NEWS ADVISORY: The Actors Studio Drama School Presents The “Graduating MFA Playwrights Staged Reading Series”

Sean Michael Welch, the author of 140 plays, is the only graduating playwright in this year’s MFA program.

NEWS ADVISORY: SATURDAY, MARCH 3 AND SUNDAY, MARCH 4, 2012 AT 2 PM

THE ACTORS STUDIO DRAMA SCHOOL (ASDS) AT PACE UNIVERSITY AND PLAYWRIGHT/FACULTY MEMBER EDWARD ALLAN BAKER INVITE YOU TO DISCOVER A PROMISING NEW STORYTELLER:

 Sean Michael Welch, Actors Studio Drama School MFA ’12 Candidate, Playwright

Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival Award Winner (1999, 2000)

 Staged Readings of Welch’s two plays – Inventory and Murdertown – performed and directed by his ASDS classmates, are gripping tales of:

  • Corporate greed
  • Lost obsessions
  • Sex industry

WHEN & WHAT (PLAY SYNOPSIS):

  • Saturday, March 3 at 2:00 pm. Inventory: full-length play, cast of 11, about a man tracking down a past infatuation: a woman he worked with at a sex shop/massage parlor 20 years ago. Directed by Ken Urso.
  • Sunday, March 4 at 2:00 pm. Murdertown: one-act play, cast of 5, about a corporation’s desire to turn Flint, Michigan, into the world’s largest amusement park.  Directed by Colleen Britt and Chris Triebel.

WHERE: Pace University, One Pace Plaza, New York, NY 10038. Black Box Studio Theater, Room W509. Directions: http://bit.ly/eUwAch

RSVP/COST: Email ASDSReadings@pace.edu or call (212) 501- 2177. Tickets are free but space is limited so reservations are strongly advised.

MEDIA CONTACT: Samuella Becker, sbecker2@pace.edu, 212-346-1637 or 917-734-5172

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT: Sean Michael Welch was awarded the 1999 Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival John Cauble Short Play Award for Earl the Vampire, and won the 2000 KC/ACTF Region III Ten-Minute Play Competition for Charleston’s Finger. Past productions of his work include Slab, Try Not to Step on the Naked Man, Rise Up You Bloody Animals, and Boise, Idaho. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan – Flint (BA 2000, Drama). Learn more about the 140 plays he has written to date at: www.freewebs.com/seanmichaelwelch/theworks.htm

The New York Times, Theater Review: “A Family’s Songs of Love and Loss, ‘Myths and Hymns,’ Directed by Elizabeth Lucas”

Performing Arts students Donell James Foreman ’12, Matthew Farcher ’12 (pictured), Pace alumna Ally Bonino ’11 and Performing Arts Assistant Professor Robert Meffe are getting major accolades for their work in “Myths and Hymns.”

Chief Theater Writer Charles Isherwood’s review of “Myths and Hymns” appeared on the front page of The New York Times “TheArts” section on February 9 and included accolades for several members of the Pace Performing Arts community – Donell James Foreman (BFA ’12), Matthew Farcher (BFA ’12), Pace alumna Ally Bonino (BFA ’11) and Performing Arts Assistant Professor Robert Meffe.
 
HIGHLIGHTS FROM ISHERWOOD’S THEATER REVIEW:
 
As the original title indicates, it’s a musically eclectic collection of songs that alternates between adaptations of 19th-century hymns and classic myths with contemporary lyrics supplied (mostly) by Mr. Guettel (best known for his Broadway musical “The Light in the Piazza”). Ms. Lucas has shown judicious taste in supplying only minimal dialogue for the new version: the songs remain the focus of the show, expertly performed by a five-member band in spare orchestrations by Bruce Coughlin and Robert Meffe and sung with bright fervor by a six talented singers.
 
Over a simple, lilting music-box melody Ms. Larsen laments the disappearance of yet another lover. (They are all played by the fine tenor Matthew Farcher – pictured)
 
Myths and Hymns

Music and lyrics by Adam Guettel, with new narrative by Elizabeth Lucas; directed by Ms. Lucas; choreography by Wendy Seyb; music supervisor, Robert Meffe; sets by Ann Bartek; costumes by Emily Morgan DeAngelis; lighting by Herrick Goldman; sound by Janie Bullard; musical director, Katya Stanislavskaya; stage manager, Kristine Ayers. Presented by Prospect Theater Company, Cara Reichel, producing artistic director; Melissa Huber, managing director. At the West End Theater, Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, 263 West 86th Street, Manhattan; (212) 352-3101; prospecttheater.org. Through Feb. 26. Running time: 1 hour 20 minutes.

