Yale School of Drama Announces New and Promoted Faculty for 2020–21 Academic Year

Promoted faculty members include Lileana Blain-Cruz, Alan C. Edwards, Alan Hendrickson, Riccardo Hernandez, Gregory Wallace, and Michael Yeargan.

By: Sep. 30, 2020

Yale School of Drama Announces New and Promoted Faculty for 2020–21 Academic Year

Yale School of Drama, the only graduate-level professional conservatory in the English-speaking world to offer training in every theatrical discipline, announces newly promoted and newly appointed faculty members, effective for the 2020-21 academic year.

"It is a great honor to congratulate the current faculty members whose contributions to the training at Yale School of Drama are recognized with well-deserved promotions this fall. And it is thrilling to welcome more than a dozen field-leading professionals to our community in service to our mission of raising the standard of global professional practice," Dean James Bundy said.


Lileana Blain-Cruz, a two-time OBIE Award winner and 2012 graduate of the Directing program, joins its full-time faculty as a Lecturer after teaching in the department since 2018. She has also been named a Resident Director at Yale Repertory Theatre, joining the artistic staff to co-curate season planning and direct productions regularly. Her previous credits include Yale Rep's world premieres of War and Girls, both by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Other recent credits include Fefu and Her Friends, The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World, Marys Seacole, Red Speedo, and The House that will not Stand.

Alan C. Edwards, who has been teaching part-time at the School since 2016, has become a full-time Lecturer and the Lighting Design Advisor at Yale Repertory Theatre (where he designed A Delicate Balance in 2010). Alan completed his M.F.A. at the School of Drama in 2011, and has taught at Yale College, Adelphi University, University of New Haven, and DeSales University. His design credits include the world premiere musical Stagger Lee at Dallas Theatre Center, The Tempest and Macbeth at Classical Theatre of Harlem, and Carnaval and Dead & Breathing at the National Black Theatre, among others.

Alan Hendrickson has been named the Henry McCormick Professor in the Practice of Technical Design and Production. Alan began teaching in 1979 and he graduated from the program in 1983. He also works as an independent consultant in scenery mechanization and control, with credits including hydraulic system design, control system design, and mechanical design for several Broadway shows, including The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast (national tour), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Aladdin.

Riccardo Hernandez, who has been teaching full-time at the School since 2017, has been promoted to Associate Professor Adjunct and will continue in his role as Set Design Advisor at Yale Repertory Theatre. Riccardo graduated from the School in 1992, and has designed scenery for more than 250 productions around the world, including, on Broadway, Jagged Little Pill; Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune; The Gershwins' Porgy & Bess; Caroline, or Change; Topdog/Underdog; and Indecent, following its world premiere at Yale Rep.

Gregory Wallace has been named the Lloyd Richards Professor in the Practice of Acting after joining the faculty in 2016. A 1987 graduate of the School's Acting program, Gregory has taught at the highest levels of conservatory training at American Conservatory Theater (where he was a member of the resident acting company for 12 years) and as Professor and Head of Graduate Acting at the University of California, San Diego. His distinguished acting career including scores of productions on and off-Broadway and at major American theaters; at Yale Rep he was recently seen as Dog in Father Comes Home from the Wars, Parts 1, 2, & 3.

Michael Yeargan has been named the Donald M. Oenslager Professor in the Practice of Design. Michael arrived at the School as a student in the fall of 1969 and was taught by Oenslager and Ming Cho Lee. Michael was recruited to the faculty after his graduation, and he succeeded Ming as co-Chair with Stephen Strawbridge in 2012. A two-time Tony Award winner (for South Pacific and The Light in the Piazza), he has designed sets for hundreds of plays, musicals, and operas on and off Broadway, in theaters throughout the United States, and internationally. At Yale Rep alone, he has designed more than 50 productions.


