Carnegie Mellon University
December 21, 2012

News Brief: CMU Shines Among P-G’s “Best of Theatre” 2012

The Post-Gazette recently released its "Best of Theatre" Top 10 for 2012. Every listing, plus some of the runners-up, included a School of Drama connection.

Here's how CMU faculty, staff, students and alumni were involved:    

  • No. 1: Adjunct faculty members David Whalen and Martin Giles performed in "The Chekhov Festival (Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theater),” which was named best play (part of three-way tie). Also performing were recent graduate Adrian Enscoe and current student Katya Stepanova, with costume design by alumni Rachel Parent and Pei-Chi Su, assistant costume design by Marlene Speranza, lighting by faculty C. Todd Brown, dramaturgy by Heather Helinsky.
  • No. 1: "August: Osage County" at the Playhouse was also in a tie for best play. Congrats to adjunct David Whalen (Bill), staff Dennis Schebetta (Little Charles) and faculty members Janet Feindel (vocal coach) and Randy Kovitz (fight director).
  • No 1: "Strata," the third best play, was co-written and produced by alumna Tami Dixon. Dixon also serves as producing artistic director of Bricolage (the organization that produced the play). School of Art alumni Riley Harmon and Nina Sarnelle, (both MFA ’12) also were part of this theatrical presentation.
  • No. 4: "Monster in the Hall" at City Theatre featured a performance by David Whalen and scenic design by faculty member Narelle Sissons, with staging and choreography by Tome Cousin. Faculty member Larry Shea did the video design.
  • No. 5: "The Electric Baby" at Quantum Theatre was No. 5, directed by alumna Daniella Topol and featuring alumnus Nick Lehane. Congrats to faculty C. Todd Brown for the lighting design.
  • No. 6: "Private Lives" at the Public was named No. 6, with involvement from adjunct Randy Kovitz (fight director), professor Don Wadsworth (dialect coach) and alumna Adrienne Wells (Assistant Stage Manager).
  • No. 7: Kovitz served as fight director for "Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train."
  • No. 8: "South Side Stories" was presented at City Theatre. It was written & performed by Dixon and directed by alumnus Matthew Morrow, with dramaturgy by adjunct Carlyn  Aquilin. CMU student Sylvianne Shurman served as costume designer.
  • No. 9: "Sunset Boulevard" at the CLO featured students Denee Benton, Trevor McQueen and alumnus Matthew Scott.
  • No. 10: "Dutchman" (Bricolage) featured Dixon.

Among the runners up,
  • Kovitz was fight director for "As You Like It."
  • Student Jesse Carey Beaver was in "Pop!"
  • "Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches" was a CMU production with John Wells Directing Faculty Jed Allen Harris and university creative teams and cast.
  • The reading of "8," the play outlining the court proceedings related to Proposition 8 on gay marriage, also got a special mention. Alumnus Rory O’Malley returned from Broadway to campus to participate in the project, and Kaf Warman led the team and cast the play here on campus. MFA directing student Caleb Hammond directed the reading.