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THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN DEPARTMENT OF THEATRE AND DANCE NEWSLETTER WINTER 2016 IN THIS ISSUE Professor Rebecca Rossen Honored by UT Board of Regents Life, Lines and Learning: Alumnus Michael Arthur’s Journey Faculty Momentum An Inside Perspective Remembering Professor Stephen Gerald Alumni Accolades Coming to the Stage

Fear Knot / Sublime by Professor David Justin   Fall For Dance, 2015

FROM CHAIR BRANT POPE, A welcome from our current students to our former students. Hook ‘Em! Dean, College of Fine Arts Douglas Dempster, Ph.D. Chair, Department of Theatre and Dance Brant Pope, Ph.D. Senior Associate Chair, Department of Theatre and Dance Susan Mickey Make a gift to the Department of Theatre and Dance Jessi Propst, Director of Development and Alumni Relations 512.475.6291 Share your alumni news Cassie Gholston, Director of Marketing 512.232.5301 The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance 300 E. 23rd Street D3900 Austin, Texas 78712 Phone: 512.471.5793 The ENCORE logo is the genius of Harvey Schmidt, artist and composer, B.F.A. 1952. Photo Credits: Daniel Cavazos, Larry Hamilton, J Elissa Marshall, Hardy Meredith, Lawrence Peart, Nikki Riggs, Art Stokes, Kirk Tuck, Vo Photography, Kevin Yatarola 1


Dr. Rebecca Rossen

Department of Theatre and Dance Professor Rebecca Rossen is among the 11 University of Texas at Austin faculty members honored with the 2015 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award, the UT System Board of Regents’ highest teaching distinction. The award is considered among the nation’s largest cash prizes for higher education faculty members who exhibit outstanding classroom performance and innovation in undergraduate instruction. Rossen received $25,000 and was recognized at the annual award ceremony on August 19, 2015.

Rossen is a dance historian, performance scholar and choreographer whose research interests include modern and postmodern dance, the staging of identity in physical performance and the relationship between research and practice. She is the author of Dancing Jewish: Jewish Identity in American Modern and Postmodern Dance (Oxford University Press, 2014), the first full-length book to analyze representations of Jewish identity in dance over the course of 75 years. She has published articles in Theatre Journal, TDR: The Drama Review, Feminist Studies, Opera Quarterly and Dance Teacher Magazine. As a dancer, Rossen performed with numerous companies and choreographers including the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, Hedwig Dances, the Cook County Theatre Department, Loop Troop, XSight! Performance Group, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Audio Gruppe (Germany), Annat Shamgar (Israel) and Baldanza (Italy). She is the recipient of choreography grants from the City of Chicago and Illinois Arts Council, an artist’s residency from the Arad Arts Project in Israel and, most recently, a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Research Grant. Prior to joining The University of Texas at Austin faculty, Rossen taught performance history and dance at Northwestern University, University of Chicago, George Mason University and the Dance Center of Columbia College. In addition to her work at the Department of Theatre and Dance, Rossen is a faculty affiliate in the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies and the Department of American Studies. She is also the director of the editorial board of the Society of Dance History Scholars.

“Rebecca Rossen has established herself internationally as a unique and exciting scholar whose work bridges dance, gender studies and performance theory. She is also a celebrated and incredibly popular classroom teacher and mentor for both undergraduate and graduate students,” shares Department of Theatre and Dance Chair, Dr. Brant Pope. “Her selection as a Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award winner is an acknowledgment of her excellence in every area of the academy.” Rossen’s performance in the classroom has been previously recognized with the Department of Theatre and Dance Teaching Excellence Award and the Lucia, Jack and Melissa Gilbert Teaching Excellence Award from the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies. Established in 2008, the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards program recognizes educators who demonstrate a clear commitment to teaching and sustained ability to deliver excellence to the undergraduate learning experience. A panel of students, peer faculty members and external reviewers evaluates the nominees’ teaching performance over three years. Faculty members are considered through a rigorous process based on a range of activities and criteria that include expertise, curricula quality, innovative course development and student learning outcomes. Past Department of Theatre and Dance recipients of the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award include Andrea Beckham, Charlotte Canning, Katie Dawson, Franchelle Dorn, Lucien Douglas and Susan Mickey. ENCORE WINTER 2016



“Brockett was really the greatest teacher I’ve ever had,” Arthur shares. “Probably the greatest lesson he ever gave was to do whatever you want to do and be who you want to be.” During his last three years at the university, Arthur lost his great-aunt, stepfather, grandfather, dissertation advisor and mother. In grief, he began drawing, something he had not done since before he started graduate school. “I was a compulsive doodler who had never viewed drawing as anything other than a diversion until, quite suddenly, I realized that it was actually the rest of my life that had been the diversion,” Arthur wrote in an opinion piece for The New York Times, “Just Drawn That Way.”

