University at Albany
 

Alumni

Zaki Abdelhamid ' 00: graduated from SUNY Albany with a B.A in theatre in 2000. He went on to earn his MFA from the professional Theatre Training Program at the University of Delaware. After graduating with his MFA in 2003, he worked at various theatres across the country including Intiman Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, the Iowa City Shakespeare Festival, the Richmond Shakespeare Festival, the New York Arab American Comedy Festival and more. Zaki is now the Director of Education and Community Programs at the Tony-Award winning Intiman Theatre in Seattle. He is also the artistic director of the new People’s Theatre of Seattle, which will be launching its’ inaugural play, Sixteen Wounded, in June, 2010. | 206.204.3294 | zakia@intiman.org

Karl Chmielewski ’02: is the Physical Production Manager for Disney Theatrical Group, responsible for over-seeing production and design on shows such as The Lion King, Mary Poppins, High School Musical, and The Little Mermaid. With over 10 years of experience, Karl’s career has included work as a Technical Director, Lighting Designer, and Consultant for Regional, Off Broadway and Broadway productions.

In recognition for his volunteer work to regional and local theatres around the Northeast, Karl received the 2009 Presidential Service Award for his dedication and commitment to the arts. He is also an active member of The Brooklyn Historical Association, The Brooklyn Museum, Amnesty International, United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), and sits on the Entertainment Technician Certification Program (ETCP) Certification Counsel Board.

Vanessa I. Davis '06: graduated from the University at Albany with a BA in theatre and a concentration in production. Vanessa worked at the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY for three seasons as a Stage Management Intern, Assistant Production Manager and Stage Manager. Upon graduation, Vanessa moved to Roanoke, VA to work with Mill Mountain Theatre as an Assistant Stage Manager and School Tour Stage Manager. She has also worked as a Stage Manager with Chester Theatre Company in Chester, MA and as an Assistant Stage Manager with Williamstown Theatre Festival in Williamstown, MA. In 2007, Vanessa moved to Minneapolis, MN to accept a position with The Children's Theatre Company; recipient of the 2003 Regional Theatre Tony Award. CTC is the largest children's theatre in North America and the third largest children's theatre in the world. During the spring 2008, Vanessa worked with Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam, CT on the new Jason Robert Brown musical, 13 (slated to open on Broadway 10/5/08). Vanessa is currently working as an Assistant Stage Manager with The Children's Theatre Company and continues to freelance in the Twin Cities and regionally.

Brett DuBow '02: holds a BA in Theatre with a concentration in production. Brett has worked at the Hangar Theatre as the Assistant Production Manager, School Tour Stage Manager and Kiddstuff Stage Manager. In addition, she spent a season with The Hippodrome State Theatre as the Assistant Stage Manager. Following this, she returned to school and was awarded an MA in Educational Theatre and English Education from New York University in May 2006. She is currently working at Classical Magnet School in Hartford, CT as the Technical Theatre Teacher and Technical Director.

Rachel Germane '02: is a native New Yorker who prides herself on the Yankees and curse words. Rachel studied at The University at Albany majoring in theatre, the most important degree of all time. Soon after college, she hit the pavement in NYC, racking up appearances at Stand-Up New York, The Laugh Factory and The Red Room. Rachel found her calling when a friend had an opening for his N.Y.-based sketch group, Basketcase. She went on to perform with that group for three years as they became the resident sketch group at The Manhattan Theater Source and appeared in the 2004 Chicago Sketch Fest. Basketcase received the “Best New Sketch Group” nomination at the 2005 New York City Comedy Awards. It was then Rachel decided that comedy was definitely her forte. Since moving to Los Angeles, she has studied at The Groundlings and Steppenwolf West with Tom Irwin. Quickly jumping into the west coast theatre scene, she recently starred in the ensembles of Ashley Reed’s Chicken (produced by Bruce Dern), Steve Lohse’s Sunday Sunday Sunday, and Steven and Whitney Boe’s Ugly on the Inside. Rachel’s film credits include Jon Raymond’s short film “Eightish” and Chris Nelson’s upcoming untitled feature. She can be seen in commercials for National Car Rental, Home Box Office, CiCi’s Pizza and Verizon. She recently starred in a 2007 pilot presentation called The Writers Room and appeared on Comedy Central’s “Sarah Silverman Program” and FX’s “The Riches”.

Elizabeth Haag ’02: has been working in theater and film since 2000 when she landed an internship at the New York Shakespeare Festival.  While still attending Albany, she returned the following summer to the NYSF to work on the props crew of The Seagull directed by Mike Nichols.  After graduating with a B.A. in Theatre, as a concentrated major, with a focus in Technical Theatre, she moved to New York City and worked as a set designer, painter and props artisan for theatres including The New York Public Theatre, The Roundabout, and Stella Adler Studio.  While working at Adler, Liz began studying acting, going on to study with Carol Fox Prescott and The Magnet Theater.  Liz has appeared in various sketch and improv comedy shows and videos, as well as plays and films, including a one year stint on Magnet’s house team, Harlequin.  In 2008, she made her directorial debut in Madness and Joy at Theatervision-Playtime.  One year later she wrote and produced a viral video for Trojan Condoms, and has been writing and producing since.  You can currently catch her in NYC in the three woman comedy show Elsie Jay improv girl smash.     