WITH: Linda Balgord (Woman), Ally Bonino (Trickster), Matthew Farcher (Lover), Donell James Foreman (Shapeshifter), Anika Larsen (Daughter), Lucas Steele (Son) and Bob Stillman (Husband).

Cincinnati.com: “Loveland actor – and Pace Musical Theater Major – works his way onto ‘CSI'”

Beau Cybulski, a musical theater major at Pace University’s campus in New York City, made his TV debut on “CSI: Miami” Sunday, January 29.

Beau Cybulski didn’t mind eating Domino’s pizza on Thanksgiving, because he was in Los Angeles to make his national TV debut on “CSI: Miami,” airing tonight.

“They flew me out there,” Cybulski told writer Chuck Gibson of the Loveland Herald weekly. “I actually got to go sit on set all day. I got to get a feel for everything and learn how everything works on set. It was really, really cool.”

The 2010 Loveland High School graduate, now a musical theater major at Pace University in New York, plays Cameron Locke, the son of the murdered skydiver on the show (10 p.m. today, Channel 12).

Last year, Cybulksi contacted the show, which is produced by Loveland High School graduate Ann Donahue.

He sent producers a video audition, but was told they “wanted someone older,” said Cybulski.

The young actor came home this weekend for his 20th birthday Friday to watch the show with his family.

“Three weeks later they actually sent over another part,” he said. “It was more specific for me, my age and my type. That one I ended up getting.”

CBS’ description for the “Terminal Velocity” episode simply says:

“When a skydiver is murdered, the CSIs discover that he has more than 100 children and all of them are suspects.”

In high school, Cybulski starred in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” sang with Loveland Show Choirs and performed in “Don’t Stop the Music” at King’s Island.

Theatermania: “Cosmin Chivu, Joseph V. Mellilo Set for Pace University’s Performing Arts Masters Series Discussion”

The Performing Arts Masters Series at Pace University is dedicated to providing the new generation of students/artists with the opportunity of interacting with well-established, outstanding professionals that have developed new voices and ideas.

Editor-in-Chief Brian Scott Lipton noted Dyson’s inaugural Masters Series in Theatermania’s THEATER NEWS column:

Pace University’s Masters Series will present a special panel discussion on “Promoting and Creating New Work” at 6pm on Monday, February 13 at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts.

Cosmin Chivu, director of Directing at Pace Performing Arts, will moderate the discussion, which will feature Lincoln Center Theater’s Anne Cattaneo, The Public Theater’s Maria Goyanes, and BAM’s Joseph V. Mellilo.

Admission is free, but reservations are recommended. Email PerformingArtsPress@pace.edu

 

New York Law Journal/Marketplace: Pace secures new location for its performing arts department

The leasing of new performing arts space at 140 William Street underscores Pace’s commitment to being a cultural hub for lower Manhattan.

Marketplace

Monica Paquette / New York Law Journal / January 25, 2012

Securing a new location for its performing arts department and programs, Pace University has signed a 20-year lease for the entire seven-story 140 William St. property known as Fulton Crossing. The owner of the 50,000-square-foot building is Crikos LLC.

“This was a rare opportunity for Pace University to secure an entire building of ideal size and layout in a strategic location,” William McGrath, Pace’s senior vice president and chief administrative officer, said in an e-mail. “The new space is mostly an expansion due to the success and growth of our performing arts program.”

“The location underscores Pace’s commitment to being a cultural hub for lower Manhattan,” added Jorge Luis Cacheiro, who joined the university in September 2011 and is chair of the Dyson College of Arts and Science’s Performing Arts Department at Pace University.

Bradley A. Kaufman, a partner at Pryor Cashman and member of the firm’s real estate group, and Andrea R. Gendel, of counsel in the real estate group, represented Crikos.

Jacob Bart, a partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, represented Pace University. In addition, the university was internally represented by Stephen Brodsky, university counsel, and Robert Yarbrough, assistant university counsel.