Arthur at a live-drawing performance at Joe’s Pub  (with Michael Leonhart). Photo: Kevin Yatarola

The Belasco Theater during tech rehearsals for Hedwig and the Angry Inch (drawn for The New Yorker).

Four months after receiving his doctoral degree, Arthur moved to New York City’s Upper East Side dedicated to becoming a cartoonist. “I was lost. I was sad,” Arthur explains. “Drawing made me happy.” After a serendipitous purchase of a book of Al Hirschfeld’s theatre drawings, Arthur mentioned to an acquaintance and new head of Jean Cocteau Repertory, David Fuller, that he might like to draw rehearsals. The next week, disguised as a dramaturg, Arthur drew the cast of Servant of Two Masters during rehearsals. When the show opened, Arthur’s drawings were displayed in the lobby. His first drawing was sold that night.

Read Michael Arthur’s (M.A. 1993, Ph.D. 1999) blog and it’s clear that art runs through his veins. The son of an actress/rock band manager and a director, it never occurred to Arthur to do anything but be involved in theatre. His art historian stepmother only added to his artistic influence. He, like his father, Tom Arthur, studied theatre history under Dr. Oscar Brockett, making Arthur the only second-generation student of the renowned scholar. During his graduate study, Arthur worked as Brockett’s research assistant for nine years.


An early Sideshow rehearsal featuring composer Henry Krieger (Dreamgirls, Sideshow) playing a new section of the score for the music directors.

Since then, from the Metropolitan Opera House to Shakespeare in the Park to the La Jolla Playhouse, Arthur, the archival artist at Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, has picked up his pen and paper and drawn the likes of Adele, Brooke Shields and Allen Toussaint from mere feet away.

Arthur notes that much of his success has come from the community around him, and he advises students to commit to their own communities early. “Look around the room at all your friends…other people you don’t like. Those are the people you’re going through your career with,” Arthur says. “They are the people who are going to hire you.” Arthur has worked with fellow Theatre and Dance alumni, including director Johanna McKeon (M.F.A. 2002) and playwright Lisa D’Amour (M.F.A. 1996), among others. In 2015, Arthur sketched rehearsals for Airline Highway, playwright D’Amour’s Broadway debut, for publication in Vanity Fair. There he was reminded that he had drawn the poster for D’Amour’s graduate thesis production.

Lisa D’Amour (M.F.A. 1996) at the final rehearsal before previews of her Broadway debut Airline Highway (drawn for Vanity Fair).

In 2005, Arthur himself crossed into unchartered territory – projecting real-time drawing, visually accompanying music and/or performance. An invitation from University of Texas at Austin Professor Suzan Zeder brought Arthur back to Austin for an opportunity to intersect performance and artistry. As a guest artist for the university’s 2005 Cohen New Works Festival, Arthur created live drawings – visual dramaturgy – for student Ann Taylor’s play Disposable Me. “Suzan and Brockett were the same in that way,” he explains. “They’d give you something that was just out of your reach, but you wanted to reach for it.” His experience with the festival opened up a new outlet for Arthur’s creativity.

“I’ve known D’Amour for almost 20 years now – watched her develop a reputation for experimental, site-specific and group-generated theatrical collaborations,” he wrote in Vanity Fair. “It’s frankly exciting to bear witness as she crosses into this new frontier.”

“I rarely get hired to do something. I have to find a way to get paid for something I want to do,” Arthur says. “The job part is finding opportunities. The thing that I do doesn’t feel like work.” So Arthur calls someone and suggests an idea. Those pitches have landed him commissions by The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, among others. “I get to do the most amazing things,” he says. “I’ve gotten to see my heroes.” John Walch (M.F.A. 1997) during a reading of a new play during his residency at New Dramatists.

A drawing presented to prima ballerina Paloma Herrera the night of her retirement from American Ballet Theatre (ABT). The drawing features the name of every ballet she danced at ABT.



“My son (one-year-old Alden) is sort of the most exciting thing lately,” Arthur shares. “I just opened a store on my website. I’m trying to be more entrepreneurial. That’s exciting, too.” Arthur also works with talk show host Catie Lazarus on “Employee of the Month,” a live talk show at Joe’s Pub, where he’s drawn guests Sarah Silverman, Jon Stewart, Jason Biggs and Taylor Mac. Reflecting on his drawing of Jon Stewart, Arthur offers, “I get really excited in those moments where I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I have no idea what’s going to happen, but I’m going to make it work. Everything’s a problem, and there are infinite solutions. Don’t get hung up.” Learn more about Arthur’s work at Amy Winehouse during her first soundcheck at Joe’s Pub.

As a graduate of this program, you understand the importance of supporting emerging artists and performers, who will, in turn, inspire, entertain and educate future generations of arts patrons and students. By making a gift to the TEXAS TALENT campaign, you will help provide scholarship resources for emerging artists to attend UT Austin.

