Faculty

Faculty

Performing Arts Department Full-time Faculty

Laura Fine Hawkes

Chair, Performing Arts Department

BFA, The College of Santa Fe (now Santa Fe University of Art and Design)
MFA, UCLA

Laura Fine Hawkes is the chair of the Performing Arts Department at Santa Fe University of Art and Design (SFUAD). Fine Hawkes’ work broadly encompasses scenic design for theatre, opera, and musical theatre, as well as art direction for live shows, themed visitor experiences, museum exhibits, events, and television programming. Fine Hawkes designed the Air Force One Discovery Center, which won a Thea Award from the Themed Entertainment Association and is located in the Air Force One Pavilion of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California. She has also participated in the development of multiple international large-scale live shows and themed visitor experiences for Thinkwell Design and Production and The Hettema Group — both based in the
greater Los Angeles area — and served as art director for 24 Hours of Reality: Cost of Carbon, a live-streamed multimedia show produced by Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project. Her theatrical engagements include design for Center Theatre Group at The Mark Taper Forum, Theatre Under the Stars, Houston Grand Opera’s HGOco, Stages Repertory Theatre, Houston Shakespeare Festival, Big League Productions, Geffen Playhouse, among many other venues. She also worked on a short film within Cirque du Soleil’s production of Iris at the Kodak Theatre, and was a former assistant to the late Broadway scenic designer David Mitchell. Fine Hawkes’ art direction for television includes programming for NBC/Bravo, ControlRoom, AEGLive, Comedy Central, PBS, and the FUEL Network, among others.

As a guest designer and guest faculty in scenic design, Fine Hawkes frequently works with academic institutions and young artist training programs. In addition to a previous contributing faculty role at SFUAD, she has worked for the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, the Opera Institute at Cal State University Long Beach, San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program, UCLA Opera, and Cal State Los Angeles.

Chelsea Antrim Dennis
Full-time Faculty, Performing Arts Department; Assistant Chair and Stage Management Faculty

Chelsea Antrim Dennis is the Production Stage Manager at Santa Fe Opera and has worked with the company for over 12 years. She has worked at major opera companies around the country such as Florida Grand Opera, Sarasota Opera, San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Opera Colorado, Opera Philadelphia and continues to work with Lyric Opera of Chicago. Most recently, she has been Production Stage Manager with Boston Lyric Opera. She will be wrapping up contracts there and in Chicago this fall as she moves into her new role with Santa Fe University of Art and Design. In addition to her breadth of experience in the opera world, Chelsea has also had the pleasure of working on and off Broadway. She has worked on Fences starring Denzel Washington, Ghetto Klown starring John Leguizamo, The Cherry Orchard starring Dianne Wiest and John Turturro and the Argentinean hit Fuerza Bruta. She has Stage Managed numerous special events in NYC. Her most memorable of those was the Marvin Hamlisch Memorial directed by Mike Nichols with performers Liza Minelli, Barbara Streisand, and Aretha Franklin. Mr. Nichols subsequently invited Ms. Dennis to Stage Manage a fundraising event with Michelle Obama. Chelsea graduated from San Francisco State University in 2004. Since then, she has enjoyed returning to academia as a guest lecturer at The Juilliard School, Boston Conservatory, Emerson College, Colorado State University, University of Northern Colorado, Borough of Manhattan Community College, as well as her own alma mater. She is thrilled to be joining the SFUAD faculty to continue working with the next generation of stage managers.

Erica Frank
Full-time Faculty, Performing Arts Department; Lead Faculty, Costume Technology