Mr. Cacheiro said the William Street building will not only accommodate Pace’s dance programs but will be the “new home” of Pace’s performing arts department, a comprehensive undergraduate program with training in multiple disciplines, including acting, musical theater, design, technology and directing.

Pace’s performing arts dance program will be leaving its current 12,000-square-foot space at 280 Broadway after its lease expires. Including 140 William St. and the planned construction of a residence hall at 180 Broadway, the university will occupy eight buildings along what has been coined “Pace corridor,” bordered by William and Fulton streets, Broadway/Park Row and Pace Plaza.

“When we started marketing the building, we were looking for institutional, full-building users,” Peter Braus, managing partner at Lee & Associates NYC that handled the lease for the owner, said in a statement. “Pace fit the bill perfectly.”

According to public records, Christopher Soukas, reportedly an affiliate of Crikos, acquired 140 William St. in 2010, and Sierra Real Estate handled the acquisition.

Pace began its search for a new building about 18 months ago. The property was largely vacant but was in need of significant renovations, which were part of the lease, said Mr. Kaufman.

The university declined to discuss financial information about the lease. Reports say the annual asking rental rate reached $1.7 million and that rate was in the $20s per square foot.

Formerly, 140 William St. was the headquarters of the American Numismatic Society, James R. Wacht, president of Lee & Associates NYC and of Sierra Real Estate, said in an e-mail. The landlord preferred finding a single tenant because “the cost of creating a multi-tenant building would have been extremely high,” he said. The property was marketed as Fulton Crossing to emphasize the strength of a highly trafficked Fulton Street location, he said.

For the 2012 performing arts spring semester, the university will receive approximately 125 to 150 new students. Next year, about 450 “majors” will be attending classes at 140 William St. with future plans to grow incrementally, Samuella Becker, assistant director of Pace University’ public relations, said in an e-mail.

“This is an extremely good deal for both parties,” Mr. Wacht said.

Pace University’s branding of 140 William St. will include exterior signage and university flags, and renovations will begin soon. The owner will be making substantial capital improvements to increase its long-term value. In addition to the creation of classrooms, faculty offices and a dance studio, plans include the design and construction of a 100-seat theater on the first floor.

On Feb. 13, Pace will unveil its new Performing Arts series at the Schimmel Theater, at One Pace Plaza.

Pace expects to occupy 140 William St. in time for the 2012 fall semester.

David A. Falk, president of New York Tri-State region at Newmark Knight Frank, along with Kyle J. Ciminelli, director, handled the lease on behalf of Pace University.

In addition to Mr. Braus and Mr. Wacht, Gabe Isaacs, Peter Levitan and Garry Steinberg, who are managing directors at Lee & Associates NYC, served Crikos.

NEWS RELEASE: Pace Celebrates La MaMa’s “Homecomings” Season with Tribute to Playwrights Who Called La MaMa Their Early Home: Maria Irene Fornés, Sam Shepard and Lanford Wilson

These three one-act plays are meant to continue Ellen Stewart’s legacy of “Welcome to La MaMa, dedicated to the playwright and all aspects of the theatre.”

February 2-12, 2012:

◦ “The Conduct of Life” by Maria Irene Fornés, directed by Ruis Woertendyke
◦ “Action” by Sam Shepard, directed by by Grant Kretchik
◦ “The Family Continues” by Lanford Wilson, directed by Cosmin Chivu

PACE at LA MaMa
Three La MaMa Playwrights: Fornes, Shepard & Wilson
Presented by La MaMa in Association with the Performing Arts Students, Pace University, NYC

February 2-12, 2012

NEW YORK, NY, January 19, 2012 – In honor of La MaMa’s 50th Anniversary, Pace University’s Performing Arts (students, alumni and faculty) celebrate La MaMa’s “Homecomings” season with a tribute to three playwrights who called La MaMa their early home:  Maria Irene Fornés, Sam Shepard and Lanford Wilson.

These three one-acts are meant to continue Ellen Stewart’s legacy of “Welcome to La MaMa, dedicated to the playwright and all aspects of the theatre.” 

“The Conduct of Life” by Maria Irene Fornés, directed by Ruis Woertendyke

“Action” by Sam Shepard, directed by Grant Kretchik

“The Family Continues” by Lanford Wilson, directed by Cosmin Chivu

“The Conduct of Life” tells the harrowing story of a Latin American wife who discovers her husband is a child rapist and torturer when he brings his victim and torture into their personal and private life.  The play is directed by Ruis Woertendyke and features Kahlil Gonzalez-Garcia, Lilah Shreeve, Jason Joseph, Julie Robles, Polina Ionina.