To learn more, contact Director of Development and Alumni Relations Jessi Propst at 512.475.6291 or

“We started talking about doing a regular series of shows at Joe’s Pub where I would draw on the screen while they played,” Arthur says. “The first day we did it, we had so much fun that I went on tour with them.” The band doesn’t tour as much now. However, Arthur is staying busy. Jonathan Batiste at Joe’s Pub.

Take a moment and reflect on who encouraged you to pursue your dreams. Who made a difference and supported your artistic training – your family, a teacher or professor, a scholarship donor?

You can make a difference - every gift, at every level, directly supports a young artist. Donate online at

Back in Brooklyn, Arthur found himself regularly spending time at a coffee shop, The Fall Café, where members of the band, Balthrop, Alabama, worked. The band, which calls itself a “bustling folk rock township,” became his community.



FACULTY MOMENTUM A standing ovation is in order for our newly-tenured faculty members Dr. Megan Alrutz (Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities) and Dr. Paul Bonin-Rodriguez (Performance as Public Practice), as well as Senior Lecturer Rusty Cloyes (Design and Technology) for their hard work and immeasurable contributions to the Department of Theatre and Dance community. We are honored to have you as part of our family. Bravo!

Dr. Megan Alrutz

Dr. Paul Bonin-Rodriguez Photo: Art Stokes

Professor Rusty Cloyes

Dr. Megan Alrutz’s research is invested in using theatrical techniques, or applying theatre, for educational and/or sociological purposes in the community. She practices theatre as a “verb” in which theatre becomes a tool or technique to undertake a wide range of purposes in locations outside of traditional theatrical presentations, such as prisons, schools or other sites of community engagement. Her book Digital Storytelling, Applied Theatre, & Youth: Performing Possibility (Routledge, 2014) focuses on how the use of media technology (laptops, video) can be used to enhance and expand engagement with young people in applied theatre practice. This publication is highly regarded as one of the most distinguished and cutting edge contributions to the field of applied theatre nationally.

Dr. Paul Bonin-Rodriguez is a writerperformer whose scholarship assesses the origins and effects of contemporary arts and culture policies and programs, with a special focus on queer performance and performances by people of color. His book, Performing Policy: How Politics and Cultural Programs Redefined U.S. Artists for the Twenty-First Century (Palgrave, 2014), shows how arts research and development initiatives since the late 1990s have radically reshaped cultural practices nationwide. By laying the foundation for a more dynamic definition of arts entrepreneurship, he is anticipating the path that the working artist must take. Through this research, the development of the artist-producer model has been an instrumental force in shaping department undergraduate introductory courses and mentoring of students.

As head of the stage management emphasis at the Department of Theatre and Dance, Professor Rusty Cloyes mentors undergraduate students in all phases of a production’s development. “It involves teaching a working knowledge of theatrical design, technology, acting, directing and production management because the stage manager deals directly and intimately with artists from all of these areas,” shares Dr. Brant Pope. “Educating a stage management student is a very difficult and an exceptionally timeconsuming process that Professor Cloyes has embraced and indeed, defined.” In addition to his role at the university, Cloyes is the technical director for the American Ensemble Theatre, a company that combines live music, dance and theatre, and regularly stage manages for SXSW and ZACH Theatre.



Little did I know that I would have the immense honor of playing the lead role of “Carmen Diaz” in UT’s production of Fame The Musical my first semester in college. In addition, I had the great opportunity to workshop the new musical, Wish – A Musical Adventure, written and directed by Allen Robertson and Damon Brown.

Leslie Ann Leal

AN INSIDE PERSPECTIVE The University of Texas at Austin has opened the door to greatness in unimaginable ways. It has only been three semesters, each just as fulfilling and unforgettable as the last, and this has already proven to be true. I came to UT because every piece of my heart was leading me in this direction. I had been offered a very generous scholarship to attend this legendary university and a place in the musical theatre program at the Department of Theatre and Dance. Thinking of straying away from UT with all that lay before me would’ve truly been foolish. 7

This past semester I had the honor of performing in two productions at ZACH Theatre. The collaborative spirit between the university and ZACH Theatre has afforded me the amazing opportunity to take the stage of Austin’s professional theatre. So much has been left unsaid, but to top all that off, I’m in the hands of the most intelligent and caring faculty, and I share the Forty Acres with the highest caliber of students. Had I not been chosen the recipient of scholarships, all of this would not have been possible. A scholarship is more than numbers on a check. A scholarship has been my ticket to confidence, strength, determination and a life I would’ve never imagined for myself. I am so humbled and grateful with the chapter of my life that is UT. My endless amount of gratitude is poured out to my generous donors, my family and friends, our amazing God, and all of UT! Hook ‘Em! —Leslie Ann Leal Leslie Ann Leal is a second-year student in the Department of Theatre and Dance pursuing a B.A. in Theatre and Dance with a focus in musical theatre. She began performing in high school in Edinburg, Texas, located in the Rio Grande Valley. Most recently, she performed in Evita and A Christmas Carol at ZACH Theatre. She is the recipient of the College of Fine Arts Laude Award and Nancy Scanlan Texas Talent Award.

