Department of Theatre & Dance



News Highlights . . .

2nd Annual “Theatre Day for Teachers” is a Hit with Secondary School Theatre Teachers

Montclair State University hosted the 2nd Annual Theatre Day for Teachers on January 9. The event provided a rare opportunity for theatre teachers to meet and network with their peers and to participate in workshops taught by theatre professionals, Montclair State faculty, and experienced high school teachers. Featuring workshops on subjects such as musical theatre, stage lighting, pop/rock vocal performance, creating characters, stage management, and improvisation, the program offered something for everyone. In addition to the workshops and networking sessions, the participants had the opportunity to hear advice on theatre careers, college theatre programs, and professional training from a panel of professors and theatre professionals.

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Montclair State University Presents First “Theatre Night Awards” for New Jersey’s High School Students

On Friday, January 9th, more than 500 students, teachers, and family members were in attendance to see 25 awards presented to high school non-musical plays for outstanding achievement in all areas of theatre production. Award presenters included award-winning actors Jordan Baker, Elaine Bromka, and Frankie Faison, producers Jane Mandel and Dan Whitten, and several Montclair State alumni who are working professionals. The event was emceed by author and Montclair State Distinguished Visiting Professor Neil Baldwin. Thirty schools from all over New Jersey participated in the event by submitting DVDs of 2008 productions that were evaluated by committees of Montclair State theatre majors, alumni and faculty. Nominated high school students performed "memorable moments" from their productions. Montclair State students and alumni also provided musical entertainment and comic sketches.

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Students Learn About Arts Management from Innovative Course and Masters Program

Dr. Neil Baldwin's course, *HOW TO RUN A NONPROFIT ARTS ORGANIZATION* was offered for the first time in the Fall 08 semester as a new addition to the growing roster of the Arts Management program offerings in the Department of Theatre and Dance. The seminar took sixteen students through six interlocking elements of nonproft arts life: Mission, Program, Constituency, Support, Board, and Staff/Administration. The intensive syllabus was enhanced by visits from distinguished special guests from the MSU community who spoke about their careers and answered questions: Rose Cali, devoted volunteer, tireless philanthropist and member of the University Board of Trustees; Jan Smith, Executive Director for Development in the University Office of Institutional Advancement; and Lisa Grimes-Van Sickle, co-director, with Donna Scro Gentile, of Freespace Dance, the intrepid, award-winning company originally created by four MSU undergraduate friends. "The nonprofit field is a very fertile career area for our idealistic and motivated MSU CART graduates," Dr. Baldwin said. "I am now developing an online management course to help expand our future outreach."

In addition to this undergraduate course, the Department of Theatre & Dance offers a graduate concentration as well as a certificate program in Arts Management.

Jorge Cachiero’s “Homburg”: An Exclusive Interview

Jorge Cacheiro is a professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance, and director of the Spring 09 MSU production of Homburg. Student Kelly Karcher had the privilege of meeting with him in our very own Café Diem. Amongst the hustle and bustle of the campus community just beginning the Spring semester, Cacheiro shared his insights regarding his very different take on this upcoming production.

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People Spotlights . . .

Faculty and Students

ELIZABETH MCPHERSON joined the faculty in September as an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the BA in Dance Education. Her book The Contributions of Martha Hill to American Dance and Dance Education, 1900-1995 was published in the spring of 2008, and she is currently at work on a new book with the working title Personal Reflections on The Bennington School of the Dance. This fall, Dr. McPherson presented papers at the New England Music Library Association conference, held at Bennington College and at the Congress on Research in Dance conference, held at Hollins University. She has an article on Anna Sokolow in the current edition of DanceTeacher Magazine, and forthcoming articles in the February and March editions. This winter, Dr. McPherson will be staging the “Chair-Pillow Dance” from Yvonne Rainer’s Continuous Projec tAltered Daily (1969) for the MSU Dance Repertory Company.

SUZANNE TRAUTH, faculty member in the Department of Theatre and Dance, and co-writer and director of the MSU campus production of Katrina: the K Word, again directed the play as part of the Katrina Week Forum Series at Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey in Madison, NJ in October 2008. Written by Lisa S. Brenner and Suzanne Trauth, this original play was inspired by true stories, with a script based on interviews with New Orleans residents in 2007. It was performed by an ensemble of professional actors and students from Montclair State University and Drew University and featured MSU alumni JON HOCHE, NINA LAW, LIZ GERECITANO, GIA MCGLONE and current student JEROME SHULER.

ERHARD ROM Assistant Professor of Scenic Design, has taught at the University of Maryland and Ithaca College. He has served as a scenic designer for opera productions such as La Boheme (Boston Lyric Opera), Tales of Hoffmann (Virginia Opera), Volpone (Wolf Trap) and many theatre productions such as Death of a Salesman at Syracuse Stage. Professor Rom has an M.F.A. in Scene Design from New York University Tisch School of the Arts and a B.A. in Music from Washington University.

On January 29th, ALYSSA STROMAN, a Dance Education major performed at Seton Hall University's Lunar Festival (Chinese New Year), in a Contemporary Ballet fused with Traditional Asian movement influences. Stroman will be performing with "The Canvas Shoe Ballet Dancers”, a newly formed group featuring dancers from the Garden States Ballet, Gateway to the Arts, and Montclair State University.

In recent years MSU theatre students have literally been sweeping the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival Awards (KC ACTF). Below is a list of our recent Irene Ryan Acting Award winners:

To learn about other awards given to MSU Theatre & Dance students, please see the full article here.


NICOLE SMITH (07’) graduated with a BFA in Dance, Summa Cum Laude. In the spring of 2008, she was honored to join the MSU dance faculty, and in May 2008 was part of Dance New Amsterdam’s first “Choreolab” in May 2008. An active company member of Donna Scro-Gentile/Freespace Dance since September 2007, Nicole also currently dances with Pascal Rekoert's company, Flexicurve, and works on the Production team at Dance New Amsterdam. While a student at MSU, Nicole was the recipient of the Department of Theater and Dance's Choreographic Excellence Award in 2005 and 2007, as well as the Linda Roberts Outstanding Senior Dance Award 2007.

DONNA SCRO GENTILE (91’) received a 2008 Fellowship from New Jersey State Council on the Arts, for excellence in choreography. Currently on the dance faculty at Montclair State University where she graduated Magna cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance, Donna is committed to bringing dance to local communities and has created choreography to inspire young artists. Regionally her work has been commissioned by Montclair State University, Montclair High School, Ridgewood High School, and Steffi Nossen School of Dance in White Plains, NY.

BARBARA SHOLZ MCCARTHY (’71), performed her cabaret act at Sesame in Montclair on January 22 and February 12. Barbara and her husband Patrick are active members of the Montclair community.

JOE BLACK (’72), and his wife Kathy produced My Favorite Animal, at the 45th Street Theatre in New York City in November. Joe and Kathy produce theater in Dallas, TX.