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Greetings, alumni, patrons, and friends,

Our final newsletter of 2017-18 is filled with end-of-the-year activities, awards and distinctions, and the announcement of our 2018-19 production season. We celebrate the accomplishments of faculty, staff, and students this academic year:
  • The Beginning Directors’ One-Act Plays – collaborative, experiential learning opportunities that engage beginning performers, designers, and technicians
  • The Designer Showcase – an exhibit of the work of student designers throughout the year, in the classroom and on the stage
  • Williams Prizes in Theatre – 23 students recognized for their contributions in directing, designing, performance, stage management, and technical theatre
  • The Outstanding Theatre Student Award 2018
    • Kalyani Singh '18
  • Theodore U. Horger ’61 Performing Arts Scholarships – awarded annually to theatre majors in recognition of dedication and excellence in theatre studies
    • Donavon Harris '19
    • Samuel Alper '20
  • Mustard & Cheese Drama Society Inductions
Please scroll down for pictures and more information, and for the Alumni Spotlight.
With sincere gratitude for our community of supporters,
Erica Hoelscher
Chair and Professor of Theatre

View 2018-2019 Production Season
  • Professor Kashi Johnson - Christian & Mary Lindback Award for Distinguished Teachingand the Deming Lewis Award (presented by the 10-year reunion class to the professor who has most significantly influenced their members’ educational experience.) Kashi was invited to become the mace bearer for Lehigh University.
  • Professor Pam Pepper received the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Faculty Award for Teaching (recognizes exceptional achievements for outstanding teaching contributions that have made a substantial impact on the department, college, and university.)
  • Professor Gus Ripa - serves as Director of the Eckardt Scholars Program in the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Associate Professor Melpomene Katakalos - Class of '61 Professorship (recognizes newly promoted associate professors who have shown distinction in scholarly activities and teaching. Formally announced at Founder's Day in October.)
  • Assistant Professor Will Lowry - received the Paul J. Franz, Jr. Fellowship for his design of World Builders, a world premiere that had bicoastal (NYC and LA) productions.
Beginning Director’s one-acts Familiar But Strange
Designer Showcase

I grew up in a small town in California surrounded by music, visual art, dance, and theatre. I wanted to attend a liberal arts college in close proximity to New York City, and where my artist endeavors would be developed. I studied directing in theatre, vocal performance in music, and earned a philosophy minor. I directed the very heady play Acadia, by Tom Stoppard, as my senior project.

At Lehigh I was given the space and support to try a lot of things in addition to directing – set design, acting, sound design, stage management, and composing music for theatre. I went from Lehigh to NYU where I completed my doctorate in Performance Studies in 2015. My career in the experimental scene has three main components that were all influenced by my experience at Lehigh; as a performance studies scholar, as a composer, and as a performer across a range of genres. I often use my theatre training to assess lighting, enunciation, staging, to edit audio, and to critique the narrative arc of a performance. My music compositions take into account physical posture, dramaturgical aspects, and social commentary.

I exist within a community of New York artists that makes work at the nexus of music and theatre. In 2017 I was honored with the Foundation of Contemporary Arts award in sound and music. This award is a grant of $40,000 that an artist can use in any way they desire. I am quite young to have received this prestigious award -- which is a once-in-a-lifetime recognition.

On Broadway, I performed the role of “Princess Mary/Opera Singer/Maidservant” in Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. I recently released an album called Ciphony, based on music I wrote with composer John King for a week of performances of Merce Cunningham’s choreography at the Joyce Theater. An art installation called Hakim’s Tale, which I created with visual artist Erik Ruin, was presented at the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. A dance piece with choreographer Anna Sperber will perform at the Chocolate Factory in March 2018. Another dance piece called shuffleyamamba that I’m creating with choreographer Yasuko Yokoshi will premiere in Japan in May 2019.  For that piece, I spent a month in Kyoto studying Noh theater and music. Theatre has such a special magic of bringing people together, which is truly a gift!

Follow Gelsey Bell at

Department of Theatre | Zoellner Arts Center, Room 301 | 420 East Packer Avenue
Bethlehem, PA 18015 | Phone: 610-758-3640 | Fax: 610-758-6543

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