Monthly Archives: November 2010

Anna Louizos

In front of the set for "In the Heights," which she designed.

Set designer Anna Louizos made her first major appearance on the Broadway scene with her design for Avenue Q in 2003. This design was originally created for an off-Broadway theatre, the Vineyard Theatre. Here, off-Broadway, Louizos began her career in scene design after a brief stint in television where she worked on shows such as The Cosby Show and Working It Out upon finishing college. She attended Mills College for two years in her home state of California before transferring to NYU to complete her degree. Set on becoming an actress, she completed her B.A. in theatre and then took some time off from school to pursue her goals.

After realizing that acting was not her calling, she eventually enrolled in NYU’s graduate studies program for Theatre Design, completing her M.F.A. and passing the union exam. Louizos began her career in scene design working as the assistant on shows such as The Red Shoes and The Scarlet Pimpernel before designing on her own. She designed for shows quite a bit off-Broadway before getting her first hit in 2001 for tick, tick…BOOM!, an off-Broadway production. Louizos received her first of two Tony Nominations in 2007 for scenic design on the set of High Fidelity, which was highly regarded for its set design though it ran for only two weeks. Her second nomination was for the well-known In the Heights produced in 2008 and still running today. Other productions she designed for such as Curtains and White Christmas have both received Drama Desk nominations.

Anna Louizos has made a name and a solid career for herself in a male-dominated field and has endured the scrutiny that goes along with women’s advancement. She is currently one of only a handful of women set designers working on Broadway. However, during her impressive career, Louizos has designed for places from the Manhattan Theatre Club to the Roundabout to Connecticut’s Goodspeed Opera House. She has worked as set designer on Broadway shows such as In the HeightsCurtains, White Christmas, High FidelityAvenue QTo Be Or Not To Be andSteel Magnolias. Her off-Broadway designs include Crimes of the HeartSpeech and DebateIn the HeightsThe Altar Boyz and of course tick, tick…BOOM!.


-Kristin Oakley


Photo: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times


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Anthony Kelley

Dr. Anthony Kelley is very connected to the arts at Duke.  In 1991 he received a joint Bachelor and Masters degree in music from Duke and he got his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley.  In 2000 he returned to Duke as a faculty member in the music department.  Dr. Kelley is a recipient of the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Institute and Academy of Arts and Letters.

Kelley is a classical composer but also studies the role of hip-hop and minorities in classical music.  One of his earlier compositions “The Breaks” premiered at Carnegie Hall in 1998 and has since been performed at symphony halls on both coasts.  He also composed the scores for the films “The Doll” and “Conjure Bearden” as well as the incidental music for the Duke Theater department’s production of “Spring Awakening”.

One of his works that really stood out to me was his 2002 work entitled “Sidelines”.  This is three movements of classical music, each inspired by a different sport: basketball, football, and baseball.  In an interview with the Duke Office of News and Communication, he said the work was inspired by his athletic relatives, the Cameron Crazies, Julius Erving, ragtime music, and George Carlin’s stand up routine.  Needless to say I wish I had been at Duke for that performance.

Steven Feister

More Information:

Faculty Website:

Works Cited:

Hicks, Sally. “Ciompi Quartet Premieres Sports-Theme Piece.” Duke News & Communications. 30 Oct. 2002. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. <;.

“Jack Kent Cooke Foundation – Dr. Anthony Kelley.” Jack Kent Cooke Foundation – Homepage. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. <;

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Rebecca Friedman

Rebecca Friedman, a literary agent at Sterling Lord Literistic (SLL), graduated from Barnard College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in European History. She first found out about the job of literary agents during her senior year of college while reading a biography of the famous literary editor Maxwell Perkins. After college, she worked in the sales department at Random House before landing a job at the literary agency Trident Media Group. It was while working at the literary agency Sanford J. Greenburger Associates that she heard about a job opportunity to work for Peter Matson. She jumped at the opportunity and has been working at SLL since 2005.

