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Playbill featured Dyson Professor Keelay Gipson in "Keelay Gipson and Stacey Rose Launch Initiative to Hold Theatres Accountable"

06/03/2020

Playbill featured Dyson Professor Keelay Gipson in "Keelay Gipson and Stacey Rose Launch Initiative to Hold Theatres Accountable"

Keelay Gipson—activist, professor at Pace University, and award-winning playwright—and award-winning playwright Stacey Rose have launched a call to action on their Facebook pages for Black artists to hold theatres accountable in how they relate to, work with, and present Black artistry.

The post reads:

“Many of us feel a sense of deep betrayal after the lag in response to gross violations to Black bodies around the nation by the illustrious institutions that claim to hold our stories so dear. We are living in revolutionary times. It is time to revolutionize how we create as individuals, and how we engage White spaces should we choose to moving forward. Equity is no longer a request. It's a requirement. 

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"Playbill" featured Pace University in "Pace University Establishes New Program to Increase Diversity in Theatre and Media Arts"

09/03/2019

"Playbill" featured Pace University in "Pace University Establishes New Program to Increase Diversity in Theatre and Media Arts"

Thanks to a three-year, $585,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Pace University is launching the new Writing for Diversity and Equity in Theater and Media Arts Fellows Program.

The initiative aims to develop diverse and inclusive voices in media and the performing arts by selecting undergraduate arts and humanities majors from underrepresented communities of color for a fellowship. The program will give students the tools and support needed to embark on sustainable careers as writers in the entertainment industry. Activities within the fellowship are set to include mentoring and guidance, networking opportunities, and access to industry professionals representative of intersectional diversity.

“In my own career I have seen a lack of diversity in the sciences, and in the media and entertainment industries,” says Pace Provost Dr. Vanya Quiñones. “With the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this new program will help develop diverse voices by providing students with the necessary training to tell their own stories on our country’s screens and stages.”

“It is fitting that Pace University is leading the effort to have underrepresented communities gain their fair share of voice when it comes to the telling of their stories in mainstream film, television, plays and other media,” adds Dyson College of Arts and Sciences Dean Dr. Nira Herrmann. “Our motto of Opportunitas speaks directly to providing our population of diverse students the education they need to be part of an important paradigm shift in how the media tells the stories of disenfranchised populations. We are thrilled that the Mellon Foundation is supporting this initiative.”

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"Playbill" featured Pace University Performing Arts Students in "Laura Benanti, John Cariani, Gavin Creel, and Megan Hilty Join 2019 Broadway Back to School Lineup"

08/21/2019

"Playbill" featured Pace University Performing Arts Students in "Laura Benanti, John Cariani, Gavin Creel, and Megan Hilty Join 2019 Broadway Back to School Lineup"

Tony winners Laura Benanti and Gavin Creel and Tony nominees John Cariani and Megan Hilty have joined the roster of Broadway stars set to appear at the fifth annual Broadway Back to School gala, an event that gives back to school theatre by supporting the Educational Theatre Foundation (ETF).

The four join the event's previously announced hosts Celia Keenan-Bolger and Chita Rivera at the September 22 event, held at the Edison Ballroom.

Also scheduled to perform at the event are Keenan-Bolger's To Kill a Mockingbird co-star Will Pullen, Drama Desk nominee Evan Ruggiero, Thespian alum Alex Stone, and Kinky Boots star J. Harrison Ghee.

Cariani will introduce Derailed, by 2019 Thespian Musicalworks and 2018 Thespian Playworks finalist Jared Goudsmit. Pullen, joined by Pace University student and Thespian alum Victor Colasurdo and current New Jersey Thespian Qawiyya Haqq, will perform a scene written by a student playwright from Kirkwood, Missouri's Troupe 748.

The evening will also honor Hairspray and Catch Me If You Can songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman with the Broadway Back to School Award in recognition of their efforts to build access and excellence in school theatre.

Keenan-Bolger will be joined by co-host Brannon Evans of Omaha, Nebraska, the winner of the 2019 International Thespian Society Democracyworks essay contest. Evans wrote about performing To Kill a Mockingbird and how the experience impacted and inspired her.

The fifth annual Broadway Back to School gala has been assembled by a creative team comprising Artistic Director J. Jason Daunter, creative producer Matt Conover, musical director Christine Riley, musical arranger P. Jason Yarcho, and line producer Hans Weichhart.

