Faculty and Staff

Department Faculty

Peggy Gaither Adams

Peggy Gaither Adams
Professor of Dance
Undergraduate Dance Advisor
Modern Dance Technique, Improvisation, and Dance Composition

Office | NDB 104
Phone | (808) 956-3264
Email | adamsp@hawaii.edu

Peggy Gaither Adams, MFA University of Utah, has been director of her own dance groups, Dance Import, Four Bare Fete, and Gaither-Unger Dance. In this capacity and independently she has presented in many areas of the US as well as at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland, Hong Kong Academy of the Performing Arts, Auckland New Zealand community, NZ School of Performing Arts in Wellington, for Japan television, in the Legends 2000 concert in Beijing China, an in Singapore. She served on the faculties of OSU and Cornell University prior to UH. Peggy enjoys collaborating with other artists. Her collaborative work with Brent Adams, animation, and Paul Palmore, music and sound effects, has been presented at the Dance For Camera Festival in NYC. At UH Peggy has directed concerts that have provided diverse learning and performance programs for the students by showcasing ballet, modern dance, and traditional and contemporary dances of Japan, Korea, China, Cuba, Mexico, India, Philippines, and Hawai‘i.

Tammy Haili'ōpua Baker

Tammy Hailiʻōpua Baker
Assistant Professor of Theatre
Hawaiian Theatre and Language, Pacific and Indigenous Theatre, Playwriting

Office | KT 102B
Phone | (808) 956-3229
Email | tbaker@hawaii.edu

Tammy Haili‘ōpua Baker's work centers on the development of an indigenous Hawaiian theatre aesthetic and form. Baker's senior thesis (Kaluaiko‘olau: Ke Kā‘e‘a‘e‘a o nā Pali Kalalau) and MFA production (Māuiakamalo: Ka Ho‘okala Kupua o ka Moku) explored and generated the foundation for the genre of Hawaiian theatre. Baker's academic work focuses on the revitalization of Hawaiian language and culture, covering the use of theatre as a tool for language learning, the empowerment of cultural identity through stage performance, and the works of Ka Hālau Hanakeaka, a Hawaiian medium theatre troupe she co-founded. Ka Hālau Hanakeaka's productions have toured internationally and throughout the Hawaiian archipelago. In addition to her Hawaiian medium plays Baker's English and Pidgin (Hawaiian Creole English) plays have been produced at various theatres in Hawai‘i. In the Department of Theatre and Dance she oversees the MFA Playwriting program and is currently developing curriculum for the new Hawaiian Theatre program.

Mark Branner

Mark Branner
Assistant Professor of Theatre
TYA Program Director
TYA, Puppetry, Mask, Clown

Office | KT 102A
Phone | (808) 956-2931
Email | branner@hawaii.edu

Born in Los Angeles but raised primarily in Taiwan, Mark returned to the U.S. to attend college, whereupon he quickly dropped a scholarship from UCLA to work as a clown with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. Mark eventually received an MFA from the University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa. He teaches courses in theatre for young audiences, puppetry, mask, and physical comedy. Previously Mark served as the director and producer of Theatre Arts at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, California. He has toured nationally with various groups, including Diavolo, and performed extensively in Asia, most notably in chuanju (Sichuan Opera), a regional Chinese theatre form. He and his family operate CiRCO Redempto, a community outreach program designed to benefit children from the Nosu Yi minority nationality of central China.

Betsy Fisher

Betsy Fisher
Professor of Dance
Dance History, Composition, Modern Technique, Beginning Ballet, Introduction to Dance, Clown