Top: Leslie Ann Leal (center) in Texas Theatre and Dance’s Fame The Musical Bottom: Tyler Jones as “Young Scrooge” and Leslie Ann Leal as “Belle” in A Christmas Carol; courtesy of ZACH Theatre. Photo: Kirk Tuck



The Texas Theatre and Dance Director’s Council is a premier volunteer group designed to foster strong and collaborative connections between The University of Texas at Austin and the local community by supporting initiatives in fundraising and community relations. As advocates for the department, this group of alumni, parents and fine arts supporters play a key role in continuing to build a professional theatre and dance training program serving thousands of talented Texans for generations.

Carol Smith Adams

Annie McKinnon

Francesca Brockett and Jim Pedicano

Debbie Oliver

Barrett Bruce Jean Cheever Joanne and Jack Crosby Dee Dawson Laura Eastman Gary Farmer JoLynn Free Missy Grimes

Miriam Relyea Diane Robinson Russ Sartain Nancy Scanlan Marc Seriff Laura Sheffield Karen Skolnik Leah Stolar Sharon Watkins

Pam and Edmund McIlhenny

The Wild Party, 2015 ENCORE WINTER 2016


REMEMBERING PROFESSOR STEPHEN GERALD (1950-2015) Colleagues, family, friends and ex-students gathered in December at the Oscar G. Brockett Theatre to celebrate the life of Professor Stephen Gerald. It is quite moving to read ex-students’ remarks on Professor Gerald’s Facebook page. Certain themes are sounded again and again. He was a man comfortable in his own skin, which became a model for his students to be serene in their own. He was a gifted listener who was always available to talk; even after graduating, students would drop by and check in with him, just to take his temperature on where they were in their lives and careers. He deeply and truly prized diversity, and he looked after students who felt different in some way. He encouraged them to embrace the differences that made them feel ‘less-than,’ because the uniqueness of their heritage, culture and upbringing he saw as a lifelong source of strength and creativity. (He believed the artist who avoids the personal is avoiding the art.) The insecurity they spent their young lives trying to hide is probably what attracted them to theatre, where this old pain might be shared with the like-minded and then overcome and finally celebrated as a badge of honor. Actors are always negotiating the tricky emotional terrain where the personal encounters the art of acting, whose subject and object is the self, and the pain of this is felt all the more sharply among young people who are coming to terms with their identity. Professor Stephen Gerald 9

Many students remember most of all his voice, that sonorous and nonjudgmental bass-baritone, the very sound of which was calming; that voice pushed them past their self-imposed limitations, gently — or, if need be, not so gently if he knew the student needed that. In the end, under Professor Gerald, students happily became who they really were. - Professor Emeritus Lee Abraham Stephen Gerald, globalist theatre practitioner and scholar, passed away May 20, 2015 in Austin, Texas at the age of 65. He joined the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance in 1986, where he served as associate professor of acting until his death.

Yoshiko Goto, Professor Gerald’s wife, speaking at the December event.

KEVIN ADAMS (B.F.A. 1984) was honored

ALUMNI ACCOLADES Please share your story with us! Submit a brief summary of your life and career, related photos and information you want share with your former classmates.

Submit updates online at or by mail at: The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance ATTN: Alumni News 300 E. 23rd Street Stop D3900 Austin, Texas 78712

in January 2016 by The University of Texas at Austin College of Fine Arts with the Distinguished Alumni Award. Adams is a four-time Tony Award-winning lighting designer. Upon graduation, Adams continued on to the California Institute of the Arts, where he received an M.F.A. in set design for theatre and film and spent the next decade designing scenery for theatre, music videos, commercials and feature films in Hollywood. Influenced by artists who used light in their work, he began lighting his own set designs. Although he had had no previous training in lighting, he was soon lighting well-known Los Angelesbased solo artists Rachel Rosenthal and John Fleck, as well as productions in Los Angeles and various American regional theatres. Adams moved to New York City in 1996 to work primarily as a lighting designer and has since designed 20 Broadway shows, including Spring Awakening, American Idiot, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Next To Normal, The 39 Steps, Hair and Passing Strange and solo shows featuring John Leguizamo, Eve Ensler and Kevin Bacon.

SARA ATHANS (B.A. 2012) is a professionally trained actor, director, playwright and theatre facilitator. She earned a master of arts in applied theatre from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, England. Upon returning to the States, Athans became the executive director of the Anchorage Community Theatre in her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska.

