NEWS RELEASE: Project Girls perform at the White House

Project Girl Performance Collective, a nonprofit founded by Dyson alumna Ashley Marinaccio ’07, Theater and Sociology/Anthropology dual major, performed at the White House this past Friday at the request of First Lady Michelle Obama. Dyson student Dominique Fishback, a current junior BFA Acting major, also performed with the group.

Friday, June 24, 2011, Washington, D.C. –Project Girl Performance Collective (projectgirlperformance, a non-profit organization dedicated to the empowerment of young women (ages 12- 21) through the performing arts, today performed their show Project Girl: Congo at the White House. The event coincided with the First Lady’s trip to Africa. Project Girl: Congo raises awareness about discrimination and violence against women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Guests heard stories from the ground and participated in activities organized by the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign. Jocelyn Frye, Deputy Assistant to the President, and Director of Policy and Special Projects for the First Lady, hosted the event.

Lynn Nottage, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright for ‘Ruined,’ lauds the work of Project Girl Performance Collective. “It is incredibly moving to see Project Girls using their creative talents to raise their voices in support of women struggling against gender specific human rights abuses in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo. It reminds us that no voice is too small or weak to make a difference.”
“The honor of performing at the White House is beyond our wildest dreams,” professed Jessica Greer Morris, Executive Director of Project Girl Performance Collective. “With humble beginnings, Project Girls started by rehearsing in Washington Square Park and performing on the streets of New York City.” Founder and Artistic Director Ashley Marinaccio added, “In addition to raising the status of women, President Obama and The First Lady are acknowledging the power of performing arts in educating, organizing and creating lasting social change.” Project Girl company member Dominique Fishback, age 20, of East New York who grew up amidst “shootouts and killings” in Brooklyn, added, “Now my hood has something big to be proud of. One of their own is performing in the White House! Thank you Michelle Obama for opening your home and giving a voice to girls like me.”

The Project Girl Performance Collective empowers young women (ages 12-21) to write and perform their own work by creating a safe space to address contemporary social, political and cultural issues through the performing arts and written word. Collective members are extremely talented songwriters, choreographers and prolific spoken word poets who write about human rights issues affecting girls both at home and abroad. Project Girl Performance Collective is committed to using theatre and performance to build awareness, trigger action and social change and to raise the status of women worldwide.
For more information about Project Girl or their performance at the White House, contact: Diane Mancher, One Potata Productions,; 212-353-3478 or visit the Project Girl website “Jennifer Aniston Brings Justin Theroux Inside the Actors Studio”

Now, Jennifer Aniston is mixing business with pleasure by bringing new beau Justin Theroux to her interview with James Lipton for Inside the Actors Studio.

Lipton, who chatted with the Horrible Bosses star for nearly three hours, says he was completely captivated by Aniston’s warm personality. “She’s as quick and witty and charming as she is on screen,” Lipton told PEOPLE immediately after the interview, which will air next month on Bravo.

Now, Jennifer Aniston is mixing business with pleasure by bringing new beau Justin Theroux to her interview with James Lipton for Inside the Actors Studio.

Theroux, 39, “was sitting in the front row, and she made eye contact with him,” second-year Actors Studio MFA student Christina Schudel told at Thursday’s New York taping with Aniston, 42.  The interview will air next month on Bravo.

“Whenever there would be a lull, she would just look at him and give him a wink and go back to what she was doing,” says Schudel.

Aniston was also clearly a hit with the crowd – which roared with laughter after Lipton asked what drew the actress to the 2006 movie The Break-Up

Replied Aniston: “Well, you know it’s something I have a lot of experience with.”

“She was just so relaxed and so open,” observed Schudel. “So lovable from beginning to end. Such a sweetheart.”

Lipton, who chatted with the Horrible Bosses star for nearly three hours, says he was completely captivated by Aniston’s warm personality.

“She’s as quick and witty and charming as she is on screen,” Lipton told PEOPLE immediately after the interview.

