Norma Lee Chartoff

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Norma Lee Chartoff

Norma Lee Chartoff, an adjunct professor of scene design and scene painting, has been with the college since 1997. She is also production scene designer, story writer and occasional character director of the department's annual "The Gravesend Inn, a Haunted Hotel".  Norma brings to the department a wealth of varied experiences from her 40 years as a painter, designer, model builder, draftsperson,  architectural renderer, art director, mural artist, project manager, and producer within the fields of theatre, advertising, graphic design, computer animation, film and television.

Norma caught the scenery painting "bug" at age 14 when she was handed a full-stage backdrop to paint for the musical "Once Upon a Mattress", and the only place to draw it was hanging it on the backyard clothesline.  She quickly learned a better way to do things and has been mentoring students and other professionals ever since. Norma's focus now is to promote the use of healthier paints and safer practices throughout the industry.

Norma has had the pleasure of traveling the country and working with some great people at several notable regional theatres such as Actor's Theatre of Louisville, The Mark Taper Forum, The Beverly Hills Playhouse, Seattle's Intiman Theatre, as well as touring with The New Globe Theatre (Stuart Vaughan). One of her favorite early painting jobs included painting the shoes of Mako, (with his directions of course) who was starring in "A Song for a Nisei Fisherman" at the Mark Taper Forum Lab.

Several seasons at Actor's Theatre of Louisville included The Humana Festival of New American Plays as a model builder, and painting alongside scenic artist Bob Moody. While at Actor's Theatre, Norma painted large "prop" oil canvases for "Eye of the Beholder", for productions at The American Theatre Festivals in Budapest, Hungary, and Sydney and Perth, Australia, as well as assistant designing and painting shows such as "Weekend Near Madison" with Holly Hunter and Mary McDonald. 

In New York, she assisted on the Broadway shows "Alone Together" with Janis Paige and Kevin McCarthy, and "Accidental Death of an Anarchist" with Jonathan Pryce and Patti LaPone. Norma designed and painted several off-Broadway shows, the most recent being the MadCap Production of "The Mystery of Irma Vep". She and her husband, Chip Scott, have mounted productions from their own Chartoff/Scott Studios, such as "Olympus on my Mind", "Romance! Romance!", and "Funny Feet". While at Doswell Productions, she was art director/project manager/computer programmer on animated marketing software packages for IBM, MCI, and Arthur Anderson. She designed computer animation for ABC Television, as well as title design and art direction for several independent films and commercials. Norma also had an original cartoon published in the New York Times.

A recent exhibit honoring Frank Ballard, at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry (The University of Connecticut) included a series of transparency paintings Norma painted for a puppetry production of "Peer Gynt".

Norma did some of her favorite set designs while teaching at Wagner College, where she was resident scene designer for eight years. Norma's academic background includes a double major in art and theatre at the University of Connecticut, a BA in theatre from Southern Connecticut State University, and MFA graduate studies in scene design at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

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