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Princetonians in the Arts
June 5, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm
Moderator: Stacy Wolf, Professor of Theater in the Lewis Center for the Arts and American Studies; Director, Princeton Arts Fellowship; Director, Program in Music Theater
Brad Bailey *00, Filmmaker, Journalist, Oral Historian
Kathy Fox Franklin ’90, President – Franchise Development, Lightstorm Entertainment
Chai Vasarhelyi ’00, Director & Producer, Free Solo
Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen ’15, Countertenor and Classical/Opera Singer
Nonny Okwelogu ’15, Podcast Writer, Spotify
Stacy E. Wolf
Professor of Theater in the Lewis Center for the Arts and American Studies; Director, Princeton Arts Fellowship; Director, Program in Music Theater
Stacy Wolf is one of America’s foremost scholars on musical theater. She is professor of theater at Princeton, director of fellowships, and director of the Program in Music Theater. She is the author of “Changed for Good: A Feminist History of the Broadway Musical” (Oxford University Press, 2011), “A Problem Like Maria: Gender and Sexuality in the American Musical” (University of Michigan Press, 2002), and the co-editor of “The Oxford Handbook of the American Musical” (with Raymond Knapp and Mitchell Morris, 2011). Her latest book, “Beyond Broadway: Four Seasons of Amateur Musical Theatre in the U.S.” (Oxford University Press), explores the persistence of musical theater across the country in amateur venues such as summer camps, high schools, community theaters, and afterschool programs. She has published articles on theater spectatorship, performance pedagogy, and musical theater in many journals including Theatre Journal, Modern Drama and Camera Obscura, and is a former editor of Theatre Topics: A Journal of Pedagogy and Praxis. She also has experience as a director and dramaturg. Wolf holds a B.A. in English from Yale and an M.A. in drama from the University of Virginia. She received her Ph.D. in theater from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to her current appointment, Wolf was associate professor in the Performance as Public Practice Program in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas at Austin, where she taught from 2000-08. At Texas, Wolf also taught in the Plan II Honors Program and received a Department of Theatre and Dance teaching award in 2006. Her other teaching positions include assistant professor at George Washington University in English and theater and dance (1996-2000) and assistant professor in the School of Theatre at Florida State University (1994-96). Wolf is a 2017 Guggenheim Fellow and recently received a 2017 President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton University.
Brad Bailey *00
Filmmaker, Journalist, Oral Historian
Originally from Moultrie, Georgia, Brad Bailey received his Masters in Public Affair from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton . He received his B.A. from Yale University in Political Science and his Master’s in Journalism from UC Berkeley. This past year he graduated from Columbia University with a Master’s in Oral History with the goal of becoming a better storyteller. In 2017, Brad was the first African-American to win Gold in Documentary at the Student Academy Awards for his short film “Hale.” The film was also nominated for a BAFTA and had its European debut at the American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018. His next film, “Ballad of a Black Mother” is due out this summer and features Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, and profiles other African-American mothers who have lost their children to violence.
