Peter Bennett (Director) '59: New York City credits include the original production of Passion of Dracula, which ran for two years, earned a Drama Desk nomination for "Outstanding Direction," and won the Soho News Annual Arts Award for "Best Direction". He also staged the national tour of that play and the television production, which won the Ace Award for "Best Dramatic Production." Other New York credits include Hillbilly Women (Actors’ Studio), Promised Land (Lambs Theatre), Angel Levine (Jewish Repertory Theatre), With Love and Laughter (starring Celeste Holm), The Last Will and Testament of St. Jack Kerouac (with Andre De Shields), and for Queens Theatre in the Park, Driving Miss Daisy (starring Kim Hunter) and Princess Grace and the Fazzaris (starring Lois Nettleton).
Regional theatres for which he has directed include the Long Wharf Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, Missouri Repertory Theatre, Adelphi Festival Theatre, George Street Playhouse ("Best Direction" and "Best Production" for Steambath — New York Daily News), North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, Theatre by the Sea, Playmakers Repertory Company, New Globe Theatre, Carolina Theatre Company, New Jersey Theatre Forum, Barter Theatre, Riverside Theatre, American Stage Festival, Pope Theatre Company, Two River Theatre Company, Florida Studio Theatre, Northern Stage Company, Florida Repertory Company, and Unicorn Theatre.
Mr. Bennett is also an educator (State University of New York at Albany, North Carolina School of the Arts, University of Connecticut, University of Delaware, and University of Wisconsin), an actor (favorite roles Dysart in Equus, Salieri in Amadeus, and most recently Merlyn in Camelot), and an administrator (formerly Managing Director of Vinnette Carroll’s Urban Arts Corps, Artistic Director of Stages Repertory Theatre and Artistic Director of Miniature Theatre of Chester).
He wrote the libretto for the opera, Incident at San Bajo, which received its world premiere at Riverside Opera Ensemble, N.Y.C.
Paula Shulak '57: Like many young people, when I first graduated from college (SUNY Albany) in 1957, I tucked my degree in Theater and English under my arm and went out to conquer the arts world! I soon found, however, that teaching those subjects in a Baltimore High School was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. As was the custom in those days, I took off about 12 years to raise a family and returned to the work world as a mature woman. When my children were old enough for me to spend time away from home, my theater work took a backseat to making a living and was relegated to participation as an actress and director in community and dinner theater until 1998 when I retired. During those years, I held these positions, among others, - Assistant Director of the Delaware Humanities Forum, Staff Director of the Delaware House of Representatives, Executive Director of the Delaware Nurses Association, Executive Assistant to the Secretary of the Delaware Department of Transportation and finally Director of Personnel at Delaware Technical and Community College. My theater activities included working on the Board of Candlelight Dinner Theatre (the first dinner theater on the East Coast) and directing plays at Candlelight as well as Cecil County Community College, Wilmington Drama League, Chapel Street Theater of Newark, and Dover's Community Singers, to name just a few. It was only after I retired that I finally fulfilled my ultimate role in life and devoted all my time to the arts. I became a docent at the Delaware Art Museum, began to write a weekly review column for a local newspaper (Community News of Delaware), started teaching acting classes for adults, seniors and children, and expanded my directing career a great deal. In 2003, my husband and I moved part time to Arizona, but I continued to write my weekly column. As of 2007, I now live permanently in Phoenix and have begun a critic's review website (www.theatermaven.com ) here. I am presently a member of the American Theater Critics Association (ATCA). I became a critic because after 50 years of working in theater, I was convinced that too many media outlets were relying on young people, often right out of college, whose knowledge of the art was limited and who had little or no practical experience. I tired of reading reviews which relied more on plot rehashes than on critical analysis of the major production elements in a show. I believe that my more than 50 years of experience in theater have helped me to become a discriminating individual and that my constructive critiques can be helpful to actors, directors, technicians and audience members alike. As a new resident of Arizona, I helped to start a Senior Drama group called the East Valley Drama Club which produces a yearly festival.
I stay current by associating with younger colleagues in theater whom I meet as I direct (Tempe Little Theatre. Mesa Encore Theatre, Hale Centre
Theatre) and I teach classes in senior resorts in Mesa (Leisure World, Greenfield Village, Sunlife Vacation Resort), as I participate fully in the artistic life of my new home city of Phoenix. I believe that the preparation I received at SUNY under the tutelage of Agnes Futterer and Paul B. Pettit was paramount in training me to become a knowledgeable, effective actress and director and I am most proud of my affiliation with the University over the years.