NEWS RELEASE: “Pace Announces Nation’s New University-Based COMMERCIAL DANCE Program; Applications Being Accepted for Fall 2011”

“In talking with young dancers around the U.S., I became aware that the one thing that was missing from university dance programs was training in commercially-viable dance styles that would bridge the gap between classical training and the real world of commercial dance,” said International Choreographer Rhonda Miller. “I became excited at the possibility of creating such a program right here in one of the entertainment capitals of the world, New York City. How exciting for all dancers who attend Pace! I truly look forward to the continual growth in excitement for dance at Pace University.”

Pace Media Relations Contact: Samuella Becker,, 212-346-1637 or 917-734-5172


Pace University Offers COMMERCIAL DANCE Program, Spearheaded by World-Renowned Choreographer Rhonda Miller

NEW YORK, NY, June 21, 2011 — One of the most sought-after choreographers and dance lecturers from coast to coast, Rhonda Miller, has been tapped to spearhead Pace University’s new Commercial Dance program.

The program provides specialized training for dance careers in stage, television, and commercials in a wide range of styles and forms including ballet, jazz, tap, and hip hop, to name a few. The program will also include two required dance history courses. It was developed in response to both student and industry demand and will be offered starting Fall 2011. 

“As far as we know it is the only state-approved, university-based commercial dance training program in the country, which means that we are training students for all media, not just the stage,” said Grant Kretchik, Director of the university’s BFA Acting program. 

“It really complements our programs in musical theater, acting, technical theater and directing,” said Nira Herrmann, Dean of Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, which houses the Performing Arts Department at Pace. “Additionally it represents our continued growth and innovation in developing arts programs in Downtown New York.” 

Professor Miller has been teaching dance classes at Pace University for three years as a lecturer and created the successful showcase, “Dance Out Loud!” which just wrapped its second year. 

“I love working with her. She is unarguably a great addition to this department and program. What is amazing about her is that she is tough; she demands a lot from her students – and they respond to her. She really inspires them not just to have great technical form but also to believe in themselves as dancers. She just wants to constantly raise the bar and they respond. … The dance program is hot right now,” said Kretchik. 

Miller became a full-time dance lecturer at Pace University in 2008. 

“In talking with young dancers around the U.S., I became aware that the one thing that was missing from university dance programs was training in commercially-viable dance styles that would bridge the gap between classical training and the real world of commercial dance,” said Miller. “I became excited at the possibility of creating such a program right here in one of the entertainment capitals of the world, New York City. How exciting for all dancers who attend Pace! I truly look forward to the continual growth in excitement for dance at Pace University.” 

For information on how to Apply and Audition for Pace’s new Commercial Dance program, visit  or call 212-346-1352.

About Rhonda Miller

Rhonda Miller was a founder and co-owner of L.A.’s premiere dance studio, The Edge, and was the leader of its convention business, L.A. DanceForce, for many years. She has been one of the most sought-after choreographer/dance instructors in the U.S. dance convention industry, teaching for New York City Dance Alliance, Tremaine, Dance Masters of America, Dance Makers and individual studios around the U.S. and Canada. 

Miller holds a BFA from the University of Utah and an MPA from Oklahoma City University. She has been a guest lecture/master teacher and choreographer for Dean College, Cornish College, Bellevue College and Oklahoma City University. Her professional choreography credits cover all aspects of dance on Broadway, Television and Film.  After relocating to New York, Rhonda’s work caught the eye of Broadway director-choreographer Jerry Mitchell, who included her on his team for the renowned Broadway Bares. Stage credits are Nothing Like A Dame at the Marquis Theater in New York City, ABC Daytime Salutes at Town Hall; All Shook Up, CHICAGO, City of Angels, RENT, A Christmas Carol and The Wild Party. Off Broadway credits include Have a Nice Life, Austentatious, Gemini, The Musical and Common Grounds for which she won a NYMF Outstanding Choreography Award. Television credits include General Hospital, The Boys for HBO; It’s Garry Shandling’s Show for HBO. Rhonda’s work has also been seen in commercials and industrials for such Fortune 500 companies as Chrysler, Toys R Us, Warner Brothers, Exxon-Mobil Apple Computers. Recently she was stage director for NICKELODEON UPFRONTS, and worked with CATHERINE ZETA JONES on the AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE Awards. She is also in development for a new Broadway Dance Project, Eve’s Turn. 