Top: Kevin Adams Bottom: Sara Athans; Photo: Vo Photography



HUGO AYALA (B.A. 2015) has found



meaningful work coast to coast since graduating in 2015. This summer, Ayala held a position with Seattle Children’s Theatre as a drama school summer education intern. He has since made a home in New York City, where he works in the Office of Programming and Strategic Management for the city’s Parks Conservation Corps Fellowship. He assists in bringing arts programming to recreation centers throughout the five boroughs. Ayala also develops his own arts programming for teens.

2015) spent last summer working in San Francisco, California for ENGEO, a geotechnical engineering company. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in geotechnical engineering at The University of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering.

musical Calamity Jane the Musical recently won best production in Orange County, California. An actor, playwright, screenwriter and author, Jones’ The Women of Cedar Creek, a Texas family comedy-drama was awarded the New York Drama League Award and the Beverly Hills Theatre Guild Award. It has an upcoming production at The Plaza Playhouse Theater in Carpinteria, California (April 2016). Freud’s Oracle, a one-woman show about H. D. & Freud, will be seen at The Ojai Retreat (April 2016) in Ojai, California and also in Santa Fe, New Mexico at the Creativity and Madness Conference (August 2016). Her three books are available online.

DAVID AARON BAKER (B.F.A. 1986) was most recently seen in Woody Allen’s new film, Irrational Man, and the award-winning film Hungry Hearts by Italian filmmaker Saverio Costanzo. Other current film projects include the ABC mini-series Madoff, starring Richard Dreyfuss as “Bernie Madoff;” Custody, an independent film written and directed by theatre luminary James Lapine, starring Viola Davis; and the season five premiere episode of CBS’s Person of Interest.

Top: Hugo Alaya Bottom: David Aaron Baker in The Blacklist


Baker has also made recent television appearances on HBO’s The Leftovers and NBC’s The Blacklist. In addition to television and film work, he was honored with awards for his recent audio book recordings of Dean Koontz’s Saint Odd, Molly Gloss’s Falling From Horses and Thomas Berger’s Little Big Man.

ABRA CHUSID (M.F.A. 2012) is the theatre director at Lakes Community High School in Lake Villa, Illinois. Chusid taught and researched drama education in Singapore on a Fulbright Scholarship, in Cambodia on an Ann Shaw Fellowship, and was recently appointed director of advocacy for the Illinois Theatre Association.

CATHERINE EBY (B.A. 2012) is company manager for McCarter Theatre Center for the Performing Arts in Princeton, New Jersey. The McCarter Theatre Center offers over 200 performances of theatre, dance, music and special events each year. Prior to joining McCarter, Eby worked in arts management with the Alley Theatre (Houston, Texas).

CHRISTIN ESSIN’S (Ph.D. 2006) article “Unseen Labor and Backstage Choreographies: A Materialist Production History of A Chorus Line” was published in Theatre Journal in May 2015. Essin is an assistant professor of theatre at Vanderbilt University.

ABE KOOGLER’S (M.F.A. 2014) Kill Floor is the winner of the 2014 L. Arnold Weissberger Award. The play was presented in a reading at Williamstown Theatre Festival in August at the Nikos Stage before premiering at Lincoln Center Theater’s LCT3 in October. The award, administered by Williamstown Theatre Festival, recognizes excellence in playwriting. Koogler receives a $10,000 grant, a reading at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and optional publication by Samuel French.

GINGER GRACE (B.F.A. 1975) recently starred in her one-woman show, The First Ladies Coalition at the Abingdon Theatre (New York). Directed by Austin Pendleton, The First Ladies Coalition revolves around Colleen McCracken, an ex-convict who creates personal relationships with Eleanor Roosevelt, Mary Todd Lincoln, Jackie Kennedy and “Lady Bird” Johnson.

BILL GREEN (B.F.A. 1950) recently took the stage as “Adam” in Hamilton Clancy’s Steampunk adaptation of As You Like It and “Porter” in Jesse Ontiveros’ “urban” version of Macbeth in The Drilling Company’s summer series: Shakespeare in the Parking Lot. Green has been performing works of Shakespeare for several years, including the roles of “King Edward IV” in Richard III, “Robert Shallow” in The Merry Wives of Windsor and “Friar Francis Verges” in Much Ado About Nothing, all of which were produced as part of The Drilling Company’s Shakespeare in the Parking Lot series.

CHRISTINA GUTIERREZ-DENNEHY (Ph.D. 2013) is a director and theatre historian. She is currently a member of the performance faculty at Northern Arizona University. Gutierrez-Dennehy is also the producing artistic director and resident director of the 7 Towers Theatre Company in Austin, Texas and a freelance director operating out of Texas, Arizona and California.

Her current research projects include an examination of constructions of kingship in Shakespeare’s historic plays, particularly in cases of cross-gendered casting. Her article “’Our Lives and All Are Bolingbroke’s:’ Alternating Double Casting in Richard II” is featured in Theatre Topics (June 2015).