Nicole Brewer (Lecturer) is a leader in the movement to develop anti-racist theater practice through education and activism. She has directed and taught at colleges and high schools across the country, including her alma maters, Howard University and Northern Illinois University; and has led workshops for arts organizations including Long Wharf Theatre and Wingspace Design. As an actor, she has appeared at African American Shakespeare Company, Arena Stage, Colored Peoples Theater, Forum Theater, Shakespeare Theatre Company, and the Hegira, among others.

Colman Domingo (Lecturer) is an OBIE and Lucille Lortel Award-winning actor, playwright, director, and producer. He holds an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Ursinus College. He is on faculty at The National Theater Institute and has taught, lectured, and mentored at universities across the country. On Broadway, he has appeared in The Scottsboro Boys, Passing Strange, and Chicago. His film and television credits include If Beale Street Could Talk, Selma, and Fear The Walking Dead. He co-wrote the librettos for Summer: The Donna Summer Musical and Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole.

Austin Durant (Lecturer) is a 2010 graduate of the School and a 2012 Leonore Annenberg Fellow. He has appeared on Broadway in Moulin Rouge!, You Can't Take It With You, Macbeth, and War Horse; and at Yale Rep in Hamlet, Death of a Salesman, Passion Play, and American Night: The Ballad of Juan Jose.


Ty Defoe (Giizhig) (Lecturer), Oneida and Ojibwe Nations, is a writer, interdisciplinary artist, and Grammy Award winner who lives in New York City. Ty is co-founder of Indigenous Direction; a member of the All My Relations Collective, Dramatist, AEA, and SDC; a 2019 TransLab Fellow; a former Robert Rauschenberg Artist in Residence; and a 2017 recipient of the Jonathan Larson Award. Training: CalArts, Goddard College, NYU/Tisch, and artEquity facilitator. Earlier this year, he served as the movement director on Mary Kathryn Nagle's Manahatta, directed by Laurie Woolery, at Yale Rep. Pronouns: he/we

Emily Tappan (Lecturer) is a costume designer, technician, illustrator, and adjunct lecturer at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she earned her M.F.A. in costume design. She has assisted Toni-Leslie James at Arena Stage, Hartford Stage, and Portland Center Stage, and has designed costumes for productions at Virginia Repertory Theatre, Hodges Theatre, and Lexington Children's Theatre, among others.

Joshua Weisberg (Lecturer) is the president of Navolo Audio-Video, an independent consultancy providing design and planning resources for AV projects of all types. He is the co-founder and former president and chief operating officer of WorldStage, Inc.


Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Visiting Associate Professor in the Practice) has won two OBIE Awards, a London Critic's Circle Award, a MacArthur Fellowship, the Windham-Campbell Prize for Drama, and the inaugural Tennessee Williams Award, among others. He has taught at New York University, Juilliard, University of Texas at Austin, and was the director of the M.F.A. playwriting program at Hunter College. His plays include War and Girls (which had their world premieres at Yale Rep), Everybody and Gloria (Pulitzer Prize finalists), Appropriate, An Octoroon, and Neighbors. He will be a Yale Presidential Fellow for Spring 2021.


Nicola Rossini (Lecturer) is a 2007 graduate of the Stage Management program who has lectured at DePaul University, University of San Diego, Carnegie Mellon University, and University of North Carolina School of the Arts, among others. She is the Executive Producer and owner of Riding Chaos, LLC, and the co-founder of Harriet B's Daughters, a collective of creative professionals dedicated to strengthening access, equity, representation, and inclusion of all Folx in the Entertainment Industry through active mentoring, coaching, and inclusion.


Florie Seery (Assistant Professor Adjunct) began her tenure as Associate Dean of the School of Drama and Managing Director of Yale Rep in July. For the previous 15 years, she served as the General Manager of Manhattan Theatre Club, where she supervised business and production in three venues, on and off Broadway, with a $27 million budget. Prior to working at MTC, Florie was Associate Producer at Disney Theatrical Productions, Associate General Manager at Stuart Thompson Productions, and company manager for multiple Broadway shows.

The complete roster of Yale School of Drama faculty members is available by department here.


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