About Performing Arts at Pace University

Pace University’s Dyson College of Arts and Sciences offers Bachelor of Fine Arts Degrees in Acting and Musical Theater and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater Arts with specialized focuses in Acting, Commercial Dance, Directing or Design/Technical Theater.  For more information, visit 

At the graduate level, Dyson College is also home to The Actors Studio Drama School offering the only MFA theater program officially sanctioned by The Actors Studio. The entire faculty is chosen and approved – and the curriculum is designed and supervised – jointly by the leadership of The Actors Studio through its Curriculum Advisory Committee, including the Presidents of The Actors Studio, Ellen Burstyn, Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino and Dyson College. All students — actors, directors, playwrights – train side-by-side as actors.  All students participate in the Craft Seminars known to the world as the Bravo Network television series, “Inside the Actors Studio,” hosted by James Lipton.  For further information about the program, go to 

About Pace University

For 105 years, Pace University has produced 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.

### “Theater at the Tank and Warner|Shaw Present ‘Six Seeds’ June 2-11”

A modern retelling of a celebrated Greek myth, SIX SEEDS has been chosen for Theater at the Tank’s curated series. The two-week run begins June 2. SIX SEEDS was conceived and directed by Pace Adjunct Professor Annie G. Levy and features Pace undergrad Emily Asaro (Ensemble).

Thousands of years before Patty Hearst, Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Lee Dugard were the subjects of primetime specials and made-for-TV movies … a young girl named Persephone was violently abducted by a man who forcibly made her his wife.  SIX SEEDS: The Persephone Project, conceived and directed by Pace Adjunct Professor Annie G. Levy, finds Persephone herself in group therapy, telling her own story in her own words for the first time.  SIX SEEDS also features Emily Asaro, a Pace performing arts student (undergraduate).

Omaha World-Herald: “Nebraskan to graduate from N.Y. Actors Studio”

Lincoln native Melissa Rosenberger will graduate this month from the Actors Studio Drama School in New York City.

Rosenberger’s family will travel to New York to see her repertory season performances in “Gypsy,” “Fool for Love” and “Dutchman” for her thesis.

Actress Melissa Rosenberger, 35, won a coveted place at the Actors Studio Drama School (ASDS) at Pace University in 2008.

ASDS is the only officially sanctioned master’s degree program of the Actors Studio. 

Founded in 1947, the Actors Studio has had many illustrious graduates, including fellow Nebraskan Marlon Brando. Ellen Burstyn, Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino are its co-presidents.

BroadwayWorld: “Academy Award-Winning Actress Melissa Leo Welcomes MFA Candidates of The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace to the Profession”

Oscar Winner and Actors Studio Member Melissa Leo offered personal words of encouragement to the 31 MFA candidates (actors, playwrights and directors) of The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University after attending the final performance of their 2011 Repertory Season.

“Welcome to the profession, and don’t let anyone take away your dreams, ” advised Melissa Leo, who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as the loving yet manipulative mother in The Fighter earlier this year. “Being an actor is a wonderful life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,”

Also on hand and offering their own “words of wisdom” following the last performance of The Actors Studio Drama School’s 2011 Repertory Season were James Lipton, Dean Emeritus and Executive Producer, Writer and Host of Bravo’s Inside The Actors Studio;  Andreas Manolikakis, Director of  The Actors Studio MFA Program at Pace (pictured with Melissa Leo); and Nira Herrmann, PhD. Dean, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences.

Click here to read more and view the group photo on BroadwayWorld.

EVENT ADVISORY: Score One FREE Ticket to Pace Performing Arts Production of The Who’s “Tommy” with Pace ID – Friday, April 1, 2 PM Matinee

This is NOT an April Fools’ joke but a very special offer from Pace Performing Arts!

Present your Pace ID at the Schimmel Theater Box Office on Friday, April 1st for a complimentary ticket to the 2 pm performance of “The Who’s Tommy.”

