For over a century, Theatre Arts alumni have had a major impact on American culture. Many have had distinguished careers in theatre, film and television. Others have taught at universities, colleges and secondary schools throughout the country and have influenced generations of students.
Alumni are also a great resource for those completing their Iowa degrees. They offer advice and help to young artists beginning their careers.
Here are just a few of our Distinguished Theatre Arts Alumni and their accomplishments.
David Adjmi (MFA 2001) is among the 10 recipients of the 2010 Whiting Writers' Award. The $50,000 award was announced in New York City.
Robert Alexander (MFA 1996) and Kim Euell (MFA 2008) are co-editors of a new anthology of plays. Plays from the Boombox Galaxy: Theatre from the Hip-Hop Generation was published in October 2009 by Theatre Communications Group.
Jennifer Fawcett (MFA 2008) new play, Twenty Moments in the Space Between, won the National Science Playwriting Award, sponsored by the Kennedy Center/American College Theater Festival. This award, sponsored by Alan Lightman in association with the Kennedy Center, is intended to encourage new, full-length plays involving science and scientists, recognizing that science is a part of culture. Jennifer received the 2015 Smith Prize for Political Theatre.
Rachel Brogan Flannery (BA 2000) is an actress and playwright in the Twin Cities. She has appeared in Tony 'n Tina's Wedding, Flannagan's Wake, HMS Pinafore, Ruddigore, and Minnesota It's Not Just for Lutherans Anymore (local/touring cast, original cast recording) along with multiple new works. She received her MFA in Playwriting from UCLA in 2006. Her plays have been produced in Aspen, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and New York.
Sam Hunter (MFA 2007) was named a winner of a 2014 MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the “genius grant.” He also won an Obie for best play for A Bright New Boise.
Sean Lewis (MFA 2007) solo piece, Killadelphia, was presented at the Gerald W. Lynch Theatre in 2009. The play was commissioned by the Mural Arts Project of Philadelphia and InterAct Theatre. Using hip hop and documentary theatre techniques, he interweaves the story of murdered teaching fellow Beau Zabel with interviews from inmates at Graterford Prison, who are serving life sentences and are employed to beautify Philadelphia with more than 3,000 murals.
William Nedved (BA 2001) completed an MFA in Film and Television Writing from USC Film School. He worked in the writing department on the ABC show Ugly Betty. He is still very involved with The Gift Theatre of Chicago, which he co-founded with Michael Thornton (BA 1999).
Scott Pardue (MFA 2007) Scott’s play, The American Black Box, received its New York premier and was picked for the American Theatre of Actors and opened at Midtown International Theatre Festival in 2009. The play was originally written in Sydne Mahone's Playwriting class.
Victoria Stewart (MFA 2002) and Jeremy Wilhelm (MFA 2003) 800 Words: The Transmigrations of Philip K. Dick was presented by the Workhaus Collective at the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis in Spring 2009. This production was originally presented at Iowa's New Play Festival.
1990 - 1999
Rick Cleveland (MFA 1995) has been co-producer and writer for the television series West Wing (for which he won an Emmy Award), Six Feet Under, Mad Men, Nurse Jackie, and House of Cards. His play Jerry and Tom, first produced at Iowa then made into a feature film, premiered at Sundance and recently appeared on Showtime. He was also a screenwriter for Runaway Jury.
Margaret Eginton (MFA 1997) is Head of Movement and Dance for FSU/Asolo Conservatory, Professor of Theatre, Dance, and Composition at New College of Florida. As a master teacher for NYC Atlantic Theater, she co-teaches acting with ART IATT director Scott Zigler in the Advanced Acting Workshop. She is an active advisory board member of Left Bank Dance (St. Louis), Aquavit Theatre (Chicago), and the International Institute of Perofrming Arts (Paris/Sarasota).
Robert Alexander (MFA 1996) is a professional playwright whose works include I Ain't Yo' Uncle, produced by the San Francisco Mime Troupe, A Preface to the Alien Garden, produced by Trinity Rep in Providence, and The Last Orbit of Billy Mars, produced at Woolly Mammoth in Washington DC.
Nicole Fonarow (BA 1991) is a stage and television actress. Among her many productions is Voices in the Dark, produced on Broadway.
