On Stage

The following graduates of the School of Theatre Arts and Dance advanced their careers by being cast in productions, hired for technical positions or earning awards during the past few months of 2012.

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The 2012 Broadway season opened in January with six UNC alumni appearing on stages on "The Great White Way." They include: Jason Veasey (BA-04) in “The Lion King,” Derek Hanson (BA-04) in “Anything Goes,” Alena Watters (BA-03) in “Sister Act,”  Josh Buscher (BA-08) in “Priscilla Queen of the Desert,” Jenny Fellner (BA-00) in “Wicked” and Victoria Matlock (BA-99) in “Million Dollar Quartet.”

Greg Germann (BA-78) was cast as a regular on the Showtime TV Series “House of Lies,” and also made television appearances on “Raising Hope,” “Aim High” and “Hawaii Five-O.” His latest feature film – “Here Comes the Boom” - is set for a summer/fall release.

Andy Kelso (BA-02) has been cast as Fiyero in the national tour of the hit Broadway musical “Wicked, which played Denver's Buell Theatre in April.

Megan Van De Hey (BA-99) was named Actress of the Year in the “Denver Post's” 2011 Ovation Awards. She was cast in the spring production of the musical “Chess” at the Arvada Center for the Arts and will appear this summer in the Little Theatre of the Rockies' production of “Next to Normal.”

Melissa Kidd (BA-06), who has worked for the past two seasons as the set costumer on “The Closer,” will move to a spin-off show titled “Major Crimes” when The Closer wraps production this season.

Brian Scott (BA-08), ringmaster for the Barnum and Bailey Circus, signed a one-year extension to his contract.

Pearl (Lindsay) Thomas (BA-2003) appeared on two segments of the ABC TV series “What Would You Do?” in January.

Helen Reikofski (BME-77) sang with the Dallas Opera’s production of “Lucia di Lammermoor.”

Dan Whisler (MM-11) served as conductor and Stephen Harms sang bass in the Theatre Workshop of Owensboro’s production of “Sweeney Todd.”

Christopher Sergeeff (97-99) is currently appearing as an ensemble member as well as covering the roles of Pepper and Eddie in the National Equity Tour of “Mama Mia.” The tour played the Union Colony Civic Center in Greeley in February.

Elyse (Anderson) Porterfield (BA-10) was selected for a national print ad for Nike and filmed a national commercial for a new iPad-to-TV program called “youtoo.” Her TV pilot “Drama” was shown in a New York Film Festival. In addition, Porterfield appeared on “Pretty Little Liars” (ABC Family) as a swim team member was cast as a regular on “CSI-NY” as a lab technician in the CSI crime laboratory.

Hannah Marie Hines (Middleton) (BA-2008) was cast in the Player King Productions staging of Dennis Lehane’s play “Coronado” and in an indie short film titled “7 Days.”

Erica Sweany (BA-03) completed a run as Roxie Hart in “Chicago” at The Little Theatre on the Square in Illinois.

Kyle Steffen (BA-07) was cast as Curly in “Of Mice and Men” at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center.

Kelli Marino (BA-06) is now a dramaturge for Polarity Theatre Ensemble in Chicago

Emily Van Fleet (BA-12) completed the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s production of “Duke Energy's Yuletide Celebration” and is scheduled this summer to play Janet in “Drowsy Chaperone” and Fifi in a world premiere called “Harry the Great” at Creede Repertory Theatre.

Hannah Brooks (BA-09) is working as a stage technician at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins.

Derek Hanson (BA-04) appeared on the “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Show” in a number from "Anything Goes."

Aléna Watters (BA-03) appeared on the "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Show" in a number from "Sister Act."

Heather Marie Doris (BA-08) is currently appearing in the “Drowsy Chaperone” at the Boulder Dinner Theatre.

Jeremy Goldson (00-02), theater teacher at Mountain Vista High School, was named the High School Theatre Educator of the Year by Alliance for Colorado Theatre.

Matt Braver (BA-09) recorded the voice-over track of the math nerd character for a national radio commercial for Wendy’s Restaurants that aired in March.

Jill Redding (BM-97) sang on the Mahler Project that was presented at LA’s Disney Concert Hall in February under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel.

Megan Koumis (BA-09) has been cast in the Aurora Fox (Denver) production of “Xanadu.”

Darin Burnett (BA-06) has taken a new position as an assistant stage manager for the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Joey Revier (BA-11), Patrick Dolan Sawyer (BA-05) and Michelle Sergeef (BA-96) appeared in the production of “Anything Goes” at the Candlelight Dinner Theatre in Johnstown.

Jacob Thompson (BM-11), Nathan Hickle (BME-09) and Dana Kinney (BA-11)were cast in Opera Fort Collins’ production of “Amahl and the Night Visitors.”

Vale Rideout (BM-95) and Gregory Gerbrandt (BM-99) were among the cast of Florentine Opera’s production of “Elmer Gantry” that won a Grammy at the 2012 awards ceremony. The pair has been cast in Opera Fort Collins’ production of “Barber of Seville.” 

Bobbi Goldner (BA-10) appeared in “Dearly Departed” at the Spotlight Theatre in Denver and completed voice-over work for Distortions. The session was also filmed for the reality TV show “Making Monsters” on the Travel Channel.

Justin Lujan (BA-00) is now the creative director of Theatre at Culver City Academy of Visual and Performing Arts and recently completed filming an internet piece titled “Engaged Encounters" on YouTube.

Duncan Northern (BA-10) has taken a stage management position with Matt Murphy Productions and is the PSM on the national tour of “Virtually Me.”

Jack Wefso (BA-06) appeared in the Bunport Theatre's Production of “Trunks - A Live Comic Book” in Denver.

