Just a Few Stops Away: From 116th Street to Times Square—A Journey from Columbia to Broadway
2017-18 CUSP Distinguished Speaker Series - Alumni Journeys
A Special Talk and Performance!
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Columbia alumni Tom Kitt (Pulitzer, Tony and Emmy award-winning composer) and Rita Pietropinto Kitt (actor, director and Adjunct Professor of Acting at Barnard) discuss their journey together from being students and Varsity Show creative team members at Columbia College to finding success in the professional Broadway theater and entertainment world, and how their time and connections at Columbia forged that path. The team will also discuss the state of the theater as a reflection of our changing world and how necessary new voices are to the continued success and vibrancy of this art form.
Rita Pietropinto-Kitt is the chair of the Drama Department at Marymount School of New York. She is also an adjunct professor in the Barnard Theater Department, where she teaches undergraduate acting classes. As an actress, Rita has performed on Broadway, off-Broadway, regionally, and in television and film. Rita received a BA in political science from Columbia College in 1993 and served as her senior class president, participating in the Varsity Show as an actress and producer for 4 years. She also received an MFA in Acting from the Columbia School of the Arts in 1996. She is a vice president on the Columbia College Alumni Association, a Board member for Columbia College Women, and has served as a class agent for the past 20 years. Her Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) leadership includes serving as a vice chair on the board of the CAA and past Chair of the CAA Arts Access Committee. Rita was recognized for her contributions to Columbia with a 2016 Alumni Medal.
Tom Kitt (Composer/Arranger/Orchestrator/Music Supervisor) is a graduate of Columbia College, Class of 1996. He received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as two Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Orchestrations for Next to Normal. Next to Normal also received the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Score. He is also the composer of If/Then (Tony Nom., Outer Critics Nom.); High Fidelity (Broadway); Bring it On: The Musical (co-composer with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Broadway); Disney’s Freaky Friday; The Winter’s Tale, All’s Well That Ends Well, and Cymbeline (The Public’s NYSF); From Up Here and The Madrid (MTC); Orphans (Broadway), The Retributionists (Playwrights Horizons) and As You Like It (Toho Co., Japan). Tom is the music supervisor, arranger, orchestrator, and composer of additional music for SpongeBob Squarepants: The Musical, which opens on Broadway fall of 2017. In addition, he is the music supervisor for the new NBC drama, Rise, which airs in 2018. Tom was responsible for the music supervision, arrangements and orchestrations for Grease Live! and Green Day’s American Idiot on Broadway. His work with Green Day also includes additional arrangements for their Grammy Award-winning album 21st Century Breakdown and their album trilogy, ¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tré! Tom received an Emmy Award as co-writer (with Lin-Manuel Miranda) for the 2013 Tony Awards opening number, Bigger. Other television songwriting credits include a musical episode of Royal Pains, and songs for Penny Dreadful, and Sesame Street. As a musical director, conductor, arranger and orchestrator, credits include Pitch Perfect, Pitch Perfect 2, Pitch Perfect 3, 2Cellos featuring Lang Lang (Live and Let Die), The Kennedy Center Honors, 13, Debbie Does Dallas, Everyday Rapture, Hair, Laugh Whore, Pippin (Deaf West), and These Paper Bullets.
Rita and Tom reside in New York City with their three children.