In Action” four friends confront the circumstances that force them together and the “action” that force them apart as they wait for the end of the world and the beginning of time.  Symbolic, absurd and humanizing “Action” propels its characters into a disturbing one-act journey. Directed by Grant Kretchik, with Xavier Reminick, Ian Cherry, Gina DeMay, Emily Asaro. A.D. Delaney Yeager.

“The Family Continues” by Lanford Wilson evokes the panorama of a young man’s life-birth, army service, marriage, job, parenthood, old age-within the brief span of its action. Highly innovative in its theatricality, the play illuminates not only the continuity of human life, but also the poignancy and bitterness which can infuse it. Directed by Cosmin Chivu, co-directed by Chad Chenail; with: Niko Papastefanou, Spencer Bazzano, Lauren Morra, Nicole Madriz, Turquoise Olezene, Courtney Taylor, Kaleb Wells, Matthew Curiano, and Patrick Pribyl. Stage manager Lizzy Caplan.

Set Design: Jeffrey Perri

Costume Design: Megan Smith

Performance Schedule:
February 2, 3, 4, 9, 10 & 11 at 10pm
February 5 & 12 at 5:30pm
La Mama’s The Club
Address: 74A East 4th Street (between 2nd Avenue and the Bowery), 2nd Floor, NY, NY 10003
By Subway: F/V to 2nd Avenue, #6 to Astor Place, N/R to 8th Street
Tickets $15; student and seniors $10
For tickets and information, contact Box Office (212) 475-7710 or www.lamama.org

About La Mama E.T.C.

Ellen Stewart founded La MaMa in 1961 in a tiny basement on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. She dedicated it to the playwright and all aspects of the theater. Today, La MaMa is a world renowned cultural institution recognized as the seed bed of new work by artists of all nations and cultures.

About Dyson College of Arts and Science’s Performing Arts Programs at Pace University:

Undergraduate: Dyson’s Performing Arts Department (PAD) offers Bachelor of Fine Arts Degrees in Acting and in Musical Theater and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater Arts with specialized focuses in Acting, Directing, Commercial Dance or Design/Technical Theater. On average, there are 1,000 applicants for every 100 new openings each year. PAD presents over 50 performances every year. Performance spaces range from the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, Schaeberle (black box) Theater, and Studio 501, home to many student-directed productions. http://www.pace.edu/dyson/academic-departments-and-programs/performing-arts

Graduate: The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University, also located in Dyson College, is the only MFA (Acting, Directing and Playwriting) theatre program officially sanctioned by the legendary Actors Studio (co-presidents Ellen Burstyn, Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino). All MFA students participate in the Craft Seminars known to the world as the Bravo Network television series Inside the Actors Studio (taped at Pace’s Schimmel Theater and open to students), hosted by James Lipton, Dean Emeritus and Co-Founder of the Actors Studio Drama School. www.Pace.edu/ASDS

About Pace University:

For 105 years, Pace University has educated thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. www.pace.edu 

Pace Media Contact: Samuella Becker, 212-346-1637 or 917-734-5172, sbecker2@pace.edu

 

 

 

NEWS RELEASE: Pace New Musicals Announce Premiere of its 2012 Official Selection, Zoe Sarnkak’s “A Lasting Impression” on January 18

Pace New Musicals has selected Zoe Sarnak’s “A Lasting Impression” – a tangled story of three artists: a composer, a writer, and a painter – as its 2012 official selection. There will be seven staged reading performances with a live band beginning January 18 at Pace’s Schaeberle Studio Theater, 41 Park Row, 10th Floor. For reservations call (212) 346-1352 or email performingarts@pace.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts: Samuella Becker, Pace Media Relations, sbecker2@pace.edu; 212-346-1637 or 917-734-5172; Robert Meffe, Music Director, rmeffe@pace.edu, 917-297-3897

Pace New Musicals Announces Premiere of its 2012 Official Selection,

Zoe Sarnak’s A Lasting Impression, at

Pace University’s Schaeberle Theater on January 18 – 22

 Staged Reading Performances with Live Band

 Directed by Amy Rogers; Music Direction by Robert Meffe

NEW YORK, NY, January 13, 2012 – Pace University’s Pace New Musicals program, dedicated to the discovery of new theater works, has selected Zoe Sarnak’s A Lasting Impression from over 50 submissions as its 2012 most promising show.

