April 25, 2012 /FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE /
UNCSA ANNOUNCES SPEAKERS FOR 2012 COMMENCEMENT EXERCISES
Playwright and Screenwriter David Rambo To Speak at College Ceremony;
American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer Julie Kent To Speak at High School Ceremony
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Chancellor John Mauceri has announced that David Rambo, a playwright and screenwriter whose credits include the new TV series “NYC 22” and the long-running TV series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” and Julie Kent, principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, will speak at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) commencement ceremonies for college on May 6 and high school on May 19, respectively.
Both of the speakers have ties to UNCSA. Rambo recently adapted Sinclair Lewis’ novel “Babbitt” for the stage, which saw its world premiere production earlier this month with the School of Drama juniors directed by John Dillon on campus. Kent was recently seen on the stage of the Stevens Center, dancing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in two performances of UNCSA’s annual production of The Nutcracker. She is also married to ABT Associate Artistic Director and UNCSA School of Dance alumnus Victor Barbee, and they have two children.
Rambo will speak to the college graduates at a 2 p.m. ceremony on Sunday, May 6. Kent will speak to the high school graduates at a 10 a.m. ceremony on Saturday, May 19. Both ceremonies will be held at UNCSA’s Roger L. Stevens Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Winston-Salem.*
“David Rambo is a dear friend and one of the most talented and versatile writers of our generation,” said Chancellor Mauceri. “I knew David’s work but really got to know him when we worked together on a staged concert performance of Sunset Boulevard at the Hollywood Bowl. That was one of the unique moments in the Bowl’s history, and the very first time a complete film score was played live to a live performance of a screenplay,” Mauceri noted.
“We were honored to have the world premiere of his Babbitt here at UNCSA, and are again honored to have him speak to our university graduates,” Mauceri added.
“Similarly, we are indeed fortunate to have prima ballerina Julie Kent speak to our high school graduates, especially after dancing so beautifully in our Nutcracker,” Chancellor Mauceri said. “Her career with American Ballet Theatre has spanned 25 years and dozens of principal roles. She is widely recognized as one of the world’s most accomplished and famous dancers.
“We are thrilled that our unique and historic collaboration with American Ballet Theatre is reaping such benefits,” Mauceri added.
Last summer, ABT and UNCSA announced plans for a five-year partnership, starting fall 2011, which makes UNCSA’s campus a second home for ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School by becoming an exclusive affiliate school.
David Rambo’s professional career was launched with the world premiere of his play God’s Man In Texas at Actors Theatre of Louisville’s 23rd Annual Humana Festival of New Plays in 1999, directed by John Dillon. Within a year that play was one of the most-produced in the country. Since then he has written The Lady With All The Answers (a Lortel Award nominee in its New York production at the Cherry Lane Theatre), The Ice-Breaker, The Spin Cycle, and an all-new new book for Lerner and Loewe’s Paint Your Wagon.
His plays have been widely produced at America’s regional theatres, including Actors Theatre of Louisville, Geffen Playhouse, Old Globe, Denver Center Theatre, Alliance Theatre and Pasadena Playhouse. He has adapted several classic screenplays for live performance, including All About Eve, Casablanca, Adam’s Rib and Sunset Boulevard, which Chancellor John Mauceri produced at the Hollywood Bowl, conducting Franz Waxman’s Oscar-winning original score with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra as the script was performed live by an all-star cast led by Betty Buckley, Len Cariou and Douglas Sills. As special events, several of his screenplay adaptations have benefited The Actors Fund with casts that have included Angela Lansbury, Sir Ben Kingsley, Stockard Channing, Kirk Douglas, Tim Curry, Calista Flockhart, Blythe Danner, Jennifer Tilly, Annette Bening, Zoe Caldwell, Cynthia Nixon, Anjelica Huston, Anne Heche, Christian Slater, Peter Gallagher, John Slattery, Carl Reiner, Melissa Manchester and John Ritter.
