UMoves Undergraduate Dance Concert, "Bare" by Devin Seldon (2016) / Photo credit: Stan Barouh

Alumni Newsletter
June 2016

From the Director

Dear Alumni:

It has been an exciting academic year for the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS)!  In the laboratory of our 2015-2016 Season we produced eight Main Stage Theatre and Dance productions, eight student-produced Second Season shows at the Clarice Performing Arts Center, and countless local, national, and international performances and scholarly presentations. TDPS continues to work tirelessly to advance and transform the research and practice of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies through our commitment to excellences and innovative education in the performing arts. The artistic and scholarly work of our faculty, students, and you, our alumni, reflects our focus on inquiry, investigation, collaboration, and creative research.

2015-2016 was the inaugural year of the School’s new Board of Visitors. Members of the Board serve as advisors and advocates for our students and the School’s programs.  We are deeply grateful to the Chair of the Board, John C. Ford (BA Speech & Dramatic Arts ‘64), Heidi A. Onkst, Abigail N. Bortnick, Julio M. Espinoza-Sokal, Jennifer A. Katz-Burke, Jason M. Aufdem-Brinke, and Adam Shapiro for their energy, excellent advice and feedback, and their time. Marchlena Rodgers will join the Board in the fall of 2016. 
In addition, TDPS was named "Best College Theatre Program" by MD Theatre Guide's Best of 2015 Readers' Choice Awards, and the new TDPS Dance Education program received MCERT accreditation by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), allowing interested undergraduates to matriculate into a one-year teaching curriculum that will award them a Masters Degree in Dance Education.

In April, TDPS hosted the 3rd Annual Black Theatre Symposium, with keynote speaker Johnetta Boone, who spoke on the theme “Embracing Inclusion and Diversity in American Theatre.” We will continue to host the Black Theatre Symposium every other year from now on, and the next will take place in 2018. Our students and alumni also partnered with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the New Visions/New Voices International Playwrights' Intensive, bringing together playwrights from South Africa, India, and Korea with TDPS students to workshop new plays for young audiences both at the University of Maryland and at the Kennedy Center.  Students and alumni directed, performed, dramaturged, designed, and stage managed the nine plays. The experience in cross-cultural communication and understanding was outstanding for all.

Another unique highlight this year was the TDPS trip to Broadway in February. Twenty students were selected by lottery to experience the new musical Hamilton, thanks to the generosity of Michelle Smith. The students were thrilled to be there: some were seeing a Broadway show for the first time, and others were re-inspired to pursue a professional acting career when they saw "themselves" on stage. Read more about the trip here.
Next spring 2017, we will host the mid-Atlantic American College Dance Association Conference, offering classes and adjudicated performances for hundreds of students and faculty over four days of whirlwind learning, connecting, and advancing the art. You can also check out our upcoming season of theatre and dance productions below.
Twenty-three nominations for Helen Hayes Awards went to students, faculty, and alumni affiliated with TDPS, and Vaughn Ryan Midder (BA Theatre '14) won the “Best Supporting Actor in a Musical” award for 2016. See the entire list of TDPS nominees here. Congratulations to all!

We are hosting two alumni events this fall: in New York City on September 9th and in Maryland/Washington in early November, around the production of The Wild Party.  We hope that many of you will join us to network with each other and us!  Your presence out in the world, with all the varied and wonderful careers you have followed, makes us deeply proud. Staying connected with you gives our current students a vision of what they can one day accomplish. 
I wish you an excellent and creative summer, and I look forward to seeing you in the near future!


Leigh Wilson Smiley, Director

From the Alumni Coordinator

Congratulations to our recent grads, and thanks to those of you who responded to our call for alumni news in February! We have compiled your stories, honors and awards, scholarship news, charitable work, and performance notes to share with the TDPS alumni community.

Please continue to send us your updates so that we can proudly highlight your important work in future newsletters, as well as on our website and social media channels. Stay informed of School news by following us on Facebook and Twitter!

  Like us on Facebook for frequent news and updates:

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  Check out our webpage at

Quick links:

Do you have news you'd like to share?

Email TDPS alumni coordinator Kate Spanos at
TDPS productions of Good Kids (Spring 2015) and Intimate Apparel (Fall 2015) / Photo credit: Stan Barouh
Alumni Events
TDPS alumni connect on the West Coast
In January, TDPS alumni and former faculty met up for an alumni reunion at the Faculty Productions studios in Los Angeles, CA. The event was hosted by alumnus and CEO Jared Paul (BA Theatre '99) and fellow alumnus and actor/producer Adam Shapiro (BA Theatre '02)

"The occasion signals the horizon of new opportunities for our students and recent graduates," said Leigh Wilson Smiley, TDPS Director. "I have to thank both Jared and Adam, as well as my colleague Scot Reese, for making the magic happen. The event truly illuminated the collaborative and entrepreneurial spirit of TDPS alumni. The momentum of our students and alumni is now tremendous, and it's all very exciting."