Today, Friedman “represents a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, but is primarily interested in memoir, reportorial nonfiction, history, current events, literary, international and commercial fiction” (Rebecca Friedman). She is constantly looking for new talent and has described the process as “a matching game“ (Loeb). Her clients include Rachel Shukert, Sara Shilo, Meredith Resnick, Sam Logan, Ducky Doolittle, Ron Leshem, Jared Matthew Weiss, Annia Ciezadlo, Basharat Peer, Darragh Worland, Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, Courtney Jones, and many more.

Devin Hardee


For more information about the clients Friedman represents, visit her Twitter page and blog:


Works Cited

Loeb, Eryn. “Seek and You Shall Sign.” Poets&Writers, Jul. 2010. Web. 15 Nov. 2010.

Rebecca Friedman. Sterling Lord Literistic, INC., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2010 <;.

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John Gromada – introduced by David Schwartz

Introduction – John Gromada (Broadway Composer/Sound Designer)

Since his graduation from Duke University in 1986, John Gromada has become one of the most celebrated composers and sound designers on Braodway. Though composition was not his main focus in school, Mr. Gromada did study some music composition during his time at Duke, and completed his first professional score (for “Long Day’s Journey Into The Night,” on Broadway) at the incredibly young age of 22. Since then, he has gone on to work on innumerable shows and projects, and has even spent time teaching at the NYU/Tisch School of the Arts. Gromada is now one of the theatre industry’s most talented and successful composers.

Mr. Gromada has written a number of original scores for shows on Broadway, including “A Bronx Tale,” “Prelude to a Kiss,” “Twelve Angry Men,” “Proof,” and many others. He also worked on the revivals of shows such as “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Summer and Smoke,” and even had music featured in the theatre production of “A Few Good Men.” In addition to this bulk of Broadway work, Gromada is also known for his compositions in regional theatres, including “The Glass Menagerie” at the Kennedy Center and a Houston production of ten Greek plays called “The Greeks.” Currently, Mr. Gromada is composing a long cycle of Tennessee Williams plays such as “A Streetcar Named Desire,” at the Hartford Stage Company. Other recent work includes Gromada’s score and theme for the Biography Channel television series “The Interrogators.”

John Gromada has won a remarkable number of awards for his work, including a 1996 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Sound Design, for his work on “The Skriker,” and a 1991 Village Voice Obie Award for his score for “Machinal” at the New York Shakespeare Festival. He has also received ASCAP special awards for theatrical composition for twenty-two years straight, and has been written about in numerous theatrical and musical journals.

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The Wild and Wonderful: Chip Kidd – Introduced by Caroline Culbertson



The mastermind himself, Chip Kidd

Despite being raised in the aptly named town of Reading, Pennsylvania, Chip Kidd was not supposed to design book covers. Or, at least that is what his professor at Penn State told him, as he held up Kidd’s design for John Updike’s Museums and Women for the class, saying that it would be in Kidd’s best interest to pursue any career other than book design.

 It’s a good thing he didn’t listen. Today, Chip Kidd is a writer and graphic design artist living in the upper west side of the city and Stonington, Connecticut. His first novel, an academic satire entitled The Cheese Monkeys, was a New York Times notable book of the year and a national bestseller. He also really, really likes Batman. Aside from reportedly having an apartment full of Batman paraphernalia, Kidd wrote and designed the work Batman: Collected in 2001, which was given the Design Distinction award from ID magazine.

Despite his professor's naysaying in college, Chip Kidd went on (albeit ironically) to design Updike's book jacket for "The Terrorist."

However, it seems he has caught the most attention with his outstanding, fresh, and innovative book designs. He is the associate art director at Alfred A. Knopf (an imprint of Random House), where he designs book covers. Kidd also does freelance design for Doubleday, Grove Press, HarperCollins, Penguin/Putnam, Scribner, and Columbia University Press,
turning out an average of 75 book designs a year. Kidd serves as editor at large of Pantheon graphic novels, and has provided design concepts for the works of John Updike, David Sedaris, Cormac McCarthy, Frank Miller, Charles Schulz, Michael Crichton, and many others.

