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CSULB Theatre Arts News

Theatre Arts Class Brings Laughter to the Community

Posted on March, 3rd 2017

Theatre of Engagment class

In April the students from the Theatre of Engagement class partnered with HealthCare Partners LB, which sponsors a monthly activity to the historic Federation Towers, a senior center that provides affordable housing for seniors and has been serving the Long Beach community for 30 years. The interactive community-based class applied their theatre practices to bring storytelling, cultural mapping, and human connection exercises to a group of people that are often forgotten. The Theatre of Community Engagement students filled the space with laughter and passionate storytelling. The success of the collaboration affirmed that HealthCare Partners will continue to sponsor THEA 418 in an ongoing community partnership.

"It was an honor to observe our students thrive in leadership, and selflessly give in accessing their humanity,"
said professor Anna Steers. Theatre of Engagment class

Cal Rep Ends 2016-2017 Season with Good Boys and True

Posted on April 24th, 2017


California State University Long Beach (CSULB) Theatre Arts Department presents Good Boys and True, written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and directed by Hugh O’Gorman. This probing family drama about a high school senior involved in an explosive scandal plays April 28 to May 13 in the Players Theatre, ending CSULB’s eclectic season of self-discovery.

Brandon Hardy leads a privileged life. He is the handsome captain of the football team at St. Joe’s School for Boys. He's a perfect son, a standout student with Ivy league dreams. He's following in his father's footsteps and a mother's dream. Then the sex tape is discovered. Circulating through the locker room at St Joe's is a tape that pulls Brandon, his family and his classmates into a spiral of lies, secrets, and life-changing choices. Is it just boys being boys? When is a secret too terrible to even speak its name? Will Brandon stay true to his mother's dream or will he follow in the footsteps of prep school boys of the past?

Read the full press release.

CSULB Theatre Arts Interrogates Gender Roles in Modern Adaptation of a Classic

Posted on April 5th, 2017


Ingmar Bergman’s Nora, adapted and translated by Frederick J. Marker opens April 14 at California State University Long Beach Theatre Arts in the Studio Theatre. This lean and stripped down adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House sheds light on a world where independence is outrageous and feminism is scandalous.

Nora, a loving mother and devoted housewife, relishes in her marriage to her husband Torvald. When an old friend from her past arrives on her doorstep, the threads of her reality begin to come undone and Nora realizes that her past will soon resurface. Has Nora been keeping secrets from her husband, or has she been hiding the truth from herself all along? Nora tells the classic story of A Doll’s House in a fast-paced, modernized manner, which includes the infamous ’door slam heard around the world’, invoking countless debates and discussions regarding the plights of women since A Doll’s House first premiered in 1879.

Read the full press release on A Doll's House.

Theatre Arts Faculty Receives Fulbright Award

Posted on March 2nd, 2017

Professor Shanti Pillai

Dr. Shanti Pillai, an artist, scholar, writer, and Theatre Arts faculty member has been awarded a Fulbright Research Award. The Fulbright Research Award is a highly competitive scholarship that funds research for international education. The Fulbright Program seeks to increase mutual understanding and support friendly and peaceful relations between people of the United States and of other countries. “This award is a testament to Dr. Pillai’s incredible work as an artist and a scholar,” said Department Chair Jeff Janisheski.

Dr. Pillai’s research with women artists’ contributions to the evolving world of contemporary performance in India focuses on how these women have paved the road to new forms of performance practice that offer alternative perspectives on the relationship between the body, space, and identity. The Fulbright Research Award will fund her work in India in support of her book project, Feminist Kinesthesia: Women as Innovators of Contemporary Performance in India.

CSULB Theatre Arts Grapples With Race in Dynamic Coming of Age Musical

Posted on February 27th, 2017


California State University Long Beach (CSULB) Theatre Arts presents The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, with book, music and lyrics by Kirsten Childs and directed by Dr. Jaye Austin Williams. This imaginative and multifaceted musical follows Viveca, a black woman who hides behind a mask of cheerfulness while searching for success on the Broadway stage and for love in her life. Viveca pursues her dreams from 1960s LA to present day New York City, navigating through some of America’s most turbulent times. Playing March 10 to March 25 in the University Theatre, The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin continues CSULB Theatre Arts’ “season of self-discovery.”

Read the full press release on The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin.