Aaron Hochheiser '03: is the Master Electrician at Hartford Stage Company a LORT B theater in Hartford, CT. Aaron has been the Master electrician at Playmakers Repertory Company on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, the lead technician/lighting designer for the events company Creative Visions Inc., the Master Electrician at the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY, the electrics apprentice/light board operator at Syracuse Stage, and a freelance electrician in NYC working at 20+ theaters all over the city.

Ashton Holmes '02: started his career by taking acting lessons at age 6 and began appearing in Community Theater. He made his feature film debut in David Cronenburg's History of Violence and stars as Tommy in the martial art movie Peaceful Warrior. Ashton also had guest lead roles on CBS' Cold Case as well as NBC's Law & Order. SVU. After biding his time for several years on the daytime soap One Life to Live (and following it up with an appearance in the direct-to-video horror outing Raising Hell), genial, square-jawed actor Ashton Holmes graduated to fame at the hands of David Cronenberg in the director's 2005 A History of Violence. Cronenberg cast the then-23-year-old actor as Jack Stall, the son of an Indiana restaurateur, who finds himself repeating his father's pattern of violence when he responds to relentless bullying at his school by aggressively standing up for himself -- and then pushes his self-defense into the territory of criminal assault. The film (which screened at Cannes and the Toronto Film Festival and received multiple Oscar nominations) put Holmes on the cultural landscape, and paved the way for many additional follow-ups. Holmes' next major appearance, however, came three years later (under the aegis of tyro Noam Murro) with his portrayal of the son of an emotionally alienated literature professor (Dennis Quaid) in the offbeat, character-driven seriocomedy Smart People (2008).

Matthew Kreiner '04: has been working throughout the New York City Metropolitan area in film and theatre.  Right out of college, he involved himself as production coordinator for various films starring notable actors John Leguizamo, Queen Latifah, and Terrance Howard.  After years in film, Matthew re-established the love for theatre he built up at his time at the University at Albany.  He is currently the General Manager for EndTimes Productions and a resident director/writer with the same company as well as Rising Sun Performance Company.  He has worked as a director with other production companies including Sweeter Theatre, No Monkey, LLC, Boomerang Theatre Company, the Actors Company Theatre, and more.  Along with his general management, he heads up a workshop called Freedom Instinct Theatre that challenges the concept of scripted work and integrates it with improvisation; he finished workshopping an agit-prop production of "That's Politics" and currently has his hands involved with FRIGID festival, the New York Fringe Festival, the Deleware Fringe Festival, and setting his sights on entertaining as many audiences as possible throughout the country.

Tina Laponte '02: graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Anthropology and Theatre. Tina completed an internship in Carpentry and Props at Portland Stage Company in Portland, ME, for the '02-'03 season. The following season she took an apprenticeship in Stage Carpentry at Syracuse Stage in Syracuse, NY and stayed on an additional season there as a Carpenter. Since the fall of 2005 she has been a Carpenter at Hartford Stage in Hartford, CT and has spent every June, since 2004, working Production for the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, CT. In addition, Tina has actively studied the venerable art of Goshin Kempo Jujutsu since early 2007 and received her black belt in June of 2009.

Steven Michalek '03: has held myriad positions at numerous regional theaters including Merrimack Repertory Theater (carpenter/welder), Shakespeare & Company (lighting designer, master electrician, ATD), the Ogunquit Playhouse (TD) and Connecticut Repertory Theater (TD). He has also acted on area stages including the Mac-Hayden Theater and the Ghent Playhouse. He has previously taught at Milton Academy’s Center Stage Summer Program and at the New Hampton School. He has a B.A. in English from the University at Albany and an M.F.A. in technical direction from the University of Connecticut.

Brian Pedersen '05: is a graduate of the University at Albany holding a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre. Currently he is the Education Tour Manager for San Diego Opera, where his credits include Opera Quest, The Magic Flute, Cosi fan tutte, and world premières of The Sleeping Beauty, and Rumpelstiltskin. Other credits include Production Stage Manager for The Glass Menagerie with the ion theatre company, roduction Manager/Stage Manager for Lorna Luft’s Songs My Mother Taught Me, and Production Stage Manager for Lyric Opera San Diego’s productions of Iolanthe, The Swallow, and Candide.

