The First-Year Arts Program (FAP) is overseen by the Freshman Dean's Office and the FAP director, Julia Smeliansky, in close collaboration with the Office for the Arts. In addition, there are 7 Resident Artists, 20 Guest Artists, and 16 Upperclassman Proctors. The Resident Artists are all top artists in their fields, and each teach a full workshop, a smaller master class, and advise on development of content for the FAP Pageant for each of their threads. Guest Artists are all working professionals that each teach individual Master Classes in their respective areas of expertise. The FAP Proctors are all prolific arts leaders here on campus who help to run all of the programs, advise on Pageant content, and can offer great first hand insight into the social, academic, cultural and artistic fabric that is Harvard.
Julia Smelianksy, Director
I’m thrilled to be starting this year as Director of the First-year Arts Program. I come from a theater background; I was literally raised backstage as a kid. I have studied Art History and Theater Management, and have worked and toured with may theater, ballet and modern dance companies. I have worked for Harvard for nineteen years as the Administrative Director of the American Repertory Theater Institute for Advanced Theater Training. Prior to coming to Harvard, I was an Associate Producer on Broadway. In my spare time, I translate plays, paint and sing. Looking forward to an incredible experience this summer with our FAP team. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have.
Joey Donnelly, Assistant Director
Joey is so excited to be the assistant director and an acting instructor this year for FAP! He is a recent graduate of the l masters in acting program at Harvard University in conjunction with the American Repertory Theatre/Moscow Art Theatre School. Joey graduated with a degree in Theatre and Speech from Wagner College and then performed in regional musical theatre across the U.S. He has also dabbled in directing and producing during his studies at A.R.T. Directing/Producing 'BardCore' at Club Oberon at A.R.T., directed several new works for '10 Minute Tuesdays' at A.R.T. As well as assisting Russian Absurdist director Misha Milkis on the Moscow Project- 'Christmas at the Ivanovs.' Favorite acting credits include 'Middletown' (John Dodge) 'Romeo and Juliet' (Mercucio), Violet at A.R.T. (Father), James and the Giant Peach (Earthworm) as well as having the privilege to understudy the role of Sandra in A.R.T.'s production of 'Transcripts.' After FAP Joey will head off to The Netherlands to join the international embodied acting troupe- Theatre Hotel Courage- where he will represent America in a devised piece exploring the oppressors and oppressed in today's societies from September- December and then will join the faculty at Wagner College in New York where he will be an adjunct professor of acting and public speaking.
Camila Ortiz '19, Team Studio Art
Hey FAP! I'm Camila, a rising senior in Quincy House studying History & Literature and Music. I also love to draw n make graphics, which why I'm 1/2 of team studio art! I come from Davis, California (it still takes me a minute to find Massachusetts on a map, my cold tolerance is very low, etc etc) Here at Harvard I like to spin tunes on WHRB, the student radio station, write songs, take art classes, and order Dominos at odd hours. I am so excited to get to know all of you and make art together! Email me at email@example.com if you wanna say hey or talk about your horoscope or ask anything at all!
Angie Cui '20, Team Production
Hey FAP!! My name is Angie and I'm a rising junior living in Quincy House, studying Government and East Asian Studies and Chinese! I'm from New York City which means I love talking and walking quickly and cold brew coffee. This is my second year returning as a proc #HYPED and I will be joining Team Production this year #EXTRAHYPED!! When on campus, come hang out with me in the Modern Dance Company, Expressions Hip Hop Company, Harvard Ballet Company or Eleganza fashion show (read: napping in all the dance studios on campus). When not wearing sweatpants, I write for the Harvard International Review, staff Harvard's Model UN conferences and tour guide for the Harvard Admissions Office. Realistically though, find me trolling David's Tea for free samples or walking very slowly on the treadmill while listening to Melodrama by Lorde (best album, fight me). FAP was one of the best weeks of my Freshman Fall when I participated in it, and I can't wait to meet you all and get to some ART-MAKING!! call me beep me anytime not on my phone, but at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eli Russell '20, Team Drama
What's good, FAP! My name is Eli and I’m a rising junior in Cabot House, where I live (in typical quad luxury) with my fellow drama queen/proctor Corlo Troncis! I’m concentrating in History with a secondary in Theatre, Dance & Media and maybe a citation in Spanish?? My interests include creative storytelling, HUDS chicken fingers, and generally doing the most. When I’m not googling “fun ways to convey basic information about yourself,” I perform in the (now coed!!) cast of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals and in Three Letter Acronym Improv, a long-form improv comedy group. I also work at the Office for the Arts in order to finance my El Jefe’s addiction (you’ll know what that is soon enough). I came to Harvard knowing basically no one and FAP was a great way to enter the Harvard community and immerse myself in art. I still don’t have any friends, so I’m really excited to get to know you all! Slide into my DMs at email@example.com with any questions, complaints, or goss, and I’ll do my best to answer, clap back, or spill a commensurate amount of tea. Make art!!
