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The Boston Conservatory Will Present Honorary Degrees to Michael Mayer and Alvin Epstein at 2012 Commencement

A Distinguished Alumni Award to Be Presented to Eugenia Douglas O'brien

(BOSTON—April 26, 2012) The Boston Conservatory will honor director Michael Mayer, as well as actor Alvin Epstein, at its 145th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 12 at 3 p.m. at the Back Bay Events Center in Boston. There will be 207 degrees awarded, including 121 Bachelors, 74 Masters, 9 Graduate Performance Diplomas and three Professional Studies Certificates. In addition The Boston Conservatory will present its Distinguished Alumni Award to Eugenia Douglas O'Brien (BFA, Dance, '73).

MICHAEL MAYER is an award-winning director whose recent theatre credits include American Idiot (Drama Desk Award for Best Director), Everyday Rapture, and On A Clear Day You Can See Forever on Broadway, and Tony Kushner's The Illusion at the Signature Theatre. He received the 2007 Tony Award, as well as the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, for his Broadway production of Spring Awakening. His other Broadway credits include Side Man (Tony Award/Best Play); Thoroughly Modern Millie (Tony Award/Best Musical); A View From the Bridge (Tony Award/Best Revival); Uncle Vanya; 'night,Mother; After the Fall; You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown; An Almost Holy Picture, The Lion in Winter and Triumph of Love. Mayer also directed the national tours of American Idiot, Spring Awakening, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Angels in America, (winner of Jefferson and Carbonell Awards). In 2004 he made his feature film debut with Michael Cunningham's A Home at the End of the World, which won the National Board of Review Award for Excellence in Filmmaking, Best Film at the Provincetown Film Festival and was nominated for the GLAAD Award for Outstanding Film. He is currently preparing to shoot the feature film of American Idiot. In the spring of 2011, Mayer directed the pilot of “Smash” for DreamWorks and NBC. He continued with the series as Consulting Producer and director of several episodes. He will make his Metropolitan Opera debut in January 2013 with a new production of Rigoletto. Mayer was a Teaching Artist at Lincoln Center Institute, and has been a faculty member and guest director at NYU, Fordham University, Yale University and The Juilliard School. 

Former Artistic Director of the Guthrie Theater and Associate Director of Yale Repertory Theater, ALVIN EPSTEIN has performed leading roles in more than a hundred plays, including works by Pirandello, Shakespeare, Anouilh, Shaw, Orton, Chekhov, Brecht, Moliere, Shaw and the ancient Greeks. Known for his dedication to the works of Samuel Beckett, he created Lucky in the American premiere of Waiting for Godot and Clov in the American premiere of Endgame and then returned to the play as Hamm at the Irish Repertory Theater in New York, followed by a new production as Nagg at the Brooklyn Academy opposite John Turturro (as Hamm) and Elaine Stritch (as Nell). On Broadway, Epstein performed with Marcel Marceau and Company, and played The Fool to Orson Welles' King Lear, Peachum in The Threepenny Opera with Sting, and in A Kurt Weill Cabaret, in which he later toured North and South America. His off-Broadway credits include Hamlet for Theater for a New Audience, Tuesdays with Morrie, The Madwoman of Chaillot, King Lear (title role), Dynamite Tonite (for which he won an Obie Award), and Howard Katz opposite Alfred Molina at the Roundabout Theater. Recently, he spent a year working with Sam Mendes' Bridge Project, which opened at BAM, and then concluded with a five-month tour of Asia and Europe. This season he played Firs (nominated for the Lucille Lortel Award) in the Classic Stage Comapany production of The Cherry Orchard, with Turturro and Dianne Wiest.. Epstein has also been seen in feature films and television dramas, has directed plays around the country, and has taught at the American Repertory Theater Institute in Cambridge. 

The Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented to EUGENIA L. O'BRIEN (BFA, Dance, '73), founder and director of The Portland (Maine) Ballet. She has performed with Movement Laboratory, Concert Dance Company, Boston Dance Theater, and represented the U.S. at the International Academy of Dance, Portugal. O'Brien completed the Academic Classical Ballet course with Egon Bischoff at the International Ballet School in Jackson, MS and attended the 2006 Balletto Internazionale Americano-Adriatico Teacher's Seminar in Ascoli Piceno, Italy. Recognizing that arts and academics should not be mutually exclusive, O'Brien entered Portland School of Ballet into partnership with Portland High School (a National School of Excellence) in 1994 to create CORPS (Collaboration-Outreach-Responsibility-Performance-Scholars), a performing arts high school program.  The nationally recognized program offers serious high school dancers the opportunity to train three hours each day at Portland School of Ballet while earning transcript credit in Health, Physical Education and Fine Arts from their academic high school.  O'Brien also promotes dance education through  City Dance, which sends instructors into public schools, and youth concerts. Always creating collaborative opportunities, she has worked with Easter Seals Maine to establish an Adaptive Dance Program as another avenue to share movement, and is currently working to expand that program into coursework at the University of New England.  

About The Boston Conservatory

The Boston Conservatory trains exceptional young performing artists for careers that enrich and transform the human experience. Known for its intimate and supportive multidisciplinary environment, The Boston Conservatory offers fully accredited graduate and undergraduate programs in music, dance and theater, and presents more than 200 performances each year by students, faculty and guest artists. Since its founding in 1867, The Boston Conservatory has shared its talent and creativity with the city of Boston, the region and the nation, and continues to grow today as a vibrant community of artists and educators. For more information, visit

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