Yvonne Perry '00: is a working actress with over 15 years of professional experience, and is a proud member of SAG, AFTRA and Actors Equity. She spent 5 years as a contract lead playing “Rosanna” on the CBS soap As The World Turns, and has appeared in several sit-coms, evening dramas, and independent films. She has an extensive list of commercial clients as well, often working in the fields of radio, voice/over and narration. She is seen locally as the spokeswoman for Taft Furniture nd TWTV’s The Real Estate Showcase. Yvonne has many theatre credits as well, and has appeared onstage with Capital Rep, NYSTI, Oldcastle Theatre Co., Stageworks/Hudson, The Northeast Theatre, Theatre 88, Theatre 440 at Proctors, and many others. She holds a BFA from Adelphi University and an MA from UAlbany, and has studied with ACT in San Francisco and The Royal National Theatre in London. email: www.yvonneperry.com

B.J. Serviss '01: B.J. studied acting at Albany from 1997 to 2001 and graduated with a B.A. in Theatre. He performed in the productions of Marvin's Room, Arena Theatre, 1997; The Unseen Hand (Experimental), Arena Theatre, 1998; The School for Scandal, Studio Theatre, 1999; Twelfth Night, Main Theatre, 2000; The Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Studio Theatre, 2000; as well as Hedda Gabler, Main Theatre, 2001. During his time as a Departmental Major he also studied Directing, Playwriting, Theatrical Drafting, Costume Design as well as being offered the opportunity to take a Graduate Scene Study class and an independent study on acting on film. For his performances on stage B.J. was nominated for 3 Irene Ryan Awards and his classmates awarded him an Agenes E. Futterer Award in 2001.

Since graduating B.J. moved back to Los Angeles where his technical studies have provided him with the tools for his current career. In September 2001 he was hired by Pacific Theatres as their projection supervisor at the new 16 screen Sherman Oaks Galleria Theatre. He then became the projection supervisor at the new ArcLight Hollywood Theatre and Cinerama Dome where he worked for 6 years. During that time he became the youngest Cinerama Picture Control Engineer in the history of the format when the 3 strip process was restored at the Dome. He also organized the projection staff and the bargaining unit sucessfully joined Projectionists Local 150. B.J. is also a projectionist at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and the Directors Guild of America. In September 2008 B.J. became the Chief Projectionist at the DGA. He lives in Sherman Oaks with his wife Kathryn.

Gargi Shinde '01: An actress and musician, Gargi Shinde is an Instructor of Theatre and Speech Communication at the Borough of Manhattan - City University of New York. Gargi was initiated into the performing arts simultaneously through Indian classical dance and music. Her quest for a dialogue between the Indian and Western traditions began when she heard a recording of her Sitar Guru, Padmabhushan Ustad Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan in concert with Dave Brubeck in 1958.

As an actress, Gargi was featured in the 2009 Academy Award nominated film Frozen River, she has appeared in the LaMamaE.T.C Experiments in NYC and continues her involvement in innovative theatre projects. She is the Literary Manager for the Curious Frog Theatre Company and curates their "New Works" Series. As a Sitarist, Gargi leads "Conversations in Taal", an original jazz and world music project with noted pianist Rod Williams. She has collaborated on projects with  renowned Flamenco danseuse La Conja, and pianist Adam Klipple. Gargi has also lectured on classical Indian dance history and aesthetics at Indiana University, Bloomington, The University at Albany, State University of New York and the City University of New York – BMCC.

Interview link: http://www.bmcc.cuny.edu/news/news.jsp?id=878

Ken Weinberg '06: after graduating with a B.A. in Technical Theatre and Design, with a Concentration in Lighting Design, Ken moved to Las Vegas, which he still currently calls home. While in Vegas, Ken has worked as a freelance stagehand and electrician for concerts, corporate events and trade shows. He has also done work for a few different lighting rental shops, Morpheus Lights and Alumifax, Inc. both working in the rental shops and going out on show sites. He ran the lights for most of the 2007-2008 UNLV Rebels Basketball season, as well as helping out at the Theatre Department at UNLV. The previous few summers, Ken worked at Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, NY as an electrician. The summer of 2008 he worked as the Associate Production Manager for two concert series’ in Brooklyn, NY: the Seaside Summer Concerts and Martin Luther King Jr. Summer Concerts. Most recently he has been touring with a few different modern dance companies as Lighting Supervisor/Master Electrician and Lighting Programmer. He has done two tours, one in Mexico and one in South America, with an Italian dance troupe called Waterwall. He did a tour of the U.S. and Brazil with Aeros, a dance company of Romanian gymnasts. He also will be doing a U.S. Tour with Revolution, which made its debut in New York City last year. In the near future Ken hopes to find himself on tour with a rock ‘n roll group, or some other large music act.

Adam Zurbruegg ‘06: is currently the Educational Outreach Coordinator for Syracuse Stage (LORT), where he produces several annual touring productions, a young playwrights competition, and other special events. Adam coordinates marketing, sales, budgeting and tour logistics for these programs, and provides assistance in casting, development, and public relations. He is also writes and designs ten annual Student Study Guides for mainstage and touring productions. Adam has previously served as an educator/administrator for the New York State Theatre Institute, and is currently studying theatre and business management at the graduate level at Syracuse University.