The Educational Theatre Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Educational Theatre Association, home of the International Thespian Society. ETF supports grants and programs that expand access to theatre education in schools. The foundation awarded more than $650,000 in grants in its first year, impacting high school theatre programs in 50 cities and creating musical theatre programs in underserved middle schools in six states.

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"Playbill" featured Dyson College alumna Lexi Rabadi in "What Helps Lexi Rabadi Bring the Unknown Story of a World War II Hero to Life in Hannah Senesh"

08/01/2019

"Playbill" featured Dyson College alumna Lexi Rabadi in "What Helps Lexi Rabadi Bring the Unknown Story of a World War II Hero to Life in Hannah Senesh"

I feel that I’ve been handed this torch,” says Lexi Rabadi of her role in the current revival of Hannah Senesh, which runs through August 18. “I have the gift of passing it on every night to each and every audience member, should they choose to hold out their palm.”

Though Rabadi is young, a 2016 graduate of Pace University, this is the exactly the type of story she was searching to tell.

The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s production of Senesh’s life story begins at the end: with Senesh’s mother Catherine (also played by Rabadi) reflecting on her daughter’s death. As the play flashes back to Senesh at age 13, audiences learn that she left Hungary for Israel—leaving her mother behind—to escape the dangers of what would become the Holocaust. But when a friend told her about the British Army’s World War II mission to parachute into Yugoslavia to attempt to provide aid to Jewish communities, Senesh voluntarily joined the forces to go back to Hungary and rescue her mother.

Rabadi glides masterfully through the story, creating a fluidity in Senesh’s story from ages 13 to 23—never compromising the essence of Senesh herself.

This revival hits the stage more than 75 years after Senesh made the dangerous journey and 30 years after writer-director David Schechter and original Hannah Senesh, Lori Wilner, first premiered the show in 1984. Yet as Rabadi plays her, Senesh’s history remains poignant tale to this day.

“This story will be relevant as long as there are people in the world who connect with roots of otherness, minorities who are disparaged and downright oppressed,” says Rabadi.

As the story goes, Catherine was captured alongside her daughter by Hungarian officers as a tactic to get the young woman to speak, but the perseverant Senesh refused. “As someone who has a wonderful relationship with my own mother, the way that Hannah and Catherine do, nothing can prepare you for telling a story like this,” she says. “As I get to play Catherine for just those brief and seemingly fleeting moments [at the end], it gives me such a great deal of context to have just played her daughter for 90 minutes and really understand what she has gone through on that level.”

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"Playbill" featured Pace junior musical theatre student in "Samantha Williams Joins Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen May 7"

05/07/2019

"Playbill" featured Pace junior musical theatre student in "Samantha Williams Joins Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen May 7"

Samantha Williams, a junior musical theatre major at Pace University, makes her Broadway debut in the Tony-winning Dear Evan Hansen beginning May 7.

Williams steps into the role of Alana Beck, succeeding Phoenix Best. Best played her final performance May 5.

Williams’ university credits include Dot in Sunday in the Park With George and the title role in Caroline, or Change.

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"Playbill" featured two Pace University faculty members, Will Reynolds and Eric Price in "Songwriters Will Reynolds and Eric Price to Receive 2018 Fred Ebb Award"

11/06/2018

"Playbill" featured two Pace University faculty members, Will Reynolds and Eric Price in "Songwriters Will Reynolds and Eric Price to Receive 2018 Fred Ebb Award"

Composer Will Reynolds and librettist Eric Price have been named the recipients of the 14th annual Fred Ebb Award, given to aspiring musical theatre songwriters. Alan Cumming will present the award from the Fred Ebb Foundation in association with Roundabout Theatre Company at a private ceremony November 26 in the Penthouse Lounge of the American Airlines Theatre.

The two were selected by a panel comprised of Andréa Burns, Sheldon Harnick, Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Tim Pinckney, David Loud, and Foundation trustee Mitchell S. Bernard.

Reynolds and Price have collaborated on the musicals Radioactive, Around the World, and The Sixth Borough. This December, Manhattan Theatre Club will present a developmental presentation of their latest work: a musical adaptation of Richard Greenberg’s The Violet Hour. They currently serve on the faculty at Pace University and Molloy College/CAP21’s musical theatre programs.

The award is named in honor of the late lyricist, who, with John Kander, brought forth such shows as Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Rink, and The Visit. Previous recipients include Shaina Taub, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich, and Adam Gwon.

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