PITTSBURGHAs Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama pays tribute to its first 100 years, it looks to the future to celebrate the next century of innovation and talent in arts and entertainment.

“This is a remarkable achievement in American theatrical and cultural history,” said Peter Cooke, head of the School of Drama.

On Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Purnell Center for the Performing Arts on CMU's campus, the first of three Centennial Celebration events kicked off with a patron dinner, a performance of the spring musical, "The Wild Party," and an alumni bash that closed the evening. Lea Simonds and Alba and Thomas Tull served as honorary chairs for the event; co-chairs were Maureen and Jared Cohon and Anne Molloy and Henry Posner III.

On Monday, March 10, the School of Drama hosted a Centennial Dinner and Alumni Party at Steiner Studios, Brooklyn Navy Yard. Musical performances during the dinner and a brief cabaret at the party featured alumni Stephen Schwartz, Patina Miller and Patrick Wilson – who also will serve as emcee for the event. New York celebration honorary chairs are Sylvia and David Steiner; co-chairs are Patricia Kenner, and Catherine Stoll and Juan Mesa-Freydell. All will be in attendance.

The School of Drama will also host a May 8 event in Los Angeles to recognize alumni who live on the West Coast.

Funds raised by the dinner will go toward a new opportunity, the Richard E. Rauh Centennial Fellowship Fund, to support graduate students in the School of Drama. Rauh, an actor, is a longtime supporter of the School of Drama and the arts community. He serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Heinz College, focusing on films of the 20th century. This endowed fellowship program is essential to the success of the school, Cooke said, because the ability to attract and retain graduate students is critical to drama’s overall reputation.
 
“We continue to thrive because of support from our amazing alumni from across the country and around the world,” Cooke said.

The oldest degree-granting conservatory training program in the United States, the School of Drama through its centennial celebrations is recognizing contributions alumni, faculty and staff have made to the entertainment industry.

And it’s just getting better. For the past two years, the school has ranked fourth in the world by The Hollywood Reporter. In 2013, CMU alumni stole the spotlight at the 67th Annual Tony Awards, winning eight awards across six categories, with several alumni presenting or performing during the event. Two alumni, one honorary degree recipient and faculty member Suttirat Anne Larlarb won 2013 Emmy Awards for their work. Overall, 11 alumni were nominated for Emmys, which recognize excellence in television in the categories of acting, writing, producing, art direction, costumes and lighting.

“To all former staff, faculty and students, the current cohort, our fabulous alumni and clans, and all those coming to study or work on campus in the next 100 years, I salute, thank, welcome and congratulate you,” Cooke said. “The level of accomplishment across all disciplines offered by the school in its storied history could not be higher, nor more widely felt and acknowledged across the world arts community, and for that, we in the school thank each and every participant in its 100-year journey.”