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Jaye Austin Williams, History/Literature & Criticism/Performance

  • March 2017: Dr. Jaye Austin William's meditation on gentrification, "A Paradoxical Stroll Down Harlem's Memory Lane," has been published on the Oxford University Press's blog.
  • November 2016: Dr. Jaye Austin Williams is visiting director at Chapman University this fall, directing Intimate Apparel by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage. Set in 1905 New York City during the burgeoning of the textile industry, Nottage underscores the oft-untold stories of Black women (and men) who were laboring hard, and against a great deal of violent pushback, to enter the industrial project in the United States. Tickets and event information is available.

Trevor Biship, Directing

  • October 2016: Trevor is directing a staged reading of Lauren Yee's latest play at the Chance Theatre in Anaheim. This is Trevor's sixth production with the Chance. Learn more.

Anthony Byrnes, Theatre Management

Andrea Caban, Voice and Speech

Professor Andrea Caban has toured her solo play The Voice Bank, originally workshopped and produced in the Theatre Arts Department in October of 2015, to various places including Penn State’s Art and Design Research Incubator, UC Santa Cruz’s Department of Biological and Physical Sciences and Chicago’s Greenhouse Theater Solo Celebration in conjunction with the Voice and Speech Trainer’s Association Conference. The Voice Bank tells the story of one woman who defies her ALS diagnosis to fight for the privilege to keep speaking. Caban plays both herself and Terry, a woman with an indomitable spirit and a passion for performance, as they manage Terry’s progressing symptoms through voice and accent training. With every performance, Caban partners with local chapters of the ALS Association to raise awareness for the disease and the research around it.

David Jacques, Lighting Design

  • February 2017: Jacques designed lights for Chicago Opera Theatre's The Invention of Morel.
  • January 2017: The fourth edition of Jacques' lighting design textbook Introduction to the Musical Art of Stage Lighting Design was published and is available on Amazon. He designed the lights for Utah Opera's Man of La Mancha
  • November 2016: Jacques designed lights for Ainadamar by Osvaldo Golijov at the Bing Theater at USC, running November 16 - 20.
  • October 2016: The English National Opera featured Jacques' lighting design in their production of Tosca at The Coliseum in the West End of London.

Jeff Janisheski, Department Chair

Dr. Joanne Gordon, Directing

Hugh O'Gorman, Acting

  • Invited to participate in the Super Space Artist interviews project
  • Published Article “Stanislavski’s Event Analysis” with the Athens Journal of Humanities & Arts, Volume 4, Issue 4, October 2017
  • August 2016: Lead Orientation Workshop for incoming CSULB MBA Students
  • July 2016: Planned, recruited, organized and course coordinated the Michael Chekhov Acting Technique workshop for the CSU Summer Arts Festival in Monterey Bay, CA for over 40 students.
  • July 2016: Served as Best Acting Judge, 3rd year in a row for the Southern California Creative And Innovative Film Festival in Los Angeles, CA
  • July 2016: CSU Low-Residency MFA in Acting Strategy and Vision Meeting at the CSULB Karl Anatol Center. With CSU Professors, Dr. John Mayer, Dr. Jim VOlz, Anne D’Zmura, Cynthia DeCure and Rob Clare (RSC) and Kim Rubenstein (UCSD).
  • June/July 2016: Faculty for The Michael Chekhov Association of American’s annual International Workshop and Festival at Conn College, The Eugene O’Neil Theatre Center in CT. Taught classes in the Michael Chekhov technique to over 60 participants.
  • June 2016: Planned, Organized, and Chaired the 3rd Annual Congress of the Craftsmen of Dionysus: a society of acting teachers in NYC at the Juilliard School’s Drama Division. Over 30 Acting teachers from around the country were in attendance. Master Classes by Stephen Wangh, Joy, Joanna Merlin and Carol Rosenfeld, with a Key Note Address to the Society by Head of Acting at the Yale School of Drama, Ron Van Lieu
  • May 2016: Chaired “Panel #2 on the Education and Training of Actors" at the Athens Institution for Education and Research’s 7th Annual Conference on Visual and Performing Artsin Athens, Greece.
  • May 2016: Presented Paper “Stanislavski’s Event Analysis” at the Athens Institution for Education and Research’s 7th Annual Conference on Visual and Performing Arts “Panel #1 on the Education and Training of Actors” in Athens, Greece.

Shanti Pillai, History/Literature & Criticism/Performance

  • March 2017: Dr. Shanti Pillai has been awarded a Fulbright Research Award to conduct research in India in support of her book project, Feminist Kinesthesia: Women as Innovators of Contemporary Performance in India.