TDPS plans to create a new online alumni networking group, and is expanding to major theatre and film cities, including New York City, Chicago, and Washington, DC.

Stay tuned for more! If you are interested in helping to organize an alumni event, please contact us.

Adam Shapiro (BA Theatre '02) Keynote Speaker at
UMD's Access2Alumni

In April, Adam Shapiro (BA Theatre '02) was the keynote speaker at UMD's Access2Alumni event, and, while on campus, he gave a master class to TDPS students that was moderated by Professor Scot Reese: "On Camera and Off: A Guide to Navigating Hollywood."

Adam has recently been seen as Avie Tevanian in Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs; arcs on The Mindy Project; Dr. Metzger on the Netflix series Sense8; ABC’s Cristela; and DirecTV’s Kingdom; as well as guest starring roles on Grace & Frankie (Netflix) and Snowfall (FX). He also stars in 5 other films being released this year - Larry Gaye: Renegade Male Flight AttendantThe AnswerSisterNobody Walks in LA, and Ctl Alt Delete. Recent television credits include: Bones, CSI: CyberThe Mysteries of LauraBetrayal1600 PennScandalFull CircleMistresses, Grey’s Anatomy, and The Closer. Film: Now You See MeA Single ManThe House BunnyShort Term 12I Am Not A Hipster, and IFC’s recent release The Den. Adam has a voice role in the 2015 Academy Award winner for Best Animated Short: Feast. Adam has recently stepped behind the camera to develop and produce The Nanny Ring, a pilot at ABC with partners Katie Lowes, Kerry Washington, and Shonda Rhimes, and to direct and edit the award winning web series Two Popular Girls’ Guide To.

Adam is a co-founder of LA’s IAMA Theatre Company, and was recently nominated for Ovation Awards for IAMA’s LA premiere of The Recommendation by Jon Caren (Winner Best Production 2014) and won for Best Lead Actor in the musical Hey, Morgan!, a world premiere comedy by Matthew Fogel and Isaac Laskin, directed by Matt Shakman at the Black Dahlia Theatre. He is also on the newly formed Board of Visitors for UMD's School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies.

Gail Berman (BA Theatre '78) gives master class at TDPS
In May, alumna producer Gail Berman (BA Speech & Dramatic Arts '78) gave a master class to TDPS students, moderated by John Ford (BA Speech & Dramatic Arts '64), about her successful career as a writer and producer in the industries of Hollywood and Broadway. In February, she also sent the cast of her new show Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life on Fox to present on the UMD campus.

Berman began her career as a theater producer after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in theater from the University of Maryland. At 23, she co-produced her first Broadway show, the original Broadway production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which went on to garner seven Tony Award nominations. She served as Executive Producer on both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off, Angel. Berman was President of Entertainment for Fox Broadcasting Company from 2000 to 2005 and President of Paramount Pictures from 2005 until 2007. She later became co-founder and co-owner of the media company BermanBraun, which was an innovator in the digital arena, creating and operating successful online brands in categories including celebrity, entertainment and lifestyle.

Today, Gail Berman is co-owner and founding partner of The Jackal Group, a production entity formed in partnership with Fox Networks Group. She was the first and only female executive to hold the top posts at both a major film studio and television network throughout her career. She also served as a member of the Board of Trustees at the University of Maryland and on the Board of Directors of the Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles’ preeminent non-profit theatre company which oversees the Ahmanson Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum and the Kirk Douglas Theatre.

 Upcoming Events
Meriam Rosen Scholarship Fundraiser, September 9th
Joe's Pub in New York City
Washington DC Alumni Networking event, early November
At the opening of TDPS' production of The Wild Party at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, College Park, MD

   Save the dates! More information will be forthcoming.   
Alumni in the News
In January, Bradford Wilkins (BA Theatre '08) was featured in a Forbes magazine article, "The Biggest Disrupters in HR Are Speed and Simplicity." - Read more

In February, Jan Johns (BA Theatre '00) was featured in Terp magazine for her recent work in voice acting - Read more
Jason Schlafstein (BA Theatre '08) was featured in the Washington City Paper for his work as producing artistic director of Flying V Theatre. The theatre company was the recipient of the John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company Helen Hayes Award in 2015 - Read more

In April, Cheryl Black (PhD '88) was inducted as a Fellow of the College of Fellows of the American Theatre at the Kennedy Center - Read more

Dr. Black was also named the Catherine Paine Middlebush Chair in Fine and Performing Arts at the University of Missouri in 2015.