Hannah Lemmons '20, Team Music
Hi FAP! My name is Hannah, and I'm a rising junior in Kirkland House studying History & Literature. I'm originally from Denver, Colorado, though you can rarely find me there--I love to travel and visit new places! I will be joining the Music team for this year's FAP, and I am so excited to get to know n collaborate with you all. I've played the violin for 15 years, but at Harvard I am mostly involved with the vocal music/theater scene. If I'm not singing with the Harvard LowKeys (along with Cahleb) or working on an HRDC or BlackCAST show, I'm usually drinking tea in my room and writing music/watching YouTube videos/napping. Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about transitioning to life at Harvard, art&activism, plant-based protein (I'm vegan) or absolutely anything else at all!
Casey Goggin '19, Team Production
Hi FAP! My name is Casey Goggin, I am a rising senior in Cabot House, pursuing a joint concentration in Government and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, with a citation in French. My family moves a lot so idk where I am from, but I lived in Australia so that was cool! I am SO thrilled to be a Drama Proctor alongside Sam Hagen. I'm super involved with theater around campus, mainly as an actor and a light designer, and I am also a staff member at the Y2Y Homeless Youth Shelter. As far as my artistic interests/passions/quirks go, I am very in to figuring out how I can best use my body to stage protest and create spaces of support.
As someone whose only experience with theater before college was an ensemble role in a high school production of Sweet Charity, I 100% vibe with the uncertainty and doubt one can feel about diving in to the arts in the seemingly-daunting environment that is Harvard. And I am here to tell you that at any level of experience, you TOO can get in to it and get SICKENING. I can't wait to meet you all and share in your passion and your art, whether it be in FAP or beyond. Please don't hesitate to send me an email at email@example.com if you have any questions or if you want to discuss RuPaul's Drag Race Season 9.
Skylar-Bree Takyi, Team Creative Writing
Hey all, I'm Skylar :) I'm so excited to be working with you all. I'm a rising junior from Newark, New Jersey living in Kirkland (with my blockmate and fellow FAP proctor, Hannah). I'm a joint concentrator in English and History & Literature with a focus in Ethnic Studies, and if all the extra words didn't make it clear, I'm one of your creative writing proctors! Other things I do/care about include but are not limited to: - Working at the Office of BGLTQ Student Life, lovingly called "The QuOffice," and at the Bok Center for Teaching & Learning - Singing and acting (?) in Harvard theatre (though I'm thinking of branching out to the behind the scenes, staff roles) - Frank Ocean - Consuming massive amounts of tv, film, and YouTube (I love content) - Prioritizing Black women's historically ignored voices and stories, whether that be at work in the QuOffice or in my writing I can't wait to meet all of you (I have a lot of undirected maternal energy, and roles like this really bring it out lmao) and hear what amazing ideas and art you have to offer. I believe the best art comes from talking with and learning from other creators – I hope we can inspire each other.
Carla Troconis '19, Team Drama
What. Is. UP, FAP?! I’m Carla Troconis (alternatively known as “Trollconis”) and I’m a senior living in Cabot House (along with your production proctor #GOGGIN) and concentrating in Government. On campus, I do a lot of acting, directing, and tech work with the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club, along with being on board as its Treasurer (money, money, everywhere). I also write and edit for the Harvard Political Review because as we’ve all seen, isn’t politics and theater the same thing nowadays?! Oh yeah, my sense of humor is 50% sarcastic quips, 50% "University of Miami Frat Boy humor" (this phrase was trademarked by Casey Goggin). For fun, I like to spend time reading about Latin American dictators and democratic attempts (shout out to my homeland Venezuela, #SOS), writing plays/stories/poetry, spending times at Quad establishments like Starbucks, Cambridge Common, and the Cabot Dining Hall with friends, and spending too much time looking at memes. Slide into my DMs (just kidding, please don’t) at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions/wanna talk about theater, tech, birds, or anything at all, really. Super psyched to get to know you all!