Amy Rogers, Associate Professor of Musical Theater and creator of the BFA Musical Degree program at the Dyson College of Arts & Science at Pace University, and Robert Meffe, Musical Director, are collaborating with Sarnak on a staged reading of her musical.

A Lasting Impression will be presented at Pace’s Schaeberle Studio, 41 Park Row, 10th Floor, Pace NYC Campus  from January 18-22;  performances Wednesday-Friday at 8:00PM; Saturday at 2:00 & 8:00PM and Sunday at 8:00PM.  Ticket prices: $5 for students; $10 for adults.  For reservations call (212) 346-1352 or email performingarts@pace.edu

In A Lasting Impression, each of the three lead characters chose their own artistic medium – book, music or visual design – to express one shared story. Josh, a once guarded journalist, acts as the play’s narrator, using old taped interviews and pictures to guide us through his memory of his two sisters. Kali, a manic musician, is the piece’s composer, moving in and out of “her” band as the story unfolds. Simone, a young painter, controls the evolution of what begins as a blank set, and comes to life through the addition of her visual art. A Lasting Impression is about impressions that we make through love, on those close to us, and through art, on those we may never meet.

The eight Pace Musical Theater students who will be bringing A Lasting Impression to life without costumes or scenery are (in alphabetical order, with hometown and their character roles):

  • Aaron Albert (Los Angeles, CA) as Josh Weinstein
  • Bethany Jeffery (Cincinnati, OH) as Mother
  • Taylor Noble (Glastonbury, CT) as Kali Blanche
  • Danny Quadrino (East Rockaway, NY) as Josh Understudy
  • Krista Pioppi  (Succasunna, NY) as Kali’s Band
  • Cailan Rose (Sarasota, FL) as Simone Blanche
  • Kevin Shotwell (Wilmington, DE) as Franklin
  • Emily Thomas (Pittsburgh, PA) as Kali’s Band

The actors will be supported by Alex James (Schwenksville, PA) as Stage Manager and Dylan Bustamante (Babylon, NY) as Assistant Director.

The Pace New Musicals Program was developed in 2007 to nurture the creation of new musical theater in New York City, while at the same time providing an invaluable educational opportunity for students to work directly with top professionals in the field. Perhaps most importantly, the program allows students to experiment with new, untested works without precedent-setting productions, a rare opportunity in theater education.

The BFA Musical Theater Program at Pace University began with six majors in 2002, and has grown to more than 90 majors. In 2006, Pace became only the second school in New York City to offer a BFA in Musical Theater.

Past works in the Pace New Musicals Program include staged workshops of Factory Girls by Creighton Irons, Sean Mahoney, and Maggie-Kate Coleman; Quanah by Larry Gatlin, Anthony Dodge, Marcia Milgrom Dodge; Darling by Ryan Scott Oliver and B.T. Ryback’s; Luck!, by Mark Waldrop and Brad Ross; and College: The Musical, which was later selected for a production with the New York Musical Theatre Festival where the authors, Scott Elmegreen and Drew Fornarola, won the NYMF award for Excellence In Writing (Lyrics).

ZOE SARNAK (Writer) is a composer, lyricist, and playwright. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University where her first show, The Quad, was produced in 2009. In addition to numerous concert/cabaret features and performances with her band, TheWD, Sarnak has written two new musicals including A Lasting Impression, and Mixtape, which will be featured in Silent Street Productions 2011/2012 season.

AMY ROGERS (Director) is a tenured Associate Professor of Musical Theater at Pace University where she created the BFA Musical Theatre degree program.  Originally from Canada, Amy received her degree in musical theatre from Arizona State University, and her MFA from San Diego State University.  NYC directing credits include: Carousel, College: The Musical, Ragtime, The Wild Party (Lippa), Little Women and Violet. Amy has assisted director Lonny Price on Can-Can and Kismet at Encores at City Center, Candide with the New York Philharmonic and the Emmy Award winning Passion for Live at Lincoln Center.

