Wesleyan Vanity Fair

When we talk to alumni and prospective students, we often boast of how our grads play an enormous role in Hollywood, the news media, and in the world of entertainment generally. The new issue of Vanity Fair contains an article by Wes alum Sebastian Junger, and also cites Robert Allbritton as a leader in the “new establishment” because of his television, newspaper and web network. On p. 180 of the magazine, they’ve devoted a full page to “Wesleyan’s Entertaining Class.”

Vanity Fair
Credit: Vanity Fair

It’s great to see the work of these wonderful alumni and our “tiny Connecticut University” recognized in this way. Of course, there are many more alums out there doing compelling work in this area. Jeffrey Richards, for example, has had an extraordinary career producing shows on Broadway, including August: Osage County, which won five Tony Awards this year, including Best Play. When I sent the Vanity Fair page to Jeanine Basinger, she came up with dozens of other names. Send them in! Wes alums are shaping our culture!!


Among the myriad of sports contests, exhibitions and films on campus this weekend, I find especially noteworthy a concert in Memorial Chapel Sunday night at 7:00 pm. Charles Simic, former Poet Laureate of the United States, will join a great group of singers led by Professor of Music Neely Bruce. It should be a wonderful evening of poetry and song.

And the Wesleyan Bowl takes place on Sunday when the Jets face off against the Patriots. Both head coaches are Wes grads, so we can expect a thoughtful, strategic contest!

[tags] Vanity Fair, Sebastian Junger, Robert Allbritton, Jeffrey Richards, August: Osage County, Jeanine Basinger, Charles Simic, Neely Bruce [/tags]

9 thoughts on “Wesleyan Vanity Fair”

  1. OK, here goes, for a very partial list of my former Wesleyan students who are great successes *not* in the film and publishing industries:

    Todd Shepherd, Assistant Professor of History, Temple University
    Jennifer Mittlestadt, Assistant Professor of History, Pennsylvania State University
    Daniel Green, Daniel Greene, Director of the Scholl Center for Family and Community History, Newberry Library
    Joshua Guild, Assistant Professor of History, Princeton University
    Bobby J. Donaldson, Assistant Professor of History, University of South Carolina
    Erica Ball, Assistant Professor of American Studies, Cal State, Fullerton
    Matthew Strozier, Assistant City Editor, Ft. Lauderdale Sun City Sentinel

  2. How about one of the leading Indie Rock bands MGMT?…Or the great jazz singer Tierney Sutton?….And Mosaic Records is putting out a retropestive of Wesleyan’s own Anthony Braxton’s work..Wesleyan’s contribution to the arts in general is staggering.

  3. We have so many successful Wesleyan alums. In addition to those in the Vanity Fair article, here is a partial list of a few more:
    Matthew Greenfiled, VP Fox Searchlight
    Ed Decter, writer and director for television and film; writer,
    David Kendall, writer and director for television and film
    Bruce Eric Kaplan, cartoonist for the New Yorker and television writer
    Liz Garcia, writer COLD CASE FILES
    James Longley, director of documentary films, Oscar nominee; IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS
    Andy Berends, documentary filmmaker, THE BLOOD OF MY BROTHER
    Sadia Shepard, documentary filmmaker, author
    Halle Standford, Peter Schube, Jim Henson and Associates
    Jordon Belfi, actor, ENTOURAGE
    Rodger Grossman, director, WHAT WE DO IS SECRET
    Gordon Crawford, entertainment investment, Capital Research and Management
    Phil Abraham, director and cinematographer, MAD MEN, THE SOPRANOS
    Diane Kolyer, Emmy award winner and producer of children’s TV for HBO
    Matt Ember, writer, GET SMART
    Phil Casnoff, Emmy-nominated actor
    Bruce Corwin, motion picture theatre owner
    Brad Fuller, producer, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
    Michael Fields, director for television: LAW AND ORDER: HOMICIDE
    Jieho Lee, writer, director: THE AIR I BREATHE
    Jeffrey Lane, Emmy-award-winning writer for television, Tony nominee
    Dylan Leiner, Senior VP, Sony Pictures Classics
    Matt Penn, executive producer and director, LAW AND ORDER
    Rocky Collins, documentary filmmaker
    Owen Renfroe, Directors Guild award for daytime television
    Dan Shotz, creator and producer, JERICHO
    Jessica Sanders, Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker
    Stephen Schiff, screenwriter, LOLITA, TRUE CRIME etc
    Anthony Weintraub, screenwriter
    Luke Janklow, agent
    Scott Wiper, writer, director, actor for motion pictures
    Marc Levin, producer, director, SLAM
    Mark Bomback, screenwritter, LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD
    and many, many more

    We are proud of Wesleyan, our departments and programs, and our Wesleyan Liberal Arts Tradition.

    ~The Film Studies Department

  4. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am in the process of pulling together a “modified list” from the Bloomberg machine of the hundreds of successful alum in business/finance/Wall Street who can and should be recognized, celebrated and nurtured for the benefit of our beloved alma mater and undergraduate community – stay tuned!!!!!!!!

  5. I’d just like to mention that close to a third (not sure of the exact number) of the people on the Vanity Fair list were Theater majors – Lin-Manuel Miranda, Brad Whitford, Jon Turtletaub etc. We’re in the process of updating our web page, certainly listing these “main stream” accomplishments of our graduates but also the less well known, but equally significant, contributions they’ve been making to the Arts World both here and abroad. As Stephen McCarthy says above – Stay tuned!

  6. A sample of former AMST and/or English majors —
    Carlo Rotella and Christina Klein, both at BC are doing distinguished work as writers and scholars
    Joan Markman (when last we spoke) was an ADA in Philadelphia, going after bad guys
    Ezra Tawil just published a great book on early Am lit, he’s at Columbia
    John Stauffer’s first book won a major scholarly prize, he’s a leading light in AMST at Harvard
    Richard Hong, who did a great thesis on Star Trek, works in advertising
    Eric Greene works for ACLU in LA, and writes frequently on film
    Eric Lichtenfeld is freelancing as a scholar while working day jobs (you think *you’ve* got it tough), and doing really good work
    Dan Haar is business editor of the Hartford Courant
    Willie Holtzman is a playwright: his latest stars Tony Award winner Joanna Gleason in Something You Did, “a play about a notorious sixties radical who is released into the post-9/11 world after spending nearly three decades in prison.”

  7. I’m a bartender at the Carriage Club Country Club and I’m now friends with Brad Toomey (Alumni). He told me to check out all his old college friends who “own” Hollywood! I’m getting my pre-reqs for dental school but did a ton of acting growing up in high school, and in the community, and also at the University of Utah’s acting conservatory. I go to L.A. in the summers trying to get a job acting and what not… Any spots for a 24 yr old hansome male? p.s. Congrats on all the success’

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