Kathy Fox Franklin ’90
President – Franchise Development, Lightstorm Entertainment
Kathy Fox Franklin ’90 is President, Franchise Development at James Cameron and Jon Landau’s Lightstorm Entertainment. She oversees global brand strategy and management for the Avatar franchise, partnering with Disney to expand Avatar’s reach and impact across all categories and platforms. Her projects include Pandora—The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Toruk—The First Flight with Cirque du Soleil and the touring exhibition Avatar: Discover Pandora. Projects in development include a AAA PC/Console game with Massive Entertainment, a global mobile game with Scopely, a global publishing partnership with Penguin Random House and graphic novels with Dark Horse Comics. Prior to joining Lightstorm in 2011, Kathy was Vice President of Global Franchise Development for Disney Consumer Products, leading brand management of the Disney Princess, Disney Fairies, Cars and Toy Story franchises. She earlier served as Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Disney’s corporate citizenship division and was responsible for Disney’s domestic and international relationships with its signature children’s charities. Before coming to Disney, Kathy held a diverse range of positions in finance, education and design. She was an English major (with a certificate in Women’s Studies) at Princeton and received an M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Chai Vasarhelyi ’00
Director & Producer, Free Solo
Chai Vasarhelyi ’00 is an Academy Award winning filmmaker. Most recently Vasarhelyi directed and produced “Free Solo,” an intimate, unflinching portrait of rock climber Alex Honnold, which was awarded a BAFTA and the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2019. The film also received seven Emmy awards. Vasarhelyi’s other films as a director include “Meru” (Oscars Shortlist 2016; Sundance Audience Award 2015); “Incorruptible” (Truer Than Fiction Independent Spirit Award 2016); “Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love” (Oscilloscope, 2009), which premiered at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals; “A Normal Life” (Tribeca Film Festival, Best Documentary 2003); and “Touba” (SXSW, Special Jury Prize Best Cinematography 2013). Vasarhelyi has directed two New York Times Op Docs, two episodes for Netflix’s nonfiction design series “Abstract” and two episodes for ESPN’s nonfiction series “Enhanced.” She has received grants from the Sundance Institute, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Bertha Britdoc and the National Endowment of the Arts. She is a member of the DGA as well as AMPAS. She holds a B.A. in comparative literature from Princeton and splits her time between New York City and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with her husband Jimmy Chin, their daughter, Marina, and son, James.
Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen ’15
Countertenor and Classical/Opera Singer
Acclaimed as a “young star” and “complete artist” by The New York Times and “extravagantly gifted… poised to redefine what’s possible for singers of this distinctive voice type” by the San Francisco Chronicle, Countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen ’15 has quickly emerged as one of classical music’s most promising rising stars. His first commercial recording—the world premiere recording of Kenneth Fuchs’ “Poems of Life” with the London Symphony Orchestra—won a 2019 GRAMMY® Award in the Best Classical Compendium category, which honors albums with multiple soloists and multiple works. His numerous awards include Grand Finals Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, First Prize and Audience Choice Award in the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition, Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation and First Prize in the Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition. Most recently, he won Third Prize at Operalia 2019 in Prague, the only American to place in the international competition. Since graduating in 2015, his performance credits include productions with San Francisco Opera, Theater an der Wien, Houston Grand Opera, Cincinnati Opera and San Francisco Ballet, and concert engagements with the San Francisco Symphony, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic and American Bach Soloists. His upcoming engagements will take him to many of the world’s leading opera houses, across Europe and the United States. A New York City native, he currently lives in San Francisco, California. He completed his operatic training in the Houston Grand Opera Studio (2017-18) as the first countertenor in the Studio’s history, and in San Francisco Opera’s Adler Fellowship program (2018-2019) and Merola Opera Program (2016). For Aryeh’s full bio, visit www.aryehnussbaumcohen.com.
Nonny Okwelogu ’15
Podcast Writer, Spotify
Nonny Okwelogu is a Nigerian-American writer and filmmaker from Fresno, CA. After graduating from Princeton University with a B.A. in English Literature and Certificates in Creative Writing and Film, she built a foundation of understanding in the industry working at McKeon Myones Management, Creative Artists Agency, Westward Productions and at 20th Century Fox (RIP) as a Creative Executive Trainee. Most recently, Nonny has worked in various TV writers rooms, including A League of Their Own (Amazon), Crime Farm (HBO Max) and Americanah (HBO Max). She currently writes podcasts for Spotify, under the Parcast banner. While working full-time, Nonny has also found time to develop her own projects. Though comedy is her first love, she writes across genres, from romantic comedy to family drama to horror and everything in between. She is also a chameleon across mediums, having written feature films, shorts, pilots, webseries and podcasts. Nonny draws inspiration from her Nigerian heritage, which has expressed itself in such projects as Ogbanje and My Big Fat Nigerian Wedding, the latter of which earned her representation with Inner Voice Artists and is currently in development.