Alum Call board: March 2022

alum call board

The department’s touring production of MACBETH3 opens TONIGHT at 7:30pm in Shafer St Playhouse! Come support Alum Mary E. Hodges (BFA ’94), our guest director who devised and edited the piece exclusively for VCU students! Alumni are invited to opening night! Email to reserve two complimentary tickets for Friday March 25th and attend the reception on the 2nd floor of Shafer!

*Macbeth3 is produced with special permission from Writer/Director/ Actor Lisa Wolpe who originally created Macbeth3 for three actors.

2022 SETC Awards! The department had a wonderful cohort of VCU students at SETC this year – congrats to our students in the Design Competitions!
– 1st Place Undergraduate Scenic Design – Alyssa Sutherland ⁣
– 1st Place Undergraduate Costume Design – Taylor Aragon AND Christopher Goode⁣
– 2nd Place Undergraduate Costume Design – Erik Mayes⁣
– 3rd Place Undergraduate Costume Design – Sharaia Ilene⁣
– Honorable Mention Undergrad Costume Design – KT Farmer ⁣
– 1st Place Undergraduate Costume Technology – Lilliana Valentin⁣
– 2nd Place Undergraduate Costume Technology – Addison Michael⁣

ROALD DAHL’S JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH- ALUM NIGHT Thursday April 21st @ 7:30pm! Email to reserve your two tickets! Performances April 15th – April 24th, recommended for ages 8 and up.

JONATHAN BECKER (MFA ’05) – mask maker extraordinaire has started off with a flurry of activity in the studio.  Custom projects continue to come in from theatres, educators and producers all over the world.   Copies of the masks for actor training continue to flow out of the studio as well.  Residencies are starting again.  Jonathan has returned home from a residency at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois and is currently negotiating a two week residency in Cairo, Egypt for next fall.  The art of running a small freelance business and an artist in the theatre has not gotten any easier.  However, he remains incredibly grateful for the work and keeps moving forward into the future. Anyone needing Masks contact Jonathan.

woman looking at camera in purple shirt and black blazer

Congratulations to MICHELLE CARTER (BFA ’93)  for the ensemble cast Robert Altman Award for her film MASS at the Film Independent Spirit Awards.  Michelle has recently been cast in the new series Linked By Love an African American Family Story about kidney disease.  Michelle will playing Beverly Morris, the hero of the story.  Look for it soon.

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SETH LYONS (BFA ’21) competed at Amateur Night at the Apollo in NYC on March 2nd! They did NOT get booed and just competed again this week!! CONGRATS Seth!

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DEBRA CLINTON  (MFA ’97) is directing Dear Jack Dear Louise by Ken Ludwig at Hanover Tavern in Virginia.  The show runs through April 17, 2022 so you still have time to get a seat.

LARRY VERBIT (BFA ’73) has been selected for the Seventh year as a Southern California Super Lawyer by Thomas Reuters.  Congratulations to the law offices of Larry E. Verbit. 

MICHELLE LEE  (BFA ’95) is privileged to be a part of the Makeup Team for the new HBO Max limited series Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty starring John C. Reilly.  Michelle is currently working makeup from the set of General Hospital.

WALID CHAYA  (BFA ’11) announced that his short award winning film Driving Ms. Saudi was shown at the World Expo 2020 Dubai at the Iraq pavilion.  While he couldn’t travel to the Expo, he was excited to be there in spirit.

MARTHA WALL-WHITFIELD (BFA ’96) and her husband will be speaking at the Saline/Perry County Foster Parent Association on Stress Management.  The Whitfields are adoptive and foster parents.  Martha is currently the District Principal for the State’s Five Juvenile Treatment Programs and is a Gang Specialist.

TASHA MILLER PARTEE  (BFA EDU ‘99) will be performing her one person show titled Cheerleader on Saturday, April 2, 2022 at TADA! Theatre,, 15 West 28th St., 2nd floor New York. The script is about her journey as an NFL cheerleader for three years. 

Photo by Roger Kisby for The New York Times

CONGRATULATIONS TO DEVARIO SIMMONS (MFA ‘16) on his recent marriage in New York to Bryan Terrell Clark, actor. Read about it in the NY Times!

How I Learned to Drive closes at The Conciliation Lab in Richmond, VA tomorrow, March 26, 2022. Bravo to all the alumni involved! In the Cast as Peck: JEFFREY COLE (MFA ’08), Scenic Design: ALYSSA SUTHERLAND (BFA ’21), Projections Design: DASIA GREGG (BFA ’20), Lighting Design: DERYN GABOR (BFA ’21), Set Construction: CHRIS FOOTE (BFA ’15), Scenic Painters: FAITH CARLSON (BFA ’21), ALYSSA SUTHERLAND (BFA ’21), Production Stage Management: CRIMSON PIAZZA (BFA ’21).

PENNY BEENE (BFA ’77) has been directing Silent Sky at the Fever Dream Repertory in Philadelphia, Pa which will run through April 9, 2022 at the Skinner Theatre.

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GIGI NEW (BFA ’87)  Gigi’s new series The Garcias will Premiere next month on HBO Max on April 14,2022.  Gigi is one of the script writers who furthers the story of original The Brothers Garcia with the original cast, now grown up.  

tiza headshot

TIZA GARLAND  (MFA ’00) has been honored with The Suzanne M. Davis Memorial Award at the annual Awards Banquet at the 2022 SETC Convention.  The Award honors one individual each year for outstanding service to SETC over a number of years. The name of the recipient is kept secret until its announcement.

BILL CARLTON (BFA ’96) recently Stage Managed a reading of Terance McNally’s script Unusual Acts of Devotion at the Rattlestick Playwrights theatre in the West Village, NY. as a benefit for the theatre.  The reading was directed by Zachery Quinto and featured Lois Smith and Michael Urie among many others.

Suzanne Finnerty (BFA ’93)  would like everyone in the Virginia Beach area to come and see Fountain of You – a new musical at The Zeiders American Dream Theatre that she is working on.  March 18- April 03, 2022.

Compiled by Liz Hopper (professor emeritus) and Jerry Williams (BFA ’71) for the March 2022 Theatre Alumni newsletter