Office | NDB 105
Phone | 808 956-9626
Email | efisher@hawaii.edu

Betsy Fisher has performed and presented her choreography throughout the US, Europe and Asia. She joined the UHM faculty in 1994 where she is now a Professor of Dance. From 1991-94 she was the Senior Lecturer of Dance at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. She was also a lecturer at the UC Santa Cruz and Stanford University. In 1990-91 Betsy was a Fulbright Scholar at The Theater Academy of Finland. A leading member of The Murray Louis Dance Company, 1980-88, she toured extensively, performed Off-Broadway, and in television and film productions internationally. Betsy holds a Doctorate of Arts in Dance (the Theater Academy of Finland), an MA (NYU), and a BFA-Dance (The Juilliard School). Her published doctoral thesis is entitled Creating and Re-Creating Dance: Performing Dances Related to Ausdruckstanz. Her DVD entitled The German Lineage in Modern Dance: Wigman through Nikolais is available from Dancetime Publications.
Campus Recognitions: Arts and Humanities Excellence in Scholarship Award

Julie Iezzi

Julie Iezzi
Professor of Theatre
Undergraduate Theatre Advisor
Asian Theatre: Japanese Focus

Office | Henke Hall 309
Phone | (808) 956-4377
Email | iezzi@hawaii.edu

Julie Iezzi holds an MA in Musicology from Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music, as well as an MA and PhD in Asian Theatre. She translates, publishes and directs kabuki and kyogen plays, and continues to practice and perform tokiwazu narrative music, nagauta shamisen, and kyogen. She teaches practicum and lecture courses on traditional Japanese Theatre, seminars on contemporary Asian Theatre and Kabuki, Multicultural Directing, and Experimental Approaches to Acting for Western actors. Her most recent publications include a chapter on Kabuki in the Cambridge History of Japanese Theatre (ed. Jonah Salz, forthcoming 2014), and a special edition of Asian Theatre Journal on Kyogen (spring 2007). Her current research interests are Kamigata kabuki and early 20th century traveling kabuki troupes. Artistically she is very interested in narrative storytelling traditions, and effectively harnessing the powerful union of narrative voice and physical action on stage.

Gregg Lizenbery

Gregg Lizenbery
Professor of Dance
Director of Dance
Graduate Dance Advisor
Modern Dance Technique, Anatomy and Kinesiology for the Dancer, Bartenieff Movement Fundamentals, Laban Movement Analysis

Office | KT 112
Phone | (808) 956-2464
Email | lgreg@hawaii.edu

Gregg Lizenbery has been widely recognized as one of the nation's leading performing artists in contemporary dance and as a master educator in Laban Movement Analysis. He was a principal dancer with the original Utah Repertory Dance Theatre and co-directed the Bill Evans Dance Company. His solo concert, Men Dancing, a Retrospective of Men in American Dance, toured nationally and internationally. Dancing Men of the 20th Century, a video documentary based on the solo concert, was broadcast on PBS. He also produced an hour-long documentary on the life and works of Donald McKayle, Donald McKayle: Heartbeats of a DanceMaker, that aired nationally on PBS. He has served as Director and Graduate Chair of the dance program since 1994 and teaches modern dance technique, anatomy and kinesiology for the dancer, Bartenieff Movement Fundamentals, and Laban Movement Analysis.
Campus Recognitions: UHM Chancellor's Award for Meritorious Teaching

Kara Miller

Kara Miller
Assistant Professor of Dance
Field Research Methods, Dance Ethnology, Digital Technology for Dancers

Office | NDB 101
Phone | (808) 956-2596
Email | karamill@hawaii.edu

Kara Miller teaches field research methods, dance ethnology, and digital technology for dancers. She collaborates with dancers internationally creating experimental performances, installations, and ethnographic dance films. Her research and creative work has been presented in Turkey, Prague, Canada, Mexico, China, India, Sri Lanka and the U.S. She has worked professionally in broadcast television and film and is the co-director of the annual DANCEonFILM Festival. Kara is a graduate of The Juilliard School in dance in New York and holds an MFA from the University of California, Irvine. She is a recipient of the Jacob K. Javits Research Fellowship and is currently writing her dissertation in Performance Studies through the University of California, Davis.

