Transitions at the School of Dramatic Arts

A Message to Faculty, Staff, and Students at the School of Dramatic Arts

May 29, 2015

Dean Madeline Puzo has shared with me her decision to step down from the deanship and recommit to her work as a prominent figure in the field of theatre, effective June 30, 2015.

Under her leadership, the School of Dramatic Arts has introduced new graduate degrees, revised and expanded its undergraduate programs, doubled its faculty, and developed its global vision, including establishing a partnership with the prestigious Shanghai Theatre Academy.  Madeline created and expanded opportunities for our students to move beyond the fundamentals, ensuring that they graduate with the most vibrant and relevant preparation through on-camera acting classes, voice-over training, professional preparation classes and workshops. She introduced ground-breaking initiatives such as the Summer Institute for International Artists, and her focus on hiring and retaining high-caliber, world-renowned faculty and guest lecturers as well as the creation of the Master of Fine Arts in Acting have enhanced the School’s national presence.

Madeline has been a consultant for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pew Charitable Trusts, Theatre Communications Group, and the Rockefeller and Lila Wallace Readers Digest foundations; and she has written for American Theatre Magazine and for the stage.  Her adaptation of Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory was presented by the Mark Taper Forum for 10 consecutive years and toured Eastern Europe.

I am pleased to announce that David Bridel, currently associate professor of theatre practice in voice and movement, associate dean of global initiatives, director of the Master of Fine Arts in Acting, and head of movement path in the Master of Fine Arts in Acting, will serve as interim dean of the School of Dramatic Arts.  He is a director, playwright, performer, choreographer, and teacher of acting, movement and clown.  David’s work has been performed at universities, festivals, and theatres in the United States, United Kingdom, Israel, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Austria, and Brazil, and in opera houses in Los Angeles, Paris, Vienna, Munich, Mexico City, Guanajuato, Santiago, and Madrid.

David’s original plays I Gelosi and Sublimity are both published by Original Works Press.  Sublimity, David’s solo performance, won the Best Satire Award at the 2013 United Solo Festival in New York.  He is also the winner of an ARC Grant from the Center for Cultural Initiatives, a Cultural Engagement Grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs, an Entertainment Weekly Special Events Award, a NYFA Fiction Award, an Anna Sosenko Musical Theater Award, a Zumberge Award for his research project, Clowns Across Continents and his new book, Clowns: In Conversation With Modern Masters, co-authored with Ezra Lebank, is published by Routledge UK.

David has contributed to the American Theatre magazine and The Soul of the American Actor periodicals, and he is the Founding and Artistic Director of The Clown School in Los Angeles, the only studio in the city devoted exclusively to the study and practice of clowning, officially partnered with Improv First in Beijing and the Stanislavsky Institute in Brazil.  He is also an Associate Director of the multi-award winning theatre company Four Clowns.

I will announce the appointment of the dean search advisory committee shortly.  Please join me in thanking Madeline for her many achievements and David for his willingness to assume this new role.



cc:        C. L. Max Nikias

Robert Abeles

Al Checcio

Todd Dickey

Tom Jackiewicz

Tom Sayles

Carol Mauch Amir

John Silvester