VP of Scripted Programming, History
By Stephanie Ferrarie AB '18
A native of upstate New York, Adam Fratto AB ‘90 grew up immersed in theater and culture. His parents, professors of women’s studies and political science, taught at the local college in Geneva, New York. In high school, Fratto acted, though he holds that he wasn’t very good, despite its huge impact on his life. He reminisces back to his kindergarten days, when he would watch movies and direct his classmates in reenacting the films in class.
So it was only natural that Fratto's childhood interests drew him toward theater at Harvard, where he was a board member of the Harvard-Radcliffe Drama Club and directed six shows over his career. His directorial debut was a stripped-down adaptation of the musical March of the Falsettos staged in the Loeb Experimental Theater.Read more
This year's celebration of Commencement and Reunions in Cambridge is extra special because it's also Harvardwood's 20th birthday! We recently caught up with Mia Riverton Alpert AB '99 and Adam Fratto AB '90, two of Harvardwood's three founders, and President Allison Kiessling EdM '05. They shared their thoughts on Harvardwood, then and now—and twenty more years into the future!
2018 Holiday Party, L to R: Adam Fratto, Mia Riverton Alpert, Joey Siara (Board member),
Dona Le (Executive Director), Stacy Cohen (Co-Founder), and Allison Kiessling
Q. You have all remained deeply involved with Harvardwood! What are the most exciting or standout changes you've seen the organization undergo in the last two decades?
Mia: I am most excited about our evolution into an organization that works toward positive changes in our industry and our society—by providing resources to bolster the talents of our wonderfully diverse membership, by using our network and platform to amplify traditionally underrepresented voices, and by engaging in programs designed to support people who are making a difference in communities in need.
Adam: The hiring of paid staff has made a massive difference.
Allison: I came in through the Writers Program, so it is really moving to me to see all the new writers come through and the motivated, amazing volunteers that have taken on each successive iteration of the program. It’s very difficult for an organization to not get entrenched in its own ways, but our volunteers have kept the program nimble—it keeps evolving and getting better every year.
Q. Does Harvardwood today match the vision you had for the organization's future when you founded it 20 years ago?
Adam: No. It is way bigger, better, cooler and smarter than I ever imagined.Read more
Harvardwood Founders' Spotlight: Stacy Cohen '89, Adam Fratto '90, & Mia Riverton '99
By D. Dona Le '05
In terms of academic manpower and resources, Harvard students ordinarily want for nothing. But as recently as 15 years ago, before Harvardwood was founded, many students wondered how to best go about pursuing careers in the arts and the entertainment industry—more specifically, in Hollywood.
One of those students was Stacy Cohen '89, who concentrated in the History of Architecture and finagled the department into letting her write its first film-related thesis. While at Harvard, Cohen had no idea that Adam Fratto '90, just a year behind her, was interested in a similar career path in the moviemaking industry.
And even after Cohen and Fratto connected in Los Angeles in the mid-1990s and began hosting informal mixer events for Harvard alumni, it would be years before they were put in touch with Mia Riverton (AB ’99). Together, the three of them would combine their contacts and form Harvardwood.Read more