Erica Frank is delighted to be joining the faculty as Lead Professor of Costume Technology at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Erica Frank has a diverse background in Design and Technology, among them: Custom Specialty Tailor on Marvels, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Head Tailor on Amazon TV Pilot Z, Specialty Costume Crafter for the NBC’s Television Show, Revolution, Tailor/Set Costumer on the feature film, The Hunger Games, Collaboration on Henson Puppet Workshop The Collector of Lies, Costume Designer for the feature film Breaking at the Edge, and Assistant Designer for 20th Century Fox Film, Neighborhood Watch. After completing her BFA at Parsons School of Design, she opened a designer shop and studio on the LES of New York City. She soon found much of her work was gravitating from fashion design to theatre design and specialty craft services for Manhattan’s theatre industry. A move to Los Angeles resulted with an MFA at California Institute of the Arts, and led to Costume Design for the feature film Phantom Love, with world renowned experimental director Nina Menkes. This film took her to Sundance, film festivals all over the world, awards, and retrospectives at MOCA in Los Angeles, and screenings at The MOMA, New York. It also gained her entry to Costume Designers Guild. Now, also a member of The Studio Mechanics 491, she continues to work bi-coastal. Her unique craft skills, fantasy designs, and familiarity with east and west coast markets makes her an asset to our theatre, film, and video production program. One of Erica’s specialties is her involvement in puppetry for stage and TV. Recent work includes writing, directing and building puppets for a large scale puppet play called The Immortals. She also co-wrote, directed and designed puppets for a TV pilot produced by and for PBS. Erica hopes to continue her work in puppetry with the enthusiastic participation of students at SFUAD.

Chris Hawkes
Full-time Faculty, Performing Arts Department; Technical Director

Chris Hawkes is an entertainment design and construction professional with 25 years of experience in specialty fabrication, focusing on project management and technical direction/design. Projects include a broad spectrum of work in live theatre, permanent installations for theme parks and museums, corporate events, trade shows, and television.

Chris spent fifteen years in Los Angeles, working as a technical director, project manager, and production manager with multiple entertainment design firms, production companies, and scenic fabrication companies. Projects for Thinkwell Group include production management of Fernbank NatureQuest at Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta, GA and Warner Bros. Theme Park in Abu Dhabi. With BRC Imagination Arts, Chris worked as Fabrication Manager for the Information and Communication Pavilion at World Expo in Shanghai. He has worked on three project teams which have received Themed Entertainment Association Awards.

Additional projects involve project management work for Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios California, The Guggenheim at The Venetian Las Vegas and The Cerritos Millennium Library. Project management for corporate clients includes: Microsoft, Coke, Harley Davidson, MCI, Motorola, Phillip Morris, Nabisco, Sheraton International, SmithKline Beecham, Time Warner, Qualcomm.

Theatrical experience encompasses work as the Scene Shop Foreman for La Jolla Playhouse/ University of California San Diego Theatre Department, Director of Opera Production at Rice University Shepherd School of Music, as well as fabrication for UCLA Opera, USC Opera, The Old Globe, The Geffen Playhouse, The Philadelphia Opera Theatre, Temple University, among many others.

Before joining faculty at SFUAD, Chris was Technical Director/Faculty at University of Houston and led the Technical Direction MFA program there. In conjunction with the school’s summer company, he was also Technical Director for Houston Shakespeare Festival at Miller Outdoor Theatre.

Jon Jory
Full-time Faculty, Performing Arts Department

Honorary doctorate, The University of Utah
Honorary doctorate, University of Louisville
Honorary doctorate, Bellarmine University

As the producing director at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Jon Jory directed more than 125 plays and produced more than 1,000 plays during his 32-year tenure. He conceived the internationally lauded Humana Festival of New American Plays, the SHORTS Festival, and the Brown-Forman Classics in Context Festival. He was also the artistic founding director of Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Conn., and he has been inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.

Jory has directed professionally in nine countries. In the United States, he has directed productions at many regional theatres, including Washington, D.C.‘s Arena Stage, San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater, Hartford Stage in Hartford, Connecticut, the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, New Jersey, Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon.

He has received the National Theatre Conference Award and the American Theatre Association’s Distinguished Career Award. For his commitment to new plays, Jory has received the Margo Jones Award twice, the Shubert Foundation’s James N. Vaughan Memorial Award for Exceptional Achievement and Contribution to the Development of Professional Theatre, Carnegie Mellon’s Commitment to Playwriting Award, and the Regional Theatre Tony Award.

