Guest Artist Residencies
and Master Classes

The Performing Arts programs at DeSales University are firmly committed to the idea that our students should be exposed to and interact with professionals in their field.

To that end, through the generosity of our Arts Angels, we regularly bring major industry figures to campus for residencies and master classes. Recent visits include:

Emily Skinner Guest Artist at DeSales U

Broadway actress Emily Skinner appeared on campus in October, 2016 to present an master class/performance on “Auditioning for Musical Theatre.” Emily Skinner has unequivocally established herself as one of Broadway's most engaging and versatile performers. In 2015, Emily had the honor of originating a role in Hal Prince’s new musical Prince of Broadway in Japan. She last appeared on Broadway starring in the acclaimed musical Billy Elliot. Emily was nominated for a Tony Award (along with Alice Ripley) and received a Drama League Award for her performance as Daisy Hilton in the brilliant but short-lived Side Show. Other original Broadway cast credits include Jekyll & Hyde, James Joyce's The Dead, and The Full Monty. In addition to the DSU performing arts students, in attendance were musical theatre students from the other universities in the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges consortium as well as the Charter High School for the Performing Arts.


In fall 2015, prolific stage and cabaret composer John Bucchino's presented a master class in song interpretation with musical theatre students who performed songs from his canon.  Bucchino’s songs have been heard on Broadway and in cabaret and symphonic concerts worldwide.  His work has been performed and recorded by such artists as: Judy Collins, Liza Minnelli, Patti LuPone, Kristin Chenoweth, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra McDonald, Barbara Cook, and Michael Feinstein.




Award-winning Broadway actress Joanna Gleason presented a workshop on  “Acting for Singers”  for musical theatre students in fall 2015. Best known for her role as the “Baker’s Wife” in the original production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s “Into the Woods,” seasoned actress of stage and screen. Joanna Gleason worked with students on on identifying and capitalizing on cues with a song that inform choices in text, subtext, and context.

Christopher Durang visits DeSales University Award winning playwright Christopher Durang appeared on campus in September 2013 as the featured guest in “An Afternoon with Christopher Durang.”  Mr. Durang, whose latest play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, won the 2013 Tony Award winner for Best Play, shared thoughts on the process of playwriting and, for the first time ever, read from his play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Then he fielded questions from the assembled performing arts students on topics ranging from major influences in his work to how he deals with writer’s block.  Mr. Durang’s plays include A History of the American Film, The Actor’s Nightmare, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, Beyond Therapy, Baby with the Bathwater, and The Marriage of Bette and Boo.

Award-winning scenic designer John Lee Beatty visited the campus on Thursday, April 12, 2012 for "An Afternoon with John Lee Beatty"at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts. Hosted by Will Neuert, the resident scenic designer on faculty in the Theatre Department at DeSales, Mr. Beatty took part in an informal discussion with performing arts students discussing his professional journey and his career as one of the worlds most renowned theatrical designers. In addition, Mr. Beatty brought samplings from his extensive and  extraordinary portfolio to share with the students.

Tony-award winning actress Victoria Clark visited the division of performing arts on December 2, 2011. Ms. Clark held a masterclass for theatre students in the intimate Schubert Theatre of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, then took time to answer students questions and perform a few songs for the audience. Ms. Clark won a 2005 Tony Award for Leading Actress in a Musical for her performance in the play The Light in the Piazza. She has also appeared in such Broadway productions as Sister Act,Guys and Dolls, and Titanic.

Santo Loquasto, one of the world’s most preeminent designers, visited DeSales in March 2011 to appear in "An Afternoon with Santo Loquasto."  The informal student forum featured a Q&A session detailing Mr. Loquasto’s nearly half a century of award-winning designs for theatre, television, film and ballet. 

Credits include premiere productions as Fosse and Ragtime, and major revivals including 110 in the Shade, American Buffalo, andInherit the Wind. Film credits include Mighty Aphrodite, Bullets Over Broadway, and Big. He has received 15 Tony Award nominations for his work as either costume or scenic designer and has won three times. He has also won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design three times and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Costume Design once. Mr. Loquasto has been a production designer for many of Woody Allen’s films and has been nominated for the Academic Award for his design for Bullets Over Broadway and Radio Days

Award-winning Broadway and cabaret artist Liz Callawayappeared on campus in November 2010 as the featured guest in "An Afternoon with Liz Callaway".  With credits such as Miss Saigon, Cats, and Merrily We Roll Along, Ms. Callaway has appeared in major Broadway productions working with great composers and directors such as Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Trevor Nunn.  She concluded her appearance by singing "Meadowlark" from The Baker’s Wife, "Memory" fromCats, and the Academy Award-nominated song "Journey to the Past" from Anastasia.

