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Press Release: MFA New Director Jesse J. Perez

Celebrated Actor, Choreographer Jesse J. Perez Named New Director
of San Diego’s Internationally Ranked M.F.A. in Acting Program

Jesse J. Perez to Direct
The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program

 

SAN DIEGO (August 6, 2018)—The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program today announced the hire of Jesse J. Perez as its new Director. Perez is an accomplished actor, choreographer, director, and professor who comes to San Diego after 12 years of distinguished teaching at The Juilliard School in New York.

Perez will join the faculty of the University of San Diego’s Department of Theatre and oversee the internationally renowned master of fine arts in acting program, which is a joint effort between the university and The Old Globe.

“We could not be more pleased to welcome Jesse, an immeasurably accomplished actor, teacher, and leader, to the University of San Diego as the Director of our M.F.A. in acting program,” remarked Noelle Norton, Ph.D., Dean of the University of San Diego’s College of Arts and Sciences. “His ambitions for growing the program and supporting our students will help take our collaborative program with The Old Globe to new heights. We are honored to welcome him to our university.”

His impressive list of credits includes acting roles in Off Broadway productions, international exhibitions, dance productions, television shows, and movies, including Party People (The Public Theater), The Father and A Doll’s House (Theatre for a New Audience), Up Against the Wind (New York Theatre Workshop), Lucia di Lammermoor (The Metropolitan Opera), Venice Biennale, Salzburg Festival, “Law & Order,” “Life on Mars,” American Splendor, and Adopt-a-Highway. He has been Company Choreographer for the Lake Lucille Project since 2003, choreographing all of Anton Chekhov’s major plays under the direction of Brian Mertes and Melissa Kievman.

“Joining such an esteemed group of professionals, who are committed to educating the next generation of classical actors and supporting San Diego’s flourishing theatre community, is not something I take lightly,” said Perez. “I look forward to advancing the shared mission of both The Old Globe and the University of San Diego in their aim of fostering a world-class graduate acting experience.”

“The appointment of Jesse J. Perez to direct The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program is a great thing for this theatre, the university, and the American theatre at large,” said The Old Globe’s Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. “Jesse is a rare and significant talent. A classical actor of real range and skill and a highly imaginative director and choreographer, he has worked on important stages around the United States and the world. An educator and mentor, he has taught and trained actors at our country’s leading conservatories. And his gifts as an artist and teacher are only exceeded by his gifts as a thinker and activist. He has a vision of what the future of the American classical theatre can look like, and his artistry and leadership, combined with his kindness and deep well of humanity, will make that vision real as he builds on this program’s already excellent reputation in the time ahead.”

A joint venture of The Old Globe and the University of San Diego, the master of fine arts in acting program nationally recruits seven students each year to participate in an intensive two-year, year-round course of graduate study in classical theatre.

In advance of his role with the Shiley Graduate Theatre Program, Perez will play Richard III in La Jolla Playhouse’s world premiere production of Seize the King by Will Power, running August 21 – September 16, 2018.

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ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative change makers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. In February 2016, USD launched the public phase of Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represents the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university and builds upon the strong philanthropic momentum achieved by USD in recent years. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.

ABOUT THE OLD GLOBE

The Tony Award-winning Old Globe is one of the country’s leading professional regional theatres and has stood as San Diego’s flagship arts institution for over 80 years. Under the leadership of Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein and Managing Director Timothy J. Shields, The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 15 productions of classic, contemporary, and new works on its three Balboa Park stages: the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the 600-seat Old Globe Theatre and the 250-seat Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, both part of The Old Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, and the 605-seat outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, home of its internationally renowned Shakespeare Festival. More than 250,000 people attend Globe productions annually and participate in the theatre’s artistic and arts engagement programs. Numerous world premieres such as the 2014 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Meteor Shower, Bright Star, Allegiance, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,and the annual holiday musical Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! have been developed at The Old Globe and have gone on to enjoy highly successful runs on Broadway and at regional theatres across the country.