Theatre for women’s political participation: SUNY New Paltz joining national “12,000 Voices” movement

“12 Angry Men” Performed by 12 Impassioned Women, April 7 at Studley Theatre

SUNY New Paltz will join a nationwide collective of schools, community centers, universities and regional theatres that will stage an all-women reading of “12 Angry Men,” as part of an effort to increase voter registration and empower women as participants in local, state and national politics.

The “12,000 Voices” initiative uses all-women performances of Reginald Rose’s classic drama of jury deliberation – written in 1954, a time when many states barred women from serving on juries at all – to affirm the power one person can have when they speak with conviction in the U.S. judicial system.

The New Paltz performance, which takes place on Sunday, April 7, at 3 p.m. in Studley Theatre, features a cast including faculty, students and alumnae of the Department of Theatre Arts, and a special appearance from Sandy Christian, wife of College President Donald P. Christian and retired psychotherapist.

The production will be directed by Sandie Luna, an artist, entrepreneur and adjunct faculty of theatre arts at New Paltz, and is organized by Connie Rotunda, associate chair of the Department of Theatre Arts. It is free and open to the public.

Following the reading, volunteers from local and national organizations will be on hand to work with attendees to file or update voter registrations, and facilitate conversations about increasing voter turnout and supporting women’s direct participation in the political process.

Cast members include:

  • Dariana Almeyda ’19 (Theatre Arts; Adolescence Education), student
  • Sandy Christian, wife of President Christian and retired psychotherapist
  • Catherine Doherty, professional actor and assistant professor, theatre arts
  • Winnie Guo ’19 (Theatre Arts; Asian Studies), student
  • Brittania Marasciulo-Rivera ‘21, (Theatre Arts; Digital Media Production), student
  • Kaitlynn McNamara ’21 (Theatre Arts), student
  • Gabriella Montanaro ‘21, (Theatre Arts), student
  • Amanda Pryzgoda ’20 (Theatre Arts), student
  • Jessica Ritacco ’08 (Theatre Arts), alumna
  • Rachel Ritacco ’11 (Theatre Arts), alumna
  • Gabriella Rivera ’20 (Theatre Arts), student
  • Connie Rotunda, professional actor and associate chair, theatre arts
  • Kate Udall, professional actor and adjunct professor, theatre arts
  • Bria Walker, professional actor and assistant professor, theatre arts

Voter registration and turnout activities are being organized by Joel Lefkowitz, associate professor of political science and Latin American & Caribbean studies, in partnership with local representatives of the League of Women Voters, Move Forward New York, the New York Public Interest Research Group and Resisterhood, among other organizations and officials.

This event is presented by the Departments of Theatre Arts and Political Science & International Relations, with generous support from SUNY New Paltz alumna Donna Smeland ’93 (Communication Media).

More information about the April 7 presentation of “12 Angry Men” Performed by 12 Impassioned Women is available on the Facebook event page.

Details about the nationwide “12,000 Voices” movement can be found at