Who Are we?
A lifelong film lover, Dan Hudak has worked extensively as a film critic in print, radio and television. He has provided film reviews and commentary for WPLG-TV (ABC) Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, ABCNews.com, the Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, CNN.com, indieWIRE.com, New Orleans Times-Picayune, Newsday, Orlando Sentinel, San Francisco Examiner and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
He is the owner of Hudak On Hollywood, Inc., and his popular “Hudak On Hollywood” lectures are given throughout Florida and Colorado. He is the former chairman of the Florida Film Critics Circle and a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. He studied Film History and Criticism at Bard College and the University of Miami, where he received his M.A. in Film Studies. To give Dan a piece of your mind, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Born in Washington, D.C., Hap Erstein went to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in dreary Troy, New York, where he narrowly escaped becoming an engineer. In 1994, he and his wife moved to West Palm Beach, where he assumed the position of theater critic at The Palm Beach Post and soon after added the job of film critic. He held these positions for 15 years, until retiring from the paper in 2008. Hap now writes for Palm Beach ArtsPaper, an online and hard copy arts magazine. He has taught theater appreciation courses at Florida Atlantic University’s Lifelong Learning Society and been a longtime member of the Carbonell Awards panel recognizing theater excellence in South Florida. Each weekend, he can be heard on WJNO Radio talking about the latest film releases. During his career Hap has interviewed such show business legends as Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Lucille Ball, George Burns, Stephen Sondheim and Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy. When not working, he can usually be found playing tennis or backgammon.
Bill Hirschman is the editor, chief critic and reporter for Florida Theater on Stage, a professional advertising-supported arts journalism website he created 11 years ago. He has been a professional journalist since interning during high school in 1966 in Westchester County, New York. He began reviewing theater for the South Florida Sun Sentinel in 1998 and had written about the arts and reviewed for several decades before that, especially books. His arts coverage has appeared in Variety, American Theatre magazine, Playbill.com, a&e magazine, the Sondheim Review, Mystery Scene Magazine, Florida Health News, 850 magazine, and the Miami Herald among many other outlets. He is the former chairman of the executive committee of the American Theatre Critics’ Association and currently chair of its advisory committee. He lives in Plantation with two dogs, one named after the heroine of Sunday in the Park With George, and his wife Oline H. Cogdill, who he says “makes all things possible.”
Giuseppe Albanese attended the University of Vermont and graduated with a degree in History in 1966. Signor Albanese’s enthusiasm for opera was inspired in the early eighties upon seeing Franco Zeffierelli’s film version of the classic Verdi opera, “La Traviata.” After five years of intensive research and study, he developed a dynamic educational program entitled, “The Joy of Opera,” an introduction to Bel-Canto. For the past 25 years he has taught this uniquely informative course, lectured extensively on many operative subjects, and produced a series of exceptional video documentaries. He currently presents opera courses at Florida Atlantic University’s Lifelong Learning Society, one of the largest continuing adult education programs in the country. He is the recipient of Lifelong Learning Society 2000 Excellence in Teaching Award, and continues to gain recognition as one of the most stimulating instructors in opera education today.
Leslie Burman is a Registered Dietitian, Licensed Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, and is board certified with advanced certifications to adult and adolescent weight management. She also held licenses as a certified fitness instructor, hypnotherapist, and MBTI instructor. She has great passion for helping others with their personalized health and wellness journey via entertaining and educating by way of lecturing. For the past 25 plus years Leslie has been providing nutrition and wellness related services throughout Palm Beach and surrounding counties. Areas of interest included: Wellness lectures, healthy eating related programs, individualized nutrition consultations, cooking lessons, grocery shop tours, nutrition workshops, food demonstrations and more. Leslie looks forwards to providing you with lectures to better serve your health and wellness goals.
Sharon Harris has worked in public relations/communications and the media since the 1980s, and currently works as a freelance business and consumer journalist. She’s always had a deep interest in classic Hollywood; she launched her adult enrichment course, “Hooray for Hollywood,” in October 2016 for Stockton University’s Friends of Encore Learning at Stockton (FELS) program in New Jersey. She began with the invention of the motion picture in the 1890s, and recently completed her sixth season, which focused on WWII and Hollywood’s participation in the war effort. She’s been giving lectures on a variety of classic Hollywood topics since 2018. Topics include: Music of the 1960s, in depth looks at Gone With The Wind, The Godfather, and Casablanca, the early studio moguls, Jewish Vaudeville and Hollywood, the film industry before, during and after WWII, and a look at the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).
Alex Bruner is a former international management consultant and fundraiser. A child of Holocaust survivors from Yugoslavia who remained in Europe after World War II, he has lived in and worked on three continents. His special interest is the history of Jewish people. He lectures to educational, social, political and community groups in person and on Zoom on various topics related to Israel, the Middle East and antisemitism.
