Summer Institute : Theater : Faculty
The People + Faculty
The Theater program is administered by working professionals from the faculty of the University of the Arts, the alumni of UArts, the vibrant and active Philadelphia arts community, as well as other specialty artists.
Amy Dugas Brown is a director, casting director, audition coach and Senior Lecturer at the University of the Arts. She has cast over 80 professional theatre productions (Philadelphia Theatre Company, Arden Theatre Company, Wilma Theater). She spent ten seasons as Associate Artistic Director at Arden Theatre Company, where, along with providing artistic stewardship, she designed, developed and helmed Arden's educational programs. She is a project director with the Brain Behavior Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania's Division of Neuropsychiatry, hiring and directing actors to portray a variety of emotions to create videos and photographs that help researchers examine emotional perception in those with brain disorders. Amy teaches four courses at the University of the Arts (Business of Theatre, Musical Theatre Professional Preparation, Audition Technique and Survey of Theatre). She graduated cum laude from Barnard College, Columbia University. She is the recipient of the 2006 Ann Shaw Fellowship and a 2007 Pennsylvania Humanities Council grant.
Rob McClure received 2013 Tony, Drama League, Astaire, and Outer Critics Circle Nominations, and won the TheatreWorld and Clive Barnes Awards for his performance as Charlie Chaplin in Chaplin The Musical on Broadway. He recently starred, opposite Tony Danza, in the Paper Mill Playhouse world-premier production of Jason Robert Brown's Honeymoon In Vegas which is headed for Broadway in 2014. Prior to that he charmed audience and critics alike with another title role, leading the cast of Where's Charley? at Encores. A two-time Barrymore Award winner, Rob starred on Broadway as Princeton/Rod in the Tony Award winning musical Avenue Q. He made his Broadway debut in the 2002 Broadway revival of I'm Not Rappaport alongside Judd Hirsch and Ben Vereen. Other selected credits include Avenue Q (1st National Tour, Helen Hayes Nomination), Amadeus (Mozart, Walnut Street Theatre), The Game's Afoot (World Premiere by Ken Ludwig, Cleveland Playhouse), Johnny Baseball (World Premiere at American Repertory Theater).
D’Arcy Webb, also known in some circles as the Speech Diva, is a singer-actress on the faculty of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she teaches voice and speech and cabaret performance. Over the years she has played a large number of roles, both in NY and regionally, more recently, soigné society dames, deranged housewives and toothless old crones–with passion, humanity and panache. She is grateful to her mother for a few good genes that have kept her body supple and resilient, so when a director stages a ten-minute scene in a dog crate the size of a FedEx box, she can fold herself into it quite handily and still speak articulately and with ardor. Ms. Webb specializes in speech production and accent reduction, and offers private coaching to actors and other professionals who wish to free their speech of regionalisms and speak clearly, vividly and with passion.
Alex Bechtel is an actor, writer and musician. He earned a Bachelor's in Fine Arts in Musical Theater Performance from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and performs with local theatre groups including 1812 Productions, the Walnut Street Theatre, and Act II Playhouse. Recent credits include This is the Week That Is, The Musical of Musicals: The Musical!, and Here's Tony. Alex is also employed as a pianist, vocal coach and teaching-artist by the University of the Arts, Walnut Street Theater, the Wilma Theatre and The Arden Theatre.
Ben is an award-winning actor whose roles range from Batboy to Candide, from Anthony Hope to Leo Frank. Ben's approach to work is equal parts powerful and playful. An accomplished musician, Ben also has a private voice studio where he teaches singers how to unlock their sound and enliven their vocal performance.
