Theater prof Michele Pawk wins Critics’ Circle kudos

Michele Pawk

Wagner College Theatre professor Michele Pawk added another feather to her cap when the New York Drama Critics’ Circle named Will Arbery’s “Heroes of the Fourth Turning” as Best Play during the organization’s 85th annual voting meeting on April 15.

Pawk starred in “Heroes” as Gina, the newly inducted first female president of a tiny Catholic college in Lander, Wyoming, who is mentor to four young conservative students gathered for a reunion. “Heroes” premiered last fall Off Broadway at the Playwrights Horizon theater.

Since debuting on Broadway in 1988, Michele Pawk has been nominated four times for Drama Desk outstanding actress awards and won the 2003 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in “Hollywood Arms.”

After joining the Wagner College Theatre faculty in 2010, she immediately put her Broadway experience to work as the director of WCT’s “Seussical.” Ten years earlier, Pawk had originated the role of Mayzie LaBird in the show’s Broadway version.

Pawk has continued directing for the Wagner College Theatre — “Merrily We Roll Along,” “Rent,” “Little Shop Of Horrors” — while also teaching classroom courses like Acting V, Directing I and History of the American Film.

And, in her “spare time,” she continues to perform on the professional stage in shows like “Heroes.” In 2011, Pawk played in the highly acclaimed Playwrights Horizon production of Adam Bock’s “A Small Fire,” which earned one of her Drama Desk nominations.

“It makes me a better teacher, in a way,” Pawk says. “I have to go out and practice what I preach.”

Thanks to the Staten Island Advance for the feature photo used for this story, which first appeared on the cover of the Oct. 7, 2010 issue of the Advance Weekly Entertainment section.

Michele Pawk (courtesy Staten Island Advance)