Tanna Frederick (BA 1999) rose to prominence for her title role in Hollywood Dreams, for which she received the Best Actress Award at the 2008 Fargo Film Festival. Tanna received the Maverick Award at the Celebration of Greatness Ceremony, sponsored by the Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival in 2009.
Rebecca Gilman (MFA 1992) is a playwright whose works have been performed across the country. She won the American Theater Critics' Association Osborn Award for her play The Glory of Living and she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She won the 2015 Steinberg/ATCA Award for Best New Play outside of NY for her play LUNA GALE. Her plays include Spinning into butter, Boy Meets Girl, and The Sweetest Swing in Baseball.
Dana Green (BA 1997) is an actor in major American regional theatres. She played leading roles for four seasons at the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, and has appeared in major roles at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, the Court Theatre, the Yale Repertory Theatre, Meadow Brook Theatre, and Shakespeare Festival in Dallas. Dana has also appeared in film and on television.
Inger Hatlen (BA 1996) was recently named the Managing Director for New Paradise Laboratories (NPL), a 13-year-old ensemble experimentalist theatre company based in Philadelphia. The Obie-award winning company recently premiered Fatebook: Avoiding Catastrophe One Party at a Time - a play blurring the boundaries of live and internet performance - at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival. Fatebook was featured in the USITT USA National Exhibit in the 2011 Prague Quadrennial. The company is currently devising a new work in collaboration with The Riot Group about separatist cults, the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, and the first black president.
W. David Hancock (MFA 1990) is a playwright who has received Obie Awards for his plays The Convention of Cartography and The Race of the Ark Tattoo.
Keith Huff (MFA 1994) is a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and the author of numerous plays that have been produced off Broadway, internationally, and nationally. Keith’s play, A Steady Rain, ran on Broadway in 2009 (starring Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman). Huff has been the recipient of a Jeff Award, a Drama-Logue Award, the Cunningham Prize, the John Gassner Award, the Berrilla Kerr Award, and three Illinois Arts Council Playwriting Fellowships. He is also a writer and co-producer for Mad Men and House of Cards
Jennifer Johnson (BA 1993) lives in Los Angeles. Now Jenny Kern, she was a recurring character (Allison Hale) on Fox's Prison Break, and was in The Lake House with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. Recently she co-starred in The Road Theatre's production of fellow University of Iowa alum Keith Huff's play, The Bird and Mr. Bank, which extended for four months.
Megan Gogerty (BA 1997) her play Bad Panda was officially banned in China. Other career highlights include the creation of her new as-yet-untitled solo work, which will debut in a variety of theatres across the country in 2011. Her new album of comic songs, Big Damn Heros, is a tribute album to the defunct TV show Firefly (on iTunes & CDBaby.com). She continues to teach dramatic literature at the University of Iowa and at Coe College. Her musical Love Jerry, a fact-based drama about the long-term effects of child sexual abuse, continues to be produced around the country despite the odds of a sex abuse musical getting produced anywhere. It was last seen in Philadelphia in June 2010. Her solo show Hillary Clinton Got Me Pregnant was listed in the Top Ten Best Shows of 2009 by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution along side the likes of Billy Crystal and Twyla Tharp. megangogerty.com
Peter Ksander (BA 1998) is a designer, sculptor, and theater artist currently based in Brooklyn, NY. In 2005 Peter was a recipient of the NEA/TCG Career Development Program, through which he spent two years investigating how experimental theatre ideas are explored at all levels of production in the United States. In 2008, he won an Obie award for the scenic design of Untitled Mars (this title may change), created and directed by Jay Scheib and presented at PS122 and the National Theater of Hungry. Peter’s design credits include scenic and/or lighting designs at The Public Theater, Intiman Theater, Lincoln Center Theater 3, Intiman Theater, Bang on a Can/Cal Performances, Portland Stage Company, Walker Art Center, Compania di Colombari, (Italy), Under the Radar Festival, MIT, HERE Art Center (with Lisa D’Amour).