ROBERT MEFFE (Music Director) is a professional music director, pianist, orchestrator, and vocal coach. On Broadway he was the Associate Conductor of Little Women as well as Les Miserables for the last six years of its run. Off-Broadway: Violet, The Prince and the Pauper, and Gutenberg! The Musical!. He was the Music Director for the National Tour of The Phantom of the Opera and has played keyboards for Mamma Mia, Hairspray, Avenue Q, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Grey Gardens, and Bombay Dreams.  Meffe is the Director of Music for the Musical Theater Program at Pace University.

About Dyson College of Arts and Science’s Performing Arts Programs at Pace University:

Undergraduate: Dyson’s Performing Arts Department (PAD) offers Bachelor of Fine Arts Degrees in Acting and in Musical Theater and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater Arts with specialized focuses in Acting, Directing, Commercial Dance or Design/Technical Theater. On average, there are 1,000 applicants for every 100 new openings each year. PAD presents over 50 performances every year. Performance spaces range from the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, Schaeberle (black box) Theater, and Studio 501, home to many student-directed productions. http://www.pace.edu/dyson/academic-departments-and-programs/performing-arts

Graduate: The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University, also located in Dyson College, is the only MFA (Acting, Directing and Playwriting) theatre program officially sanctioned by the legendary Actors Studio (co-presidents Ellen Burstyn, Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino). All MFA students participate in the Craft Seminars known to the world as the Bravo Network television series Inside the Actors Studio (taped at Pace’s Schimmel Theater and open to students), hosted by James Lipton, Dean Emeritus and Co-Founder of the Actors Studio Drama School. www.Pace.edu/ASDS

About Pace University: For 105 years, Pace University has educated thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. www.pace.edu

# # #

Wall Street Journal: New Facilities for Pace

In an article by Pia Catton in The Wall Street Journal  NY Culture section on January 13, 2012, Pace’s new performing arts facilities are front and center. An article also appeared in the Commercial Observer.

From The Wall Street Journal:

No longer waiting in the wings, Pace University wants a starring role on the city’s performing-arts scene.

The Lower Manhattan campus is adding a 47,200-square-foot home for its growing Performing Arts Department. On Jan. 6, the university signed a 21-year lease for 140 William St., where renovations, to be completed in the fall, will house rehearsal spaces, classrooms, a television studio and a 100-seat theater.

“The building allows us to be on the same footing with other major programs,” said Jorge Cacheiro, chairman of the Performing Arts department. “We can change the identity of Pace in the performing arts with this building.”

Pace’s emphasis on the arts has been steadily growing in recent years. Since 2004, the Performing Arts department has added professional degrees in Acting and Musical Theater, as well as a specialization in Commercial Dance, which trains dancers seeking spots anywhere from theater to videos to television.

Later this year, Mr. Cacheiro will begin an effort to recruit nationally for the first time. “Pace is now ready to play with the big boys, to go after the same students, the same level of students,” he said.

A series of additional initiatives—including a partnership with the East Village arts space La MaMa and the Pace New Works Initiative, an incubator for theater and dance productions—also are intended to raise Pace’s profile.

The emphasis also engages the public. In September, president Stephen J. Friedman launched a new performing arts series called Pace Presents at the university’s existing Lower Manhattan venue, the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts.

The renovation at 140 William St. funded in part by a $1 million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation; it was one of 38 grants—totaling $17 million—to downtown nonprofits announced in September by Empire State Development.

Read the Wall Street Journal article here.

Read the article in the Commercial Observer here.

Read the press release here.

Naples Daily News: “Whitney Winfield soaring in ‘Next Broadway Star’ contest (vote for her!)”

Musical Theater Senior Whitney Winfield has been performing onstage since the age of 8 and has never given up on her dream of being on Broadway. She has sung in countless competitions, in addition to performing in more than 40 musicals and plays. The Pace Community can give Whitney a chance to make her goal a reality by voting for her video on the Broadway.tv website. (http://j.mp/ndnwhitney). Only Facebook Likes on the Broadway.tv website count as votes for Whitney, not Likes on YouTube.

A  musical theater major from Naples, FL, Whitney Winfield, has been making her Broadway dreams fly in the Big Apple, hurtling into the semifinals of Broadway.tv’s “Next Broadway Star” talent competition. Fans can help her win by voting for her video by “Liking” it at the Broadway.tv website. (http://www.broadway.tv/blog/broadway-blog/next-broadway-star-semifinalist-whitney-winfield/).

