E-Newsletter | The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee| Student Director | Student Designer | Alumni Spotlight
Dear theatre friends and alumni,

The Department of Theatre’s final production for the 2016-17 season is The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a musical proposed to the season selection committee by its director, student Adrienne Chodnowsky ’17. The current president of the Mustard and Cheese Drama Society, Adrienne advocated for a co-production between M&C and the department. Empowering students filling positions of responsibility in the production season is a core value of our program, and so after careful consideration the season selection committee agreed with the drama club’s proposal. Adrienne is ably mentored by Professor Pam Pepper and Music Director Bill Whitney, and is joined by a number of very experienced M&C members and theatre students of all levels in this challenging project.
The Department of Theatre regularly mounts works of musical theatre in our production season, occasionally with student directors at the helm. Please join us as we celebrate the humor and emotional catharsis of “theatre with music,” and the substantial creative accomplishments of our students.
Let’s meet in the lobby!

-Erica Hoelscher
Chair and Professor of Theatre
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Math Major, Theatre minor, Masters of Education from Lehigh University (expected 2018)

I loved theatre since childhood, so I am very glad I was able to minor in theatre at Lehigh University. I am now considering getting a certification to teach secondary drama. Much of what I learned in theatre is applicable to teaching. Because of theatre I am comfortable in front of a crowd, and I have learned to be a leader, and I am more self-confident and secure in my ability to collaborate with others.

My biggest success at Lehigh University has been directing The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. I have been working on this project for over a year, longer than any other project I’ve done at Lehigh. I take pride in what the design team, the cast, and I have been able to accomplish.

What inspires me is being surrounded by dedicated women, both peers and mentors, who work hard for what they believe in. My advice for students is to try more than one thing in the theatre. I know people who auditioned for a show, did not get cast, and then asked, “What can I do?” That helped them find a place, to get involved and to be a part of this community.

Theatre Major, Design Arts Major

Theodore U. Horger ‘61 Performing Arts Scholarship Recipient
I came to Lehigh to obtain a degree in business, fulfilling my family’s expectations. After meeting people from different cultural backgrounds, I realized that I, too, could pursue my true passion. I love art and I am good at it, so I decided to be one of those lucky people whose passion is their life’s work.

While I learned a tremendous amount about theatre and design in the Department of Theatre, I mostly learned about myself. Although I was shy, I was pushed to stand up and speak for myself. I learned skills of collaboration, essential to my future career. I am attending the Southern Methodist University Guildhall Master of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development program, with a specialization in Art Creation.

My advice to students considering getting involved in theatre is to go explore everything, because you’ll never be sure of what you really like unless you try it. I consider having many different kinds of people as my friends to be my biggest success at Lehigh. I am in a creative group of people who are dancers, DJs, designers, and artists. Their creative spirits always inspire me.

Theatre Major

I came to Lehigh in Pre-Med, auditioned for A Midsummer Night’s Dream and got cast as Fairy #4. Through that experience and my first year seminar with Kashi Johnson, I was drawn into the theatre community, and I immediately declared a theatre major.
I’m currently a PhD Candidate in Theatre at The Graduate Center, CUNY and I lecture at Purchase College. Lehigh’s Department of Theatre was where I first learned theatre vocabulary, discovered my theatrical taste, and began to think of myself as an artist. Recently, I was telling my students in “Women in Performance” about Bryony Lavery’s play Frozen, and the excellent production of it at Lehigh.
I’m proud that my first article was published in the Tennessee Williams Annual Review, and that I also have gotten to know some of the playwrights whose work I was first exposed to at Lehigh, (Sarah Ruhl called me on the phone this year.) In a world increasingly defined by digital interactions, learning – or perhaps remembering – how to engage with other human beings in real time and space is more important than ever.


Learn more about Bess Rowen’s accomplishments:

Bess Rowen at CUNY
Bess Rowen at Tisch

Bess Rowen on Huffington Post

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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