The Theatre Arts Department is dedicated to a broad based study of the history, theory, and practice of theatre and its various disciplines in the context of an overall liberal arts education, together with an extensive production program that centers on student involvement and leadership in all of the theatrical arts. Contact our faculty at theatre@drew.edu.

Daniel LaPenta

In 2009-2010, Dan celebrated his 30th year teaching at Drew, serving as Chair of the Theatre Arts Department for fourteen of those years. At Drew, Dan primarily teaches directing and has done a wide variety of productions including some Shakespeare (including Twelfth Night in Spring 2011) as well as plays by Beckett, Pinter, and Euripides. He has also directed several original, student-written scripts. Among his favorite productions at Drew have been Charles L. Mee’s Big Love and Jane Anderson’s Defying Gravity. Dan has also directed at other universities and professionally. He is a member of the Actors’ Equity Association as a stage manager. Dan has run Drew’s London Semester three times (for a total of 3 years in England) over the course of his Drew career.

Jim Bazewicz

Jim Bazewicz, Chair of the Theatre Arts Department and Associate professor, teaches classes in all aspects of theatrical design. He holds and M.F.A in set design and art direction from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. As a freelance designer Jim has designed for many New York productions and regional theatres. New York City credits range from new plays such as his Off-Broadway success Tibet Does Not Exist to classic plays such as Shakespeare’s King Lear. Professional New Jersey credits include, New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, (both here in Madison) and The Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum in Morristown. Jim likes working locally and his regional theatre credits remain on the east coast, his work has taken him from Florida to Maine and as far west as Missouri. When not teaching or designing Jim performs with various singing groups and plays the drums in a Klezmer Band.

Rosemary McLaughlin

Rosemary McLaughlin, Professor, Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, is a playwright, poet and director whose awards include several New Jersey State Council on the Arts fellowships, Chicago’s coveted Jeff Award and the Governor’s Award for Arts Education. Her most recent work, A More Opportune Time, premiered at the Kirby Theatre directed by adjunct professor Jen Plants with set design by Eric Harriz. Paterson Falls, commissioned by Playwrights Theatre of NJ, will be part of the centennial commemoration of the Paterson Silk Strike of 1913. Rosemary’s paper on this research, From Paterson to P’town: How a Silk Strike in New Jersey Inspired the Provincetown Players, was published in the premiere issue of Laconics. The Chair, a one-act comedy about global politics, recently premiered at the Provincetown Theatre Company.Other plays, including Motherless Child, Standing in the Shadows and The Raw and the Cooked, have been performed in New York and regional theatres, as well as in the UK. At Drew, she has directed Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, Bryony Lavery’s Last Easter and Caitlin McWethy’s Sleep Study. Her comedy, Voices Carry, was directed by the late Joe Patenaude at Drew as well as at New Jersey Repertory Theatre. She is a founding producer of Waterfront Ensemble, as well as the Win Atkins Theatre Project and the Hallie Flanagan Play Series/Women at Wings. A member of the Dramatists Guild, she received her M.F.A. in Theater Arts from Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts. Her plays and poetry can be found in a number of anthologies, including Classroom Scenes and Monologues (Dramatic Publishing); Intimate Acts (Brito Lair); The X-Y Files and Written with a Spoon (Sherman Asher).

Andrew Elliott

Prior to joining the Theatre Arts Department at Drew, Andy Elliott worked professionally on the west coast as a theatre technologist and stagehand. He has worked at The Old Globe Theatre, The La Jolla Playhouse, The San Diego Opera. Notable productions include Rent, Harmony, Play On!, and Dogeaters. Andy received his BA in Theatre with an Emphasis in Design from San Diego State University, and his MFA in Theatre Technology from Indiana University.

Lisa Brenner

Associate Professor Lisa S. Brenner received her Ph.D. in Theatre from Columbia University, where she was nominated for the Baron Dissertation Prize for her study of racial role-play in American performance. She has taught theatre courses at Columbia University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Montclair State University. Upon receiving her BA in Theater (at Barnard College, Columbia University) Lisa worked as an actress and then founded a theatre company entitled The Women’s Ensemble, for which she served as Artistic Director. With the Women’s Ensemble, Lisa created and directed original work that received critical acclaim. She also started an education theatre program called WEAVE (Women’s Ensemble Action Via Education) that used theatre to address issues such as racism, eating disorders, and incest for schools, community centers, and universities. As a playwright, several of her plays have been produced by Theatre Ariel in Philadelphia, including From the Narrow, which has been a regular part of the repertory since its premiere. Taking Names, a play she co-wrote about the struggles of a bi-racial family, was awarded “Best New Play” by All Out Arts and was produced in NYC in 2000. In 2007, she co-wrote and assistant directed Katrina: The K Word based on interviews conducted with residents of New Orleans. As a dramaturg, Lisa worked for Vital Theatre in New York, where she also curated two play festivals. In addition, she served as dramaturg at Montclair State University on the musical Parade and on Ben Clawson’s original play Spilling Stuff and Breaking Things, which won the David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award. Particular interests: Contemporary American Theatre, Theatre and Racial/Religious Identity, Political Theatre.

Chris Ceraso

Associate Professor Chris Ceraso is an actor and a playwright. He has acted in premieres of work by such prominent writers as John Guare, David Mamet, Joyce Carol Oates, Lanford Wilson, Romulus Linney, Arthur Giron and Christopher Durang, among many others. He has also appeared on TV (several appearances “Law and Order) and in independent films. Regional work has included classic and modern classic plays by Shakespeare, Moliere, and Tennessee Williams. He is a long-time member of New York’s renowned Ensemble Studio Theatre (E.S.T.). As a playwright, he has been produced off-broadway and regionally, and has been published by Samuel French and Plays For Living. He has also had work produced for feature film, radio and TV.

Adjunct Faculty

  • Cheryl Clark, Dance
  • Rodney Gilbert, Acting and Directing; Speech
  • Robin Christian-McNair, Voice and Movement
  • Catherine Mueller, Acting
  • Jen Plants, Art of the Play
  • Jamie Richards, Acting and Directing
  • Lucy Ann Saltzman, Speech