Grad School for the Performing Arts

Grad School for the Performing Arts

April 9, 2021 4:00 PM @ Zoom,

A Heart-to-Heart on Art, Identity, and Self-Realization

We had such a fun time talking big picture with eight talented alumni in our Grad School for the Performing Arts discussion panel! This virtual discussion featured a panel of Penn alumni holding or pursuing graduate degrees in the arts, including music studies, history, and composition; acting; directing; and playwriting.

View the recording of this event on YouTube.

Meet our Panelists!

Aizhaneya Carter – Brown/Trinity Rep, Acting & Directing MFA candidate
Daniel Carsello – Temple University, Music History MM, and Music Studies Ph.D candidate
Gia-Rayne Harris – American Film Institute, Directing Fellow
Johnny G. Lloyd – Columbia University, Playwriting MFA
Kalyne Coleman Brown/Trinity Rep, Acting MFA
Nicole Cone NYU Graduate Film Program, MFA candidate
Sarah Melnick CalArts, Performer-Composer MFA; Berklee College, Professional Certificate in General Music Studies

Aizhaneya Carter

Brown/Trinity Rep, Acting & Directing MFA candidate

Aizhaneya Carter is a native Philly actor and producer. She attended the University of Pennsylvania where she double majored in International Relations (Concentration: Human Rights) and Theatre Arts, and received a French certificate. Aizhaneya began her career in general management consulting, but quickly realized that her passion and purpose was tied to storytelling. She left consulting to attend the Williamstown Theatre Festival as an Acting Apprentice. Following her apprenticeship, she moved to NYC where she served as an Associate Producer on her first independent feature-length film and SAG-AFTRA short film. She is currently the Producer of a series, gales., about Black millennial nurses in Baltimore. She was an Acting Apprentice at the Actors Theatre of Louisville. She is currently a first year MFA candidate in Acting and Directing at Brown/Trinity Rep. Her personal mission statement is to archive the stories of Black folks for our collective joy, light, and liberation.

Daniel Carsello

Temple University, Music History MM and Music Studies Ph.D candidate

Daniel Carsello (he/him/his) is a first-year Ph.D. student in Music Studies at Temple University; he also spent the past two years at Temple completing a master’s degree in Music History. For his master’s thesis, he conducted an ethnographic study of the recent history of the Barbershop Harmony Society’s reckoning with its checkered past. His research interests include United States vernacular music and identity studies, Romantic and early-twentieth-century music, and hermeneutics. He also works as a Teaching Assistant for core theory and history courses as well as ethnomusicological courses at Temple.

Daniel graduated in 2016 with a B.A. in Music from the University of Pennsylvania. While at Penn, he was a member of the Penn Glee Club, Penn Pipers, 4A, and Choral Society. Since 2018, he has served as the Glee Club’s Director. Daniel is also a member of Always Sunny, a Philadelphia-based barbershop quartet that is currently ranked eighth in the Mid-Atlantic District of the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Gia-Rayne Harris

American Film Institute, Directing Fellow

Gia-Rayne B. Harris is a University of Pennsylvania alumna and a Mississippi Native. After UPenn, she moved to NYC where she lived for five years directing, writing, producing, and creatively consulting on various short films, plays, books and screenplays. She also joined a group of artists called the NEW YORK NEO FUTURISTS where she wrote, directed, and performed short stage plays weekly. In 2018, she directed her first short film which was a campaign with The Advocate Magazine called #LEADWITHLOVE. In 2019, she started the Graduate Program at The American Film Institute and was awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Tuition Scholarship. In her time at AFI, she has directed four projects including the short films The Suit and Joe Joe Joe as well as two Visual Essays on film called The Departure and Daisy. The throughline of all of her work is adversity, empathy, and resilience. She seeks to place black women at the center of her narratives and sees her career as a love letter to them and more specifically the women that raised her – her mother and grandmother.

Johnny G. Lloyd

Columbia University, Playwriting MFA

Johnny G. Lloyd is a New York-based writer and producer. Recent productions include OR, AN ASTRONAUT PLAY (Co-Production, InVersion Theatre & The Tank), PATIENCE (Corkscrew Theatre Festival), ROUND (Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival), and IN THE WOODS WE RETURN (Fringe NYC). His work has been seen and developed at 59E59, Dixon Place, Judson Memorial Church, JAGFest (White River Junction, VT), TheatreLab (Boca Raton, FL), and more. As a writer, Johnny has collaborated with companies such as Theater in Quarantine and SalonSeance. Member of the 2020-2021 Clubbed Thumb Early-Career Writers Group; previously a member of the 2019-2020 Liberation Theatre Company’s Writing Residency. Johnny was a semi-finalist for the 2018 Open-Application Commission at Clubbed Thumb and a finalist for the 2020 Columbia@Roundabout Reading Series. He is the Director of Artistic Development at The Tank and Producing Director for InVersion Theatre.

Kalyne Coleman

Brown/Trinity Rep, Acting MFA

Kalyne Coleman is from Richmond, Virginia and is an alum of the Brown/Trinity Rep MFA in Acting program. She has a BA in Communications and Theater from the University of Pennsylvania and additional training from the Black Arts Theater Intensive, Actors Studio Drama School, and Goldsmiths University of London. Credits include: Cynthia, Wine in the Wilderness (Portland Center Stage), 2020 ABC Discovers Talent Showcase; Lorraine Hansberry & Nikki Giovanni, Lessons in Survival (Vineyard Theater); Leigh, America v. 2.1 The Sad Demise & Eventual Extinction of the American Negro (Barrington Stage); Nella Pea, Black Odyssey (Trinity Rep); Lady Anne, Richard III & Rosaline, Love’s Labour’s Lost (Shakespeare Academy); Brutus, Julius Caesar; Selector, How We Got On; Henrietta, Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Gabriela in References to Salvador Dali: Make Me Hot (Brown Trinity). As a 4A alumni, she sends unbounded love and gratitude!
IG: @kalynecoleman

Nicole Cone

NYU Graduate Film Program, MFA candidate

Nicole Cone is a filmmaker based in NYC and Newark, NJ. She is currently a student in the Graduate Film Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Nicole also works as a Development Associate at the production company Vespucci Group, engaging with journalists to create fact-based stories for podcasts, television and film.
Previously, Nicole worked in the television and digital media space as a producer, creating documentaries at VICE and social content at Cheddar. Nicole began her career in media as an NBC Page in the East Coast Page Program.
Nicole was born and raised in Miami FL, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania as a Communication major. Her first film, Four Women, was an official selection in the Short Films, Big Stories showcase with the Woodstock Film Festival and the inaugural Social Justice Now Film Festival, created by the founders of the American Black Film Festival.

Sarah Melnick

CalArts, Performer-Composer MFA
Berklee College, Professional Certificate in General Music Studies

Sarah Melnick (née Van Sciver) is a professional composer, arranger, singer, pianist, ukulele player, and harpist. She is also an avid educator, recording engineer, conductor, musical director, orchestrator, lyricist, sound designer, chorister, film editor, and mentor to fellow working arts. With a new LP in progress, she has released three EPs to date, and her work has been featured on dozens of studio, screen, and stage productions. A graduate of the Performer-Composer M.F.A. program at CalArts, she received her B.A. in Music at UPenn as well as a Professional Certificate in General Music Studies from Berklee. At Penn, she was a member of Stimulus Children’s Theater, Front Row Theatre Company, iNtuitons Experimental Theatre, Pennsylvania Players, Quadramics Theatre Co., After School Arts at Penn, Dischord A Cappella, and Penn Singers. She is the Admissions Counselor for the Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts.

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