KELLY HOWE (M.A. 2006, Ph.D. 2010) is the vice president for the 2016 conference for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) and will serve as chair for ATHE’s 30th anniversary conference, entitled “Bodies at Work: Performance, Labor, and ATHE @ 30,” in Chicago in 2016. As a scholar/teacher/ artist/activist, Howe collaborated with Julian Boal and Scot McElvany to co-edit Theatre of the Oppressed in Actions: An AudioVisual Introduction to Boal’s Forum Theatre (Routledge 2015; a DVD and accompanying collection of short essays), and is currently co-editing a new companion to Theatre of the Oppressed with Julian Boal and José Soeiro. Howe is an assistant professor of theatre at Loyola University Chicago.

LUKE LINSTEADT (B.A. 2015) recently starred in The Hypocrites’ smash hit American Idiot, directed by STEVEN WILSON (M.F.A. 2014). The production, as well as Linsteadt’s performance, received rave reviews, which describe the production as having “…a young, diverse, wildly talented cast whose explosive energy is all but off the scales – American Idiot feels precisely as raw, real, reckless and angry as it should.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

KIRK LYNN’S (M.F.A. 2004) first novel, Rules for Werewolves, was published this fall (Melville House). The head of playwriting and directing at The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance, Lynn is one of six co-producing artistic directors of Rude Mechs theatre collective. Lynn has written and adapted more than a dozen plays, including his most recent work, Your Mother’s Copy of the Kama Sutra, which premiered at Playwrights Horizon (New York) in 2014.

ARTHUR MARROQUIN (B.A. 2013) was cast in national commercials for Subway, Dell and Hyundai in 2015. He stars in the role of “Young Hagan” in the feature-film Lazer Team, released in theatres January 2016. With his photography business, ABM Photography, Marroquin has booked clients in Austin, Atlanta, Boston, New York and Los Angeles. He has shot numerous headshots for high profile clients and was recently invited to cover an event for DeafWest’s Broadway production of Spring Awakening: The Musical for their performance at the White House in Washington, D.C. Marroquin’s work has been published in The Wall Street Journal.

Arthur Marroquín  Photo: Larry Hamilton

DAVID MODIGLIANI (M.F.A. 2007) is the director of content for Austin-based Able, a company that funds small businesses through collaborative loans, providing growth capital to entrepreneurs through multiple networks. 61 BULLETS, a film Modigliani co-created with YVONNE BOUDREAUX (M.F.A. 2007) and Lucy Kreutz, received the Special Jury Prize at the New Orleans Film Festival.

CHARLIE POLLOCK (B.F.A. 1997) starred in Lazarus at the New York Theater Workshop. Based on the classic sci-fi novel The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis, Lazarus is co-written by David Bowie and Enda Walsh (Once).



HOLLY POWELL (B.F.A. 1977), Emmy




Award-winning casting director, is the author of the best selling book, The Audition Bible: Secrets Every Actor Needs To Know. The book is a companion piece to compliment her audition workshops taught at Holly Powell Studios in Los Angeles, California. An “audition class in a book,” this is a user-friendly guide that demystifies the audition process, bringing it down from the epic to the accessible.

received a master of fine arts degree in performance and pedagogy from Texas Tech School of Theatre & Dance in May 2015. He was awarded the AT&T Chancellor’s Fellowship, allowing him to pursue a doctoral degree through the School of Visual & Performing Arts at Texas Tech with an emphasis in playwriting and theory/history/criticism. Rapstine’s theatrical adaptation of the Tennessee Williams short story Mother Yaws was presented in September 2015 at The Tennessee Williams Institute, part of the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theatre Festival.

currently works as the marketing manager for the Long Center for the Performing Arts (Austin, Texas) and reviews Austinbased theatre for Reichstein plans to continue exploring her passion for marketing and public relationships with her flair for theatre.

recently accepted a position as a theatre teacher at her alma mater, North Forest High School, in Houston, Texas. She enjoys teaching the next generation about the importance of creativity and critical thinking.

SARA ROBILLARD (B.A. 2015) moved to New York City last spring to intern at SpotCo, a full-service advertising agency that caters to Broadway and the live entertainment industry. SpotCo has represented every Tony Award-winning best musical for the last eight years. During her time at The University of Texas at Austin, Robillard worked with student engagement at Texas Performing Arts and was the director of Hook ‘Em Arts, the student voice of Texas Performing Arts. Within the Department of Theatre and Dance, she worked as a co-chair in marketing and public relations on the executive committee for the 2015 Cohen New Works Festival presented by Broadway Bank. She graduated in May 2015 with dual majors in Theatre and Dance and Advertising.

The Audition Bible by Holly Powell 13

Wendi Reichstein

MARTIN RODRIGUEZ (B.F.A. 2015), having recently relocated to California, is the outreach coordinator for the award-winning children’s theatre, Theatre 360. Based in Pasadena, Theatre 360 gives students a 360-degree experience in theatre, providing students onstage and backstage experience. In addition, Rodriguez is an arts coach for BluePalm, an organization that trains educators how to use cross-curricular arts integration.

