Recent Alumni News
Alumni are also a great resource for those completing their Iowa degrees. You can also catch up with Iowa Theatre Arts Alumni on Facebook and through the UI Alumni Association. Please keep those of us at the Theatre Building up-to-date: Submit Alumni News!
Beverly Barnes Fix (BA 1941), broadcaster, writer, actress, and teacher, passed away on February 22, 2017. She worked at CBS as a writer, producer, actress and hostess, including for the show she created: "CBS Open House," a program devoted to her interviews of Hollywood celebrities. Further details of her life can be read here.
Gene Wilder (BA 1955)
Gene Wilder passed away at the age of 83 on August 29 at his home in Stamford, Conn.,of complications from Alzheimer's disease, according to a statement from his nephew, Jordan Walker-Pearlman, issued via Wilder's agent, David Shapira, to USA TODAY. Wilder graduated from the University of Iowa with a BA in Communications and Theatre Arts in 1955. See photos from the Department of Special Collections and University Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, in this article from the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
"Gene Wilder spent four years in the UI Theatre Department mostly doing extraordinary work in serious roles. He was a wonderful actor but it seems that nobody, including Gene, recognized his genius for comedy. Fortunately someone in Hollywood did, and Gene went on to become one of the greatest comic actors in American history. Our department, and the University of Iowa, are proud to have helped him begin his journey."
-Alan MacVey, DEO, Department of Theatre Arts
Karen Woditsch (BA 1988) will appear in an episode of Patriot in the upcoming Amazon series, will play the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre in February, will play Veta in Harvey at Court Theatre in Chicago in May, and she has just been nominated with the rest of her ensemble for a Chicago Joseph Jefferson Award for Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf at Writers' Theatre.
Naomi Wallace (MFA) was awarded the Arts and Letters Awards in Literature, which honors exceptional accomplishment in any genre. Her play No Such Cold Thing was just published by Broadway Play Publishing, Inc.
News from Recent BA Alumni
Nicole Astell (BA)
Talent Agent for Wilhelmina Models Acting Division
Jacqueline Brooks (BFA, 1951)
Recently passed away, but she left a full legacy of work for the world to share -- from Shakespeare to Star Trek, she led an exciting life
David Busch (BA)
Produced and voiced a character in the Marvel Animation series Black Panther
Kevin Chick (BA, 2006)
National/international touring with the electro-luminescent dance puppetry theatre company Lightwiretheater.com, based out of New Orleans. Previously, Puppeteer for Jim Henson Workshop
Cecilia Copeland (BA)
Named Person of the Year by Indie Theatre Now ’13, and her play R Culture was commissioned by IRT Theater
Justin Dewey (BA)
Audience Services Manager; The Pearl Theatre Company
Nicole Freitag (BA)
Teaching voice lessons at University of Wisconsin Marinette
Tanna Frederick (BA)
Queen of the Lot, Sylvia and one project after another in Hollywood
Megan Gogerty (BA)
Riverside Theatre production of Feet First in the Water with a Baby in my Teeth, touring it Fall 2011
Diana Grisanti (BA) and Jen Silverman (MFA)
World premiers of new plays as recipients of the 39th annual Humana Festival of American New Plays in 2015
Christina Gulick (BA)
Title character in Judith which premiered at the 2013 Short Film Corner of Festival de Cannes.
Katharine Horowitz (BA)
2017-18 McKnight Theater Artist Fellow at the Playwrights Center. Sound designer for critically-acclaimed and award-winning shows for the Guthrie Theater, Second City Theatricals, Great River Shakespeare Festival, and more.
Sarah Kolman (BA)
Production Assistant; Old Globe and La Jolla Playhouse
Jon Kommes (BA, 2006)
Wrote a TV pilot with fellow Iowa alumni Ken Peterson (MFA, 2006) and Ryan Karloff (BA, 2005): Truck’d Up, a single-camera comedy pilot starring David Arquette and Keith Powell.
