Faculty Spotlight

The Dept. of Performing and Fine Arts takes great pride in its faculty and their accomplishments, employing educators who bring years of practical industry and academic experience to the classroom. Our standards are a testament to our faculty and their ongoing work supporting both student educational and career concerns.

 April 2012

York College Theatre and the Performing Arts Center Bring Jonathan Larson’s, RENT to life!

To conclude the 2011-2012 Season, in what is the first-ever collaborative effort among the Theatre Discipline, Music Discipline and the York College Performing Arts Center (producer Matthew Katz), the York College Theatre presents the spell-binding, captivating, and energizing Broadway smash hit musical, RENT.  This production moves to raving rock music while telling a tale of triumph and finding love in today’s tough world.

RENT is set in New York City's gritty East Village, and this revolutionary rock musical is an imaginative retelling of Puccini’s 1896 classic opera, “La Boheme”. This unforgettable and timeless story of a group of starving artists, who, despite poverty and illness, learn to fall in love and find their voices, brings a universal message of hope for everyone.  The play touches on such controversial themes as homelessness, AIDS, and drug addiction.  Filled with compassion and understanding, RENT is about one fulfilling their hopes and dreams despite inexplicable odds.

Winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize, RENT with Book, Music and Lyrics by the late Jonathan Larson, has made a lasting mark on Broadway with songs that rock and a story that really resonates, such Seasons of Love, Without You, Out Tonight, One Song Glory, I’ll Cover You, and Santa FeThis production is intended for MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY.

Under the direction of Professor Timothy J. Amrhein, this production will feature the evocative set designs of David T. Jones, built by York College students under the direction of CLT Garth Belcon.   It also features the many costumes of guest designer, Allison Crutchfield, the vivid lighting of guest designer, Daniel Winter, and the beautiful orchestration of Musical Director, Professor Jonathan Quash .   CLT, Jessica Morales, member of Actor’s Equity Association, rounds off the list as production/stage manager and choreographer.

Taso Mikroulis leads the cast as Roger Davis, a songwriter who is HIV positive, with Kevin Gomez as Mark Cohen, an independent filmmaker and Roger's roommate and Sabrina Thomas as Mimi Márquez, an exotic dancer with HIV. The cast will also feature Solomon Peck as Tom Collins, a gay philosophy professor and anarchist with AIDS; Miya Bass as Maureen Johnson, a bisexual performance artist; Erick Carter as Benjamin 'Benny' Coffin III, the local landlord and a former roommate of Roger, Mark, Collins, and Maureen; Daniel Anthony Hidalgo as Angel Dumott Schunard, a gay drag queen percussionist with AIDS and Tatiana Lizcano as Joanne Jefferson, a lawyer, who is Maureen's partner.

Ensemble members include Marc Beard, Clarence Ilanan, Jarrel Lynch, Stephen Pink, Alex Constantinides, Rickie Tice, Maria Angelina Nidea, Gabrielle Calixte, Nina Oll-Adikankwu and Nakiiya Humes.

Performances begin May 4 at 7PM, and continue running on May 5 at 7PM; May 6 at 3PM; May 11 at 7PM; May 12 at 2PM and 8PM; and conclude May 13 at 2PM.  All performances will take place in the Performing Arts Center Auditorium (94-45 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., Jamaica, NY 11451).  Tickets are $15.00 for General Admission, $12.00 for Seniors and $5.00 for Students (with a valid college ID) and can be purchased at the door, ahead of time beginning April 2, 2012 at the Performing Arts Center Box Office or online at (https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/874295).  For more information about tickets or reservations, call the York College Theatre information line (718) 262-5375, or visit RENT at York College (http://www.rentatyork.com/).  

February 2012

 Dr. Eric Metcalf (Speech Communication) will open the Spring 2012 Provost's Lecture Series with his presentation entitled, "Will Write Later."  This lecture showcases a unique collection of postcards manufactured between 1906 and 1915. Most of the cards were exchanged between two sisters – one still living in their hometown of Pawtucket, R.I., the other on Nantucket, an island off the Massachusetts coast.  Although photographic imagery had been relatively commonplace for fifty years, the color postcards were among the first visual media to have reached a mass audience. The cards depict an American nation in technological and social transition on the cusp of World War I.  February 22 from 3pm-5 in room AC 1M05.

December 2011

Professor Nicole Awai (Fine Arts) receives a Joan Mitchell Foundation, 2011 Painters and Sculptors Grant in the amount of $25,000.  The Painters & Sculptors Grant Program was established in 1993 to assist individual artists.  The grants are given to acknowledge painters and sculptors creating work of exceptional quality.

The Foundation selected nominators nationwide dedicated to supporting artists who are under-recognized for their artistic achievements and whose career would benefit from the grant.  The candidates' images were viewed for consideration through an anonymous process by a jury panel that convened in November at the office of the Joan Mitchell Foundation.  Nominators and jurors include prominent visual artists, curators, and arts educators.