Kathy Morath
Full-time Faculty, Performing Arts Department; Lead Faculty, Music Theatre

B.A. Semiotics, Brown University The Neighborhood Playhouse SAG/AFTRA/AEA

Broadway credits include Joseph Papp’s Pirates of Penzance and Nick & Nora. Off-Broadway has appeared in the role of The Girl in The Fantasticks, Personals, The Wonder Years and David Ives’s All in the Timing, among others. Regionally has played leading roles at the Guthrie Theatre, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Dallas Theatre Center, Baltimore Center Stage, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, the Barter Theatre, Ogunquit Playhouse, Art Park, Goodspeed Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Wolf Trap and the Kennedy Center. TV and film credits include Law & Order, Walker: Texas Ranger, Alice in Concert, Hostage, All My Children and General Hospital. Kathy recently created the role of Jodi in the world premiere of the new musical The Bikinis at ReVision Theatre in Asbury Park, NJ. Kathy appears on the SONY Masterworks recording of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Allegro. She has also served as an adjudicator and peer reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts. Previous teaching credits: AMDA College & Conservatory, Paper Mill Playhouse, The Norris Center for the Performing Arts, The Artist’s Crossing, Sing Smart Act Smart, private studio.

Shad Willingham
Full-time Faculty, Performing Arts Department; Acting/Directing Faculty

In addition to be an experienced teacher, Shad Willingham is an actor, director and playwright. Shad graduated from the North Carolina School of the Arts and went on to join the Actors Equity Association when he co-starred with Cynthia Nixon as George Gibbs in Our Town at the Old Globe Theatre, San Diego. Shad has traveled and performed in theatres around the world- Moscow, St. Petersburg, London, Germany, Paris and Amsterdam, to name a few. Upon receiving his Masters degree from the University of Washington in 2002, Shad joined the acting company of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for six seasons performing in nearly twenty productions. In 2007 Shad accepted a position with Tulane University to teach voice, speech and acting. Shad still acts regularly and directs around the country. Recently Shad appeared as Luther Billis in South Pacific at the New Orleans Lyric Theatre, Richard Haney in The 39 Steps with Theatre 13 and Dr.Givings in In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play with Southern Repertory Theatre and Macduff in Macbeth with the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival. In 2009 Shad directed and starred in the world premiere of his first full-length play Ham for the Holidays. In April 2011 Shad was awarded the Big Easy Award for Best University Production for Lend Me A Tenor which he directed at Tulane. Last summer Shad directed a production of Twelfth Night for the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival.

He lives with his wife Heidi and their amazing daughter, Tess.

Performing Arts Department Adjunct Faculty

Layla Amis

Adjunct Faculty, Lead Faculty in Dance, Performing Arts Department

New World College of the Arts

A native of Florida, Layla Amis attended New World College of The Arts in Miami on full scholarship. She continued her education in Chicago, training with Birute Barodicaite, Anna Czaun, Jonathan Levy, Elana Anderson, Kevin Iega Jeff, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and on full scholarship at Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Center. Layla has danced professionally with New World Modern Dance Company, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and as a principal dancer with Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre, the Gail Gilbert Dance Ensemble and Moving People Dance Santa Fe. She has performed works by Mia Michaels, Kevin Iega Jeff, Gary Abbott, Tomi Paasonen, Gail Gilbert, Robert Moses, Nora Reynolds, Raoul Trujillio, Rulan Tangen, Kevin Wynn and Sam Watson.

In 1998, Layla moved to Santa Fe, NM, and served as Artistic Director for Dance Arts Los Alamos for two years. In 1999, Layla co-founded Moving People Dance Santa Fe, a non-profit professional contemporary dance company and school. Layla served as School Director and co-Artistic director for Moving People Dance Santa Fe for five years, teaching ballet, modern dance technique and repertoire, as well as producing, directing and choreographing for over 20 pre-professional and professional productions.

