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Building an Incubator for the Arts

Baruch College, New York, NY--Eric Krebs, producer and director of numerous on- and off-Broadway theatrical productions, including It Aint Nothin But the Blues and Neil Simons The Dinner Party, has been named Director of the Baruch Performing Arts Center (BPAC) and Marvin Antonowsky Fellow in Theater at Baruch College. Krebs, the founder and manager of two prominent off-Broadway venues, the John Houseman Theater and the Douglas Fairbanks Theater, has previously taught at Rutgers University.

  Eric Krebs is the producer of Bill Mahers upcoming revue of standup comedy and political satire, Bill Maher: Victory Starts at Home , which opens for a limited run at the Virginia Theater on May 5 , continuing through May 18 .

At Baruch College, Mr. Krebs will oversee the artistic development and management of several performance spaces, including the Rosalyn and Irwin Engelman Recital Hall, seating 175, and the Rose Nagelberg Theater, a flexible black box space that can accommodate up to 220, both located in the Colleges architecturally striking Newman Vertical Campus. The 1,200-seat auditorium, Mason Hall, the Colleges premiere performance space, and the 90-seat Bernie West Theater will provide additional venues for the BPAC.

My goal is to create an incubator for the arts in New York City, a place where people can take risks, try out new ideas. I want this place to be highly eclectic and include international theater, music, dance, and poetry, as well as productions that defy easy categorization. My hope is that Baruchs Performing Arts Center will evolve into a popular New York venue, a place where people can count on something always happening. At the same time, I want to introduce Baruch students--85% of whom are here to study business--to an across-the-boards arts experience of the kind that can transform lives, Krebs said. If this sounds immodest, its only because I know how powerfully art can affect us.

This semesters calendar of events at the BPAC includes staged readings of Hedda Gabler and Othello , both by veteran Broadway casts; a production of La Boheme performed by the New York City Opera; a weeklong run of Carlo Goldonis commedia dell arte piece The Servant of Two Maste r s , performed by a student cast; and an evening devoted to the poetry of two important Mideast poets, the Iraqi Saadi Youssef and Mahmoud Darwis , who is Palestinian. A special performance by Capitol Steps , a highly regarded ensemble of political satirists, is scheduled for May 6 . The Hindu Student Council has scheduled a performance of traditional and modern Indian dance on May 9 .. Two new plays, Joe Dapolitos Killer Midgets and Mosesville by Andy Bragen, will also be presented during the month of May. In June, the Aquilla Theater will be at the BPAC for an extended run of Oscar Wildes The Importance of Being Earnest.

  Though primarily known for its graduate and undergraduate programs in such business disciplines as accountancy, finance and marketing, Baruch College has had a longstanding commitment to the arts. Baruch supports annual residencies by the Alexander String Quartet and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, while the Aaron Silberman Concert Series brings classical music to campus four times a year. An ongoing revolving theater residency has featured The Jean Cocteau Repertory Theater well as the Classic Stage Company and the Pearl Theatre Company.

  John Elliott, Dean of the Zicklin School of Business, is adamant on the subject of the arts as a vital component of a strong business education. Just as the liberal arts form a bedrock for business education at Baruch, I believe that an appreciation of the fine arts is integral to the development of the moral and aesthetic sensibilities of todays business leaders. Eric Krebs will enhance life at Baruch not only because h will bring great theater to Baruch, but because he does so from a depth of experience with the artistic and business elements of theater. I am delighted he is joining the college.

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