KeeHup Yong '19, Team Film
Resident and Guest Artists
Jim Augustine '01, Drama
Jim is an actor/singer/dancer/choreographer/director/producer-turned-media-entrepreneur, whose career-to-date has spanned theater, film, publishing, consulting and social media. Jim began his career in 2001, working as assistant to choreographer, Rob Ashford, on Broadway’s Thoroughly Modern Millie (Tony Awards: Best Choreography and Best New Musical), the Huntington Theater’s Marty starring John C. Reilly, and Roundabout’s 2002 Broadway revival of The Boys from Syracuse. Jim went on to choreograph the A.R.T’s original production of Lysistrata starring Cherry Jones, the Off-Broadway premiere of Pen at Playwrights Horizons, and the NYC premieres of Gone Missing and Paris Commune for the Civilian Theater Company’s 2004 OBIE-award winning season. In 2007, Jim wrote, directed and produced his first film, The Audition, which won Best Drama at Iris International’s 2008 “Gone with the Film” Festival and Honorable Mention at the International Accolade Awards. During this period, Jim helped develop the memoir, Hope’s Boy, which was released in 2008 by Hyperion Books and became a New York Times Bestseller. Currently, Jim is directing and producing his first feature film – a documentary in association with HRH Prince Charles’ Youth Business International – about young entrepreneurs around the world and the mentors who have helped to make their ambitions a reality. Jim is also Founder and CEO of Buckaboone, Inc., a dotcom startup that is poised to spark a revolution in social economy upon its launch in Fall 2010. Jim is a summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard in Women’s Studies, and holds a Masters in Performance Studies from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. This is Jim’s 12th FAP!
Ed Burch, Dance
Hey FAP! I am a lifelong dancer, gymnast, actor, singer and artist. Born and raised in Auburn, MA. I studied at Jo Ann Warren Studio based out of Worcester, MA; where I teach and choreograph to this day. I have had the honor of studying under the likes of Henry LeTang, Gregory Hines, Debbie Dee, Paula Abdul, and Gary Coburn, to name a few. I am currently the director for a dance company based out of Worcester, Stylized Movement, and also the owner and director of Ed Burch Dance; offering dance to people of all ages. Styles including Jazz, Lyrical, Tap, Hip Hop, Ballet, Contemporary and all styles of Ballroom; I also work as a choreographer/coach/advisor for the Clark University dance team, as well as choreographer and director for a number of New England based productions. I am also a national dance adjudicator, and have judged and work shopped nationwide.
I have been blessed with the ability to teach an art form that I love to some of the most wonderful people I have ever had the privilege to meet. I had the honor of being a guest artist for the 2013 Freshman Arts Program and am so happy to have joined the Resident Artist team in 2014!
Glenn Kiser '91, VES Film
After acting in some 20 productions (including the Hasty Pudding) and making short films through the VES department, Glenn clutched his Harvard Psych degree and moved to Los Angeles to make it in the movies. He started off working in editing on low budget independent films like BEING JOHN MALKOVICH and THE GAME. Then he moved to San Francisco where he ran George Lucas' company Skywalker Sound, where he oversaw sound work on massive projects such as the HARRY POTTER series, the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN films, the IRON MANs, TRON: LEGACY and AVATAR. Glenn currently consults for Dolby Labs and is touring the world film festival circuit with a short film he co-wrote and directed, "Sabbatical."
Peter Miller, Theatre Design
When he isn’t teaching at FAP, Peter paints other people’s scenery. For several seasons he was the Resident Scenic Artist of The Juilliard School at Lincoln Center and the Wolftrap Opera Company of Vienna, Virginia. Since joining Local 829 of United Scenic Artists he has worked on the paint crew of numerous Broadway Shows, Films, and TV Programs. Broadway highlights include Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Ragtime, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Crucible, Saint Joan, and Tom Stoppard’s Epic trilogy, The Coast of Utopia. Recent work includes revivals of West Side Story, Exit the King, and Waiting For Godot. Films include the current romantic comedies; When In Rome and It’s Complicated, Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock, Revolutionary Road, Doubt, August Rush, The Interpreter, War of the Worlds, The Stepford Wives and Unfaithful. Films coming soon to a theater near you include: Wall Street II - Money Never Sleeps, A Couple of Cops, and Julie Taymor’s adaptation of The Tempest. Peter graduated from Harvard in ‘84 - he concentrated in VES and lived in Adams House. He is proud to work in an industry that allows him to put The World Wrestling Federation’s Grand Slam Highway to Hell and The Victoria’s Secret Holiday Fashion Show on the same resume. After more than twenty-five years in show business he can honestly say that he has hardly ever been bored, and that he has almost always been amused!
Matt Sherwin, Music
Julia Rooney '11, VES Studio Arts
Julia Rooney is a visual artist. She grew up in New York City’s Greenwich Village, where she studied ceramics (hand-building and wheel) at Greenwich House Pottery, and oil painting at Parsons The New School for Design. From 2003-2007, she attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts as a studio art major.