In 2005, Layla accepted the position of School Director for Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet in San Francisco. During her time at LINES, Layla helped build the LINES Ballet Summer Program to one of the premiere Summer Intensive programs in the country, along with creating a Year Round Training Program for young pre-professionals and Discovery Project, a national outreach program. In 2009, Layla returned to New Mexico to serve as Executive Director for Moving People Dance Santa Fe. Currently, Layla is the co-Artistic Director of Modas: A Dance Intensive, and teaches and choreographs for various dance organizations.

Steve Carmichael
Adjunct Faculty, Performing Arts Department

Steve Carmichael served as the Head of the Theatre Arts Department and Head of the Lighting Design Program at the Barat Campus of DePaul University. He has designed lights for Upstream Theatre in Saint Louis, Theaterwork in Santa Fe, Chicago Ballet Arts, the University of Alabama, SUNY New Paltz in NY, and the Phoenix Theatre in Arizona (among many others). Professional lighting credits also include, among others, The American Theatre Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre, New Dramatists, Julliard School of Music, Aspen Music Festival, and the Cincinnati Playhouse-in-the-Park. He co-founded and served as the resident Lighting Designer for Shakespeare on the Green, a professional outdoor summer festival that featured Chicago equity actors and was free to the public.

Christina Duarte
Adjunct Faculty, Performing Arts Department

BA in English Literature, Bard CollegeMA in Theatre, Hunter College

Cristina Duarte, is a director, actor, teacher and former Artist Director of the Santa Fe Playhouse. Originally from New York, she is an alumnus and long time teacher of acting technique at the Stella Adler Conservatory. She has studied and collaborated with master teachers Stella Adler, Elaine Stritch, Gene Saks, Alan Arkin, David Shiner and Bob Krakower and theater professionals such as Marci Philips, James Calleri, and David Caparelliotis.

Cristina received her MA in Theatre from Hunter College where she taught acting technique and theater history. She has directed original works at Hunter’s Loewe Theatre and several projects for the Michael Chekhov Theatre Co. As an actor, she has appeared in several independent and commercial films as well as television, with reoccurring roles on Law and Order, One Life to Live, All My Children and a 9 year run on Saturday Night Live as a supporting cast member. She has been teaching acting, scene study and theater history as well as writing and literature for 20 years.

Brian Gillespie
Adjunct Faculty, Performing Arts Department

MFA University of Washington

Brian Gillespie is a theatre artist based in New York City who specializes in directing new works and re-imagining classic texts. He creates work that embraces high theatricality and celebrates the inherent artifice of the medium. With a spirit of inventiveness and play, his work encourages audiences to transcend the realm of realism and actively engage their imaginations to co-create the theatrical event.

He has directed in New York for Pull Together Productions, Primary Stages, Rising Sun Production Co., Boomerang Theatre Co., Planet Connections, AMIOS, Truant Arts, The Internationalists, CAPS LOCK Theatre, aWe Creative Group, Anthem Theatre Company, CEO Theatre, Distilled Theatre Co., The Grex Group, New York Musical Theatre Festival, The Samuel French Short Play Festival and Lather, Rinse, Repeat: A Playwrights’ Collective.

He is the Artistic Director of Pull Together Productions, a member of Directors Lab Chicago, Directors Lab North, Actors’ Equity, the League of Independent Theater and a founding member of the Directors Collective, The Best Thing Ever (TBTE). He holds an MFA from the University of Washington and was also a 2-day champion on the game show, Jeopardy!

Cecilia Leitner
Adjunct Faculty, Performing Arts Department

BA, University of North Carolina School of the Arts

Cecilia Leitner has performed as a soprano soloist in the United States, Spain, China and Korea with conductors Helmut Rilling, Simon Carrington, Stephen Layton, Paul Hillier, Stephen Stubbs, Jeffrey Thomas and Nicholas McGegan. Her performances include the Oregon Bach Festival, Seattle Accademia d’Amore, Yale Schola Cantorum, Yale Voxtet, Yale Baroque Opera Project, Magnolia Baroque Festival, Interpretation of Spanish and Latin American Song, and with the American Bach Soloists Academy and Festival. Ms. Leitner received a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Yale University, where she studied at the Institute of Sacred Music under the tutelage of James Taylor, Ted Taylor, Judith Malafronte and Simon Carrington. Currently based in the area of Santa Fe, NM, Cecilia has performed with Canticum Novum, Santa Fe Symphony, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, and the Opera Southwest educational outreach program. She enjoys concertizing, teaching and pursuing her career as a soloist.

