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Maurice Hines is 2012 Waldman Chair

This year’s Waldman Chair in Theater Arts is acclaimed director and choreographer Maurice Hines. Hines was on campus this week with Visiting Artist Charles Randolph-Wright to teach master classes in Performing Arts and to discuss their collaborations on the celebrated revivals of Sophisticated Ladies and Guys & Dolls.

Maurice Hines (left) and Charles Randolph-Wright visted Emerson to share their expertise in musical theater with students and faculty.

Hines has starred in, directed, and choreographed for numerous Broadway and national touring musicals including Eubie!; Bring Back Birdie; Sophisticated Ladies; and Uptown… It’s Hot!, which he conceived, directed, and choreographed. Hines collaborated with Maurice White to choreograph and direct the hip-hop Broadway musical Hot Feet, featuring the music of Earth, Wind, and Fire. He also starred in Francis Ford Coppola’s film The Cotton Club, was the first African American director for Radio City Music Hall’s Radio City Spectacular, and has directed music videos for the likes of Quincy Jones, among his many accomplishments.

Most recently, Hines finished directing and choreographing a five-person play about the life story of Josephine Baker titled Josephine Tonight. He is currently preparing a one-man show titled Maurice Hines, Comin’ Home as well as doing a national tour of the Broadway musical Blues in the Night, for which he won the 2007 San Francisco Bay Area Critics Choice Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

Besides Randolph-Wright’s collaborations with Hines, his theater credits include directing the Pulitzer Prize–winning play Ruined, the 75th anniversary international tour of the opera Porgy and Bess, Daniel Beaty’s Through the Night at the Union Square Theatre, and They’re Playing Our Song (in Portuguese in Rio de Janeiro). He wrote the plays Blue (starring Phylicia Rashad), The Night Is a Child (starring Jobeth Williams), Cuttin’ Up, and co-wrote Just Between Friends (starring Bea Arthur) on Broadway. He directed the award-winning film Preaching to the Choir, and has written screenplays for HBO, Showtime, Disney, and Fox. Television credits include directing Lincoln Heights (ABC Family), and South of Nowhere (The N). Randolph-Wright was the 2010 recipient of the Paul Robeson Award.

Established in 2007, The Waldman Chair in Theater Arts in the Department of Performing Arts is funded by Honey Waldman and her sister, Gladys Waldman Brownstein, in honor of their parents, Harry Waldman and Dora Winiker. The position is filled annually by “a distinguished and broadly recognized figure in theater arts.” Past Waldman Chairs include Academy Award–winning actor F. Murray Abraham; renowned theater, opera, and festival director Peter Sellars; internationally acclaimed musical theater and opera composer Adam Guettel; and actor Marian Seldes, recipient of a Tony Award for lifetime achievement.

Ms. Waldman majored in English at Emerson, with a minor in speech and drama. She appeared in a number of student theatrical productions and was active in the Hillel organization. After graduation, she performed on stage and in films.

In 1958, Waldman personally oversaw the renovation of the former Broadway Theater in Nyack, New York, and renamed it the Tappan Zee Playhouse. She guided its critically acclaimed creative efforts, and for more than a decade, the playhouse was well known as a summer stock theater. It established a national reputation for professional productions and all-star casts that included performers such as Jack Benny, Helen Hayes, and Liza Minnelli.

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