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

Dean Kassel joins the College of Visual and Performing Arts from the State University of New York at New Paltz, where he was a full professor in Theatre Arts (2004-16), and Interim Dean (2013-15) and Associate Dean (2011-13) for the School of Fine and Performing Arts.

Dean Kassel has been a teacher of acting for over 25 years. His book, Acting: An Introduction to the Art and Craft of Playing, was published by Allyn & Bacon in spring of 2006. He is at work on a new book, The Actor’s Path: An Evolutionary Approach to the Art and Craft of Playing. His scholarly interests include the intersection of performance, neuroscience and evolutionary studies.

Professionally, Dean Kassel most recently played the role of “Hucklebee” in Half Moon Theatre Company’s production of The Fantastiks! at the Marriott Theatre in Hyde Park, NY. Last year he played “John Adams” in 1776 at the Phillipstown Depot Theatre in Garrison, NY. He directed Good People for Half Moon Theatre Company (March 2013), God of Carnage for River Valley Rep in July 2012, and directed Mark Twain and David Ives’ Is He Dead for Half Moon Theatre Company in November, 2011. He played several roles in Seven Stories, directed by Roger Hendrick Simon, for the Company in March 2010. In fall of 2012 he directed Macbeth for the Department of Theatre Arts at SUNY New Paltz.

In addition to SUNY New Paltz, Dean Kassel worked at Stony Brook University, where he taught acting, voice, movement, directing, and directed plays, and was Director of Undergraduate Studies for the department. He was Head of Acting at Bradley University from 1993-1998, directing eight plays and acting in three-both at the school and at professional theaters in the Midwest. In New York City for eleven years as a professional actor, director, and writer, Kassel worked off, and off-off Broadway, in regional theaters, and as a guest artist. In addition, he has appeared in a number of films, several television shows, and industrials.

Dean Kassel has directed in New York City (most often with emerging playwrights), regionally, and at several Universities. 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.

In addition to his book, Dean Kassel’s scholarly work includes several articles 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 (edited by Dr. David Krasner, St. Martin’s Press, 2000). He is the editor of The Players’ Journal, an e-journal by and for actors and teachers of acting.

Dean 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.

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