Spotlight on Alumni - Fall 2013

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:

Art and Design

LAUREN BROWN (BFA in Animation/Illustration 2009) is a background/scenic artist for the FX animated series Archer.

MATTHEW KEAN (BFA in Animation/Illustration 2012) is a senior digital modeler for animation company Mr. X. Gotham and works as a beta artist for the software company Pixologic.

DAVID KEEFE (MFA in Studio Art 2009) brought the Combat Paper NJ project to campus, September 11-14, 2012. This outreach program provides an avenue of expression for war veterans and a means toward healing trauma through art and poetry. A concurrent exhibition of art created by war veterans, “War Torn,” was presented by Gallery U in Montclair, September 15-21, 2012, as part of the Combat Paper NJ program.

CHRISTOPHER JANITZ (BFA in Industrial Design 2011) was recruited to a full-time position at Movado Group in September 2012.

AMER KOBASLIJA (MFA, 2005) exhibited Miniatures, at George Adams Gallery, N.Y., (opened September 20).


ANGELA FERRAIUOLO-THOMPSON (MA ‘09 – Music Therapy) appeared in a video highlighted in a New York Times (April ‘13) article about music therapy. Her research focused on music therapy and the families of neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) infants. She is employed in the NICU at Beth Israel Medical Center where she interned.

MICHAEL MAHADEEN (BMus ‘10 – Music Education) had three arrangements performed by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra in March, conducted by former MSU Professor Paul Hostetter. Michael is currently working with Connect4Education, an internet-based music education course developer emphasizing music technology in the classroom, composing arrangements of various orchestral and choral masterworks to be used as part of their forthcoming OnMusic Conducting course. His chamber pieces Stagedance, Flirt, and Three Movements for Mallet Percussion were published this spring by Bandworks Publications. This is the publishing company started, owned, and run by adjunct professor and alumnus PATRICK BURNS. (BMus ‘1992, MA ‘97 – Theory/Composition).

MARK STICKNEY (MA ‘98 – Performance) earned a DMA in Wind Conducting from Rutgers University and is Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Plymouth State University (NH). He recently took part in a project sponsored by the Museum of the White Mountains at Plymouth State to revive music composed specifically to entertain guests at New Hampshire's grand hotels. His new arrangements for these songs were performed this year in Boston. He is working on a similar project involving the music of Newport, RI.

Theatre and Dance

PAULA GOLDBERG (BFA Acting) served as screenwriter for the film The Perfect Family, starring Kathleen Turner and Emily Deschanel, which was a featured presentation of the first Montclair Film Festival last spring.

GIA MCGLONE (BFA Acting) is on tour with Dreamgirls.

MARC (SCHNEIDER) DONOVAN (BFA Acting) was recently featured on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and currently is in Million Dollar Quartet in Las Vegas.

BRET LADA (BFA Acting) recently appeared in the TV series The Good Wife and Person of Interest.

JASON GROTE (BFA Acting) is a playwright and screenwriter, writing for the TV series Smash and Mad Men.

JOHN WOOTEN is producing artistic director of Premiere Stages, the professional Equity theatre at Kean University, where he has developed and produced numerous new plays including Opus, The Good Counselor and Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods (winner of the American Theatre Critics Association’s 2012 Primus Prize).

LIZ MACKINTOSH is a member of Two River Theater's Local Artist Network, understudying shows directed by Sam Buntrock, Nicky Martin, and May Adrales. She traveled to Ireland last summer where she co-produced and performed in William Luce's one-woman show about Charlotte Bronte.

ALLEGRA COHEN acted in and served as a producer for the film Putzel, which was world premiered at the 2012 Woodstock Film Festival, and screened at the 2013 Palm Springs International Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival, Phoenix Film Festival (Best Picture Award winner) and Florida Film Festival.

STUART ZAGNIT is currently a cast member of the Tony Award-winning musical Newsies. His other Broadway credits include: Goldberg in The Wild Party, the Mayor of Whoville in Seussical (also original cast recordings), and The People in the Picture.

LISA GRIMES (class of 1991) is the president of Dance New Jersey and the executive director for Freespace Dance. She is on the faculty at MSU and Union County College.

ANDREW JANETTI is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Janetti Dance Company.

JP FERRARI (class of 2011) is a member of the cast of Newsies on Broadway.

ELAINE GUTIERREZ (2012) is a member of 360° Dance Company.

SHARROD WILLIAMS (2012) performed in a national tour of A Chorus Line, and is now in a national tour of Cats.

JULIE MARINUCCI (class of 2012) was accepted into Drexel University's MA program.

NICOLE SMITH (class of 2007) performed with Zvi Gotheiner and Shen Wei Dance Companies in Spring 2013.

KIM WHITTAM (class of 1991) was the 2013 recipient of the Fox Award.

KAREN LOVE (class of 1989) continues to run her dance companies, Umoja and Usaama, while teaching dance full time at Hillside High School.  She recently opened a dance studio in Union, N.J.

LISA PELUSO (class of 2000) is performing with Elisa Monte Dance Company.

MELISSA SANDE (class of 2011) and RACHEL FALLIS (class of 2007) are working on their MA in Dance Education at Rutgers University.

DONNA SCRO (class of 1991) is artistic director of Freespace Dance.

TIM KOTCHKA (class of 2009) is a member of the Martha Graham Dance Ensemble.

MICHELLE PARADISE (class of 2009) is the dance teacher at Lincoln Avenue School in Orange, N.J.

MEGAN FIBKINS (class of 2010) is a dance and math teacher at Mary Help of Christians Academy in North Haledon, N.J.

ALYSSA STROMAN (class of 2010) is the dance teacher at Perth Amboy Middle School.

LAUREN MACALLISTER (class of 2012) and ALLISON PIRRONE (class of 2013) are on faculty at the Sharron Miller Academy of Performing Arts.

BEATRICE CAPOTE (class of 2013) is on faculty at the Ailey School in N.Y.

BRANDON MONOKIAN’s Grimm Women, premiered in New York in Fall 2012, made its Philadelphia premiere this May. He is also featured in a TED Talk discussing his Page to Stage series of productions for New Jersey libraries and starred in The Ride in 2012.

ROB MCCLURE was nominated for a Tony Award for his leading role in Chaplin. He is starring as Jack in a production of Honeymoon in Vegas, with Tony Danza, at the Paper Mill Playhouse.