Marymount Manhattan College Honors The Late William Bordeau, 10/4

Marymount Manhattan College Honors The Late William Bordeau, 10/4

On October 4, 2009 alumni from Marymount Manhattan College (MMC) will take the stage of The Theresa Lang Theatre to honor Professor Emeritus J. William Bordeau, who passed away on July 25. The MMC community will be celebrating Professor Bordeau's life with a memorial from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the College, 221 East 71st Street in New York City. The celebration of Bordeau's life will also be broadcast LIVE on the Web at www.mmm.edu. A cocktail reception will follow from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in The Great Hall at the College.

Professor Bordeau's dedication, artistic vision and vibrant personality built a strong foundation for the success of Marymount Manhattan's Theatre Arts and Dance programs. In his 30 years of teaching, Professor Bordeau was a much loved mentor and educator, who went to great lengths to nurture and challenge his students.

The program will include remarks from Judson R. Shaver, Ph.D., President of Marymount Manhattan College, Mary Fleischer, Ph.D., Chair of the Division of Fine and Performing Arts, Robert Bordeau and Randall Tupper. Tributes will be made by Regina Peruggi, President of Kingsborough Community College and President Emeritus of Marymount Manhattan College; Suzanne Murphy '87, Vice President for Advancement of Columbia Teachers College, Charles Repole, Chair, Department of Theatre at Queens College and Tony-nominated performer, and Edward VanSaders '95, B.F.A., CFO at WRNN (New York) and WTVE (Philadelphia).

Professor Bordeau received his B.A. in Theatre and English at Northern Michigan University and his M.A. in Theatre from the University of Michigan; additional graduate work in theatre and dance was completed at Columbia University. Bill began college teaching in 1961 at Suffolk Community College where he created the first Telecommunications program of its kind in New York State, and served as the design consultant for the construction of its theatre and arts complex.

When Professor Bordeau arrived at MMC in 1968, he focused on teaching acting, directing and communication arts. As Chairperson of Communication Arts in the 1970s, he was central to establishing the BFA programs in Acting and in Dance. He served as the design consultant for the Theresa Lang Theatre, which was originally dedicated in 1975 as the Marymount Manhattan Theatre. For that occasion Bill directed the Theatre's inaugural production of Beckett's Waiting for Godot.

On October 4, members of the 1975 cast of Godot including Susan Slocum Melino '75 (Estragon, "Gogo"), Kevin S. O'Malley '75 (Vladimir, "Didi"), Virginia Strong Mazzello '75 (Lucky), Ken Merkel '75 (Pozzo), and Mary Leonard '75 (A Boy), will be reading excerpts from the production.

Professor Bordeau was a guest director for Fordham, SUNY Stony Brook and Columbia University and worked professionally in opera, television and film. A board member for several institutions including the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, Circum-Arts Foundation and the Neurological Research Foundation of NYC, Bill also served as the U.S. consultant to the Drama Studio (London) where he directed and taught master classes. From the mid-1980s until his retirement, Bill served as our first Director of Recruitment for Theatre Arts, taking particular care in mentoring students through the admissions process and, in collaboration with colleagues, substantially increasing the program in size and quality.

At MMC, Professor Bordeau nurtured the talents of his students, many who have successful careers in Broadway productions, television shows and movies. The Oct. 4th memorial will feature some of Professor Bordeau's former students including Ta'Rea Campbell '01, B.A.; Ryan Kasprzak '03, B.F.A.; Scott Laska '02, B.F.A.; Claire McKeveny '04; Nick Sanchez '03, B.F.A.; and Jake Warren '09, B.F.A., who will perform.

· Ta'Rea Campbell has joined the Broadway company of The Lion King. Taking on the role of "Nala," the queen-to-be lioness, Campbell's first performance at the Minskoff Theatre was on March 3, 2009. A native of Philadelphia, Campbell toured for three years as Nala in both the Cheetah and Gazelle tours of The Lion King. Her other Broadway credits include Little Shop of Horrors and Aida, playing the title role for matinee performances and as an understudy.

· Ryan Kasprzak recently appeared on the hit television show, So You Think You Can Dance, along side his brother Evan. Ryan's comic style has been featured at Tap City, the NY Musical Festival, the West Virginia Tap Festival, and the Cos Fest in Barcelona, Spain. He appeared with Tony Award winner Sutton Foster in Broadway Under the Stars recorded live in Central Park for CBS television. Ryan served as dance captain for the International Tour of Fosse and has been honored to perform with such legendary entertainers as Liza Minelli, Gregory Hines, Ben Vereen, Ann Reinking and the Nicholas Brothers. Recent performances include Revolution at the Joyce Theatre and Cut to the Chase at 59E59 Theater.

· Scott Laska played "Chris" in the summer 2009 in Miss Saigon at Gateway Playhouse. He has also played "Billy Bigelow," in Carousel at the Tri-Arts Playhouse. In 2008, he was in the film Kicking the Dog.

· Claire McKeveny began her training with Maggie Black and studied through the Royal Academy of Dance, the Rock School, and BalletMet Columbus. In 2004, she completed her B.F.A. at Marymount Manhattan College. She is currently a dancer with Eidolon Ballet.

· Nick Sanchez is currently in the Broadway ensemble of Mary Poppins. He has been with the cast since 2006. Prior to Poppins, Sanchez was a performer in other productions including, Tarzan (2006), But I'm a Cheerleader (2005) and Altar Boyz (2005). Sanchez also appeared in Rent on Broadway.

· Jake Warren pursued dance at MMC graduated in May 2009 with a B.F.A. in dance and a minor in musical theatre. Jake is currently a member of the Steps Repertory Ensemble of Steps on Broadway. He recently performed in "Celebrate Dance 2009."

In recognition of Bill's many accomplishments, MMC's Board of Trustees named him Professor Emeritus of Theatre Arts upon his retirement in 1999. Since then Bill had regularly attended events at the College and generously lent his expertise and energy to fund raising projects, such as the 30th Anniversary Benefit for the Theresa Lang Theatre, and the annual Dance Gala.

To honor his commitment to the mission of Marymount Manhattan, a group of alumni, colleagues and friends established the Professor J. William Bordeau Scholarship in 1999 and several Theatre Arts majors have benefited from the Bordeau Scholarship in their studies. The scholarship, which is one of the special initiatives of This is the Day, the Campaign for Marymount Manhattan, is awarded to full-time Theatre Arts students in need of financial support and who maintain a G.P.A of 3.5 or above.

Marymount Manhattan's programs in Theatre Arts continue to thrive, auditioning and interviewing more than 1,000 prospective students from across the country each year to maintain a high quality theatre program. In fact, MMC Theatre alumni have gone on to work and perform on Broadway, off-Broadway, in regional theatre and on national tours.

Contributions to the Professor J. William Bordeau Scholarship can be sent to the Office of Institutional Advancement at Marymount Manhattan College, 221 E. 71st Street, New York, NY 10021. All pledges received by March 31, 2010 will also help MMC meet a challenge from The Kresge Foundation that will result in a $1.5 million grant to the College. Multi-year pledges are encouraged and payments can extend to March 31, 2015.

For more information about the Professor J. William Bordeau Scholarship, contact Jean Wilhelm, Campaign Director, (212) 517-0460 / jwilhelm@mmm.edu.

Marymount Manhattan College is an urban, independent, liberal arts college. The mission of the College is to educate a socially and economically diverse population by fostering intellectual achievement and personal growth and by providing opportunities for career development.

Photo from Marymount Manhattan website

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