Steven Hitt: Director builds LaGuardia Community College’s theater group

By Tammy Scileppi

Steven Hitt said he is very honored to be acknowledged for the work he has been doing as managing director for the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center and as adjunct assistant professor of Dance and Human Services at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City.

“Since arriving, I have had the great opportunity to meet some very special people, doing some amazing work around this borough,” he said. “My team and I have worked to build a theater organization this community can claim with pride. We’ve developed an opportunity for artists to come into our space and develop new work. Through theatre and dance, they tell stories we are lucky to hear.”

The multi-talented New Yorker has directed and/or choreographed productions of “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The Fantasticks,” “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf,” “Into the Woods,” “Stepping Out” and “Cabaret.”

Most recently at the performing arts center, Hitt has created the role of Sadik in the English translation of Ozen Yula’s play “For Rent.” He has also portrayed Lincoln in a workshop production of “Lincoln and Son,” Mysterious Man in “Into the Woods,” and Sparger in “Kennedy’s Children.” Other favorite roles include Gallo in “The Fantasticks” and James in “Children of a Lesser God.”

As executive director of PACT Training Inc., he has trained people on how to conduct difficult conversations in various situations.

Hitt maintains a focus on theatre for social change as an artist, embracing such subjects as homelessness, sexual assault, sex workers, gang violence, bullying, LGBT issues and economic divisions.

He is co-author of the book, “Superheroes Unmasked: An Amazing Approach to Helping Children Learn Social/Emotional Insights and Skills.”

And as a performer, Hitt has appeared on Broadway and in the international company of “A Chorus Line,” danced at the Met with American Ballet Theatre in “Sleeping Beauty,” sung at Carnegie Hall, and performed at the Apollo Theater.

He said he believes in the power of using the arts to tell stories that might challenge people’s thinking about, and understanding of, others.

“When you live in the most diverse community in the country—probably the world—we find so many rich stories to tell. Many of those stories come right out of the student body of the college. The students of LaGuardia Community College have had such rich lives already, and those stories have helped me grow as an individual, and honestly caused me to become a social activist, trying to give a voice to the voiceless.

“That is something I did not expect at all eight years ago when I arrived on the scene. I knew I was an artist and a good administrator. I’ve also learned I love teaching and being a mentor to the future voices of theatre in this city. What a privilege.”