Martin Rodriguez (center; in orange)

L. BROOKE SCHLECTE (B.F.A. 2003) has been the founder and artistic director of Out On a Limb Dance Company (OoLD Co.) since 2003. She is the director of the {254} DANCE-FEST in collaboration with Waco Cultural Arts Fest in Waco, Texas. In addition, she serves as the director of a new creative dance class curriculum for children called Out On a Limb Dot Buds, that focuses on creative movement, cultural studies, improvisation and choreography. Schlecte’s choreography has been described as having “seized...[the] opportunity to go avante-garde”, “her work is drawing attention.” (The Dallas Morning News)

Her company has performed extensively in Texas, Oklahoma and California, most notably at Rogue Dance Festival (Fresno, California), EXCHANGE Dance Festival Gala (Tulsa, Oklahoma), Out of the Loop Festival (Addison, Texas), American College Dance Festival’s Gala (Fort Worth, Texas) and MAMandSCHLECTE (Dallas, Texas). Schlecte has a widespread performance background in places including Texas, Oklahoma, California, Washington D.C. and Ireland. Additionally, OoLD Co. has presented dance for films screened at the Film Fatale Festival (Fort Worth, Texas), American College Dance Festival (Austin, Texas), Perpetual Motion Modern Dance, Inc. Concert (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), Living Arts Dance Company Concert (Tulsa, Oklahoma) and the Screen Door (Austin, Texas). She has performed under professional choreographers Sarah Gamblin, Michael Foley, Vincent Mantsoe and Doug Elkins. Schlecte holds a master of fine arts degree in dance from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas, where she received the Excellence in Choreography Award in 2007. She has taught at Tarrant County Community College and Baylor University.

Brooke Schlecte Photo: Nikki Riggs

JENNY SLATTERY (M.A. 2001), associate director of theatre at Fordham University at Lincoln Center, has over 15 years of professional experience as a stage manager and dramaturg in Broadway, non-profit and academic theatre. As a stage manager, she worked with the original company of Broadway’s SpiderMan: Turn Off The Dark as well as Bullets Over Broadway, Guys & Dolls (2009 revival) and Cry-Baby. Additional credits include work with the Guggenheim Works & Process Series, the Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular and various corporate events. Scott Shattuck Photo: Hardy Meredith

SCOTT SHATTUCK (M.F.A. 1988) copublished The Director’s Vision (Second Edition) with Louis E. Catron (Waveland Press, Inc.) in May 2015. The text is one of the most widely utilized textbooks in college curriculum to introduce students to the process of play directing.

FADI SKEIKER (Ph.D. 2009) is an associate professor at the University of Jordan Department of Theatre Arts, College of Arts and Design. His article “‘I Will Raise My Daughters To Be More Confident:’ Women’s Empowerment and Applied Theatre in Jordan,” published in Theatre Topics (June 2015), is in part based on his dissertation research while at The University of Texas at Austin.

LUCY WALTERS (B.A. 2006) went on to pursue a career in acting in Los Angeles following graduation. She will return for the third season of Power (STARZ) where she plays bad-girl “Holly Weaver.” Power focuses on James “Ghost” St. Patrick, a wealthy New York City nightclub owner who caters to the city’s elite while living a double life as a drug kingpin. As he struggles to manage these two lives he must choose between his business and his involvement in one of the largest drug rings in the city. Walters gained notoriety for her portrayal of “Woman on the Subway” in Steve McQueen’s film Shame. She has also appeared in several hit television shows including Bones, The Good Wife, 666 Park Avenue, Do No Harm, Rizzoli & Isles, Smash, White Collar, Army Wives and Blue Bloods, among others.



IRENE WHITE (B.F.A. 1992) has


studied at the Second City in Chicago and iOWest, Steppenwolf West, The Groundlings and UCB-LA. Her theatre credits include August: Osage County, The Importance of Being Earnest, In the Next Room, Blue Window and The Women. She can be seen in various commercials and in episodes of The Millers, Gilmore Girls, Friends, Will & Grace, Scrubs and, most recently, The Middle. Her film credits include Men, Women & Children, Parkland, Dear Sidewalk, Green Hornet and Spy Kids: All the Time in the World.

