Professor Kassel finishes a two-year appointment as Interim Dean for School of Fine and Performing Arts in July and will be on leave through the 2015 fall semester. He returns to the faculty in January 2016 where he is a full professor in the Department of Theatre Arts. From 2011-2013 he was Associate Dean of F&PA.
Professor Kassel has taught play analysis, all levels of acting, and directed plays in the Department of Theatre Arts. His book, Acting: An Introduction to the Art and Craft of Playing, was published by Allyn & Bacon in spring of 2006. A new book, The Actor’s Path: An Evolutionary Approach to the Art and Craft of Playing, will be published by Hackett Publishing in 2015. His scholarly interests include the intersection of performance, neuroscience and evolutionary studies.
Professionally, Professor 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.
Prior to coming to New Paltz, Professor 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.
Professor 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 books, Professor 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 managing editor of The Players’ Journal, an e-journal by and for actors and teachers of acting.
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.