William Peace University Hires Group of Faculty Members for BFA Program
With 80+ Years Experience
Four-Year Baccalaureate Welcomes Six Industry
Professionals to Fine Arts Program
RALEIGH, N.C., August 4, 2014 – William Peace University, a private four-year university located in downtown Raleigh, is excited to announce programmatic and faculty hires to be implemented for the fall of 2014. From New York, the region and the Triangle, the University is privileged to have more than 80 years of experience to share with the BFA program at Peace. Michael Bush, Maestro Curry and Lauren Kennedy will be sharing their talents on and off campus and we are delighted they will be spending time working with each of you throughout the year. In addition, we are pleased to announce the following individuals will be joining the faculty for the 2014-2015 season and below you will find their respective bios.
MICHAEL BUSH most recently directed the Off-Broadway productions of Bikeman, PsychoTherapy, Cactus Flower, and Based On A Totally True Story. Regional Productions include: Stormy Weather (Pasadena Playhouse, Prince Music Theatre), The Sisters Rosensweig (Capital Repertory Theatre) A Christmas Carol (Capital Repertory Theatre), Murderers (Philadelphia Theatre Company, City Theatre), etc. He is the co-author and director of Leslie Uggam’s Uptown Downtown (Pasadena Playhouse, Capital Repertory Theatre), which won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for best solo performance. He won the 2009 New York Musical Theatre Festival Award for Excellence in Direction for the world premiere musical Hurricane. He has directed eight New York Musical Theatre Festival musicals including The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde, The Piper, and Jonathan Brielle’s Himself and Nora. His second show for Leslie Uggams, Classic Uggams, premiered at New York’s premiere nightclub 54 Below in November 2012. In June 2013, he directed the world premiere of a new play with music about Judy Garland called Heartbreaker at the Adirondack Theatre Festival
Additionally, Bush is the former director of artistic production and associate artistic director for the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City. He was associated with MTC for more than 25 years and helped artistically guide more than 200 new plays and musicals, including the Tony®Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning Proof and Doubt, and the Tony® Award winning Love! Valour! Compassion! He was instrumental in the rebirth of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s Cabaret & Performance Conference, and served as its artistic director from 2005 to 2012. In his associations with both MTC and the O’Neill Center, Bush has presented such acclaimed performers as Julie Andrews, Rita Morano, Audra McDonald, Bernadette Peters, Betty Buckley, Rosemary Clooney, Marilyn Maye, and Jim Dale and has developed over 100 new shows, revues, and intimate musicals including [title of show] and The Story of My Life, both of which were produced on Broadway. He is currently developing three new musicals: 40 Naked Women, a Monkey, and Me, Nightmare Alley, and Picasso.
WILLIAM HENRY CURRY enters his 19th season with the North Carolina Symphony in 2014-15. Maestro Curry serves as the artistic director for the Rex Healthcare Summerfest Series and all North Carolina Symphony summer programs. He has also served as music director of the Durham Symphony Orchestra since 2009.
A native of Pittsburgh, Maestro Curry started conducting and composing music at age 14. His first major appointment was at age 21, when he was named assistant conductor of the Richmond Chamber Orchestra. He also served as resident conductor with the Baltimore Symphony and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Maestro Curry was appointed associate conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony in 1983, a post he held until 1988, the same year he was named winner of the Leopold Stokowski Conducting Competition and performed in Carnegie Hall.
Maestro Curry has conducted more than 40 orchestras, including appearances with the Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, National, Detroit, Denver, American, Atlanta, Shreveport and San Diego Symphonies, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Israel Camerata Jerusalem Orchestra, as well as the orchestras of Indianapolis, New Jersey, Bangkok and Taiwan and with the New York City Ballet in their famed Balanchine production of The Nutcracker. Opera engagements include the Houston Grand Opera, Chicago Opera Theater and New York City Opera. In 2009-10, at the invitation of the U.S. Department of State, Maestro Curry spent two weeks in Taiwan presenting master classes in conducting and leading concerts of American music.
LAUREN KENNEDY, as an actress, has appeared on Broadway as Lady of the Lake in Monty Python’s Spamalot, Sunset Boulevard with Glenn Close, Side Show as Daisy Hilton and Les Miserables as Fantine. Also, Cinderella at New York City Opera and Off-Broadway she starred in Vanities and Good Ol’ Girls. London: Trevor Nunn’s revival of South Pacific as Nellie Forbush at the Royal National Theatre. Lauren starred opposite Val Kilmer in The Ten Commandments at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angelos. She starred in pre-Broadway production of Lone Star Love with Randy Quaid.
