair State University. Read the full article.

Alumnus Tom Kaminsky is the “Jam Master” (New York Post)

Read the full article in The New York Post.


Alumna Karen Horne Honored at College of the Arts' Convocation

Karen Horne, who graduated with a BA in Speech and Theatre, with a concentration in Broadcasting, from the College of the Arts in 1985, received the Leonardis Distinguished Alumni Award at the College of the Arts’ Convocation on May 13. Horne is currently vice president of Diversity Programs for NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios. Read the full article here.

Art and Design

ROBERTO CHABEBE's (BFA in Graphic Design ’10) design work for Showpaper magazine was included in the “Millennium Magazines” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, NYC, February 20-May 14.

CARLOS BENITEZ (BFA in Fine Arts/Studio, Graphic Design Specialization ’06), ELLA RUE (BA in Fine Arts, Graphic Design Studio Specialization ’02), and DAVID VIOREANU (BA in Fine Arts/Graphic Design Studio Specialization ‘03) each won awards for their graphic design work at the 49th Annual Art Directors Club of New Jersey’s Awards Show, May 17.

Communication and Media

TANIA IVANOVA, ’09 was nominated for three Emmy Awards for her work on Due Process.

NICK CLUNN ('01) was recognized by two journalism associations this year for exposing improper overtime payments that were made to the Paterson mayor and other city officials after the Hurricane Irene disaster. The series of stories, which appeared in The Record, led to the return of $50,000 in overtime payments, scrutiny from state officials and reforms to city policies. The stories won First Place, Local News, from the state chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and Second Place, First Amendment, from the New Jersey Press Association. Clunn has been a staff writer at The Record since 2007.

LISA MARIE LATINO (Broadcasting, '06) recently moved her production company, Long Shot Productions, to Fairfield. The pre- and post- production facility opened in the summer, and many MSU alumni, students and staff attended the grand opening event on June 22nd. 

PHIL MCCRICKARD  (2011) is currently working as script coordinator for ABC News' Good Morning America. He began work last winter, after meeting fellow alum CRAIG VIECHEC (2007) during the Senior Seminar networking project in April '11.

August ’11, January ’12 and May ’12 grads currently employed (in New Jersey unless otherwise indicated) include:

BIANCA BENEVENGA, Freelance Technical Associate, News 12, Edison
SARAH BROTHERTON, PA, Networks, MTV Networks, New York, N.Y.
CRISTIAN DEMARCO, News writer, Telemundo, Fort Lee,
BRIAN HENRY, PA, Fox NewsChannel, New York, N.Y.
BOB HOFFMAN, Media Manager, NJTV, Montclair
KEEGAN KINGETER, Set PA, Made In Jersey, CBS Television, N.Y.
RANDALL PAYTON, Technical Operations, Control Room/Studio Coverage, CNBC, Englewood Cliffs
JASMINA POLANCO, PA, IW Productions, New York, N.Y.
ERIC TITUS, CBS Page, CBS Network, New York, N.Y.
KYLE WILLIAMS, PA, CNBC, Englewood Cliffs  


JACK BLASZKIEWICZ (BMus, Performance ’10), a former piano student of MARK PAKMAN, was accepted as a full scholarship doctoral student in musicology at Eastman School of Music, where he is studying now.

STEVE POLANIN (BMus, Education ‘11) is the Vocal Music Specialist at Travell Elementary School in Ridgewood, N.J. He teaches general music grades K-5, works with other district music educators on curriculum benchmarks and assessment, and leads students in eight concerts a year. He is pursuing a master's degree in education with a concentration in special education from Walden University, which will be completed in June 2014.

LESLEY FRIEND (BM ‘06, Voice Performance) was an Apprentice Artist with the Sarasota Opera in the winter of 2012. She will be the Soprano Artist in Residence at Opera Memphis for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 seasons.

MICHAEL MAHADEEN's (BMus ’10, Music Education) composition Winter Lights (2008), was performed by the NJ Region I High School Orchestra, conducted by PATRICK BURNS (Adjunct Professor, Theory/Composition).

Theatre and Dance

KRISTEN VANDERVEER (BFA 2010) is performing with Kennedy Dancers.

SARA FUNICELLO (BA 2012) taught in a summer program for Children of migrant farm workers in Gloucester County.

SARAH GARVEY (BFA 2005) is dancing at Walt Disney World.
LAUREN MACALLISTER (BA 2012)  taught at Earl Mosley's Summer Dance Institute.

LISA PELUSO (BFA 2004) is a full company member of the Elisa Monte Dance Company.

MELISSA SANDE (BFA  2011) is pursuing her MAT at Rutgers University.

(BFA 2007) taught at the Bill T. Jones summer residency at Skidmore College and performed with ZviDance at New York Live Arts in June 2012.  She is currently pursuing her MFA at NYU.

ELISE TARANTINA (BFA 2012) is working full-time as a dancing princess in Walt Disney World.

KEVIN CAROLAN (BA Theatre/Film Studies, 1990), is currently on Broadway in the musical Newsies. (Read more.)

EDWARD GERO ( BA Speech and Theatre, 1976),  recently completed a seven-week run in Washington, DC, as artist Mark Rothko in the play Red. (Read more.)

JESSIE WHELAN (BFA 2012) is teaching at three studios in NJ:  Dawn Lau's Dance Company, Ambition Dance Academy, and Kelsea's Performing Arts Center. She also has a work study position as an assistant teacher twice a week at Peridance in Manhattan.

SHARROD WILLIAMS (BFA 2012) was selected for the National Tour of A Chorus Line in NYC playing the role of Richie Walters. Also selected were JOSEPH ROSARIO (2012) in the roles of Frank and Paul, and BONNIE KELLY (2010) who is playing the role of Bebe. WILLIAMS also performed with Doug Elkins' Fraulein Maria in June, 2012 and with Von Howard Project in September 2012.

CHELSEA KELLISH (BFA 2012) is a member of Joyce King Dance Company in Brooklyn, N.Y.

NATALIA CORDERO (BFA 2012) is assisting Earl Mosley with setting choreography at MSU.  She is also an intern for Ballet Hispanico's Educational Outreach Program at P.S. 40 in NYC.

LINDA D'AMICO (BFA 2012) just performed with The Nines, Freespace Dance, and Leon Dance Arts New York this past summer, 2012.
ELAINE GUTIERREZ (BFA 2012)  performed as an apprentice with 360degrees dance company in June, 2012.

OMAGBITSE OMAGBEME (Dance) received a Bessie Award for Outstanding Performer (of a work performed in a smaller capacity venue of less than 400 seats) for sustained achievement in the works of Keely Garfield, Ralph Lemon, David Gordon, and Urban Bush Women.

J.P. FERRERI (BFA 2004) is dancing in Newsies on Broadway.

Former BA students DARIA RAE FENEIS, ASHLEY BIEL, AMANDA GUZMAN and CLEO GRAY were all in Concussion, a film accepted into the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and  among the final 16 films--out of the 200-plus films submitted--selected to be in competition. Also starring in the film are Adjunct Acting Instructor JULIE LAWRENCE-EDSELL and JANE PETERSON, graduate program coordinator and associate professor of Theatre History and Drama Criticism.