Justin Jain is an actor, playwright, and teaching-artist whose pedagogy is based on ensemble-driven collective collaboration. He received his BFA in acting from the University of the Arts in 2004 with honors. At graduation, he was awarded the highly competitive Directors Choice Award and the Stage Combat Award. For the 2004-2005 season, Justin was accepted as an Arden Theatre Company Professional Apprentice. Since then, Justin has utilized this training and acted professionally with several Philadelphia-based companies including: Arden Theatre Company, Interact Theatre Company, Mum Puppettheatre, People's Light and Theatre Company, Shakespeare in Clark Park, and The Wilma Theatre. He has performed regionally with The McCarter Theatre Education Department (Princeton) and The Lark (NYC). In 2007, Justin was awarded the Community Education Center (CEC) New Edge Artist Residency in Theatre where he developed his solo physical theatre piece, Neverboy, in collaboration with San Francisco writer Matthew Graham Smith and director Adrienne Mackey. Justin's other original work includes Philly Fringe Hits Dis Pop (2005), The Ballad of Joe Hill (2006), The Jersey Devil (2007), The Giant Squid (2008), for which he was awarded a Professional Development Grant from The University of the Arts, and most recently The Annihilation Point (2009). Since 2003, Justin has been a theatre educator in acting, playwriting, collective collaboration, and stage combat for such organizations as: Arden Theatre Company, People's Light and Theatre Company, The University of the Arts Pre-College Program, and Philadelphia Young Playwrights.
Aaron received a bachelor of music degree from the College of New Jersey, is a graduate of the Professional Training Program at the Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre, and has studied Commedia Dell'Arte, woodcarving and leather mask making with Maestro Antonio Fava in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Aaron is co-founding Faculty for the Headlong Performance Institute.
Aaron Cromie teaches Neutral Mask for the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts, as well as special topic courses including Mask Characterization, Commedia Dell'Arte and Mask & Puppet Design and Performance. As a performer, he has appeared with Walnut Street Theatre, Arden Theatre Company, 1812 Productions, Lantern Theatre, Mum Puppettheatre, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Delaware Theatre Company, Brat Productions, Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, Folger Theatre (D.C.), Mill Mountain Theatre (Va.), and has toured nationally in "Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story" and Internationally with "The European Lesson" with Norway's Jo Strømgren Kompani.
Aaron has directed "The Gardener's Dog," "Home Opener" (Arezzo Festival, Italy) and "The Cider House Rules, Part II" for the University of the Arts, "Titus Andronicus" and "Henry V" for the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, "The Game of Love and Chance" for Commonwealth Classic Theatre, "The Love of Three Oranges" for Bryn Mawr College, "Dido and Aeneas" and for the College of NJ and "The Fantasticks" for Mum Puppettheatre.
Aaron received Barrymore Awards for Music Direction ("The Fantasticks," Mum Puppettheatre), and two for Choreography/Movement ("The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Theatre Exile, and "The Comedy of Errors," Lantern Theater), and has been nominated for Directing, Acting, Original Music and sound Design. He has received grant support from the Independence Foundation, Philadelphia Theatre Initiative and the Jim Henson Foundation.
Steve attended Ithaca College, where he received his BFA in Musical Theatre. He has worked extensively in the entertainment industry, spanning many disciplines and in many different cities including New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Minneapolis. As an actor, he has appeared on television, off-broadway, on tour and on numerous Philadelphia stages including the Arden Theatre Company, the Prince Music Theater, Walnut Street Theatre and 11th Hour Theatre Company. Steve has been nominated for 5 Barrymore Awards including 2 nominations for the Haas Award for Emerging Artist in Theatre. Directing/choreography credits include: I Sing!, The World Goes ‘Round (11th Hour), APA showcases (The Arden). He has also assisted such directors as Larry Moss (NYC’s Century Center), Joe Calarco (Playwright’s Horizons), Mark Valdez (Minneapolis’s Mixed Blood Theatre Co) and Terry Nolen (The Arden). As an educator, Steve has taught with Music Theater International, Disney’s Broadway Junior, Jen Waldman Studio, Lucy Moses School, Windward School, Arden Theatre Company, Walnut Street Theater, Ithaca College, and the Hangar Theater’s Next Generation program.