Recent Alumni News
What are our alumni doing?
co-founder of Project Save Our Surf and recently starred in film Two Ways Home
is guest starring on Criminal Minds on CBS
is directing Me, Mother: Cirque, Scène et Maternité, for the CIRCa Festival in France
is a star, writer, and producer of the hit Netflix show Love
is the Costume Design Assistant on Daniel's Husband off-broadway; designed by Gregory Gale
is guest starring on Chicago MED
is starring in a recurring role as Lexi on Lifetime's American Princess
will be guest starring on an upcoming episode of Gotham
appearing as a series regular on Netflix's Love
is the Brand and Marketing Manager for New York's The Public Theater
will be guest starring in the upcoming season of Alexa and Katie on Netflix
see him as Stan in Lynn Nottage's SWEAT at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre
is one of the 20 most produced playwrights in America
Just wrapped shooting on the new TNT series Tell Me a Secret
in a supporting role in the new feature film Lost Girls with Sarah Paulson
is the Associate Director of Individual Giving for Broadway's Roundabout Theatre Company
appearing in the cast of New Dramatists’ The Revolving Cycles Truly & Steadily Roll’d
appearing as Don Kirshner in the Broadway production of Beautiful
is the Lighting Designer for Kelsea Ballerini’s national Unapologetically tour
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!
William Warren Vilhauer (MA 1955 and PhD 1965), passed on June 15, 2019. Known as a wonderful teacher, with the bulk of his work at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, many of his students have gone on to successful careers as theater professionals, actors and academicians. He was a Professor of Theater at SIUE and devoted a number of years to service as Chairperson for the Department of Theater and Dance. These efforts were recognized when he retired in 1987 with the creation of an endowed scholarship in his name, The William Vilhauer Merit Award in Design and Technical Theater.
Ariel Francoeur (MFA, Directing 2016) directed Tier5's production of Meg Jo Beth Amy & Louisa, presented by The Center at West Park, at the Balcony Theater in April 2019.
Christina (Gulick) Cox (BA 2009) was recently elected as acting Secretary of the Artistic Advisory Committee (AAC) of the International Order of the Sword and Pen (IOSP), having previously been appointed to the IOSP AAC in the area of Modern Martial Arts. The vision of the IOSP is to celebrate and encourage international exchange of stage combat techniques and processes, as well as martial arts theories and practices, both contemporary and historical.
Matt Hawkins (MFA 2013) is an Assistant Professor at the University of Notre Dame. Stupid Humans, a musical written by student Jorge Rivera Herrans, and directed by Hawkins, premiered in the spring of 2019 at the Philbin Studio Theatre.
Ryan Oliveira (MFA 2015) is a playwright whose play The Soccer Player in the Closet, presented by Nothing Without a Company, is currently showing at Christy Webber Farm & Garden in Chicago, IL, and the world premeire of Ryan's production, Desire in a Tinier House, will show later this year at the Pride Arts Center in Chicago, IL.
Victoria Stewart (MFA) Victoria's plays, Hardball and Rich Girl have been recently published by Broadway Play Publishing, Inc.
Taylor Edelle Stuart (BA 2017) is the Projection Designer for Intrusion at St. Luke's Theater in New York City and for Mumburger at Carnegie Stage.
News from Recent BA Alumni
Nicole Astell (BA)
Talent Manager at Prestige Management Group
Jacqueline Brookes (BFA, 1951)
Actress Jacqueline Brookes passed away in 2013, and has 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
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.
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
Diana Grisanti (BA) and Jen Silverman (MFA)
World premieres of new plays as recipients of the 39th annual Humana Festival of American New Plays in 2015
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
Nicholas Mitsis (BA 2006)
Operations Director and Tour Manager for Moscow's The Great Russian Nutcracker
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
Rob Rotman (BA 1977)
Assists with ADAPT Chicago productions
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)
Performance Hall Manager at Augustana College
Gene Wilder (BA 1955)
Gene Wilder passed away at the age of 83 on August 29, 2016. 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) appeared in an episode of Patriot in the upcoming Amazon series, played the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and played Veta in Harvey at Court Theatre in Chicago in 2017. She was nominated with the rest of her ensemble for a Chicago Joseph Jefferson Award for Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf at Writers' Theatre.
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)
Finished a 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. Link to an article about the Emerging Writers.
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.
Lukas Brasherfons (MFA) is the dramaturg for a production of Fugard's The Blood Knot at American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin, which was recently featured by American Theatre magazine. The article focused on the question of whether it is still appropriate for the role of a mixed race South African, originally played by Fugard, to be played by a white actor.
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.
Madison Colquette (MFA)
Staff Dramaturg at Indiana University
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.
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)
Performed in Chicago premiere of Clybourne 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
Sarah Johnson (MFA, 2014)
Visiting Assistant Professor of Dramaturgy at Texas Tech University
Rachael King (MFA, Stage Management)
General Manager at the Blyth Festival Theatre
Basil Kreimendahl (MFA 2013) was featured in a 2018 episode of American Theatre's The Subtext podcast. Playwright Brian James Polak interviews Basil, author of Orange Julius, Sidewinders, and We're Gonna Be Okay.
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)
Literary Manager at Long Wharf Theatre
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
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
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.
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)
Associate Professor at the University of San Francisco