Christal Brown teaching
Joe Forbes '76 BFA Theatre on the Red Carpet

School of Theatre Alumnus Receives Tony Award

Joe Forbes, ’76 BFA Scenic Design has been selected as one of four recipients for this year’s  Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre.
The award was established in 1990 and are awarded annually to institutions, individuals and/or organizations that have demonstrated extraordinary achievement in theatre, but are not eligible in any of the established Tony Award categories.
Forbes is the founder of Scenic Art Studios, Inc. which has become the premiere scene painting studio for Broadway Scenery. Since its inception, the company has created backdrops, sculptures, and painted built scenery for more than 350 Broadway productions. Productions include, Book of Mormon, Kinky Boots, Hello Dolly, A Bronx Tale, School of Rock, Beetlejuice, and Beautiful.
In an effort to share his love for scene painting, Joe also founded The Studio and Forum of Scenic Arts in 2004, a not-for-profit school, where he still enjoys being an instructor. It is the studio’s mission to teach the traditional skills of scene painting, while incorporating new materials and techniques. His passion for teaching also lead him to Purchase College, where he was a Lecturer in Theatre Design/Technology for 12 years.

Sherrill Roland ’09, ’17 MFA awarded the Fellowship in Documentary Arts from Duke University

SHERRILL ROLAND has been awarded the Center for Documentary Studies’ 2018-19 Post-MFA Fellowship in the Documentary Arts. He will be in residence at the Center for Documentary Studies for 10 months. He is the founder of the acclaimed Jumpsuit Project, intended to raise awareness around issues related to incarceration. Rolland created the Jumpsuit Project after a wrongful conviction just as he had started his last year of grad school in 2013. He was exonerated of all charges in 2015 and returned to UNCG to complete his degree. For his MFA thesis project, Sherrill wore an orange jumpsuit every day and documented his interactions with the public until his graduation in spring 2017. Rolland has shared The Jumpsuit Project around the country with speaking  engagements and performances at many educational institutions and museums. Read more here.  (image by Todd Turner)

Follow Rolland’s project by visiting the following links:

@JumpsuitProject on Twitter
the.jumpsuit.project on Instagram.


UNCG Alumna Beth Leavel nominated for TONY Award

UNC Greensboro Alumna Beth Leavel, MFA ’80 has just received another Tony nomination, this one for her role as Dee Dee Allen in the hit Broadway musical, THE PROMThe nomination was announced this morning by The American Theatre Wing.

Ms. Leavel holds a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for THE DROWSY CHAPERONE in 2006.   THE PROM is her twelfth Broadway show.  She debuted in 42ND STREET in 2001 and other credits include YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, MAMMA MIA, BANDSTAND and ELF.

Beth Leavel attended Meredith for her undergraduate degree in social work, but she had been bitten by the acting bug and decided to pursue graduate work in theatre.  She says her selection of UNCG’s MFA program was a great decision.

A group of UNCG Trustees and supporters saw THE PROM in mid-April and after the show Ms. Leavel joined the group for a private talkback.  She credited UNCG Faculty with helping her find her voice and her passion.   She says it was important to be surrounded by “like minds and supportive teachers”.

In THE PROM,  Ms. Leavel plays one of four fading Broadway stars in desperate need of a new stage.  They travel to a small town in Indiana to help a student bring her girlfriend to the prom, and in hopes of using their involvement in the cause to help jumpstart their careers.

Her show-stopping solo is “The Lady’s Improving”(watch it here),  but it’s almost impossible to imagine Beth Leavel getting any better.  Congratulations Beth!

THE PROM opened at the Longacre Theatre on November 15th, and the show has a total of 7 Tony nominations.  Winners will be announced during the 73rd Annual Tony Awards Presentation on Sunday June 9th, televised on CBS.

Photo credit:  Publicity photo from THE PROM