Peter Townshend’s tale of a young boy’s journey from pain to triumph is the most electrifying afternoon/evening of rock and roll ever to play in a theatre!

“Tommy” is an explosive, Tony Award-winning rock musical, based on the classic concept album by The Who.  It tells the story of a psychosomatically blind, deaf, and mute boy who gains fame through his superstar talent for pinball and later becomes a cult guru, through songs like “Pinball Wizard” and “See Me, Feel Me.”

Fox 5 (WNYW-TV NY): “The $1,000 Haircut”

What’s the most you’ve ever paid for a haircut?

Desiree Elle, an Actors Studio Drama School ’11 MFA Candidate (Acting), received a $1,000 haircut courtesy of Italian hair guru Rossano Ferretti … just in time for The Actors Studio Drama School’s Repertory Season, April 13 – May 14.

It’s been Rossano Ferretti’s dream since he was 14 years old and living in a tiny town in Parma, Italy, to one day open a hair salon in New York City. 

Growing up between Paris and Montreal,  Desiree Elle’s dream was to move to New York City and pursue an MFA in Acting at The Actors Studio Drama School. 

Ferretti’s and Elle’s worlds came together recently over a $1,000 haircut in a salon on Madison Avenue, caught on camera by Fox 5.

NEW YORK TIMES: Theater Review | ‘The Merchant of Venice’

At a time when “anti-Semitism… has blighted if not ended two major careers” in fashion and show business,” the “terrific” production of Shakespeares “The Merchant of Venice” now at Pace is “oddly fitting,” according to The New York Times’s rave review.

Evoking the “bottom-line obsessed world of today’s Wall Street,” F. Murray Abraham’s Shylock has “a fierce hatred in his heart, but on the surface struggles to maintain a steady cool,” says the reviewer, Charles Isherwood. Abraham”s performance in many ways exceeds even that of Al Pacino, Isherwood says.

What Price a Pound of Flesh?


If you’ve scanned the headlines recently, you have no doubt been freshly reminded that the toxin of anti-Semitism has hardly been eradicated from contemporary culture. In the last couple of weeks it has surfaced spectacularly in the worlds of show business and fashion, blighting, if not ending, two major careers.

How oddly fitting, in these strange circumstances, that New York should play host to a terrific production of “The Merchant of Venice,” arriving just weeks after the last one closed. The new staging, from Theater for a New Audience, features F. Murray Abraham as Shylock. (I don’t need to remind you of who starred in the just-closed Broadway version, do I?) The production, directed by Darko Tresnjak and originally produced in 2007, can be seen at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University through March 13 before a tour to Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles.

Modern dress is often the default choice of directors trying to signpost Shakespeare’s relevance today, but Mr. Tresnjak’s version, evoking the bottom-line-obsessed world of today’s Wall Street, resonates more deeply than most in suggesting how the calculations of profit and loss are integral to even the most intimate human relationships. With the businessmen of Venice attired in sleek dark suits and sporting the latest in high-tech gadgetry, Mr. Tresnjak’s nuanced interpretation also points toward the casual, collective prejudice — whether it is anti-Semitism, misogyny or homophobia — that still germinates among all-male societies today.

Most impressive, however, are the fully realized performances in literally all of the play’s roles. Mr. Tresnjak and his superb cast allow us to see with unusual clarity the light and the dark in Shakespeare’s characters, not just the wronged but vengeful Shylock and his nemesis, the casually bigoted Antonio (Tom Nelis), but also the wise, loving Portia (Kate MacCluggage), who sees fit to test her husband’s love with unnecessary calculation, and comparatively insignificant players like the servant Launcelot Gobbo (a spirited, funny Jacob Ming-Trent).

Shakespeare’s profound understanding of human complexity is rendered with such care that we register sharply how both cruelty and compassion, ignorance and intelligence, mercy and injustice reside not just in any human heart, but also in every human heart. A late-coming speech we often only half-hear, a celebration of the music of the spheres from the minor character Lorenzo (Vince Nappo), makes a powerful impression, encapsulating the lamentable truth the production illuminates.

