Curtain Call

J. Michael DeAngelis, Senior Digital Resources Manager

Penn alum Harold Prince (COL ’48) passed away today at age 91. Prince was a legendary theater producer and director, responsible for such classics as West Side Story, Cabaret, Company, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Evita, The Phantom of the Opera, Parade and many many others.

I had the great pleasure of meeting Harold Prince about ten years ago right here on campus. He had come, as he did on more than one occasion, to speak to the Penn community about his career and take questions from students. I had the additional luck of attending a reception after and I recall the twinkle in his eye as he reunited with some of his fellow classmates, by then all in their mid-80s, but giggling in the way that only friends from undergrad do.

During his Q&A session, I asked him what made a good book to a musical, since he had previously said it was the most important ingredient. “I don’t know,” he said, “I just know that if you don’t have a good one, you’re dead.” Back at the reception, I introduced myself as the person who asked about books, explaining that I had just been published as playwright for the first time by Samuel French, Inc. His eyes lit up and he suddenly seemed ten years younger, throwing his arm around me: “ME TOO! I wrote one play and it’s with Sam French! Keep it up. Don’t stop!”

I could have lived in that moment forever. Here was a living legend, tossing his arm around me as if we were absolute peers. I’ve carried that gratitude with me since then and I hope that I’ve been able to pass that on. I’m no Hal Prince, but I’ve been lucky in my career and I feel I owe it to those striking out on a similar path to make them feel welcome and encourage them, as Mr. Prince did for me, to not stop.

No matter what your career path, I ask today that you follow in the steps of Harold Prince. Be bold in your ventures, be kind in their execution and be supportive of those who want to follow in your footsteps.

All the World’s a Stage…(And there’s jobs there to be had!)

Tomorrow, Career Services will be hosting a special Careers in Theater Panel from 12pm-1pm in Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall. A networking hour with refreshments will follow the panel. The details are as follows:

In conjunction with the 10th anniversary of The Underground Shakespeare Company, Career Services is presenting a “Careers in Theater” panel featuring alumni from Penn’s only Shakespearean performance group. Featured on the panel will be:

Akiva Fox (CAS ’02) –
Literary Associate (Dramaturg and Literary Manager), Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington, D.C.

Akiva, an English major at Penn, completed his MFA in Dramaturgy from American Repertory Theater Institute and previously held a position at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia. As part of his MFA program, he spent time studying theater in Russia. At the Shakespeare Theater Company, he writes and edits most of the publications that the theatre puts out (newsletter, the program, etc.). He researches the historical and literary background of the plays, and makes sure that the directors, actors, and designers have all the information they need. It his duty to read as many classic plays as possible and recommend the good ones to artistic director Michael Kahn for future seasons. He also works with living playwrights who are adapting classic plays for new productions and he coordinates and leads our audience discussions about the plays.

Dan Fishback (CAS ’03)Writer and Performance Artist, New York, NY

Dan Fishback has been writing and performing in New York City since 2003. His most recent play, You Will Experience Silence (Stephen Brackett, dir.) debuted to critical acclaim in April 2009 at Dixon Place, where Fishback was an Artist-in-Residence. Fishback has performed and developed previous work at Performance Space 122, Joe’s Pub, Galapagos Art Space and various of other venues in New York and abroad. He is currently developing two new theater pieces: The Material World, a pop musical about socialist Jews in the 1920s, and thirtynothing, a solo performance about growing up in the shadow of the AIDS epidemic.

Dan received the Franklin Furnace Fund grant for performance art in 2010 and the Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists in 2007. He is an Artist-in-Residence at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and has enjoyed previous residencies at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony.

Maura Krause (CAS ’10) Literary Fellow, Wooly Mammoth Theater Company, Washington, D.C.

Maura was a dual English and East Asian Languages and Cultures major at Penn, with concentrations in Creative Writing and Japanese. Aside from her work at Wooly Mammoth, Maura works with the EMP Collective, a nonprofit organization uniting artists across the country to create provocative, social, multi-media events and previously was a Literary Intern with Samuel French, Inc., the world’s oldest publisher of plays.

J. Michael DeAngelis (Career Services staff) – Playwright and Managing Director, The Porch Room Film & Theater Company, Philadelphia, PA

Moderating the panel will be Michael DeAngelis, Information Resources Manager at Career Services. Michael is a professional actor, director and playwright, who has been twice published by Samuel French, Inc. His plays have been seen at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, The BRUNCH One Act Festival in New York City, Circle Players Theater and Playwrights Horizons. With his co-writer, Pete Barry, his works have won the 2009 Samuel French Short Play Festival and the 2009 NJACT Perry Award for Outstanding Original Play.

Additional Theaters/Performing Arts related resources be found here:

Career Services Resources by Field: Theater & Performing Arts