Department of Performing Arts
SUNY Cortland Calendar for the Performing Arts Department
The SUNY Cortland Performing Arts Department sponsors numerous performances throughout the year. The department is well known for its excellent musical theater productions, and it also offers orchestral and other concert performances, theatrical performances, as well as faculty recitals and other special events.
The department produces two mainstage musical theater productions each academic year, the fall production usually opening the last weekend in October and the spring production the last weekend in March. Productions during the past several years have included Gypsy, Godspell, Carousel, She Loves Me, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Chicago, Merrily We Roll Along, Anything Goes, Sweet Charity, The Mikado, Pippin, and A Little Night Music. Of these, Gypsy was given a four-star rating by the Syracuse Post-Standard, the paper's highest rating for performances. Of The Mikado, the Ithaca Times said that "the department is fast gaining a reputation as an excellent training ground for young people ambitious to go on the musical stage – and the high quality of that training is clear in the current offering." Students from the program are frequently cast in regional theaters, and several have gone on to be featured prominently in national tours of Broadway shows.
The Department of Performing Art's mission, in addition to its goal of continuing to establish one of the finest training programs in the country for musical theater, is to be an important focal point for the cultural life of the community. Members of the community are frequently involved in performances at the college, and continue to be an important part of the department's work. Members of the performing arts faculty are equally engaged in the community through outside performances, work as church musicians, and service on committees devoted to the enrichment of cultural life in the Cortland area. Kevin and Cynthia Halpin recently established the Performing Arts Institute, which is introducing more and more young performers to the joy (and the discipline) of work in the arts, and David Neal helped to establish The Arts at Grace, a thriving concert series at Grace Episcopal Church. The department also sponsors productions that are entirely student-produced, as an important vehicle for their transition into the professional world.
One of the future goals of the department is to become a venue for the development of new work. As a part of the New York State Music Fund grant recently awarded to the college and other venues in the greater Cortland area, the department has commissioned a team of musical theater writers to premiere a new work in 2008. With this, and future new works of musical theater, the college will become not only a place to hear great performances of established masterpieces of American culture, but a place that is intimately involved with the creation of works for the future.