Arielle (Roberts) Loy (BA, 2008)
Fine Arts Coordinator at the Building For Kids Children's Museum in Appleton, Wisconsin
Justine Nakase (BA, 2006)
Irish Research Council-funded PhD student at the National University of Ireland, Galway at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance
Bret Neveu (BA, 1992)
Three new plays have been published by Broadway Play Publishing, Inc.: the trilogy Harmless, Weapon of Mass Impact, and Old Glory
Soren Olsen (BA, 2011)
Shop TD at North Hennepin Community College. Additionally, he was awarded "Distinguished Lighting Design” by KCACTF for his most recent piece with Metro State University.
Jessica Radke (BA)
District Attorney for the First Judicial District in Jefferson County, Colorado
Henry Strozier (BA)
Nominated for a 2014 Emmy in the category of Narration for a show called “Too Cute!” on Animal Planet
Michael Turczynski (BA)
Production Manager and Company Manager at Gulfshore Playhouse in Naples, Florida
News from Recent MFA Alumni
Greg Machlin (MFA, 2008)
The screenplay adaptation of 7 Days: A Fantasia on the Life of Miles Davis (first developed and workshopped at the University of Iowa in 2008/2009) was a:
* 2016 Nicholl Fellowship semi-finalist (154 screenplays out of 6,900 submitted)
* 2016 Austin Film Festival screenplay semi-finalist (91 scripts out of 9,100 submitted)
* Invited to be submitted to the 2017 Sundance Screenwriters Workshop (applications are by invitation only.)
Keith Adkins (MFA, Playwriting)
Founder and director of New Black Fest in New York City; Rita Goldberg Fellow at The Lark.
Ansa Akyea (MFA, Acting)
Finishing the run of Marcus Gardley's Epic story The Road weeps, The well runs dry at Pillsbury House Theater in Minneapolis, MN. He will be participating at the MN Playwright Center's Playlabs.
Lee Armstrong (MA, Speech & Dramatic Art)
Supporting role in The Three Stooges directed by the Farrelly Brothers
Kevin Artigue (MFA, 2011)
Named as a 2014-15 Public Theater Emerging Writer, an ongoing initiative that targets playwrights at the earliest stages in their career, creating an artistic home, and offering support and resources for a diverse group of up-and-coming playwrights
Stephanie (Braun) Jacobson (MFA, 2003)
Teaching Artist and the Director of Youth Productions at The Rose Theater, including the production of A Child’s Garden of Verses, which was featured in the April 2016 publication of American Theater Magazine. Previously, she lived in NYC where she acted and puppeteered with Taylor Mac and Liz Swados in Swado’s Jabu at The Flea Theater, Lee Bruer’s The Mabou Mines A Doll’s House (both the National and International Tour), Luces de Bohemia at Repertorio Espanol, Eric Novak’s The Bacon Mingus Triptych at the Voice 4 Vision Puppet Festival, The Puppet Kitchen and The Jim Henson Company, Sesame Street.
Deanna Brookens (MFA)
Theatre Department Instructor and Director of the Kaleidoscope Arts Festival at Slippery Rock University
Brandon Bruce (MFA, Directing)
Artistic Director of the Birmingham Children's Theatre
Michael Vincent Carrera (Michael Grecco) (MFA, 1997)
Roles in the feature films Avenge, Maybe Tomorrow, and Traveling Without Moving (premiering at a White House Event sponsored by The White House Office of Academic Excellence). Served as casting director, acting coach and played a role in the feature film The Stream. Series regular role in PBS' Emmy nominated Moochie KaLaLa Detectives Club.
Steven Connor (MFA, Dramatic Art)
Supporting role in ABC Family show Switched at Birth
Emily Dendinger (MFA, 2014)
Hosted by Curious Theatre Company (Denver, CO) during their 2015-16 seasons, with grant support from the National New Play Network.