Naples Daily News:

“The contest has been a platform for publicizing my career,” Winfield said. “Winning the Next Broadway Star could help bring me more opportunities to audition, make more industry connections, add more videos to my portfolio on YouTube … and not to mention the $5,000 prize to help me pay off student loans.”

The Next Broadway Star” contestants compete in a series of four monthly contests at the 42nd Street McDonald’s store, the chain’s highest-grossing hamburger shop in the world.

“We perform on a balcony to a crowd below where the judges are also sitting,” Winfield said. “It is an interesting experience performing for strangers who have just come to McDonald’s to have a meal. However, much to their surprise and delight, they also get a ‘show.'”

At each performance, contestants are judged on vocal ability, energy, and stage persona. In addition to the exposure generated by the contest, the winner will receive a cash prize of $5,000 and a chance to audition for some of Broadway’s most prestigious casting directors and producers.

“The competition is strong,” Winfield said. “We get little rehearsal time and we don’t see each other’s material until an hour before the competition begins, which puts the pressure on at the very last moment.”

Winfield powered through the quarterfinals with “Gimme Gimme” from “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and rolled out rocking Dixie Chicks anthem “Sin Wagon” (complete with boots and form-fitting, off the shoulder black minidress) for the semifinals.

“I wanted to do the Dixie Chicks​ song because it’s fun,” Winfield said. “I can do many different styles, based on my background and training, and I want to share that in this competition, as well as on the Internet.

Winfield does indeed have a solid background in country music; she used to perform in country karaoke competitions in Naples and even recorded a short demo CD, which she said her father still “cherishes and will share with anyone who’s interested.”

The judges loved the sexy, country-inspired turn.

Winfield also admitted to banking on strategy in tackling the country number after picking a solid Broadway tune for her first performance.

“The more variety the better in this contest because that is what Broadway today is all about,” she said. “You really need to be able to perform any style asked of you.”

Winfield has been performing since she was 8 – and always knew she wanted to be a performer. Her first role was Besse Mae Mucho in “Aladdin McFaddin,” a children’s theater version of the Disney movie.

“My favorite part of the whole experience was the costume that I got to wear,” Winfield said. “It was a sort of harem girl’s garb, flowing and baring my midriff!”

Neapolitan audiences will remember the songstress from starring roles Naples Players productions such as “Beauty and the Beast” in 2007 and “Thoroughly Modern Millie” in 2009, plus “No, No, Nanette” at TheatreZone in January.

Winfield roared into the semifinals with a little help from her friends. Viewers can vote for their favorite contestants online via Facebook, YouTube and Broadway.tv – and Winfield called in the troops from back home. Family, friends and fellow performers – anyone with a Facebook account – helped the young warbler total up 355 “Likes” and earn her the designation as a co-favorite in the competition.

“I have been blessed with a great support system whom I have called upon to aid me in gaining votes for the contest,” Winfield said. “I am so lucky to have people who believe in me as much as they do.”

Now, she’s out to repeat the success.

Winfield left Naples at the age of 15 to attend Interlochen Arts Academy, a prestigious boarding school for the performing arts in Michigan. She’s in her senior year at Pace University in New York City, pursuing a musical theatre degree.

Right now, Winfield is staying busy. She’s working at New York cupcake shop Baked By Melissa, going to school full-time, preparing for winter finals, graduation, senior showcase and gearing up for winter and spring musical auditions. All this, plus the contest.

“There is a lot in the cooker right now,” she said, “and it is a lot to balance, but I find that I work at my best when I am busy and under pressure.”

While the future looms – and hasn’t been written yet, the talented young singer and actress is ready for it.

“In May, I will be a college graduate and I’ll go out in to the world, auditioning and performing,” Winfield said. “I am so excited for what the future holds.”

Neapolitan Whitney Winfield determined to be the ‘Next Broadway Star’ » Naples Daily News.

BACKSTAGE: “A New College Program Trains Dancers to Work in Popular Entertainment”

According to Rhonda Miller, when she approached Pace with the idea of starting a commercial dance program, the administration was extremely excited because her concept dovetailed with the university’s mission to provide students with the kind of education that helps them to make a living.