Paul T. Mitri

Paul T. Mitri
Department Chair
Associate Professor of Theatre
Director of Theatre
Acting, Voice and Movement, Styles, Shakespeare

Office | KT 114
Phone | (808) 956-8445
Email | mitri@hawaii.edu

Paul has worked on over 150 productions on stage, TV and film as an actor, director, playwright, fight choreographer, dance choreographer, videographer and producer. He was the Principal Founder and served as Artistic Director of the Seattle Shakespeare Company. Other administrative positions include Director of Theatre at the American University in Cairo, Egypt; Artistic Director of Salem Theatre Company and Summer Theatre in Salem, MA; and currently the Artistic Director of All the World's a Stage Theatre Company. In Hawai'i, he is a multiple Po'okela Award recipient for acting and directing and serves on the board as Vice President for the Hawai'i State Theatre Council. Paul teaches advanced voice, movement and acting classes, including Auditioning, Period Styles, Shakespeare, Stage Combat, and Dialects. A member of SAG/AFTRA and AEA, he received his BA in Stage Movement and his MFA from the Professional Actors' Training Program at the University of Washington.
Campus Recognitions: UHM Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching Award

Lurana Donnels O'Malley

Lurana Donnels O'Malley
Professor of Theatre
Theatre History, Dramatic Literature, Directing, Research Methods

Office | KT 111
Phone | (808) 956-9609
Email | omalley@hawaii.edu

O'Malley received her PhD in Theatre History and Criticism from the University of Texas at Austin. Research interests: Russian and African-American theatre. Most recent book: The Dramatic Works Catherine the Great: Theatre and Politics in Eighteenth-Century Russia. O'Malley serves as director of Western Theatre and Page to Stage outreach, and as Late Night Theatre faculty co-advisor. Recent productions: Churchill's Vinegar Tom, Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire, Friel's Translations, and Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!. O'Malley dances with Encore Dance Project and Nā Wāhine o Ke Kai Ola. A native of New Orleans, she is the daughter of artist Johnny Donnels.
Campus Recognitions: UHM Presidential Citation for Meritorious Teaching; Arts and Humanities Excellence in Scholarship Award

Kirstin Pauka

Kirstin A. Pauka
Professor of Theatre
Asian Theatre: South/Southeast Asian Focus

Office | Henke Hall 310
Phone | (808) 956-2587
Email | pauka@hawaii.edu

Kirstin Pauka holds an MFA in Applied Theater Studies from the Justus-Liebig University of Giessen, Germany, and a Ph.D. in Asian Theatre from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Professor Pauka teaches Southeast Asian theatre history, field research methods, digital design, directing, Asian acting styles, randai. Research interests: Randai, Indonesian and Southeast Asian theatre and dance, Asian puppetry, ritual performance, and martial arts. Recent productions: Randai plays Umbuik Mudo and the Magic Flute, Luck and Loss: Manandin's Gamble, The Genteel Sabai; and Balinese Tempest. Professor Pauka has published widely on randai, silat, and related topics. Pauka is the director of Graduate Studies in Theatre and will serve as the Director for the Center of Southeast Asian Studies at UHM from 2014-18. Kirstin Pauka is a professional member of the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble.
Campus Recognitions: UHM Regent's Medal for Excellence in Teaching

Amy Schiffner

Amy Lynn Schiffner
Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance
Pedagogy, Teaching Internships, Creative Dance/Drama, Dance Theory and Criticism, Dance Research, Modern Dance Technique

Office | NDB 102
Phone | (808) 956-2359
Email | amyls@hawaii.edu

Schiffner oversees the MA Dance Education program as well as the Curriculum Specialization track within the MFA Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) program. Schiffner is the UH site director for ArtBridge America, a program that develops and implements interdisciplinary arts education curriculum for local and neighboring island K-12 schools. Schiffner holds an MFA from the University of California at Irvine, a BA from California State University Long Beach and a Post-Baccalaureate Teaching Credential from CBU. Her research in arts curriculum, instruction and assessment has been published and presented nationally. In addition to her arts education work Schiffner actively engages in creative projects; choreographing contemporary dance pieces and theatre for young audiences productions. Schiffner was a 2004 Innovative Choreographer recipient from the National Dance Alliance. In 2012, she received a Hawai'i State Theatre Council Po‘okela Award for her choreography in the Kennedy Theatre production of Ocean's Motion.