Bruner served as the North American director for an agency established by American and Canadian business leaders to assist early-stage Israeli companies. He holds a BS, Ch. Eng. from the University of Maryland and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Harriet Howard Heithaus became intrigued with theater from childhood, when her family took her to summer stock musicals and community theaters. She has never lost that love for an affecting melody or a gripping story. That romance did not include appearing onstage, however. She much prefers to write about it and has happily been both music and theater critic at the Naples Daily News, for which she has won a number of Florida Press Club awards, over the last 15 years. Before that, the native Buckeye has worked for newspapers in Ohio and Indiana, where she was a government and political writer who volunteered to review to rock concerts whenever possible. Everyone could see where this was leading.
A Floridian since the ‘50s, Bob Ross is a graduate of Ocala High School and Eckerd College, where he wrote for the campus paper and discovered the joy of inflicting his opinions on others. After working as a proofreader, rock music critic and bureau reporter — and a stint managing Tampa’s first video rental store — Bob joined the Tampa Tribune as film critic in 1985. The job lasted 22 years, until it vanished along with much of the daily newspaper industry. Since retiring in 2008, Bob has remained active as a reviewer and contributor on WMNF radio and WTVT-TV Fox 13 in Tampa. A founding member of the Florida Film Critics Circle, Bob is known for his vast trivia knowledge and terrible puns.
Frank Eberling made his first film in Florida 57 years ago. Since then he has made over 3,500 film and television programs, including over 100 documentaries for Florida PBS, as writer, producer, director, cinematographer. He wrote and directed two micro-budget feature films, including one with Burt Reynolds. He also served as a college instructor for twenty-six years, and taught alongside Burt Reynolds for ten years at the Burt Reynolds’ Institute for Film & Theatre. Along the way he has won numerous awards, including a CINE/Golden Eagle, and an EMMY®, and was the first winner of The Florida Governor’s Screenwriting Competition in 1985.
Charles Troy is a retired graphic designer and former theatre lyricist who has developed more than fifty multimedia presentations on musical theatre subjects. During the pandemic, he has converted these presentations into videos, which he presents virtually. These videos combine his own original graphics with historic photos, edited audio tracks with the lyrics displayed onscreen, and illustrative video clips — all coordinated with a voiceover narrative, evolved from his extensive research, that weaves the pertinent events into a dramatic tale. Half of these videos are 80 to 90-minute programs on the stories behind many of the great musicals. Charles is based in the Chicago area.
Rich is a native son of Brooklyn, NY where he attended Brooklyn College and later earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Baruch College. After moving to Merrick, NY he began a long tenure as Director of Mathematics for the Copiague Public Schools. Following his retirement after 38 years as a school teacher and administrator, he began to develop a series of multimedia presentations based on his first love, the performing arts. His list of over 70 programs includes Broadway musicals, film, and opera, but Rich specializes in 20th century song writers and vocalists, and radio and television programs of the “Golden Age,” for Hudak On Hollywood. Currently Rich is a resident of Omaha, Nebraska where he continues to present programs virtually via Zoom.
Brian Rose is a professor emeritus at Fordham University, where he taught for 38 years in the Department of Communication and Media Studies. He’s written several books on television history and cultural programming, and conducted more than a hundred Q&A’s with leading directors, actors, and writers for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the Screen Actors Guild, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and the Directors Guild of America. Over the last decade, he’s presented more than 500 lectures at libraries and cultural organizations around the country, including the Smithsonian, the 92nd St. Y, Film Forum in New York City, OLLI in Washington DC and JCC’s in New York, Chicago, Cincinnati and Boca Raton.
Music historian Betsy Schwarm spent a dozen years on the air at the vintage KVOD radio, “The Classical Voice of Denver.” She has also taught university-level music appreciation, but is especially known for her user-friendly approach to talking about classical music. She gives pre-performance talks for Opera Colorado, has frequently spoken at the Colorado Symphony, and has written ten books on classical music as part of her Classical Music Insights series. The most recent of these is Classical Music Insights: Between the Wars (2021). More than 200 of her articles are available on Encyclopædia Britannica online. Additionally, she writes for classical performers and organizations throughout the US and abroad, and teaches for the University of Denver Enrichment program, as well as other organizations.
Author of the crime novel “Takedown,” Blu-Ray columnist Andrew Hudak (Dan’s older, and most would say wiser, brother) is also a lifelong lover of cinema. His interests include films new and old, foreign and domestic, independent and mainstream. An admirer of the classics, such as “Citizen Kane,” “Gone with the Wind” and “The Godfather,” Andrew also has a special admiration for films that many critics find less notable, like “Ghostbusters,” “Fight Club” and “American Psycho.” He dislikes people who talk during movies, directors who don’t realize that that too much action is just as bad as too little, and pointless 3D. Andrew also longs for the days when action scenes were blocked and shot with a sense of flow, rather than haphazardly caught with a handheld camera and edited into split second fragments.
Andrew received a B.A. in English with a concentration in writing from Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT. In addition to writing for Hudak on Hollywood, Andrew has also been published in Folio Weekly in Jacksonville, FL. Check out Andrew’s DVD/Blu-Ray columns here.