Associate Professor of Theatre: Set and Light Design
Contact Info

Research Activities and Interests:

  • Scenery Design
  • Lighting Design
  • Projection Design
  • Digital Imaging & Computer Aided Design
  • Stage Photography
  • Scenic Art
  • Electronic Portfolio Development
  • Research Website Development

Courses Taught at JMU Since 2002:

  • THEA 171. Performance Production
  • THEA 271. Technical Theatre
  • THEA 211. Performance Analysis
  • THEA 303. Topics in Theatre, Scene Painting
  • THEA 303. Photoshop and Sketchup for the Stage
  • THEA 376. Scene Design
  • THEA 471. Stage Management
  • GTHEA 210 Introduction to Theatre


Awards / Milestones:

  • 2008-9 JMU Distinguished Service Award
  • 2007 Selected to represent the USA with two stage designs at the prestigious Prague Quadrennial
  • Stage Photography published in:
    • The New York Times
    • The Washington Post
    • The NY Post
    • The Christian Science Monitor
    • Dance Magazine
    • Dance Spirit
    • Dancer
    • Orlando Sentinal
    • Playbill
    • Backstage
    • Memphis Commercial Appeal
    • Theatremania
  • 2005 Designed the premiere of the Off-Broadway musical Orphan Train directed by Pat Birch
  • 2005 Kennedy Center, ACTF award for "Outstanding commitment to students, and to the art of theatre"
  • 2005 representation on World Stage Design Exhibition, Toronto Canada
  • 2000 Colorado Higher Ed Theatre Teacher of the Year for Theatre
  • Denver Drama Critics, Designer of the Year
  • First to publish an online peer-reviewed    journal in the field of Theatre
  • Numerous Web Awards

Short Bio:

Professor Finkelstein has been a designer of scenery, Lighting, and Projections for 30 years. He has designed premieres of plays by: John Pielmeier, Hugh Wheeler, and Adrienne Kennedy. His production of Peter Pan, designed for the New York State Theatre Institute toured to Russia in 1989. For NYSTI he also designed the New York and Off-Broadway premiere of Jeffery Sweet's  American Enterprise. and the new musical,  Orphan Train, directed by Pat Birch. Mr. Finkelstein also has designed for companies such as The Colorado Shakespeare Festival, The Barter Theatre, and The National Theatre of the Deaf. In the spring of 2001 the new musical by Composer George Weiss, Cinderella, for which Mr. Finkelstein served as designer, was presented in New York City. The production had already been released on video through Warner Home Video and has been seen on many PBS stations. A Graduate of Carnegie Mellon University (MFA 1977) and Wilkes College (BA 1974)

Mr. Finkelstein has taught at The University of Cincinnati (College Conservatory of Music), The University of North Dakota, the State University of New York at Stonybrook, and at the Boulder and Denver campuses of The University of Colorado.

In addition to his work as a stage designer, Mr. Finkelstein has been active as an arts advocate, running seven local, national, and international online arts networks. He is currently on the advisory board of The New Orleans International Ballet Conference and has served on the boards of directors of : The Colorado Arts Consortium (statewide assembly of local arts councils), The Rocky Mountain Section of The United States Institute for Theatre Technology, The Alliance for Colorado Theatre, the Colorado Dance Alliance, and the Boulder Ballet. He has also served on three advisory councils for The Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

As a stage photographer, Mr. Finkelstein's work has been exhibited in major galleries such as the SoHo Gallery in NY City and printed in prestigious publications such as  Dance Magazine, Dancer, and  Stage Directions. His work will be featured in the next edition of Acting is Believing. In the summer of 2006, Professor Finkelstein served as the official photographer for the USA International Ballet Competition. In 2009 Professor Finkelstein served as photographer for the Off-Broadway Productions of  Garden of Earthly Delights and Fire Throws.

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