Nancy Jo Smith, Costume Design

  • October/November 2016: I have an art piece "Kakemono" in an exhibit of the International Shibori Symposium at Centro de las Artes de San Agustin in Oaxaca, MX.
  • October 2016: Showed wall art and garments at Bellagio Art Gallery in Asheville, NC

Sarah Underwood Saviano, Performance

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Class of 2016

  • Sean Book, MBA/MFA in Theatre Management has accepted a position as the Philanthropic Engagement Manager for Children's Musical Theatre San Jose.
  • Caitlin Bryson, MBA/MFA in Theatre Management has accepted a position as the Management Associate for Page73 Productions in New York City.
  • Tahirih Moeller, BA won second place in the Hip Hop Theater Creator Awards at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for her play A Live Mixtape. Her play Actually Oranges will be produced at Long Beach Playhouse in 2017 by Up and Coming Actors.
  • David Weber, MFA in Performance Pedagogy is directing Harvest by Manjula Padmanabhan at the Illinois State University School of Theatre and Dance, where he is an Assistant Professor of Acting. This futuristic Indian play won the 1997 Onassis Prize for the best new international play, and runs April 14 - 22, 2017. Mmore information about the production is avaialble.

Class of 2015

  • Elena Flores, MFA in Costume Design designed the costumes for Echo Theatre's production of Dry Land, which is being remounted at Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theatre May 12 - 21, 2017 as part of CTG's "Block Party" celebration of Los Angeles theatre.
  • Megan Knowles, MFA in Costume Design created an original gown for faculty member Alexandra Billings to wear to the 2016 Emmy Awards, and was named to both Variety and ABC TV's Best Dressed lists.
  • Colleen McCandless, BA has won the John Cauble Short Play Award from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for her play Fledgling, which will be directed by Jeanette Farr-Harkins, the National Playwriting Program Chair for KCACTF, at Glendale Community College, April 1st - April 11th. Additionally, Fledgling is being expanded to 90 minutes and performed at the STAGEStheatre in Fullerton from April 1st - April 9th.

Class of 2014

  • Demi Boyd has accepted a position as the resident stage manager for the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet.
  • Kyle Gladfelter has accepted a position as lead stage manager for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at University Studios Hollywood.

Class of 2013

  • Sebastian Arboldedo, BA in Performance is in his third year of the MFA Acting Program at Yale School of Drama, where he is starring in Blood Wedding.
  • Amanda Knehans, MFA in Sceneic Design designed the sets for Echo Theatre's production of Dry Land, which is being remounted at Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theatre May 12 - 21, 2017 as part of CTG's "Block Party" celebration of Los Angeles theatre.

Class of 2011

  • Erica Larocque , MBA/MFA in Theatre Management recently started as the Events Manager for GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD).

Class of 2010

  • Madison Mooney, BA has been named Executive Director of the Long Beach Playhouse.

Class of 2008

  • Raymond Lee, BA has been cast in an upcoming Alan Ball-led HBO TV series, and was featured on the February 2017 cover of American Theatre. He played Quang in Manhattan Theatre Club's production of Vietgone. Lee originated the role in the world premier at South Coast Repertory in 2015. Learn more.
  • Sean Gray, BA has been named Artistic Director of the Long Beach Playhouse.

Class of 2007

  • Christina Vee (Velenzuela) is the voice of the Ladybug on Nickelodeon's Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir

Class of 2006

  • Jeremy Aluma, BA in Performance, the founder and Artistic Director of the award-winning Four Clowns clown troupe, has been accepted into and is now attending the MFA in Directing Program at The Theatre School at DePaul University. Jeremy is a member of the CSULB Theatre Arts Alumni Mentor Circle.
  • MacKenzie Meehan, BA in Performance, plays Polly on HBO's new series Vinyl.

Class of 2005

  • Sylvia Bush (née Cervantes), BA in Performance, an LA-based director, has been accepted into and is now attending the UCLA MFA Directing Program. She is the recipient of UCLA's Graduate Opportunity Fellowship.

Class of 2002

Class of 2000

  • Jason Rogel, BA has been cast as Ricky in Kevin from Work. He has also starred in Hart of Dixie, Dexter, Bones, The Office, Man Up!, Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous and the SyFy Original Swamp Shark. Jason is a member of the CSULB Theatre Arts Alumni Mentor Circle.
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