Brian S. Shevelenko

Brian S. Shevelenko
Assistant Professor of Theatre
Director of Design, Lighting, Sound, Projections, and Special Effects

Office | KT 206B
Phone | (808) 956-3481
Email | bshev@hawaii.edu

Brian received a BA from Carnegie Mellon and an MFA in Theatrical Lighting Design from San Diego State University. Prior to obtaining an MFA, Brian had 12+ years of free-lance theatre work much of which was in the San Jose/San Francisco area. Brian gained invaluable practical experience as a Designer, Entertainment Technician, Project Coordinator, and Technical Director for Disneyland Resorts and Walt Disney Imagineering. Brian has received awards for his lighting from Stage Scene LA, Playbill Magazine, KPBS, LA Stage Alliance, and has been nominated for an LA Drama Critics Circle Award. His teaching history includes Sacred Heart Schools (teaching theatre to K-12), San Diego State University, CSU-San Bernardino, and Texas A and M University. Brian also taught for the American Red Cross for nearly 20 years. Professional credits include work at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, NYC International Fringe Festival, San Diego Dance Company, California Center for the Arts, Armstrong/Bergeron Dance Company, The Old Globe Theatre, Chance Theatre, Sledgehammer Theatre, and others.

Cheri Vasek

Cheri Vasek
Assistant Professor of Theatre
Costume Design and Technology, Makeup

Office | KT 109
Phone | (808) 956-2589
Email | cheriv@hawaii.edu

Cheri Vasek is Assistant Professor of Costume Design and Technology, teaching a variety of courses at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. Additionally, she mentors student designers, and designs for UHM Theatre and Dance productions. Prof. Vasek has designed costumes for UHM, University of Wyoming, University of Idaho, Idaho Repertory Theatre, Washington State University, Central Washington University, University of West Virginia, The Electric Theatre Company (Pennsylvania) and The Road Company (Tennessee). Prof. Vasek has worked as a costume craftsperson in several professional regional theatres throughout the United States, including The Guthrie Theatre (Minneapolis) and American Conservatory Theatre (San Francisco). She was the head Costume Dyer at the Santa Fe Opera for four seasons (2003-2005 and 2008). Prof. Vasek's current research interest investigates Costume Designers in the Indian Film Industry. To that end, she recently completed a 2-month field research trip to India under a USITT grant.

Markus Wessendorf

Marcus Wessendorf
Associate Professor of Theatre
Theatre and Performance Theory, Experimental and Avant-garde Theatre, Dramaturgy

Office | Sakamaki A404
Phone | (808) 956-2600
Email | wessendo@hawaii.edu

Markus Wessendorf holds a PhD in Applied Theater Studies from the University of Giessen, Germany. His publications include a monograph on Richard Foreman's Ontological-Hysteric Theater (Die Bühne als Szene des Denkens, Berlin 1998), a co-edited volume on interdisciplinary relationships between theatre and the other arts (Grenzgänge: Theater und die anderen Künste, Tübingen, 1998), and the Brecht Yearbook 36 on "Brecht in/and Asia" (2012), which he guest-edited. He has also written essays and articles on Bertolt Brecht, The Wooster Group, Richard Maxwell, David Hare, Mark Ravenhill, and various other modern theater artists and dramatists. As a director, he has staged Heiner Müller's Germania Death in Berlin (New York 1989), Norman Price's Barking Dogs (Brisbane 1998), Friedrich Schiller's The Robbers (Honolulu 2003), Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot (Honolulu 2010) as well as his own Anton Chekhov adaptation Uncle Vanya and Zombies (Honolulu 2012). He is also the translator of the English version of Brecht's The Judith of Shimoda, which was first staged at Kennedy Theatre in 2010 for the 13th symposium of the International Brecht Society on "Brecht in/and Asia," an event of which he was also the main organizer.

Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak

Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak
Professor of Theatre
Asian Theatre: China Focus, Jingju Performance, Directing, Makeup

Office | KT 113
Phone | (808) 956-2597
Email | ewichman@hawaii.edu

Wichmann-Walczak received her PhD in Asian Theatre from UHM. Major awards: China's National Xiqu Music Association's Kong Sanchuan Award for excellence in research, creation, and performance; China's National Festival of Jingju's Golden Chrysanthemum Award for outstanding achievements in promoting and developing jingju. Most recent English-language publications: "Re-acting an Actor's Reaction to the Occupation: the Beijing Jingju Company's Mei Lanfang," in China, Japan, and the Dynamics of Transculturation; and "Actors and Role Types, Sex and Gender, and Creative Interpretation in Jingju," in On Stage: The Art of Beijing Opera. Wichmann-Walczak serves as Director of Asian Theatre and regularly produces jingju training residencies at UHM, collaborating with leading artists from China and translating and directing the culminating productions, most recently The White Snake and Women Generals of the Yang Family.

Department Staff

Lori Ann Chun

Lori Ann Chun
Dance Program Secretary

Office | KT 115
Phone | (808) 956-7622
Email | lorichun@hawaii.edu

Lori Ann received a BA degree in Asian Studies from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa where she is currently the Dance Program Secretary for the Department of Theatre and Dance. She enjoys working in such a unique and diverse department filled with such dynamic people and is amazed with the ever-changing environment.

Rick Greaver

Rick Greaver
Facilities and Production Manager

Office | KT 108J
Phone | (808) 956-2594
Email | greaver@hawaii.edu

Rick majored in both music and theatre at California State University Northridge and graduated with a degree in Theatre. He has worked for almost 20 years in entertainment production, in theme parks such as Six Flags Magic Mountain, television studios such as CBS Television City, and in various theaters, universities, and stages; stage managing, producing, and directing numerous productions and events. He returned to California State University Northridge Department of Theatre in 2001 and worked as the Production Stage Manager for eleven years until most recently moving to Hawai'i as the Production and Facilities Manager for the Kennedy Theatre and the Department of Theatre and Dance.

Gerry Kawaoka

Gerald Kawaoka
Facilities / Technical Director

Phone | (808) 956-4019
Email | kawaoka@hawaii.edu

Marty Myers

Marty Myers
Theatre Manager

Office |KT 206A
Phone | (808) 956-2602
Email | martym@hawaii.edu

Marty received her MA in Arts Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison after receiving her BA in Art History from Stanford University. She has been the Theatre Manager at the University of Hawai‘i since 1988 and is responsible for overseeing Publicity and Marketing, Box Office, and Audience Services for the Department along with her all-student staff. Marty previously worked at the Mānoa Valley Theatre in Honolulu, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and at the Hale Koa Hotel in Waikīkī. She has served as a board member for the Hawai‘i State Theatre Council, as an advisor to the Hawai‘i Theatre Center, and has been a member of INTIX (International Ticketing Association). Marty is interested in the profession of Arts Management, in keeping technology up-to-date in the business of the arts, in training students in the importance of business and the arts, and in the complexities of copyright law and its implications to the performing arts.

Hannah Schauer

Hannah Schauer
Costume Shop Manager

Office | Costume Shop
Phone | (808) 956-7642
Email | schauer@hawaii.edu

Hannah Schauer received her MFA in Directing from UH, Mānoa, where she is currently the Costume Shop Manager for the Department of Theatre and Dance. Along with designing and coordinating costumes for productions at UH, she has designed for local productions at Hawai‘i Pacific University, Hawai‘i Theatre, and ‘Iolani High School. She also has training in the dressing and hairstyling of several traditional Asian Theatre practices. Hannah serves as the Associate Artistic Director for All the World's a Stage Theatre Company, where she produces, directs, and performs. She has recently directed productions for Mānoa Valley Theatre, AWS, and Hawai‘i Repertory Theatre. She has recently appeared on the stage for AWS, The Actors Group, and Hawai‘i Rep. Hannah also serves as a board member for the Hawai‘i State Theatre Council.