Join us May 8 & June 22 to celebrate Jack's career
Join us May 8 & June 22 to celebrate Jack's career
School of Fine & Performing Arts at SUNY New Paltz

Department of Theatre Arts

Theatre Arts Professor Jack Wade to Retire

The Department of Theatre Arts extends its warmest congratulations to Jack Wade, a professor of design and theatre history and past department chair, on his upcoming retirement. In his 25-year tenure at SUNY New Paltz, Jack has been a distinguished mentor of many designers and performers who have gone on to work in the professional theatre, television, and film industries.
Over a career that spans five decades, Jack— a member of the United Scenic Artists union, Local 829—has designed lighting and scenery for more than 200 theatre and dance productions. He began his professional career as resident scenic and lighting designer at the Hedgerow Theatre, where he also acted in roles ranging from Chris Keller in “All My Sons” to Don Pedro in “Much Ado About Nothing.” His first play, “Blood Ties,” was produced there at the end of his residency in 1984.
Jack earned his Master of Fine Arts in scenography at the Hilberry Repertory Theatre at Wayne State University. There, he designed nine mainstage productions, including a three-show tour to the Edinburgh Festival in 1986. He began his teaching career at West Chester University in 1984, and began teaching at SUNY New Paltz in 1999.
Jack (left) as Chris Keller in "All My Sons," 1982.
Jack’s design credits include lighting and projection design for Century Theater’s “All Under Heaven” starring Valerie Harper; lighting design for “Home and Three Tall Women” with New York City’s TheaterWorks; as well as “Flying Crows,” “Sedition,” and “The Good German” with Playwright’s Theatre of New Jersey.
Locally, Jack designed the productions of “How I Learned to Drive,” “The Dangers of Electric Lighting,” “All My Sons,” “Two Jews Walk Into a War,” and more for Shadowland Theatre in Ellenville; “Proof,” “Talley’s Folly,” “The Laramie Project,” “Death of a Salesman” and other plays for New Paltz Summer Repertory Theatre; and “Emma” at Woodstock’s Byrdcliffe Theatre.

Jack has also directed several plays in the Hudson Valley region, including the SUNY New Paltz productions of “The Hairy Ape,” “A View from the Bridge,” “The Shadow of a Gunman,” “The Producers,” and “Rent.” His play, “Red Masquerade”—which premiered at SUNY New Paltz in 2009—was a finalist for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) National Playwriting Award, and it also received a Distinguished Achievement in Playwriting Award from KCACTF.
Jack (left) as Don Pedro in "Much Ado About Nothing," 1982.
Jack is a past recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and also won the Theatre Crafts International Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theatrical Design and Technology. He was instrumental in establishing two study abroad programs in conjunction with the Center for International Programs: “Modern Irish Theatre at the University of Limerick, Ireland” and “London Theatre Seminar.” Both programs remain extremely popular among our students and Jack plans to continue leading them in retirement.

An informal farewell celebration for Jack will take place at the Department of Theatre Arts’ Senior Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8, on the terrace of College Theatre. Additionally, Theatre Arts alumni are planning a larger event in New Paltz for Saturday, June 22 (location TBD). For more information, contact David Cavallaro at
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