In April, Dior Ashley Brown (BA Theatre '06) received a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award - Read more

In May, Vaughn Midder (BA Theatre '14) won a Helen Hayes Award for best supporting actor in a musical, for his role in “Avenue Q” with Constellation Theatre Company - Read more

See a full list of TDPS-affiliated 2016
Helen Hayes Award nominees here
This year, Anu Yadav (MFA Performance '12) received a 2016 DC Artist Fellowship and City Arts grant and completed a Catalyst Initiative grant award, for which she partnered with the Institute for Policy Studies, using her artistic and facilitation skills to support their strategic development.
In May, Kwame Shaka Opare (MFA Dance '13) was awarded the Brooklyn Academy of Music's (BAM) Chuck Davis Emerging Choreographer Fellowship to further his study of West African dance in Ghana - Read more
Alumni Organizations
After a 25-year career in marketing and public relations, Randi Thompson (BA, MA Communications '75) is now the CEO and Co-Founder of Kidsave, a non-profit working to find families and lifelong connections for older children growing up without parents in orphanages and foster care. The organization also runs the Summer Miracles program, which provides opportunities for older children in orphanages overseas to find permanent families through summer vacations with US families. 

“It began with exposure to the issue of children growing up without families and then the mid-life [question], Is that all there is, [do] I need to be doing something more meaningful with my time? moment.” 

Find out more about Kidsave
Darin Ford (BA Dance '00) is the founder and executive director of Men of Courage International (MOCI), Inc.—a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit Annapolis-based organization dedicated to helping men fulfill their duties as fathers, husbands, community members and leaders. MOCI provides a safe place for men to talk about how to reach their goal of achieving authentic manhood, defined as servant leadership. It also provides mental health and educational support for family members through partnerships with other nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

MOCI is achieving its mission of ending ‘fatherlessness” by enriching the families of Annapolis, Maryland and across Anne Arundel County through two programs; Strong Dads and CFEM.
“Strong Dads” is a program that partners with local schools to educate and support fathers and father-figures in the role they play in schools, in their homes, and in the community at large. (CFEM) Community and Family Enrichment Corp. of Maryland is a program that works with local businesses (non-profit and profit) and organizations to educate and strengthen community members, by providing and supporting events that foster healthy relationships through a keen focus on families.

Find out more about MOCI
Recent Publications & Placements

George S. Everly, Jr., PhD, ABPP, FAPM, FAPA (MA Speech & Dramatic Arts '74) published his book Stronger, about resilience in US Navy SEALs and other resilient people (2015)

Andy White (PhD '06) published his book Performing Orthodox Ritual in Byzantium with Cambridge University Press (2016)

Elizabeth (Beth) Osborne (PhD '07) published Working in the Wings: New Perspectives on Theatre History and Labor, a volume of essays she co-edited for Southern Illinois University Press (2015)


Cheryl Black (PhD '98) and co-editor Jonathan Shandell published Experiments in Democracy: Interracial and Cross-Cultural Exchange in American Theatre, 1912-1945 (Southern Illinois University Press, 2016), a volume of essays about interracial collaboration and socialization in early twentieth century American theatre

Last fall, Lindsey Snyder (PhD '09) was hired by the American Shakespeare Center in Stanton, VA, under a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Last fall, Patricia Mullaney-Loss (BA Dance '13) began working as a Program Associate for the International Arts and Artists non-profit organization in Washington, DC.

Jessie Laurita-Spanglet (MFA Dance '14) joined the faculty of the Wake Forest Department of Theatre and Dance in the fall of 2015 as a Post-Graduate Teaching Fellow in Dance

Marshalle Grody (BA Theatre '14) began a job with Princess Cruises, which she got through networking at a recent USITT conference with the support of TDPS faculty.