Other new works and premiers include: Zelda Fitzgerald in Frank Wildhorn’s Waiting For The Moon (LENAPE, BARRYMORE AWARD NOM. For Best Actress), The Rhythm Club, White Christmas, Breakfast At Tiffany’s (St. Louis MUNY), Hot Shoe Shuffle (TUTS, The Trumpet of the Swan (The Kennedy Center) and The Last Five Years (Northlight). Kennedy has also played Betty Schaeffer in the national tour of Sunset Boulevard and has two albums including her debut album Lauren Kennedy Songs of Jason Robert Brown which received rave reviews. She is the Artistic Director at Hot Summer Night’s At The Kennedy.
AMY WHITE is thrilled to be joining the faculty of William Peace University. She holds a BFA in Musical Theatre (Dance minor) from the State University of New York at Fredonia and an MFA in Performing Arts from Savannah College of Art and Design. In addition, Amy has spent several years in New York City working regionally and off-Broadway. There, she also co-founded the madCAP collecTIVE, an ensemble based theatre company. Her main theatrical interests lie in improvisation, devised performance, and musicals. Beyond the realms of the performing arts, Amy also enjoys cooking, yoga, and her pet lizard named Noodles Vonnegut.
In her new roles, White will teach Musical Theatre and Theatre classes, particularly in the realms of acting and dance. Additionally, she is providing private voice and piano lessons, and directing this year’s upcoming student performance The Importance of Being Earnest.
“I am thrilled to be joining the Theatre faculty at William Peace University,” White said. “There truly seems to be a deep respect for developed artistry, hard work, and creativity among the students and staff. I believe WPU has great potential to create a symbiotic relationship with the Raleigh community through the arts and I look forward to helping cultivate this collaboration. It is a great honor and joy to be a part of this rapidly growing program.”
MATT HODGE is an award-winning composer, pianist, director, and teacher. He has been featured in more than 40 media outlets, including national television and national radio. His music has been bought and/or performed in 25 countries that span four continents: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. He is a professional member of four national music organizations, and has worked with Grammy and Emmy award-winning professionals. He has also ranked multiple times in national music contests as both a songwriter and a musician.
Matthew holds a Masters of Arts in Music Degree and a Bachelor of Arts in Theory and Composition Degree (double emphasis in composition and piano). He will complete a Master of Fine Arts in Music Composition Degree in 2014.
Matthew is currently on faculty at Campbellsville University, located in Campbellsville, KY. He has been directing and composing for singing groups for the last seven years. He also works professionally as a pianist, songwriter, and lecturer. In the last five years, Matthew has recorded and produced over a dozen CDs in Nashville, TN, and recently produced music with Grammy-award recipients in Los Angeles.
Matthew is a popular guest speaker covering various music topics, including songwriting. Recently, he has given seminars at University of Kentucky, Lindsey Wilson College, Centre College, Bellarmine University and Campbellsville University.
MICHAEL SANTANGELO holds a Bachelor of Music from Crane School of Music in voice and choral singing. While at Crane, Michael was a member of the Potsdam Pointercounts, SUNY Potsdam’s only all male acappella group. In addition to his acappella singing, Michael has a large background in recording and music technology. As a musician, he has played for the First National Tour of Disney’s High School Musical, Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (Branson MO production) and many regional theater productions including Tommy, All Shook Up, Footloose, Little Shop of Horrors, The Wizard of Oz, My Fair Lady, and Bat Boy. Locally, Michael has musically directed NCTC’s Master STAS production of, In The Heights, and Jesus Christ Superstar, and played in the orchestra’s for NCT’s Altar
Boys, The Little Mermaid, and Hot Summer Nights concert Oh What A Night and 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
As an educator, Michael has been a teacher in the NY public school system as well as many years of after school and summer theatre programs. He currently works with North Carolina Theatre Conservatory teaching voice, piano, and theatre classes. Michael comes to William Peace University with more than 15 years experience in music and theatre education.
Please stay tuned as more information will be released on these individuals in the coming weeks. For more details on that and other University news, click here.
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