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Emerging Artist Award

The Emerging Artist Awards recognize SMTD graduates from within the past 15 years who have made a significant contribution to their artistic field. One winner from each of three categories (music, theatre, and dance) is awarded annually.

Nominations for the 2015 awards have been received. Results are announced in January 2015.

2014 Emerging Artist Award Recipients

Rodney A. Brown, MFA '09 (dance)

Rodney A. Brown









Photo Credit: Dale Gunnoe

Rodney A. Brown is the founder and director of The Brown Dance Project (The BDP). The BDP involves words and dance composition for HIV/AIDS advocacy and otherwise. Brown’s choreographies have been performed in South Africa, Europe, China, India in 2014 and nationally garnering commendations from OhioDance, American College Dance Festival (ACDFA), Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival (RADfest), and National Society of Arts and Letters (NSAL). Recent advocacy choreographies include: MODULE (2014), a modern dance translation of the Pedagogy of Action (POA) Module on HIV Education; Prose and improvised choreography, Waiting On HIV: Letter to my Brothers on the Thirtieth Anniversary of the First Reported Cases of HIV/AIDS in the United States (2011); A dance for the camera on commemorating the first reported cases of HIV/AIDS in the United States, the sound of a feeling (2011); To: Our Tomorrow (2007) explores histories of an African American woman living with HIV; summertime (2009) and Loving Lloyd (2006) are dances of male perspectives regarding HIV. Brown’s Company performance credits include: Danstigate Dance Company, Compton Dance Theatre Fdtn., Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, Chavasse Dance & Performance, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC/DCDC2), Bichini Bia Congo Dance Theatre, among others. Rodney A. Brown is on the faculty at The Ohio State University Department of Dance. In Columbus, The Ohio State University Office of Diversity and Inclusion, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and AIDS Resource Center Ohio (ARC) have supported his advocacy choreography.



Rachel Hoffman, BFA '99 (musical theatre)

Rachel Hoffman


















Photo Credit: Ted Ely


Rachel Hoffman, CSA, has worked in casting since 1999. She is currently a Casting Director at Telsey + Company. Current projects include AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (upcoming Broadway production), CHASING THE SONG (La Jolla Playhouse), BRIGADOON(Goodman Theatre), A LITTLE MORE ALIVE (KC Rep), GUYS & DOLLS (Carnegie Hall). Hoffman served as Casting Director for the Broadway productions of MEMPHIS, BRING IT ON, HANDS ON A HARDBODY (for which she won an Artios Award), FIRST DATE, SPIDER-MAN, HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, and has also worked on the casting of WICKED, NEWSIES, KINKY BOOTS, ANNIE, MOTOWN, RENT, IN THE HEIGHTS, ROCK OF AGES, SOUTH PACIFIC, NEXT TO NORMAL, GREY GARDENS, THE COLOR PURPLE, MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, and others. Regionally, she casts productions for La Jolla Playhouse, The Goodman Theatre, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, and the Paper Mill Playhouse. Prior to joining Telsey, Hoffman was involved in the casting of THE BOY FROM OZ, BAT BOY: THE MUSICAL (Off Broadway production), ALTAR BOYZ, and GODSPELL (2000 Off-Broadway Revival). She is on the board of the Casting Society of America, and serves on the faculty for the summer musical theatre program at MPulse at the University of Michigan, as well as the Broadway Dreams Foundation. Prior to casting, she worked as a performer in New York City.




James Wolk, BFA '07 (theatre) and BA '07 (English)

James Wolk
















Photo Credit: Art Streiber/CBS

James Wolk is has found success on television and film in roles such as “Brad Cohen” in CBS/ Hallmark Hall of Fame’s FRONT OF THE CLASS; “Robert Taylor” in the 2010 FOX series LONESTAR; and “Doug Hammond” son of a former President and the youngest Chief of Staff to the Secretary of the State/his mother, played by Sigourney Weaver, in the Golden Globe-nominated 2012 USA miniseries POLITICAL ANIMALS. He has also appeared in 2012 in the Showtime series SHAMELESS and on the ABC comedy, HAPPY ENDINGS. Wolk has starred alongside Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, and Kristin Chenoweth in the Disney feature film YOU AGAIN (2011); alongside Seth Rogen, Ari Graynor, and Justin Long in the indie comedy FOR A GOOD TIME CALL (2011); and alongside Allison Miller, Jason Ritter, Katey Sagal, Rumer Willis and Brittany Snow in indie feature film THERE’S ALWAYS WOODSTOCK (2014). Currently, he plays “Zach Cropper” opposite Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar on the new CBS hit comedy, THE CRAZY ONES and has a recurring role as the mysterious “Bob Benson” on the critically-acclaimed AMC series, MAD MEN.

Past Recipients

Juliana Athayde
Nadine Balbeisi
Nicholas Blaemire
Julie Blume
Jesse Blumberg
Zachary Booth
Esther Chae
Sam Davis
Michael Fabiano
Hunter Foster
Xiang Gao
Damon Gupton
Kelly Hirina
Christopher Jamros
Jeremy Kittell
Ben Klein
Rachel Laritz
Sean Panikkar
Michael Spencer Phillips
Matthew Rose
Daniel Bernard Roumain
Miriam Shor
Leyya Tawil
Julie Tice

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower