VCUarts alumnus and Tony nominee Joshua Boone inspires VCUarts graduates as commencement speaker


When VCUarts Theatre alumnus Joshua Boone took the stage at the Altria Theater as this spring’s commencement speaker, he brought a late addition to his already sparkling resume: Tony Award nominee. 

Boone (B.F.A. ‘10) was nominated for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical” for his role as Dallas in the Broadway adaptation of The Outsiders, produced by Angelina Jolie and based on the novel by S. E. Hinton.

“I am so proud of Josh,” said Tawnya Pettiford-Wates, Ph.D., professor of graduate pedagogy in acting and directing who taught Boone as an undergraduate. 

Pettiford-Wates said she always knew Boone was an exceptional talent and urged him to practice his craft, noting the existing strength of his personality and charm. She said this latest recognition was proof that he had taken her advice.

“Joshua Boone has grown into an extraordinary and exceptional actor,” she said. 

Since graduating in 2010, Boone has applied his artistry to a variety of mediums from theater, film and television to commercials, voice-overs, modeling and music.

Boone recently wrapped filming on Fleeing, starred in Premature for director Rashaad Ernesto Green opposite Zora Howard (which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival) and appeared in the indie release Wheels for writer/director Paul Starkman.

His recent stagework includes Dominique Morisseau’s Broadway production of Skeleton Crew, starring opposite Phylicia Rashad and Chante Adams, which earned him a nomination for a Drama Desk award. Before that, he starred in Ivo van Hove’s acclaimed Broadway production of Network, opposite Bryan Cranston. 

His accolades include nominations for Outstanding Actor in A Motion Picture and Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in a Motion Picture at the 2023 NAACP Image Awards – both for his lead role in Netflix’s A Jazzman’s Blues by Tyler Perry.

You can read a recent VCU feature on Boone here

Boone addressed this year’s class of graduates on May 10 at the Altria Theater at 1:30 p.m. 

You can find more information on this year’s ceremony here