Gazing up at the stars, he muses, “Such harmony is in immortal souls,/But whilst this muddy vesture of decay/Doth grossly enclose it, we cannot hear it.” Disharmony is the condition of fallen humanity, and even the noblest and most loving hearts are deeply flawed.

Mr. Abraham’s Shylock is probably the finest I’ve seen, although the British actor Henry Goodman was terrific in a National Theater production in London some years ago. It would be coy to avoid any comparisons with Al Pacino’s exciting, savage-spirited performance for the Public Theater production in Central Park and, later, Broadway. Both Mr. Abraham and Mr. Pacino are first-rate actors, I need hardly say, but Mr. Abraham is the more rigorous classicist, phrasing the language with an attentive care for rhythm and clarity.

Mr. Pacino brought intense fire and a revelatory anger to Shylock’s most famous speech (“If you prick us, do we not bleed?”). Mr. Abraham delivers it with a complicated mixture of bitterness and implacable logic. As a man who must negotiate the decorous halls of the contemporary business world, Mr. Abraham’s Shylock keeps a tighter lid on his rage, and on his humiliation, too. In flashing asides we see how the treatment he has received has stoked a fierce hatred in his heart, but on the surface he struggles to maintain a steady cool, even when he is being taunted and beaten.

Mr. Abraham’s Shylock is also piercingly moving when he gives way to a desperate grief at the loss of his daughter (and, yes, the ducats on which his pride as a successful businessman in an antipathetic world rests). Speaking to Tubal of the ring he cherished as a remembrance of his wife, he breaks down in tears, and Mr. Abraham makes us feel acutely how his suffering and his thirst for revenge are tragically, inextricably linked.

As Portia, Ms. MacCluggage radiates a forthright intelligence inflected with both humor and, when she has declared her love for Bassanio (Lucas Hall), a glowing warmth. Mr. Hall’s Bassanio is touching in the sincerity and simplicity of his ardor, and in his deep filial feeling for Antonio, as well. (I think the impulsive kiss in the trial scene is a mistake, however; hints of homosexuality don’t violate the word of the text, but is such literalism necessary?)

Mr. Nelis’s Antonio bears himself with an upright stoicism, and his affection for Bassanio is written in gentle but true colors. We see, too, the reflexive prejudice that has him unthinkingly take out his handkerchief to wipe his hand after shaking Shylock’s. And yet it is of course Antonio, rather more than the unflinching Portia (in disguise), who grants Shylock at least a little of the mercy she so eloquently invokes in the trial scene.

The smaller roles are filled equally well: Ted Schneider is a frat-boyishly funny Gratiano, Christen Simon Marabate a poised Nerissa. Melissa Miller and Mr. Nappo are unusually vivid as Shylock’s daughter, Jessica, and her beloved Lorenzo, their uneasy relations clearly haunted by the shadow of the prevalent prejudice against Jews and by her guilt at having abandoned her father.

Love in Shakespeare’s plays is rarely a simple matter, but it is almost always presented as an example of humanity’s noblest impulses, the best of what man can become. Blissful unions conclude most of the great comedies.

“The Merchant of Venice,” which is technically classified as a comedy, is no exception. But in this troubling play the love matches bring grief in their wake, just as the pursuit of justice — ostensibly a righteous mission — also proves an act of inhuman cruelty. Without piling on the atmospheric gloom, as Daniel Sullivan’s Broadway production sometimes did, Mr. Tresnjak’s first-rate interpretation makes these complications get under your skin in a way they rarely do. You are left with the disheartening thought that it is possible to do right and wrong at the same time.

Read the article with photos on the New York Times web site here. La MaMa and Pace celebrate Tennessee Williams’ Birthday reported that Pace’s Performing Arts department will perform three of Tennessee Williams’ one-act plays to mark the centennial of his birth at the award-winning theater landmark La MaMa Expirimental Theater Club this March. reported that Pace’s Performing Arts department will perform three of Tennessee Williams’ one-act plays to mark the centennial of his birth at the award-winning theater landmark La MaMa Expirimental Theater Club this March. The show is entitled, “Three From Tennessee”.

Read the full article at

Read the press release or visit Pace’s Performing Arts Department!