Hey, I graduated from Emerson a couple years ago. Any particular questions, or were you just looking for info in general? I loved my time there, and can definitely give some pointers on things to get involved in and good people to know. Does he have a particular area of concentration yet (if not, it's no big worry, you don't need to know that right away, that's what undergrad is for!)? I started as a lighting/sound split, but by my sophomore year ended up focusing just on sound.
Off the top of my head, he'll have to take an acting class and at least one or two other non-tech classes. For acting, I had Steve Yakutis, who was great, as is Joe Antoun. I also took a directing class, which Joe taught, if you can get him, he is a wonderful director--I designed two shows for him over my career at Emerson, too, and they were my two favorites of all the shows I worked on.
Tim Jozwick is still there in the scenic department, who is really cool and fun; Rafael Jaen, who is in charge of costume design, is great (and he is the god of designer portfolios--listen to ANYTHING he has to say on that subject); Mary Ellen Adams is the guru of hair and makeup, and the general "mom" of the department. I believe Ron De Marco is still the asst. TD and props advisor, and Keith Cornelius is the TD, both know their areas very well and are very helpful and great teachers.
I'm not sure who does lighting now, since Russ Swift left a year or two ago, and Harry Morgan, the other scenic design professor, retired this year. Rick Brenner is the house sound guy for the Cutler Majestic, which Emerson owns, and teaches the sound design class every other year--tell him I said hi. The Majestic's TD is a guy named Greg, I've only worked with him twice on the EVVY Awards (my senior year and then the following year when I came back to consult on it), since he got hired right as I was nearing graduation, but he seemed pretty cool. There's another guy on house staff at the Maj, Milo, who is really cool, too.
You'll find that, overall, there are very few people at Emerson who aren't easy to get along with, as far as staff and faculty go. Had I known I was going to focus on sound design, I might have ended up somewhere else with a more involved sound design program, but I'm quite happy I ended up there, since it is a great program with great facilities (especially with the new theatre building, which I'm quite jealous of, since it opened the year after I graduated), and being one of only three sound designers and the only one solely focused on it, I got to do so much more hands on sooner than I would have elsewhere (the tradeoff being that a lot of it was trial and error, with what guidance I could get from Rick and Russ, rather than classroom learning).
I hope this helps a bit, and if you/your friend do have specific questions, let me know!
Thats an awesome bunch of information, I'm sure he'll be very happy. Hes basically the light god at our school and after talking with him it seems that hes going to specifically major in that part of theatre but doesn't know to what end yet. I'll make sure to forward this post to him, thanks a ton.
No sweat, Nick. Like I said, I don't know who took over lighting now that Russ moved elsewhere, but overall it's a great program.
Tell him to definitely look into getting involved in the EVVY Awards; it's a bit cultish if you let it be, and Pete Chvany, the advisor, will scare the crap out of you at first, but it's an amazing experience (a live multi-camera tv broadcast awards show that goes out from the Majestic Theatre via some combination of local cable, webcast, and sometimes satellite to the alumni groups in NY and/or LA--now I believe they alternate years between using the control room in the new building adjacent to the Majestic and bringing in a remote truck). I learned sooooooo much in my 3.5 years working on that show, and wouldn't trade it for the world.