ABOUT ME

I currently serve as Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (effective May 2015), Executive Director of the Hylton Performing Arts Center, and Professor of Theater at George Mason University.

 

I joined Mason in 1991 as Artistic Director of Theater of the First Amendment (TFA) and a member of the theater faculty.  TFA was a long-running experiment in the fusion of a professional theater with an undergraduate theater program situated in an innovative arts environment within a young, rapidly growing state university. Between 1990 and 2012, TFA (an Actor’s Equity company) produced dozens of world premiere productions, many of which have gone on to further production, publication, and broadcast. The company was nominated for 38 Helen Hayes Awards, winning twelve.  

 

Prior to coming to George Mason, I worked for six seasons (1986-91) at Baltimore’s major regional theater, Center Stage, serving as Resident Dramaturg and Associate Artistic Director.  I co-founded the American Ibsen Theater in Pittsburgh (1983-85).  From 1983-88 I taught drama at Washington College in Maryland. 

At Mason I served as Interim Director of the Institute of the Arts in 2000-01, leading the preparation for the founding of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. From 2001-2007 I was Associate Dean of the new College and Artistic Director of the Center for the Arts, Mason’s 2,000-seat home for opera, symphony, dance, and world music, presenting a diverse 45-50 event season, “Great Performances at Mason,” and serving as a venue for local and regional arts groups.  

In 2007 I was named Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, working on issues such as general and liberal education and international initiatives.  Along with the Office of Institutional Assessment, I was proud to help Mason achieve the Association of General and Liberal Studies “Exemplary Program Award” for 2011.

 

As Executive Director of Mason’s 1,200-seat Hylton Performing Arts Center since August, 2011, I oversee a new, state of the art venue with multiple performance and exhibition spaces on the university’s Prince William Campus.  The Hylton Center presents national and international touring artists and is home to many resident arts organizations, civic events, business functions, and educational activities.

 

An active member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (the union of professionals in those fields), I've been fortunate to direct a broad range of theater and opera productions across the country. For a selected list, click here.

 

I have enjoyed consulting on facility programming and design, mission, and operations, most recently with the City of Sandy Springs, GA as they develop a major new downtown civic and performing arts center.

 

As an author, my works include Calderón de la Barca: Four Great Plays of the Golden Age; a set of co-translations of Ibsen with Brian Johnston (Ibsen: Four Major Plays, vol. I), which have been performed at leading regional theaters across the country and anthologized; Ibsen in an Hour (with Brian Johnston), and Writing About Theatre (with Christopher Thaiss).  With composer Kim D. Sherman I created an oratorio, The Songbird and the Eagle, premiered (and recently revived) by the San Jose Chamber Orchestra, and an opera, Love’s Comedy.  I've also written for publications such as American Theatre, Theater, The Journal of Social History, Global Studies Review, wrote the overview of drama for The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World, and contributed several entries to The Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama.

 

I'm happy to note with gratitude that my colleagues have awarded me a George Mason Teaching Excellence Award (1997) and named me Alumni Association Distinguished Faculty Member of the Year (2006). I studied at Lawrence University (BA, ’80, Phi Beta Kappa) and the Yale School of Drama (MFA ’83, DFA ‘03).

Can't Scare Me, the Story of Mother Jones, written and performed by Kaiulani Lee. I had the pleasure of directing this premiere in 2011 as my final production for TFA (and the penultimate work the company produced). It opened at DC's Atlas Theater and was also performed on the Mason campus. Kaiulani has since toured the show to Massachusetts, Maine, Colorado, and internationally to Bangladesh and Cambodia. The production won "5-star" reviews and was Helen Hayes Recommended.  photo credit Todd Messegee.

EDUCATION

PROFESSIONAL INTERESTS

Directing - Theater, Opera, Music-Theater

In addition to a regular academic production cycle, I am fortunate to be able to work professionally on a consistent basis. Click here for a current résumé. Links to reviews can be found (oddly enough) on the Links page of this site.

1980-1983, 2003

Yale School of Drama

M.F.A., D.F.A. in Dramaturgy, Dramatic Literature, and Criticism.

Kenneth Tynan Award in Dramaturgy.

The Arts in a Changing Environment

In my role as Executive Director of the Hylton Performing Arts Center, a daily interest-- and necessity-- is to articulate the mission and values of the arts in an increasingly complex landscape. The Hylton Center newsletter affords an almost-monthly platform to speak to the community around this topic, often thinly disguised as promotion of upcoming events.  Here's a sample.

Liberal Education

As a creative partner with the visual and performing arts and as a force for good in the world, the liberal arts are a subject of consuming interest. On that subject, here's a TEDx talk I did at Lawrence, with the somewhat fanciful title "A Midsummer Night's Dreamliner, or, Shakespeare Saves the 787." During my service in the Office of the Provost, I became a guest blogger for Liberal Education Nation (AAC&U Project LEAP).  Here's a sample.

1975-1980

Lawrence University

B.A., Theatre and Drama.  Minor in English.

Phi Beta Kappa, Eta Sigma Phi.

F. Theodore Cloak Award in Theatre.

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