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sophia rommaMeet the NYUAA Board:
Sophia Romma (TSOA '95, '97)

The NYU Alumni Association (NYUAA) represents all NYU alumni, from every NYU school and department—a community nearly half-a-million strong. The diverse and active NYUAA Board of Directors is made up of alumni volunteers who steer the Association in their mission to engage and support alumni. Sophia Romma (TSOA ’95, ’97) is a veteran member of the Board and is the leader of the NYU Alumni Club of Long Island, which plans events for alumni in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Romma received her BA and MA in dramatic writing from Tisch School of the Arts, and holds a PhD in philology from Maxim Gorky Literature Institute. She is the author of fourteen Off-Broadway plays and her stage-plays have been performed at theaters throughout the world to rave reviews. She is also the author of the award-winning film Poor Liza, which won first prize for screenwriting and best original film at the St. Petersburg Literature in Film Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Romma has taught drama, playwriting, and screenwriting courses at the New York Film Academy, McGill University, Lander College for Women, The Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center, and the Negro Ensemble Company, where she served as literary manager. She is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild of America, vice president of the International Center for Women Playwrights, and is a board member and International Committee chair of the League of Professional Theatre Women. She is currently the producing artistic director of the O'Neill Film and Theatrical Foundation, committed to achieving gender parity in both theatre and film, on the regional, global, and universal theatrical stage and screen.

What is your favorite:

Food? My favorite cuisine is Uzbek (central Asian) and Georgian food. I am particularly fond of central Asian specialties such a meat kebabs and Chebureki (Russian-style empanadas). I love the aromatic Samsa, which is an Uzbek meat pie boasting an array of enticing central Asian spices. I am a fan of Georgian feast dishes such as the Khachapuri Adjaruli and Satsivi.

Book? My favorite work of fiction is The Stranger by Albert Camus because it clearly demonstrates the irrationality of this complex and challenging universe and harbors a poignant resonance of Camus's philosophical notion of absurdity, which I ascribe to as a playwright.

TV Show and/or Movie? My favorite European art film is Luis Bunuel's The Exterminating Angel, which I first viewed in my cinema studies class at Tisch School of the Arts, when I was a teenager. The film is a macabre comedy; a morbid take on human nature that unveils our savage instincts and darkest secrets.

Song and/or Musical Artist? My favorite musical artist is Billie Holiday; I even wrote a poem entitled, “With White Gardenias in Her Hair” as a tribute to the legendary jazz voice which shaped the musical landscape of an entire century. I adore Belgian-born French guitarist and composer Django Reinhardt as well. He is of Romani ethnicity and sings the songs of the Gypsies—songs which have always surrounded me and shaped my musical palate in the theatre.

Way to spend a Saturday? Saturdays are special for me as I entertain my children by staging home theatre plays and shooting home movies. We also like to ice skate together. I escape, on occasion, to compose a scene or two for the theatre or to pen a poem, if I am so inspired.

Place to travel? Breathtaking Prague in the Czech Republic.

Place on the NYU campus? Naturally, the eternal magic and mysticism of Washington Square Park lures and beckons me be back to NYU.

What is your favorite memory from your time at NYU? I will forever remember by beloved professor of dramatic writing at Tisch, the Tony Award-winning playwright Colonel Leslie Lee. He was my mentor and he believed in my dramatic craft. Together we collaborated on seven Off-Broadway productions, which he directed. Leslie also introduced me to the iconic Ellen Stewart and from then on, Ellen had taken me under her wing and invited me with open arms to join her La MaMa family and even asked me to call her Mama. Leslie Lee shaped my dramatic voice, which now belongs to the theatre. We enjoyed a 25 year friendship and were co-conspirators of the theatre. My theatre craft will forever be entwined with Mr. Lee's brilliant legacy.

Why do you give back to NYU? I am eternally grateful to New York University for granting me a vital core education, which was beyond remarkable. I have excelled in my career due to receiving a potent and compelling education in my field of arts and entertainment, without which I would have never been able to break through on the scenes of competitive theatre and film. I took courses with some of the most intelligent, caring, and dynamic professors. I give back because without an NYU education, I wouldn't have much of a professional career or very many friends in this highly saturated industry. Most importantly, I give back to NYU because I am immeasurably proud to be an NYU alumna. I am honored to serve on the NYU Board of Directors, and to support student scholarship through initiatives such as the Momentum Campaign, so that NYU's future students can attend their dream school. I was one of those students seeking acceptance, seeking the tools to sharpen my talent and NYU came to my rescue, so I give back. It's ever so worth it!