New Faculty

Jessica Boevers Bogart / Assistant Professor / Department of Musical Theatre

Jessica Boevers Bogart

Bogart is a theatrical director, actor, and teacher of many disciplines. She served as an associate artistic director at Chicago’s Apple Tree Theatre and has directed award-winning regional theatre productions in Chicago, Raleigh, and New York. She has played leading roles on Broadway in numerous productions, as well as collaborating in the creation of new works with artists including Andy Blankenbuehler, Sam Mendes, Stephen Sondheim, Trevor Nunn, and Tina Landau.

Shavonne Coleman / Assistant Professor / Department of Theatre & Drama

Coleman is a fabulist, facilitator, teaching/performing artist, writer, and director. She has performed as a storyteller and actor in applied theatre contexts and in professional roles in theatre and short films. She has been a teaching artist in Detroit Public Schools and elsewhere, and she served as the theatre for dialogue coordinator at the University of Texas at Austin and as assistant director for transformative learning in the Center for Teaching and Learning. She has also been a visiting professor in the Theatre Department at Grand Valley State University and a member of the theatre faculty at Austin Community College.

Mark Colson / Assistant Professor / Department of Theatre & Drama

Mark Colson

Colson, who has served as a lecturer in the department since 2021, is a teaching artist in theatre, TV, and film. He is committed to student engagement and communicating straightforward, practical knowledge of acting and on-camera work rooted in immersive theatre training. In his prior faculty role at Michigan State University, Colson created the Theatre2Film project, which provided a hands-on, immersive experience for students and resulted in four feature films over the course of four years produced and screened at the Traverse City Film Festival.

Tyler Driskill / Assistant Professor / Department of Musical Theatre

Tyler Driskill

Driskill, who has served for nearly 20 years as a collaborative pianist for the Departments of Musical Theatre and Dance, has enjoyed an extensive career as a music director, conductor, arranger, vocal coach, and educator. Since 2020, he has taught the advanced music theory class, and he co-teaches “Musical Theatre Sophomore Performance.” He has numerous music direction credits at U-M and for the Encore Musical Theatre Company. Driskill performs regularly at Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor, and he has performed with jazz vocalist Brad McNett at the Metropolitan Room in New York City.

Jason Fettig / Director of Bands and Professor / Department of Conducting

Jason Fettig

Fettig is an internationally recognized conductor and highly sought-after educator and clinician who formerly served as the 28th director of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band and Chamber Orchestra. In that role, he served as the music advisor to the White House and as music director of Washington, DC’s historic Gridiron Club, a position held by every Marine Band director since John Philip Sousa. As director of bands, he will conduct the Symphony Band, teach graduate conducting students, and provide comprehensive administrative and curricular guidance for the entire university band program, including the Michigan Marching and Athletic Bands.

Jenna Gerdsen / Assistant Professor / Department of Theatre & Drama

Jenna Gerdsen

Gerdsen is a theatre historian and dramaturg whose teaching and research areas include theatre history and historiography, interculturalism, critical race theory, and Asian American and Pacific Islander theatre. Gerdsen has presented at numerous conferences and her work has been published in journals including Theatre Journal and Theatre Topics. She received her PhD in theatre and performance studies from the University of Maryland, College Park, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Florida State University.

Halena Kays / Assistant Professor / Department of Theatre & Drama

Kays is a founding member of the artistic collaborative the Ruffians, an artistic affiliate of American Blues Theater, a former member of the Big Apple Circus Clown Care unit, past artistic director of the Hypocrites, former co-artistic curator for Theater on the Lake, and co-founder and former artistic director of Playmakers Lab. She has directed numerous productions in Chicago and at regional theaters throughout the United States. At SMTD she serves as head of the directing program for the theatre & drama department.

Eiji Miura / Assistant Professor / Department of Musical Theatre

Miura is a genre-fluid and versatile artist whose credits include opera, musical theatre, concert work, background vocals, and video game soundtracks. He is regularly engaged as a consultant and lecturer on topics relating to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access, specifically as it relates to the Asian diaspora in the United States. Prior to his appointment at SMTD, Miura was on faculty at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, where he taught studio voice and courses in lyric diction. He was also part of the teaching staff for the summer Vocal/Choral Intensive for high school students and was the managing director of the Summer Opera Intensive at Valencia (Spain).

Zeynep Özcan / Assistant Professor / Department of Performing Arts Technology

Özcan, who has served as a lecturer in the PAT department since 2020, is an internationally established electronic music composer, educator, and author. Her works have been performed and presented throughout the world at leading venues such as the International Computer Music Conference and Audio Engineering Society. Özcan is passionate about community building and creating multicultural and collaborative learning experiences for students through technology-driven creativity. She has led numerous equity-focused educational programs and workshops that aim to amplify underrepresented voices in music technology around the world.

Jay Pension / Assistant Professor / Departments of Entrepreneurship & Leadership and Theatre & Drama

Pension supervises SMTD’s Performing Arts Management & Entrepreneurship (PAME) minor. He has worked as a producer on over 100 theatre productions in Boston and New York City, work that includes both for-profit projects and nonprofit arts leadership. He previously taught courses in arts administration and theatre at Florida State University. Pension is the co-author of How to Market the Arts, published by Oxford University Press, and the co-editor of Business Issues in the Arts, published by Routledge.

Lynne Shankel / Carole Caplan Lonner Professor in Musical Theatre Composition and Assistant Professor / Department of Musical Theatre

Caitlin Lynch

Shankel is a composer, lyricist, orchestrator, arranger, and music supervisor. She joined the Department of Musical Theatre as a visiting artist in 2019. Shankel and Sara Cooper won the 2022 Richard Rodgers Award as well as the Lucille and Jack Yellen ASCAP Award for their musical Perpetual Sunshine & The Ghost Girls. Shankel’s other works include HoT, Postcard American Town, and bare: The Musical. Shankel was music supervisor/arranger/orchestrator for Allegiance, starring Lea Salonga and George Takei, making her the first woman to solely orchestrate a new musical on Broadway.