Stuben Farrar (MFA, Design)
Assistant Professor at Dickinson College
Jennifer Fawcett (MFA, 2008)
Received the 2015 Smith Prize for Political Theatre
Estlin Feigley (MFA)
His company "Dreaming Tree Films" produced Stream, starring Rainn Wilson. Developed the children's educational show Moochie Kalala Detectives Club that airs on PBS.
Kristen Fitzgerald (MFA, Acting)
Performing in Chicago premiere of Clyborn Park at Steppenwolf Theatre
Ariel Francoeur (MFA, Directing 2016) and Bella Poynton (MFA, Playwriting 2014)
Co-founders of The Navigators, a science fiction theater company with a clear feminist perspective. Producing their first full season in NYC in 2017
Peter Gil-Sheradin (MFA)
Play Topsy Turvy Mouse has been produced by Cherry Lane Theatre, Borderlands, and Gustavus Adolphus, developed at Sundance Institute, New York Theatre Workshop and was named the winner of The Smith Prize from NNPN
Rebecca Gilman (MFA Playwriting, 1991)
Won the 2015 Steinberg/ATCA Award for best new play outside of NY for her play LUNA GALE
Mary Hamilton (MFA, 2009)
2015–2017 Jerome New York Fellowship recipient
Rachel Edwards Harvith (MFA, 2007)
Associate Artistic Director of Chicago Dramatists
Matt Hawkins (MFA)
Lecturer at Northwestern University; Director for the Chicago Public Schools Program at Chicago Shakespeare
John Kauffman (MFA, Directing)
Assistant Professor at Beloit College
Rachael King (MFA, Stage Management)
Production Manager; Green Thumb Theatre in Vancouver
Mary Maher (MFA)
Won the 2010 Falstaff award for her third book on Shakespeare in performance Actors Talk About Shakespeare
Tony Meneses (MFA, 2010)'s
Play Guadalupe in the Guest Room, has been published by Dramatists Play Service, Inc.
Bonnie Metzgar (MFA)
Joined the Goodman Theatre Playwrights Unit, a yearlong residency program as she develops new work
Jenni Page-White (MFA, 2013)
Literary Manager, Actors Theatre of Louisvile
Dr. Thomas D. Pawley, Jr. (MA 1939, PhD 1949)
Dr. Thomas D. Pawley passed in 2016 at the age of 98. Dr. Pawley was a true Renaissance man who made his students not only better practitioners of theatre, but more importantly, he made his students grateful for the opportunity to make life better. Dr. Pawley was a great administrator, a creative playwright, an exceptional teacher, and a loving husband, father, and humanitarian. Those who knew him will remember his sense of humor, his brilliant mind, and his caring manner.
Christine Scarfuto (MFA, Dramaturgy)
Full time dramaturg at Strawdog Theatre Company
Jenn Silverman (MFA, Playwriting)
Won the 2013 Yale Drama Series for her play STILL and received the David Charles Horn Prize, a $10,000 award; Rita Goldberg Fellow at The Lark
Tory Stewart's (MFA, 2002)
Play RICH GIRL premiered at the George Street Playhouse in March 2013, then immediately moved on to Cleveland Playhouse. The production is directed by Michael Bloom and the cast is Dee Hoty (Tony Nominee), Liz Larsen (Tony Nominee), Crystal Finn, and Tony Roach.
Peter Ullian (MFA, Playwriting)
$30,000 NEA grant for production of new play
Jeremy van Meter (MFA, 2000)
Communication Manager, Commonweal Theatre in Lanesboro, MN
Barry Witham (MA, 1964)
Received the John W. Frick Award for the best book about American Theatre in 2013: A Sustainable Theatre: Jasper Deeter at Hedgerow. Barry is Professor Emeritus in the School of Drama at the University of Washington.
Christine Young (MFA, Directing)
Assistant Professor at San Francisco State