Additional programs undertaken by the Foundation include free art classes for New York City youth, grants to MFA graduates to aid in their transition from academic to professional studio work, and grants to artists and arts communities in need of emergency support after a disaster.

The Joan Mitchell Foundation was established in April 1993 as a not-for-profit corporation following the death of Joan Mitchell in October 1992. The Foundation strives to fulfill the ambitions of Joan Mitchell to assist the needs of contemporary artists and to demonstrate that painting and sculpture are significant cultural necessities.

September 2011

Professor Mark Adams  and the York College Chapter Of NAFME (National Association For Music Education), formerly known as MENC will sponsor and host an Electronic Music Technology lecture/workshop on Thursday October 27, 2011 from 12:30pm - 2:00pm in Room 1M06. Given by Professor Robert Anderson, who is also a Professional Recording Engineer and Music Producer. He will talk about the use of electronics (computers, I-pod, I-phones, I-Pads, etc.) in the classroom and beyond. Learn some of today's newest recording techniques and technologies, as well as a hands-on workshop following the lecture. Students from the Queens College Chapter of NAFME will be attending as well as students and teachers from our community as well.

Professor Tom Zlabinger received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Service at the Fall 2011 Convocation ceremony.  As an active member of the Music faculty, Prof. Zlabinger continues to make a name for the York College Big Band as he spotlights student talent at several venues; both in and around the College.

August 2011

Professor Carly Gieseler studies rhetoric and its implications for gender, media, and cultural studies. She earned her M.A. in Communication from Hawaii Pacific University and her B.A. in Journalism and Mass Media from Rutgers University; her doctoral work at the University of South Florida focuses on the intersection of gendered representation and liminal performances in extreme sporting culture. Her current publications include Killing the Vamp: Analyzing the Silent Film Vamp as Gendered 'Other' and Embodiment of the Psychoanalytic Death Drive and “Sturgis 2.0: A Docu-Web Dialogue,” which focuses on mobile cultures in the forthcoming text Popularizing Research: Engaging New Media, New Audiences, New Genres. She has taught public speaking, persuasion, and women and communication. Carly joins the Department of Performing and Fine Arts (School of Arts & Sciences) as a Lecturer in Speech Communication. 

Professor Tom Marion, after wowing audiences in Queens, the York College theatre production, received rave reviews at the 15th annual New York International Fringe Festival for his production of Istwa!.  Adapted and directed by Prof. Marion and featuring a team of students mostly from the College’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts, the play, based on four classic fairy tales, originally opened at the College’s Little Theatre last October (2010) to local acclaim before being taken on the road to area public schools.  Then in August it was back on the road again -- this time to the renown Living Theatre on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

Gwynne Watkins from Time Out New York also explained: “Ten actors play all the parts—and all the scenery—in the often hilarious retelling of folktales from around the world. Restless kids will get a kick out of the “participation journey” in the middle of the show, when the ensemble guides the audience through an imaginary adventure of their own,” she said.

Lynn Berg from nytheatre.com added his own praises for the production:  “The performers rely on imagination by creating diverse settings and characters with their bodies and voices….the ensemble play humbly and generously, supporting each other as equals without attempting to hog the limelight. Alex Constantinides gave my favorite performance, providing comic accompaniment on kazoo and percussion while inventing delightful sound effects.”

Professor Marion’s faith in his troop was certainly well-placed. “The goals to be in the fringe festival were to challenge our students to the rigorous expectations of professional performance;  to expose them  to presentations from around the world produced at an international festival; to provide the opportunity to meet and share ideas with artists from around the world;  to showcase their talents on a professional stage and be professionally reviewed;  to showcase the work and name of York College to a wide audience of festival participants and patrons and to engender excitement with current and prospective students for the York College Theatre discipline,” said Marion.

Putting the opportunity into perspective, Professor Marion added that only 150 shows out of over 1000 submissions are selected for participation in the Festival each year. “I think it is very good exposure for York College in an area of the City that doesn't know of us,” he said. “I was very impressed with the professionalism of the students.” Marion needn’t have worried. He bragged that though being at the Festival is “lots of fun,” there was no time for fun and games. He noted that if one cast member arrived late, the whole performance would have been in jeopardy. This was not the case. The cast of 12, which comprised of York College undergraduates and one Queens College undergraduate, were on time each day.

“Most importantly to me,” he said, “was the energy they brought forth.   It was amazing to me to see individuals buck up to overcome their personal difficulties for the good of the entire group and the audience.” Marion said that on the last day of performance “a group of 15 tweens” with a church group from Long Island City attended the show and expressed their appreciation not so much by what they said, but by what they did afterwards. “They stayed outside and waited for the cast to appear and then begged for autographs to their programs,” said Marion. “It was wonderful to see the cast looking and being treated as the bright stars that they are.”

 For further information see the user-friendly web site on Ishtwa! at http://www.wix.com/tommarion/istwa.

 ~Article courtesy of Miguel Bernard

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