Sally B. Weinstock Guest Artist Endowment for the Theatre Department and the URT/A contract management program
A generous endowment created by Sally B. Weinstock (class of 1956) has enabled the Department of Theatre to supplement the program curriculum by bringing in outstanding artists and professionals from various theatre disciplines. Each year the faculty and staff meet to propose artists who will bring added breath and depth to our program.
Guest artists work with UVM students to share their knowledge in master classes and workshops. Recent guest artists have included award winning playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner (Angels in America, Lincoln), Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel, actor, playwright and screenwriter Charles Busch, New York casting directors, Merri Sugarman (Tara Rubin Casting), New York theatre press representative Chris Boneau (Boneau/Bryan-Brown) Robert Birch and master upholsterer and furniture restorer (Pompanoosuc Mills).
The Department of Theatre has also collaborated with other departments and programs in the college to host other guests, including spoken word artist Beau Sia, performance artist Adelina Anthony, and playwright Oliver Mayer.
Tony Kushner - Playwright and Screenwriter
Tony Kushner brought the AIDS epidemic to the cultural fore in the early 1990s with his poignant play Angels in America, before going on to enjoy a highly-regarded career as a screenwriter with the much-praised scripts fo Munich (2005) and Lincoln (2012). Angels in America won the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer for drama. Mr. Kushner adapted that play for a 2003 miniseries presentation on HBO (directed by Mike Nichols). Mr. Kushner has been Academy Award-nominated, Emmy-awarded and has received every major award for drama. He was the keynote speaker for the 40th Anniversary of Royall Tyler Theatre in the fall of 2014.
Charles Busch - Playwright and actor
Charles Busch is the author and star of such plays as The Divine Sister, The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, which ran five years and is one of the longest running plays in Off-Broadway history. His play The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife ran for 777 performances on Broadway and won Mr. Busch the Outer Circle Critics John Gassner Award and received a Tony nomination for Best Play. He wrote and starred in the film versions of his plays, Psycho Beach Party and Die Mommie Die, the latter of which won him the Best Performance Award at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2003, Mr. Busch received a special Drama Desk Award for career achievement as both performer and playwright. Mr. Busch made his directorial debut with the film A Very Serious Person, which premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won an honorable mention. He is also the subject of the documentary film The Lady in Question is Charles Busch. He was hosted by The UVM Department of Theatre in 2013 as a Burack Distinguished Lecturer.
Paula Vogel - Playwright
Paula Vogel received the 1992 Obie award for her play The Baltimore Waltz and the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for her play How I Learned To Drive. She has received the Award for Literature from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Robert Chesley Award, the Susan Smith Blackburne Prize and the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theatre Award. In 2012 she was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. That same year she was a guest in the Department of Theatre at UVM where she participated in a panel discussion and was the key speaker for our symposium on Women playwrights.
Merri Sugarman - Casting Director
Initially an actress (Les Miserables, Aspects of Love, et al.), Merri began casting on the West Coast at Liberman/Hirschfeld, working on such shows as "NewsRadio," "The Larry Sanders Show" and the Miramax feature film "Playing By Heart." Merri moved to Dreamworks Studios as the Casting Executive in charge of TV Pilots and Series- including "Spin City" and "The Job," starring Denis Leary. She was the Director of Casting for Dramas and Movies at ABC Television overseeing the casting of "Alias," "NYPD Blue," "The Practice" and the made for television movies "Gilda Radner - It's Always Something" and "The Music Man," starring Matthew Broderick and Kristin Chenoweth. She is currently a casting director for Tara Rubin Casting working on, among many others, the Broadway productions, touring and international companies of Spamalot, Jersey Boys, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, Mamma Mia!, Aladdin and currently School of Rock for Broadway. She also casts for many theaters regionally – including the Papermill Playhouse, Dallas Theater Center, The Old Globe and The La Jolla Playhouse. Merri was Casting Director of the critically acclaimed web series “Submissions Only.” She visited The Department of Theatre here at UVM and conducted a musical theatre audition workshop.
Chris Boneau - Press Agent
With his business partner Adrian Bryan-Brown, Chris has represented over 400 plays and musicals which have won 207 Tony Awards and 9 Pulitzer Prizes(a list of the Broadway shows can be found at www.ibdb.com). For 16 years Chris served as Disney Theatrical Productions publicist and public relations strategist launching Disney on Broadway. Chris serves on the Steering Committee for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, is an adjunct professor at Columbia University's Oscar Hammerstein II Center for Theatre Studies, and is on the board of the Atlantic Theater Company. Chris leads the media training team at BBB working with entertainment, corporate and private clients.