Andrew Schmidt

Adjunct Faculty, Lead Faculty in Private Voice, Performing Arts Department

BME, Northwestern University
MM, University of Washington

Andrew Schmidt holds a M. M. in Choral Conducting from the University of Washington under the tutelage of Dr. Geoffrey Boers and Dr. Giselle Wyers. He also holds a B.M.E. from Northwestern University, Evanston, Il. Andrew is currently the Director of Choral Studies at the New Mexico School for the Arts. There he teaches choir, private voice, and beginning piano. Andrew is also an interim conductor for the Sangre De Cristo Chorale, based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

His work with the Masterworks Chorale (Belleville, IL) was aired on St. Louis Public Radio’s “Cityscape”. Additionally, Andrew has conducted at the Sarteano Chamber Choir Festival, Princeton Festival, National Conductor’s Symposium, Rodney Eichenberger Conducting Workshop, and Montreal Choral Masterclass.

Andrew Schmidt held a University of Washington FLAS (Foreign Language Area Studies) Fellowship for Estonian and Baltic/Western European Studies. He was also the recipient of a 2005-2006 U.S. Student Fulbright Fellowship to Estonia where he lived, studied, and researched in Tallinn, Estonia as well as sang and toured with Tallinna Kammerkoor. He has also sung with nationally renowned groups like Seattle Pro Musica (Dir. Karen P. Thomas), the Kinnara Ensemble (Dr. J.D. Burnett) and The Esoterics (Dir. Eric Banks), and worked as a soloist with choirs throughout the Pacific Northwest and Central Midwest regions.

Andrew has presented his scholarly work at the 2009 West Coast Estonian Days, as well as 2010 Pacific Northwest Regional Conference of the College Music Society. He recently collaborated with Dr. Heather Garbes and Dr. Duane Karna for the newly published book, The Use of IPA in the Choral Rehearsal (Scarecrow Press).

Charles Tichenor
Adjunct Faculty, Performing Arts Department

Charles Tichenor is enjoying his time at SFUAD as an accompanist and vocal coach. Mr. Tichenor, a fine singer and pianist, is a native of western Kentucky and a graduate from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. He has worked many years as a cabaret performer in New York, Los Angeles, as well as Santa Fe and has produced and written many cabaret shows. In addition to his musical accomplishments Mr. Tichenor also enjoys playwriting, storytelling, coaching, teaching, and is an avid human rights activist. He is also an eager student of the French language and culture and is currently developing a one-man show on the history of French cabaret. Mr. Tichenor lives in Santa Fe with his slightly cantankerous but most adorable cat Èmile-Gaston.

Sandra Dudek Twibell
Adjunct Faculty, Performing Arts Department

MS, University of New Mexico
BFA, California State University

Sandra Dudek Twibell has sung with opera companies, orchestras and choral societies throughout New Mexico, the southwest and western Canada. Most notable are San Diego, Santa Fe and Fort Worth Operas. She has performed roles in over 70 operas.

Ms. Twibell holds a Bachelor of Music Degree, cum lauda, in vocal performance from California State University, Northridge and an MS in Speech Sciences from UNM. She divides her time between teaching in her private voice studio and teaching voice in the Performing Arts Department at Santa Fe University of Art and Design.

Deborah Wagner
Adjunct Faculty, Performing Arts Department

Deborah Wagner, pianist for the Performing Arts Department, is a native of Las Vegas, Nevada. Deborah completed her Doctorate of Musical Arts at Arizona State University. She has earned degrees from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Northwestern University. She has performed with Santa Fe New Music, the Santa Fe Symphony, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale and Santa Fe Repertory Company. In addition to teaching and playing, she regularly works with singers and instrumentalists in the Santa Fe area and has toured with soloists and choirs throughout the country.