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Paul Kassel, Dean of the College of Visual & Performing Arts

Paul Kassel is the Dean for the College of Visual and Performing Arts and a full professor in the School of Theatre and Dance at Northern Illinois University. Dean Kassel manages the operation of the Schools of Art and Design, Music, and Theatre and Dance.  He also oversees the operations of the NIU Museum and the Community School of the Arts (CSA).  In addition to responsibility for the financial management, Dean Kassel guides the fulfillment of the mission and vision of the college.  Working closely with the School Directors, the Directors of the Museum and CSA, and the Directors of Development and Marketing, Dean Kassel has grown the College's presence on campus and in the region.  He has newly established the Advisory Council, which membership spans the arts disciplines, business partners, and major cultural institutions including the Goodman Theatre and the Chicago Sinfonietta.

From July 2013 to July 2015 he was Interim Dean for School of Fine and Performing Arts at SUNY New Paltz, and Associate Dean for two years prior to that. Dean Kassel was a professor of Theatre Arts at SUNY New Paltz (2004-2016) and at Stony Brook University (1998-2004) where he taught acting, voice, movement, directing, and directed plays.  He was Head of Acting at Bradley University from 1993-1998.

Dean Kassel’s book, Acting: An Introduction to the Art and Craft of Playing, was published by Pearson in spring of 2006. A new book, The Actor’s Path: An Evolutionary Approach to the Art and Craft of Playing, is currently being revised. In addition to his books, Dean Kassel’s scholarly work includes several publications and many conference presentations on acting and performance theory.  Publications include “The Four Fundamental Verbs (Theatre Topics V9. N2) and “Random Acts”–an essay on applying an action-based approach to non-realistic theatre in Method Acting  Reconsidered: Theory, Practice, Future (St. Martin’s Press, 2000). He is the managing editor of The Players’ Journal,  an e-journal by and for actors and teachers of acting.

In New York City for eleven years as a professional actor, director, and writer, Dean Kassel worked off, and off-off Broadway, in regional theaters, and in several films and television shows. He has written four original plays (including The Velvet Pumpernickel, which was produced at the Sanford Meisner Theatre in New York City), and several adaptations (including an updated, musical version of Lysistrata for which he also wrote the lyrics and co-wrote the music).  Dean Kassel has maintained his professional career since entering academia, most recently performing the role of “Reverend Wilson” in a staged reading in New York City of a new musical, The Life and Hard Times of Hester Prynne (book and score by Stephen Cheslik-deMeyer, who wrote Lizzie).  He has acted and directed for Half Moon Theatre Company and River Valley Rep, two professional theatre companies in the Hudson Valley.  On Long Island, he was the founding artistic director of Asylum Theatre Company, for which he performed and directed.  He also devised the original play, What Remains—Long Island Voices of 9/11, which toured throughout the area.

Professor Kassel received his M.F.A. in Performance from the Florida State/Asolo Conservatory of Professional Actor Training. He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association  and the Screen Actors’ Guild/American Federation of Radio and Television Artists.  Professional associations include the International Conference of Fine Arts Deans, the Alliance of Arts in Research Universities, the National Conference of Arts Administrators, and the Association for Theatre in Higher Education.

Paul Kassel

MFA, May 1983, Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory
Thesis Performance: Edmund Kean—A Muse of Fire

BA in Theater and Communications, May 1981, Miami University of Ohio