Variety Shows Stand the Test of Time

  Diane Cypkin presents scrapbook to Ellen Sowchek

At Pace for nearly 25 years, Diane Cypkin, Dyson professor in Dyson College’s Media, Communications and Visual Arts department on the Pleasantville campus, has produced many annual holiday shows that cast Pace faculty, staff, and even some intrepid students.

“It’s all about the fun, and being part of a community, whether you’re on the stage, or in the audience,” says Cypkin. Think of comedic theater, perhaps a little vaudeville, and you get the picture. Music, comedy skits, adventurous costumes, a little dancing, and lots of parody were involved in every show. With themes ranging from the Wild West to the “Epic ‘Tail’ of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” a good time was guaranteed for all.

Fellow Dyson Media, Communications and Visual Arts department professor Ellen Mandel, who had a role in nearly every show, says, “The shows that my dear colleague and friend Diane Cypkin wrote, directed, and starred in, brought the whole Pace community together like a big family.”

Professor Cypkin also produced a “Spring Fest – A Joyful Spring Variety Show” at the Bronx V.A. as a part of the Pace Centennial Celebration in 2006. This variety show, which featured Pace cheerleaders, students, faculty and staff, was a tremendous hit with the veterans who reside at the facility. “I have a very warm place in my heart for the American soldier.  I was born after World War II in a Displaced Persons Camp in Munich, Germany run by the American Army. Indeed, the captain there, whose name was Wachtel, was a handsome guy from Brooklyn! They – the soldiers – did all they could and more for the survivors of the Holocaust, and my family was part of that survivor group.”

Her hard work has not gone unnoticed. In recognition of her “extraordinary service in helping others on behalf of Pace University,” Cypkin was awarded the President’s Extra Mile Award in 2009.

It’s all captured in a scrapbook that Cypkin has lovingly created and donated to Pace’s archives. “Because I was an archivist at the Museum of the City of New York for almost ten years, I know well how to keep things, so the photos in the scrapbook will never yellow. It will be forever,” says Cypkin.