Emmy Award winning comedy writer Alan Zweibel visited campus in March 2010 as the headliner for the Tenth Annual Student Film Festival.  He presented a master class for TV/Film majors  and then appeared on stage for a “Writer’s Studio” interview as a keynote to the festival.  Before the opening night screening, he announced  his choice for “Best of Show” of the festival entries.  An original “Saturday Night Live” writer, Alan Zweibel has won multiple Emmy, Writers Guild of America, and TV Critics awards for his work in television which also includes “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” (which he co-created), “Monk,” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

In January 2010, Alberto Del Saz, Artistic Director of the Alwn Nikolais Foundation taught master classes and gave lectures on the artistic genius of Alwin Nikolais. He spent two weeks re-staging Nikolais' signature work of choreography entitled Tensile Involvement on our dance majors. Our majors were able to perform this work alongside the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company's performance at the Zoellner Arts Center in Bethlehem, Pa. They will perform it again in the annual Dance Ensemble Concert and will perform it in 2011 in NYC at Hunter College's Sharing the Legacy Project.
Tony Award winner for Best Actress in a Musical, and star of Broadway’s Next To NormalAlice Ripley, appeared in “An Actors Studio with Alice Ripley” in November 2009. Discussing path and process, Ripley shared insights about training, the creative process, and professional endurance. Accompanied by Steven Chicurel, she closed her performance by singing musical theatre and contemporary rock covers.
Iconic American actress Francis Sternhagen was on campus in October 2009 to perform a one-woman show and conduct a Q&A session with Theatre, TV/Film and Dance students. Ms. Sternhagen has a long association with the Performing and Fine Arts department where two of her sons majored in theatre.  During her nearly 60 year career, Ms. Sternhagen has worked extensively on stage and in television and film. The two-time Tony Award winner’s Broadway credits include  Steel Magnolias, Equus, and On Golden Pond.  Ms. Sternhagen recently appeared in the feature film Julie and Julia starring Meryl Streep and her current role on The Closeradds to a long list of television credits including Cheers andSex in the City.
Mary Rae Thewlis, producer and unit production manager for the Law and Order franchise and trustee of the Director’s Guild of America was on campus in September 2009 to present a master class in “Production in the TV Industry” for the advanced production film students. Using trailers from the series, she discussed how the TV production process advances from script to screen and discussed avenues for career building and networking in the profession.
Veteran film actor and comedian Leslie Nielsen headlined the Ninth Annual Student Film Festival. Nielsen was on campus Friday, March 27, 2009 and hosted a Q&A session with Theatre and TV/Film students in the Schubert Theatre in the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts. Nielsen also appeared that evening at 7:30 p.m. on the main stage of the Labuda Center for a Q&A with the assembled audience prior to the 8:00 showing of the Student Film Festival. 
Tony and Emmy Award winning actress and Broadway legendElaine Stritch presented An Afternoon with Elaine Stritch during which she performed and conducted a Q&A with students. Ms. Stritch's credits include roles in seminal productions of Call Me Madam, Pal Joey, Show Boat!, Sail Away and Company. Television and film credits include Woody Allen's September, Monster-In-Law, The Cosby Show, 3rd Rock from the Sun and30 Rock.
Legendary actor, comedian and comedy writer Chevy Chase, one of the original cast members from Saturday Night Live spent a day on campus hosting a master class on comedy sketch writing and a Q&A with students. He also headlined 7th annual Student Film Festival. 
Gary Powell, professional composer, musician and arranger, presented a master class on breaking into the music industry. Gary's accomplishments read like a Who's Who catalog of family entertainment. He has composed, arranged and produced music for 125 musical albums and videos which have sold some 45 million units across 47 countries. All have been produced in his Austin, Texas recording studio Powell Studio Productions.
Philadelphia-based hip-hop teacher/choreographer and Artistic Director of Rennie Harris Puremovement, Rennie Harris was on campus to audition and set a piece to be premiered on the 2009 Dance Ensemble Concert. Harris founded his company based on the belief that hip-hop is the most important original expression of a new generation. He is a powerful spokesperson for the significance of "street" origins in any dance style.
The LEVYdance company was in residence in January 2009 to set a work on dance majors to be presented during the 2009Dance Ensemble Concert. One of Dance Magazine's "Top 25 to Watch" in 2004, Levy's choreography has been presented at The Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater, the American Dance Festival, Zellerbach Playhouse, ODC Theater, the Cowell Theater, Dance Place, the Joyce SoHo, the Lobero Theater, and the Galvin Playhouse. 
The internationally renowned She Wei Dance Company spent two weeks in residence on the DeSales campus in November 2007 setting a new piece on the company and choreographing a piece on DeSales dance students for the spring 2008 Dance Ensemble Concert. Choreographer Shen Wei is the mastermind behind the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics' Opening Ceremony.
Legendary director, actor, writer producer Peter Bogdanovitchconducted a Q&A with students and headlined the 8th annual Student Film Festival. Bogdanovitch has directed over 20 feature films including The Last Picture Show, What's Up, Doc? andPaper Moon. He is widely known from his recurring guest-starring role on the HBO's The Sopranos.
Sid Ganis, President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and his wife Nancy Ganis, an independent writer and producer, hosted a reading session of student scripts and provide critical feedback during a campus visit in April 2008. 
Cabaret and recording artist Jim Van Slyke visited campus in March 2008 to perform live in the Dance Ensemble Concert in a work choreographed by then dance faculty member Kristin Fieseler and to conduct master classes with the musical theatre performance classes. Hailed as "one of the most beautiful voice in cabaret" Jim Van Slyke has sung on concert stages across the US and Europe. Stage credits in leading roles in both opera and musical theatre include The Barber of Seville, Forever Plaid, Rent, Tommy, Annie Get Your Gun, A Chorus Line, Wicked andThoroughly Modern Millie.

Faces & Places