Berto Marin (BA-10) filmed a commercial for J.C. Penny that premiered during the 2012 Oscar telecast. He also appeared on an episode of “Operation Repo,” an episode of “Fear Factor” and in three episodes of Steve-O's “Killer Karaoke.”

Jason Watson (BA-97) was cast in the February workshop production of “Sense and Sensibility” at the Denver Theatre Center.

Brandon Garegnani (BA-11) was cast in the Playmakers Rep production of “Noises Off.”

Cullen Munch (BA-07) is now an over-hire carpenter at the Denver Center for the Performing arts.

Karli Kaiser (06-10) appeared on an episode of the TV show “Reno 911” and in a music video for Matthew McConaughey.

Travis Shupe (BA-06) has been promoted to EOS operator and assistant lighting designer at Harpo Studios in Chicago.

Lynnsey Ooten BA-11) played Puck in “A Midsummer Night's Dream” and Witch Number One in “Macbeth” in North Carolina's Shakespeare to Go, a touring company that performs in North Carolina schools. She taught in addition to performing.

Ben Burch (BA-11) was in a regional TV commercial for Toyota of San Diego.

David Bryant Johnson (BA-09) has been cast as Danny Zuko in “Grease” at the Circa 21 Dinner Theatre in Rock Island, IL.

Jessica Mueller (BA-05) was hired as assistant professor of costume design at Belmont University in Nashville.

Kym Kral (BA-10) appeared at the John Lovitz Comedy Club in Universal City.

Jodie Grundin (BA-10) joined the cast of “Cockroach” for a six-week run at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood.

Maren Uecker (BA-05) appeared in an episode of “Disappeared” on Discovery.

Catherine Pilafas (BA-09) appeared in an episode of the new true crime documentary series “Fatal Encounters” that aired in early 2012 on Discovery.

Laura Ryan-Krausa (BA-90) was named manager of advocacy at Catholic Health Initiatives of Denver.

David Bryant Johnson (BA-09), Matt LaFontaine (00-05), Julia Perotta (BA-08) and Joey Revier (BA-11) were cast in the Arvada Center's production of “1940's Radio Hour.”

Jennifer So (BA-10) was cast in the role of Rose Hsu in the spring 2012 production of “Joy Luck Club” at the Vintage Theatre! in Denver.

Ben Klingemann's (BA-10) play, “Every Few Seconds” was published by JAC Publishing this spring. The play had a staged reading at UNC and was subsequently performed at University of Colorado at Denver.

Matthew Hagmeier (BA-04) was hired as a teaching assistant for the Teen Prep BFA Theatre Programs at the Stella Adler Studio in New York City.

Hayley Wells (BA-08) has been performing stand-up comedy in New York City, appearing regularly at Stand-up New York and opening for Jerry Seinfeld at the Gotham Comedy Club.

Lincoln Hayes (BA-07, appeared in an episode of “Pan Am” on ABC.

Deborah Voss (BA-06) was hired as the equity stage manager/company manager of the national tour of “Doubt.”

Soprano Rose Sawvel (BA ’05, MM ‘08) was a finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Regional auditions, and has been cast in the prestigious Merola Opera program of the San Francisco Opera.

Michael Chapin (BA-10) was hired as a casting agent for Metal Flowers Media in Los Angeles.

Michael Covert (BA-09) was cast as Smudge in the Los Angeles production of “Forever Plaid.”

Nate Axtell (BA-05) appeared in a national commercial for Blackjack Pizza.

Thomas Bradfield (BA-05) appeared in the Gallery Players of New York City production of “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Stand-up comedian Mike Black (94-97) opened for Ben Kriescher at the Denver Improv.

Vanessa Ramirez (BA-10) was hired as a teaching artist in New York City for Enact and Hip Hop for Life.

James Kaiser (MA-11) was hired as the technical theatre director at Ronald Reagan High School in San Antonio.

Logan Snook (BM-11), Joel Sutliff (MM-10) and Joe Massman (MM-07) appeared in Loveland Opera Theatre's H.M.S. Pinafore. Juliana Bishop-Hoch (BA-04) is the executive and artistic director of Loveland Opera Theatre.

Stephanie Huck (BA-09) completed the Scenic Artist certification program at Boston University and was hired as the staff scenic artist at the Village Theatre in Seattle.

Laura (Parrish) Enstall (BA-06) was accepted to the MFA Musical Theatre program at Lindwood University in St. Louis.

Alyse Jamieson (BA-11) began graduate studies in the School of Music and Dance at the University of Oregon.

Laura Bateman (MM-07, DA-12) is assistant professor of music at Sterling College in Sterling, Kansas. 

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Producing a 'Smash' Musical

UNC Theatre Education graduate student Mindy Loughhead, who teaches drama at a K-8 magnet school in Denver for newcomers and refugees, landed the school one of 20 national grants from NBC's "Smash: Make a Musical" project, which is designed to promote sustainable musical theater programs at schools that traditionally don't have access to them.

Loughhead heard about the project from UNC Assistant Professor Gillian McNally, who was contacted by the project’s director. She knew Place Bridge Academy, where students from 50 countries speak more than 40 different languages, would be a perfect fit for the Smash project. The academy is part of the Denver Public Schools system.

In addition to providing artistic and technical help with this year’s musical, the grant provides Loughhead with the resources to purchase scripts and production rights for additional plays for years to come.

Loughhead, who was working on a study of “Charlotte’s Web” and the circle of life for her master’s thesis when she heard she’d received the grant, says the topic has morphed into a study of the "class project, bringing a show to life and chronicling our adventures along the way."

Full story and link to 9News video