Kent McCray Theater
The new Kent McCray Theater, housed at the University of Hartford’s new Handel Performing Arts Center, was dedicated on September 12th, 2008. The 100-seat McCray Black Box Theater, made possible through the generosity of Kent (University of Hartford class of ’51) and Susan McCray, is a part of a project that according to University President Walter Harrison, “Marks a rejuvenation and rebirth for The Hartt School and the University, as well as an important moment in the rebirth of the City of Hartford.”
With Robbins sprung floors and a state of the art computerized light board and sound equipment, virtually any stage configuration is possible in the McCray theater, giving designers, directors and choreographers complete flexibility for innovation and creativity. Many Hartt Theater and Dance division performances, Hartt Community Division performances, recitals, lectures, and concerts will be held in the Kent McCray Theater each year.
Kent McCray requested the theater be named in honor of his late parents, Tom (the former VP of NBC) and Dorothy McCray
. Both parents had the same love and appreciation for the arts and believe in the importance of education as Kent and Susan, so it’s fitting their names be recognized on a plaque in their honor.
Natives of Hartford, CT, Tom and Dorothy
were great supporters of the Hartt School and good friends
with Moshe Paranov, one of the founders of the Hartt School of
Music and the University of Hartford. Tom began his radio
career at WTIC in Hartford as an announcer, then became
the station's program director. As the program director he hired Ed Begley to read the Sunday funnies, as well as the great actor Frank Lovejoy. Dorothy worked together with Tom on a talk show on WTIC. NBC
brought the McCray's to California where Tom became
a VP of the network on the West Coast.
Susan and Kent are both University of Hartford Regents, so appropriately the September annual Regents meeting was held in The Kent McCray Theater before its dedication on Friday, September 12th.
The one-story brick building that houses the new theater and arts center was constructed in 1929 as the home of a local Cadillac dealership. Now students and artists are at home where cars where once parked on display.
(l-r) Drummer Joe LaBarbera, bassist Nat Reeves, Susan Sukman McCray, pianist/composer/arranger Vincent Falcone, and Kent McCray at the Harry Sukman Foyer.
Eastern Connecticut State University presented an honorary
doctorate of humane letters to Susan McCray
at Eastern’s 118th Commencement on May 18, in recognition
of her professional and philanthropic contributions. Read the report from Eastern and see a photo.
On May 7 at the University of Hartford the Premiere Live Performance of the CD "Warm Heart ...Cool Hands" will be performed by the Vincent Falcone Trio. The CD, produced by Susan, features the music of her father, Harry Sukman.
University President Walter Harrison is hosting a CD signing and special reception and dinner in honor of Vincent Falcone and Susan McCray in the 1877 Club.
Fall, 2002: Susan McCray was the guest speak for the Celebrating Women's Leadership luncheon held at the J. Eugene Smith Library. She spoke eloquently to students, faculty and staff about her career, including her experiences as a professional singer and a very successful Hollywood casting director. Read the article here.
June, 1997: Casting director Susan McCray and her husband, producer Kent McCray, both receive honorary doctorates from Columbia College, Hollywood at the June 29 commencement at Sportsmen's Lodge.