Alum Call Board: August 2021

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Mikayla Bartholomew (BFA ’17) is in KING RICHARD with Will Smith, the true story of the coach/mentor/father that brought us Venus & Serena Williams! The trailer was just released this past month. Look for the film in theaters this November. Mikayla plays Tunde Price-Williams. Watch the full trailer here.

Alum and adjunct faculty Dorie Barton (MFA ’20) wrote, directed, and produced the feature film WELCOME TO THE SHOW which will be an opening night feature at the Richmond International Film Festival next month—Tuesday September 7th! Woohoo!

The film includes a slew of VCU students and alumni, including starring actors Dillon Douglasson (BFA ’20), Richard Follin (BFA ’20), Keegan Garant (BFA ’20), and Christopher Martin (BFA ’20).

Congrats to the team!

John Kristiansen (BFA ‘90) and his husband, Brian Blythe, are two members of the New York Costume Institute Coalition which has organized the new exhibit Showstoppers! Spectacular Costumes from Stage and Screen now open near Times Square.  Over 100 costumes from Broadway, Film and TV are being exhibited.   This is a fundraiser for those who lost their jobs in the costume industry of New York the last year and a half.  The Exhibit is open until September 26, 2021. Watch a video here.

Recent alums Chelsea Matkins (BFA ’21) and Amita Rao (BA ’20) starred in this video for VCU, “We’re Back!”. The two just moved to Chicago to pursue improv and comedy. Follow their comedy duo Gag Reflex on instagram at @gagreflex_chicago for updates! Watch the full video here.

Marie Lucas (BFA ’03) formerly Marie Weigle has made her Richmond homecoming debut in The Pink Unicorn at Richmond Triangle Players, performing as Tricia Lee in the one-person show directed by current graduate student Raja Benz (read Raja’s comments on the Jennifer Hundley Jones scholarship here).

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Mandy Tate Cefalo  (BFA ’02) announces that she will be back at work on August 26 for the first time since March 2020 as the head treasurer at Broadway’s Circle In the Square.  Slowly we are recovering.  Go see live theatre!

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J.J. Johnson (BFA ’97) is the co-writer on a new film out Silent Partner, directed by Aristotle Torres.  It was first shown at The Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival and is continuing on the festival circuit.  Looking forward to seeing it soon. Good Luck JJ.

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Joe Carlson (BFA ’08, MFA ’11) is in two movies out currently, A Savage Nature by Thurston Productions and Witnesses by Red Brick Filmworks and The Interpreter Foundation.

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Alvan Bolling (BA ’21) is in the cast of Buffalo Soldier currently touring with Virginia Repertory with dates around Richmond and Cape Charles through August.  Look for it near you in Virginia.

Tevin Davis (BFA ’21) is an intern at Actor’s Express in Atlanta. Go Tevin!

Andy Hawkes (BFA ’98) announced that VS. Theatre Company where he is a Company Member has opened after the pandemic with Stand Up If You Are Here Tonight by John Kolvenbach starring Jim Ortleib. If you are in the LA Area be sure to stop by.

Blair Russell (BFA ’12) has just released a new musical concept recording that he produced. Listen to it now.

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Frank Alfano (BFA ’08) is hosting another Fire Stunt Workshop for stunt persons in New York area in September.   Info at

George Bartlett  (BFA ’77) is in the current production of Sister Act at the Renaissance Theatre in Lynchburg as the Monsignor. Sing out George.

Ruthy Countryman (MFA ’83) is in the business of making memory quilts.  Currently she is working on one for Robert Rotenberry (BFA ’78) made from his show t-shirts.  If you need a memory quilt contact Ruth.

Lynette Hensley (BFA ‘92) has written an illustrated poetry book called Poetry Book.   You can find it at with other photos of her imaginative art.   

Brett Ashley (BFA ‘05) has created her own brand new teaching position integrating Math and the Arts for 4th-6th grader at Westlawn Elementary in Falls Church, VA

Maura Cravey (MFA ’02) has officially failed at retirement. She will be returning to her position at VCU teaching Costume Construction and Stage Makeup, lucky Freshmen and Sophomores.

Shanea Taylor (MFA ’08) has taken a new teaching job at the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School along with Cindy Warren (BFA ’90, MFA ’19)  who is starting her fourteenth year at ARGS.  Next spring Shanea will be directing BKLYN the Musical for The Illuminated Stage Theatre Company at the new Perkinson Center for the Arts and Education in Chester VA.

Stacy Wallace has taken a new position as a consultant with the skin care line Rodan + Fields. 

Steve Barker (BFA ’01) is starting a new position as a Venue Technical Director in September at The Public House in Prince George County, MD.

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Lucinda Piro (BFA ’83) is rebooting a tour of her solo actor play, O’Keefe as a Touring and Teaching artist for the VA Commission of the Arts.  She has done a revision and re-edit of the script and will begin rehearsals with Dr. Jan Powell as director.  First performance is slated at Piedmont Va Community College in Charlottesville, VA on October 9, 2021.  Dante Piro is production manager.

Katy Feldhahn (BFA ’18) will perform the role of Emmy in A DOLL’S HOUSE PART 2 at Virginia Rep in February, directed by Sharon Ott.

John Waldron (BFA ’01) is giving ghost tours with US Ghost Adventures in Baltimore and Washington DC.   Sounds like fun for this fall.

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Keep us posted! Share your news with your fellow alumni!

Life changes.
Awards and recognition.
New casting or job.

Also, feel free to suggest any fellow grads for a profile in upcoming issues!

Email Jerry Williams ( or Liz Hopper (

Compiled by Liz Hopper, professor emeritus, and Jerry Williams (BFA ’71) for the August 2021 Theatre Alumni Newsletter.