In 2011, she graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Visual & Environmental Studies and a secondary in Italian. From 2008-2010, she traveled extensively in Italy as a researcher-writer for “Let’s Go”, and worked as a studio assistant at the Studio Art Centers International in Florence. This travel informed most of her undergraduate work, both in technique (experiments with fresco and oil paint), and subject matter (post-modern Italian architecture). Paintings and installations from this series were exhibited at the Center for Government and International Studies (in “Invisible Cities” and “Atlas: Map and Myth”), The Office for the Arts, Massachusetts Hall, and the Carpenter Center (“Oh Pioneers”). She was the recipient of the Council Prize in Visual Art (2011), the David McCord Prize (2011), a David Rockefeller International Experience Grant (2009), and an Artist Development Fellowship (2009).
Upon graduating, she returned to New York and began work in the Islamic department of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and as an artist assistant for two NY-based painters. In 2012, she returned part-time to Harvard as a VES Teaching Assistant in Silkscreen, and co-curator of the Sandra Naddaff Leigh Hafrey Three Columns Gallery in Mather House. Her professional work has drawn her most recently to the study of Islamic art and the Turkish language. The merging of text and image in the Islamic tradition has parallels to recent collaborations with her sister, Anne Marie Rooney, who is a poet and teaching artist in New Orleans.
Kadahj Bennett, Creative Writing
Nell Benjamin '93, Guest Artist: Creative Writing
Nell Benjamin co-wrote the score to Legally Blonde, The Musical with composer Laurence O’Keefe, for which they received a 2007 Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk nomination and the 2011 Olivier Award for Best Musical. Nell and Larry premiered an original opera called “Life Of The Party” at Laguardia High School for the Performing Arts. Prior to that, Nell’s disturbingly free adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, called Pirates! (or Gilbert and Sullivan plunder’d) ran at the Goodspeed Opera House, the Paper Mill Playhouse, the Huntington Theater and the St Louis MUNY. Nell wrote lyrics for Sarah, Plain and Tall, originally developed by TheatreworksUSA. Sarah played at the Lucille Lortel Theater, Off-Broadway and at Dallas Theater Center in 2009. Nell and Larry were nominated for a 2005 Drama Desk for Best Book of a Musical for Cam Jansen (also developed by Theatreworks USA) and won an L.A. Ovation award for their first collaboration, The Mice. Her work for television includes the last and weirdest season of Unhappily Ever After, Animal Planet’s Whoa! Sunday with Mo Rocca, and the new Electric Company. Her play, The Explorers Club, will be produced by Manhattan Theatre Club in Spring of 2013.
Larry O'Keefe '91, Guest Artist: Music
Larry is a composer/lyricist, bookwriter, arranger and pianist for Broadway, movies and television. Larry wrote music and lyrics for the Off-Broadway smash Bat Boy: The Musical (about a bug-eating bloodthirsty cave boy discovered by the tabloid Weekly World News) has been produced in hundreds of productions worldwide, including London's West End, Japan, Korea, Berlin and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Bat Boy won two Richard Rodgers Awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics’ Circle awards for Best Off-Broadway Musical, and was nominated for seven Drama Desk awards including Best Music and Best Lyrics.
With his frequent co-writer and wife, the brilliant lyricist and bookwriter Nell Benjamin, Larry scored hits in childrens' theater (Sarah, Plain And Tall; Cam Jansen And The Curse Of The Emerald Elephant) and on Broadway (Legally Blonde: The Musical). Legally Blonde ran for over 600 performances at the Palace Theatre on Broadway and was nominated for seven Tony Awards including Best Score, as well as ten Drama Desk Awards including Best Lyrics, Best Music and Best Musical.
Larry and Nell have now adapted Sarah, Plain And Tall into a full-length show for grownups, following a workshop at the prestigious Eugene O'Neill Musical Theatre Conference in Waterford, Connecticut. The full-length Sarah received its premiere production at the Dallas Theatre Center in Dallas, Texas, and will come to Broadway in 2011. Larry's next project is the stage adaptation of the beloved bloody cult film Heathers, for which he is co-writing book, music and lyrics with Emmy-winning writer Kevin Murphy (Reefer Madness, Desperate Housewives).
Larry has written music and songs for shows on MTV, VH-1, "The Daily Show" and Disney's "Johnny And The Sprites", and composed for PBS's recent documentary series "Make 'Em Laugh". Larry has taught master classes in music, theater and comedy at Harvard, Yale, NYU, Florida Atlantic University and elsewhere. He has won the Ed Kleban Award for his lyrics, the ASCAP Richard Rodgers New Horizon award for music and lyrics, the USC Harry Warren Prize for composition and a Jonathan Larson Foundation grant for his songs.
Born in New York, Larry graduated Harvard University with an A.B. in Social Anthropology, but spent his time performing and composing for the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, singing with the Harvard Krokodiloes and writing for the Harvard Lampoon. Larry and Nell live in New York City. They used to live in Los Angeles but their apartment got bulldozed so now they have two cars and furniture out there but no house.