Todd Ristau (MFA 1991) is the Director of the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University, a unique MFA program in playwriting. His work has been performed in theatres across the US and England, including London’s West End. He founded No Shame Theatre in 1986 and oversaw its evolution into a national network of venues for new works in dozens of cities. He worked with Mill Mountain Theatre as Literary Associate and oversaw its alternative programming and CenterPieces Reading series. Additionally he is the Artistic Director of Studio Roanoke, a storefront theatre space dedicated to new works development. He is an Active Member of the Dramatists Guild, and member of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of America.
Linda Roethke (MFA 1995) is a Professor of Theatre at Northwestern University where she teaches costume design, freehand drawing, and fabric modification. She maintains a freelance career as a professional costume designer, member of USAA, and as a studio artist. National credits include costume design for productions at the Cincinnati Playhouse, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Alliance Theatre, Actor's Theatre of Louisville, Utah Shakespeare Festival, and West Coast Playwrights. Her Chicago credits include Steppenwolf, Court Theatre, The Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and The Next Theatre. Professor Roethke has directed national and international workshops in costume design, drawing, and rendering. Gallery exhibits of her studio work include the Louise Grayson Gallery and Curator's Choice: Around the Coyote.
Peter Ullian (MFA 1993) is a playwright whose musical, Elliot Ness in Cleveland, was produced at the Denver Center Theatre Company/Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
Naomi Wallace (MFA 1994) is a playwright whose works have been seen in London, New York, Louisville, Chicago, and around the country. Her 1997 play, One Flea Spare, won an Obie Award. She is the recipient of a 1999 "Genius" award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. She was awarded the Arts and Letters Awards in Literature, which honors exceptional accomplishment in any genre. Her play No Such Cold Thing has been published by Broadway Play Publishing, Inc.
Amy Wheeler (MFA 1999) is now Executive Director of Hedgebrook, a retreat and residency for women writers. Located on Whidbey Island, 45 minutes north of Seattle, Hedgebrook offers writers like Gloria Steinem and Eve Hensler a place to focus on their work. As Executive Director, Amy also co-produces the Women Playwrights Festival with Seattle Rep. She is still writing plays and had 4 in a row produced in 2004-2005.
1970 - 1989
Lee Blessing (MA 1979) is a distinguished writer for the theatre, film, and television. His plays have been produced on Broadway and in theatres around the world. His best known works include A Walk in the Woods, Eleemosynary, and Fortinbras.
Rich Bynum (BA 1976) is a professional designer and owner of Hawkeye Scenic Studios in Chicago. Among those who have worked with Hawkeye Studios are Oprah and the touring productions of Les Miserables and Showboat.
Darrah Cloud (MFA 1984) is a successful screenwriter and playwright. Her plays include her stage adaptation of O Pioneers (also presented on American Playhouse), The Stick Wife, and Heart Land. Her screenplays include many films for NBC.
Patricia McGourty (BA 1970) has had the good fortune to experience three art and design careers. As a costume designer she worked in stage and film in New York and California for 18 years collaborating with creative teams on productions ranging from Shakespeare Festivals to Broadway musicals, most notably Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Pirates of Penzance (starring Kevin Kline & Linda Ronstadt), Crimes of the Heart, Doonsbury The Musical, and Pump Boys and Dinettes. As a painter and collage artist, Patricia spent 12 years in Saudi Arabia developing her personal artwork, which she sees as a visual dialogue with diverse world cultures and communities. Patricia has also been the artistic director for ArtWorks, an arts and cultural consultancy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. By exploring theatrical design, public art and cross-cultural art forms she has been able to expand her collaborative work into art and design for “The World Stage” of our global community.
Clyde Ruffin (BA 1974, MFA 1976) is the recipient of the Kellogg National Fellowship, a Missouri Creative Artists Grant, and The Kemper Teaching Fellows Award. He has worked for the NEA, the Lily Endowment, the Danforth Foundation, and is a board member of the African-American Cultural Initiative Task Force for the Missouri Arts. He is the principal costume designer for Metro Theatre Company, recipient of The Jenny Heiden Award for Excellence in Children’s Theatre, and the 1994 United States Representative to the Stregagatto Theatre Festival in Rome, Italy. Selected stage roles include Prospero in The Tempest, Malvolio in Twelfth Night, and Kent in King Lear.
Adam LeFevre (MFA 1977) is an actor who was seen on Broadway in Our Country's Good, on television in Law and Order, and in films such as In & Out and Private Parts.
Charles Smith (MFA 1984) is a writer whose plays have been produced off-Broadway and in regional theatres all over the country. He has also won Emmy awards for Fast Break to Glory and Pequito.
Barry Kemp (BA 1971) is one of Hollywood's most successful writer-producers. He wrote for some of television's best loved shows, including Taxi and WKRP in Cincinnati, and created the popular series Newhart and Coach.
Julia Gibson (BA 1984) is an actress whose work includes Angels in America at ACT, All in the Timing at the Long Wharf, and such television shows as Law and Order and Spin City.
John O'Keefe (BA 1965, MFA 1971) is an actor, director, playwright, and screenwriter. His best-known work, the play Shimmer, was also adapted for film and television.
Erik Ulfers (BA 1975) has designed sets, costumes, and lights for theatres throughout Europe. In 1990 he founded Production Design Group Ltd. in New York City, where his work has won three Emmy awards. In 2006, Erik formed Clickspring Design. Their many clients include CNN, MSNBC, and Nintendo. Erik has established the Margaret Hall Travel Scholarship for MFA Design Students at Iowa, to honor his former teacher.
Erin Q. Purcell, Frank Ensenberger (BA 1987) and Gregory Jackson (BA 1990) are founding members of the Adobe Theatre Company in New York. Their most recent production, Duet! A Romantic Fable, was produced at SoHo's Ohio Theater to critical acclaim.
1950 - 1969
Robert Andrew Bonnard (BA 1959, MA 1960) has worked around the world as an actor, writer and director. His many awards include an Obie for Best Actor for his portrayal of Old Man in Ionesco's The Chairs.
Linda Carlson (BA 1967) is a successful actor in films (Honey, I Blew Up the Kids, The Beverly Hillbillies), television (Twin Peaks, Murder One), and on the Broadway stage (Otto Preminger's Full Circle).
Mary Beth Hurt (BA 1968) is a distinguished actor of film, television, and stage. She was nominated for Tony Awards for her work in Benefactors, Trelawney of the Wells, and Crimes of the Heart, for which she was awarded an Obie. Her films include Interiors, The World According to Garp, The Age of Innocence, and Six Degrees of Separation.
Nicholas Meyer (BA 1968) is a distinguished film writer and director. Among his many films are Star Trek 11, The Wrath of Khan, Time After Time, Star Trek IV, The Undiscovered Country, Volunteers, The Seven Percent Solution, and many others.
Robert Randolph (MFA 1953) designed sets and lights on Broadway for many productions including Bye Bye, Birdie and Sweet Charity. He also designed extensively for theatres throughout the United States and abroad.
Gene Wilder (BA 1955) is one of America's best leading film actors. Among his best known films are The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Silver Streak, and Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. He also writes and directs for film.
Prior to 1949
Tennessee Williams (BA 1938) is recognized as one of the modem world's greatest playwrights. Among his distinguished works are The Glass Menagerie (Pulitzer Prize), A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Pulitzer Prize), Night of the Iguana, Camino Real, and Summer and Smoke.
Macdonald Carey (BA 1936) was for many years one of America's best known actors. He appeared on Broadway and in more than fifty films. In 1974 and 1975 he was awarded the Emmy for Best Daytime Actor for his portrayal of Dr. Horton on Days of our Lives.
Norman Felton (BFA 1940, MA 1941) has had a distinguished career in radio, film, and television. Working for MGM Studios, he produced and wrote for the television series Dr. Kildare and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. In 1953, he received an Emmy Award for Television Direction.
Richard Maibaum (BA 1931, MA 1932) is one of America's most successful screenwriters. He is the author of more than fifty screenplays, including Bigger than Life, The Great Gatsby, and many of the popular James Bond films.
Stewart Stern (BA 1943) is a distinguished Hollywood writer and director. Among his best known films are Rebel Without a Cause and Heart of Darkness. He was nominated for two Academy Awards and in 1979 won The Writers' Guild of America Best Short Form Drama Award for A Christmas to Remember.
Henderson Forsythe (BA 1939, MFA 1940) was a veteran actor of stage, television, and film. On Broadway he performed in the original productions of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe, A Delicate Balance, and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. He has also appeared regularly on the daytime drama As The World Turns.