He has been deemed responsible for beginning a revolution in book covers, and has been featured in such major publications as Vanity Fair, Print, Entertainment Weekly, The New Republic, Time, New York, and ID magazines. He also contributes regularly to the New York Times.  Publishers Weekly described his designs as “creepy, striking, sly, smart, unpredictable covers that make readers appreciate books as objects of art as well as literature.” He has been called “the closest thing to a rockstar” (USA Today), but maintains an ever-humble attitude about his designs’ impact on book marketing, saying “I piggy-packed my career on the backs of authors, not the other way around.” 
Seems like you’re doing alright for yourself, Mr. Kidd.

A sampling of Kidd's book designs

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(Not So) Secrets of the Jon Tolins

Jon Tolins w/ Cast and Director of 'Secrets' (Photo Courtesy of Fullerton)

Jonathan Tolins is a playwright and screenwriter.  His 2010 play, and our first of the program, is entitled Secrets of the Trade. It began its stage life as a critcally-acclaimed off-Broadway show at Primary Stages, starring current frontrunner, John Glover (alongside Noah Robbins), and directed by Matt Shakman. Mr. Tolins has also written the off-Broadway show, The Last Sunday in June, directed by Trip Cullman, The Twlight of the Golds, a Broadway show, directed by Arvin Brown, and If Memory Serves, another off-Broadway show, directed by Leonard Foglia. All three have been published in a collection of plays by the Grove/Atlantic company.

Mr. Tolins has received the GLAAD Media Award, two Back Stage Garland Awards, and a Drama-Logue Award. Jon has also collaborated with screenwriting partner, Seth E. Bass, to write and produce a film version of The Twilight of the Golds, aired on Showtime, that also premiered at the Sundance and Chicago film festivals, as well as experiencing a commercial theatrical release.

Bass and Tolins also worked on Martian Child, which starred John and Joan Cusack, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, and Sophie Okonedo, and was released in 2007 by New Line Cinema.

For television, Jon worked as a writer for HBO’s ‘Night Rap’, Showtime’s ‘Queer As Folk’ (for which he also co-produced the first season), and the 2000 and 2002 Academy Awards. He was also the sole writer of the 2003 Tony Awards, starring Hugh Jackman, and produced by Gary Smith. He wrote ‘Pushkin 200: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall’, as well as The Divine Miss Millennium Tour with Bruce Vilanch, Mark Waldrop and Bette Midler in 1999. He also wrote additional material for Miss. Midler’s 2008 show in Las Vegas, entitled ‘The Showgirl Must Go On’.

Mr. Tolins has contributed to several magazines and publications, including ‘Opera News,’ ‘Opera Monthly’, ‘TheaterWeek,’ ‘Frontiers’, ‘Avenue’, ‘Time Magazine,’ and ‘The Huffington Post’. He worked as an adjunct professor teaching screenwriting for two years in the Peter Stark Producing Program as the University of Southern California. Jon Tolins is a member of the Dramatists Guild as well as the Writers Guild of America.

-Aziza Sullivan

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Kate Torgovnick

Not that it’s her only claim to fame, but Kate Torgovnick is the daughter of our beloved professor, Marianna Torgovnick. I won’t speculate as to whether or not Professor Torgovnick, being a denizen of the English department, agrees with one of the assertions made on Kate Torgovnick’s website: “In this crazy world we live in, who needs fiction?”

Ms. Torgovnick does indeed specialize in real-world narratives. She did her first journalistic work for Falcon’s Cry, the student newspaper at Durham’s C.E. Jordan High School, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. She did extensive work at Jane magazine until 2006, when she became a freelance writer.

Her projects since then include the acclaimed Cheer, a book that explores the world of competitive cheerleading. Kirkus Reviews described Cheer as “distinguished by Torgovnick’s impeccable ear and canny, original choice of subject matter.” Cheer provided the basis for the new series Hellcats, featuring Ashley Tisdale, which is currently in its first season on The CW.

Ms. Torgovnick has put that same canny writing and reporting ability to work in articles that have appeared in a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, Newsweek, New York Magazine, and Glamour among many others. She is also news and pop culture editor at

–Connor Southard

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