In the summer of 2003, William Petersen, the star of the most widely viewed TV show in the world, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” called the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles asking if they knew a playwright who wanted to work in television. David’s name was on the Geffen’s list of suggestions. He wrote a free-lance script for the series, which led to seven seasons on the series, a total of 138 episodes, working as a writer and/or producer, with guest actors and directors such as Laurence Fishburne, Faye Dunaway, Liev Schreiber, Quentin Tarantino, Roger Daltry, Taylor Swift, Len Cariou, Tim Conway, Tippi Hedren, Robert Guillaume and the Myth Busters. Following work on other series, David Rambo is currently a co-executive producer and writer of the new CBS series “NYC 22,” produced by Robert DeNiro and Jane Rosenthal.
A frequent guest lecturer on the arts at high schools and colleges, Rambo has an enduring relationship with the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. He is married to his longtime partner, Ted Heyck; they live in Los Angeles and Lake Arrowhead, Calif. He is a member of the Western Council of The Actors Fund, The Dramatists Guild, The Writers Guild of America, and The Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, and serves on the board of The Blank Theatre in Hollywood.
Julie Kent began her dance training with Hortensia Fonseca at the Academy of the Maryland Youth Ballet. She attended the American Ballet Theatre II Summer session and the School of American Ballet before joining American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in 1985. In that same year, Kent won first place in the regional finals of the National Society of Arts and Letters at the Kennedy Center. In 1986, she was the only American to win a medal at the Prix de Lausanne International Ballet Competition, and she became a member of ABT’s corps de ballet. She was appointed a Soloist with ABT in 1990 and a Principal Dancer in 1993, the year in which she won the Erik Bruhn Prize in Toronto.
Kent’s roles with the Company include the Girl in Afternoon of a Faun, the title role in Anastasia, Terpsichore and Calliope in Apollo, Nikiya in La Bayadère, Zina in The Bright Stream, the third movement in Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1, the title role in Cinderella, Medora in Le Corsaire, the Lady with Him in Dim Lustre, Kitri and the Queen of the Driads in Don Quixote, Titania in The Dream, The Dying Swan, Anne in Christopher Wheeldon’s VIII, the Accused in Fall River Legend, the second girl in Fancy Free, the Glove Seller in Gaîté Parisienne, Giselle in Giselle, Caroline in Jardin aux Lilas, Marguerite in Lady of the Camellias, Manon in Manon, Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow, the Sugar Plum Fairy in Kevin McKenzie’s The Nutcracker, Tatiana in Onegin, Desdemona in Othello, the pas de deux in Other Dances, the pas de deux in Les Patineurs, Hagar in Pillar of Fire, the Siren in Prodigal Son, the Ranch Owner’s Daughter in Rodeo, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, a Lover in Sin and Tonic, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, the Sylph in La Sylphide, Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, the second movement in Symphony in C, the Nocturne and Prelude in Les Sylphides, Sylvia in Sylvia, Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew, the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, the Woman in Weren’t We Fools? and leading roles in Ballet Imperial, Dark Elegies, Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes, Duets, The Garden of Villandry, Gong, Kaleidoscope, The Leaves Are Fading, Meadow, Mozartiana, Overgrown Path, Sinfonietta, “…smile with my heart,” Spring and Fall, Stepping Stones, Symphonie Concertante and Theme and Variations. She created Artemis in Artemis, Sibyl Vane in Dorian, His Memory and His Experiences in HereAfter and leading roles in Americans We, Baroque Game, The Brahms-Haydn Variations, C. to C. (Close to Chuck), Clear, Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra, Cruel World, Getting Closer, Glow – Stop, Known by Heart, Rigaudon, Seven Sonatas, States of Grace, Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison and Without Words.
In April 2000, Kent won the “Prix Benois de la Danse.” She starred in the motion picture DANCERS (1987), directed by Herbert Ross, and CENTER STAGE (2000), directed by Nicholas Hytner.
As America’s first state-supported arts school, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in music, dance, drama, filmmaking, and design and production. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.