Until recently, Oklahoma City University offered the only college dance program focusing on American vernacular dance forms, preparing students for work in the commercial dance industry—theme parks, cruise ships, Las Vegas shows, Broadway musicals, films, music videos, rock concert tours, and television. Now, OCU has company. In September, Pace University, in Lower Manhattan, kicked off a new degree program: a Bachelor of Arts in theater arts with a specialized track in commercial dance.
 
The program is the brainchild of the university’s director of dance, Rhonda Miller, founder and former co-owner of the Edge, one of Los Angeles’ leading commercial dance megastudios. Miller earned a BFA in ballet from the University of Utah and a master’s degree in musical theater from OCU, where she also served on the faculty.
 
“I was inspired years ago by Jo Rowan at Oklahoma City University, and now I want to bring a very current, up-to-the-minute, inclusive approach to the study of dance in college,” Miller explains in an article in BACKSTAGE. “In my 20 years of choreographing and teaching at dance conventions all over the country, I noticed that so many young dancers are exposed to the world of commercial dance growing up, and they aspire to dance behind pop stars, or perform on Broadway and in Vegas. Most universities, however, have only begun to even consider adding jazz and hip-hop and contemporary styles to their curriculum, much less the kinds of courses that would help students transition from their dance studio training into the commercial dance industry.”
 
According to Miller, when she approached Pace with the idea of starting a commercial dance program, the administration was extremely excited because her concept dovetailed with the university’s mission to provide students with the kind of education that helps them to make a living. “Originally, Pace was a business school,” Miller says. “And in our program, the students will be given a lot of commercial dance industry inside tips. They will be given information that is current, and they will know how to navigate themselves into the commercial industry when they graduate. They will be given exposure to and will be integrated into the professional dance scenes in both New York and Los Angeles through our faculty members, all of whom are working professionals.”
 
The program’s roster of regular faculty members represents the diversity of styles demanded of commercial dancers today and includes Radio City Music Hall Rockette Lauren Gaul; Broadway veteran Melissa Rae Mahon, who has danced in “The Producers” and “Cats” and is currently appearing in “Chicago” popular New York City Dance Alliance tap teacher Mike Schulster; aerialist Joshua Dean; hip-hop choreographer Alisa Paradowski; musical theater choreographer Jen Littlefield; and ballet textbook author Janice Barringer. In addition, though the university is in New York, Miller has wide-ranging connections in the professional dance community in L.A. and has arranged for many West Coast instructors to come and work as guest artists.
 
The program’s curriculum includes course work in acting, voice and movement, the technical aspects of theater (including lighting, sound, and acoustics), and the history of dance and American musical theater, in addition to classes in a variety of dance techniques and styles.
 
“The dance classes will include traditional training as well as exposure to all the fresh movements you see on television these days and behind all of the singing stars. Also, the business of dance will be very well covered,” Miller says. “What I say to dancers is, if you’re looking for career longevity, this is the program for you. It will give you the knowledge you need to transition through different phases of your career—from performance to choreography to, say, casting assistant or director. It provides a broad view of the industry that will give you a basis from which to build a long and sustained career in the commercial entertainment world.” In addition to a seminar course in which they will explore all aspects of the dance business, students will be encouraged to take advantage of Pace’s numerous business classes.
 
Miller sums up the program’s goal as “providing an understanding of the dance performing world as well as the business of entertainment.” The university’s performing arts department, under which this program falls, recently appointed a new chair. “His approach is industry-based—not just acting, not just singing, not just dancing,” says Miller with enthusiasm. “He wants our students to understand the whole industry, and that’s particularly important for dancers, whose performing careers are so short. That expanded knowledge base is what will give them career longevity.”
 
The program prepares dancers to work not just onstage but in all entertainment mediums, and while it is currently performance-oriented, in the future Miller plans to add training for commercial choreographers. In addition, the program’s students have permission to work professionally off-campus, pursue internships, and gain as much real-world experience as possible.
 
In selecting dancers for the program, which currently has 24 students, Miller is looking for performers who have had a minimum of five years of dance training in ballet or jazz. “They must be intermediate-level dancers, not beginners,” she says. “At the audition, they will be asked to do ballet, jazz, and possibly tap or hip-hop.” Dancers interested in applying to the program can find information about auditions (which will begin in January) at www.pace.edu.