Introspection by Rachel Perry (B.F.A. Dance candidate) Fall For Dance, 2015

DUSTIN WILLS (B.A. 2006) is a New York City-based theatre director. Current projects include a musical adaptation of Lorca’s Once Five Years Pass at the Drama League (with composer Daniel Schlosberg), The Foundry Theatre’s latest commission O, Earth by Casey Llewellyn and the Yale Baroque Opera Project’s Xerse. Wills has worked with Williamstown Theatre Festival, Berkeley Rep, Yale Rep, Berkshire Theatre Group, Lark Play Development Center, Paper Chairs and Salvage Vanguard Theatre; created large-scale community puppet projects Irene White 15

with Creative Action; and devised new work for The English Theatre of Rome and Teatro L’Arciliuto in Rome, Italy. He is a two-time recipient of the Princess Grace Award for Theatre, a Drama League and Boris Sagal directing fellow and former artistic director of the Yale Summer Cabaret.​

Professor John Brokaw

As ENCORE went to press, we learned of the passing of Professor Emeritus John Brokaw on January 12, 2016. Dr. Brokaw served as a professor of theatre history for the Department of Theatre and Dance from 1963-2001. A remembrance of Dr. Brokaw’s work and impact on the department and his students will be featured in an upcoming edition of ENCORE.


All artists, titles and dates are subject to change. For more information, visit us online at

Tomás and the Library Lady By José Cruz González Based on the book by Pat Mora Presented in co-production with ZACH Theatre January 15-February 14, 2016


Bodies & Souls April 8-17, 2016

Tomás immigrates with his family from Mexico with fears of a new life and a lack of confidence in his language and culture. Then he meets a “library lady” who recognizes his thirst for knowledge and encourages him to read. Based on the true story of the Mexican-American author and educator Tomás Rivera, this inspirational story suggests what reading – and self-respect – can make possible.

Under the direction of Charles O. Anderson, Erica Gionfriddo and Lyn Wiltshire, the award-winning dance company, Dance Repertory Theatre, returns to the stage in Bodies & Souls. A celebration of emerging voices and visions of contemporary dance, Bodies & Souls features new works by Alvin Rangel, Johnnie Cruise Mercer and Jun Shen.

Twelfth Night By William Shakespeare February 26-March 6, 2016 Following a shipwreck on a strange shore, Viola fears her brother dead and is forced to build a new life on her own. Masquerading as a man in order to procure a job with Duke Orsino, she finds herself in the midst of a topsy-turvy love triangle. Magic, mayhem and mistaken identities come to the stage in Shakespeare’s cherished romantic comedy of revelry, reunion and love .

Operation Istanbul; Project leads: Patrick Shaw (M.F.A. 2015), Andrew Carson (M.F.A. candidate) and Alexandra Bassett The Cohen New Works Festival presented by Broadway Bank, 2015 ENCORE WINTER 2016



All artists, titles and dates are subject to change. For more information, visit us online at


381 Bleecker By Gia Marotta

Established in 2007, UTNT (UT New Theatre) presents newly developed works from playwrights of Texas Theatre and Dance and Michener Center for Writers. This showcase exists as an incubator for new work, with many plays continuing on to be professionally produced across the country. The 2016 UTNT (UT New Theatre) plays include:

Ellen and Meg have kept their distance since their brother Henry’s death 25 years ago. When circumstances force Meg to live with Ellen and her son, David, for a month, the sisters are asked to reckon with the loss that drove them apart. 381 Bleecker is a rich and theatrical story about grief, memory and the harrowing work of forgiveness.

The Silent Woman By Lydia Blaisdell

Girls in Cars Underwater By Tegan McLeod

The strange, true tale of a painter living with an effigy of his ex-lover in 1919 Europe. But since the doll cannot dress herself, the painter enlists a young maid to help him, resulting in an intricate, erotic game of pretend. The Silent Woman is the winner of the 2015 Kentucky Women’s Playwriting Prize.

When newbie Dusty is hired at the most difficult bar in the city, she forms an unexpected bond with one of the old-timers. But allegiances beyond the bar start to threaten Dusty’s new-found security — and in one terrifying night, everything changes. Girls in Cars Underwater is an unflinching exploration of love and loss and the power of both to ruin and remake our lives.

The Orange Garden By Joanna Garner A young American Peace Corps volunteer is sent to Iran in 1972 where he is swept up in the growing fire of the revolution. A story about the complicated ways we fall in love with people and places, The Orange Garden draws influences from Rumi, 1960s rock and folk music, whirling dervishes and the lyricism of the Persian language.

Feminist Doormat by Professor Andrea Beckham Fall For Dance, 2015 17

Texas Theatre and Dance is a world-class educational environment that serves as the ultimate creative incubator for the next generation of artists, thinkers and leaders in theatre and performance.

STAY CONNECTED /uttad @uttad @uttadaustin

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Your support of Texas Theatre and Dance is appreciated! You can make a difference by making a donation to the department’s Texas Talent campaign. To learn more, visit or call Jessi Propst, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at 512.475.6291.

RE/CONNECT; Project leads: Ryan Belock (M.F.A. 2015) and Kristen Weller (M.F.A. 2015) The Cohen New Works Festival presented by Broadway Bank, 2015 ENCORE WINTER 2016


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Austin, Texas permit # 391

ENCORE Winter 2015  

The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance Alumni Newsletter

ENCORE Winter 2015  

The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance Alumni Newsletter