In February, Grace Wingo (BA Theatre '08) began a position as an ARTLAB+ mentor at the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
Do you have any recent publications or new job placements?
Contact us with your news.
Recent Performance Notes
  • Last summer, Kat Pace (BA Theatre '12) was offered a spot in Love Creek Productions theater company in New York City, and she was cast in her first full-length original off-Broadway play, Answers to Apathy
  • Last fall, Tiziano D’Affuso (BA Theatre '15) played the lead role in Dogfight at Keegan Theatre in Washington, DC
  • Last fall, TDPS alumni theatre company Pointless Theatre staged Gimme a Band, Gimme a Banana about Carmen Miranda, as part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival in Washington, DC; this spring, they presented Hugo Ball: a Dada puppet AdveNTurE!!/?1!!??, based on Dada movement figure Hugo Ball
  • Last fall, Tina Marie Casamento Libby (BA Theatre '88, CAPA scholar) created Chasing Rainbows: The Road To Oz, a the musical about the childhood of Judy Garland, and premiered the show at Flat Rock Playhouse in North Carolina; the show is scheduled for showing at Goodspeed Musicals before a potential Broadway transfer - More at
  • In September, Caroline Clay (MFA Performance '13) wrote and performed a staged reading of Sepia Sculptress: The Life & Trials of Edmonia Lewis at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage; she also played the role of Mrs. Jennings in Sense & Sensibility and the role of Titania/Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night's Dream, both at the Folger Shakespeare Library
  • Sarah Lasko (BA Theatre '13) is currently starring in the role of Dorothy in the national tour of The Wizard of Oz musical
  • In February, Erika Rose, Felicia Curry, and Ben Lurye (BA Music '09) were in the cast of OLIVÉRío at the Kennedy Center, along with Ivania Stack (costume designer; MFA Design '13) and Tim Jones (property designer; Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center staff)
  • In February, Anu Yadav (MFA Performance '12) presented her thesis work Meena’s Dream at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, with director Patrick Crowley (current PhD student) and stage manager Bobby Hunter (BA Theatre '13); she is currently starring in The Who & The What at Round House Theatre in Silver Spring, MD and is working on a commission to create a feminist adaptation of Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper for Imagination Stage
  • In March, Lisa Dalton (BA Theatre '75) opened her solo show, A. Chekhov’s The Darling, at the inaugural Fort Worth Fringe Festival; in April, as President of the Live Theatre League of Tarrant County (Fort Worth, TX), she produced the 23rd Annual Live Theatre League Awards Show; this summer, she is teaching at the National Michael Chekhov Association (for which she is President and Master Certifying Teacher) at New Mexico State University and the Chekhov Actors Boot Camp at the University of Southern Maine
  • In March, Yuval David (BA Theatre '01) played the lead role in the off-Broadway production of Daddy Issues; he plays the lead role in the new TV drama Code 1; is in the cast of ABC's hidden camera show What Would you Do; does voice-overs for Disney, ABC News, and documentaries; and is the host and producer of Pranks of Kindness - Find out more about his career on his acting reel
  • Beginning in March, Alan Mingo Jr. (BA Theatre '95) took on the role of Lola in Broadway's Kinky Boots, starting in March 2016
  • In April, Emily Oleson (MFA Dance '12) and Kwame Opare (MFA Dance '13) performed original choreography at Brooklyn Ballet's Roots & New Ground, featuring a combination of American Vernacular Dance, West African Dance, and Appalachian clogging and flatfooting 
  • In April, Hillary Templeton (BA Theatre '15) performed in the cast of Quilters at Rockville Musical Theatre in Rockville, MD
  • In April, Valerie Durham (MFA Dance '12) worked on Maenad’s & Muses: A Celebration of the Dances of Isadora Duncan & the Greek Ideal, presented at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, DC
  • In April, Jessie Laurita-Spanglet (MFA Dance '13) performed Alongside at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, in collaboration with Meredith Bove, Matthew Cumbie, and Sarah Beth Oppenhim (current MFA Dance student)
  • In May, Jeremy Goldman (BA Theatre '00) played the lead role of Dan in the musical Next To Normal at Silhouette Stages in Columbia, MD; he was also honored by DC Metro Theatre Arts as Best Featured Actor in a Musical, for his role of Patsy in Spamalot
  • This summer, Megan Adrielle Morse Jans (MFA Dance '15) will perform as part of the cast of Evita at Olney Theatre Center in Olney, MD
  • In the fall of 2016, Paige Hernandez (BA Theatre '02) will present All The Way Live as part of the Kennedy Center’s hip hop culture programming (with Q-Tip as artistic director)
Tell us about your recent performances!
Upcoming TDPS Season

We're proud to announce our 2016-2017 season
at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center:

The Call
By Tanya Barfield
Directed by Eleanor Holdridge 
Kay Theatre
September 30 – October 8, 2016

MFA Dance Thesis Concert
Waking Darkness. Waiting Light. by Colette Krogol and Matt Reeves
Kogod Theatre
October 7 – 9, 2016

The Wild Party
Book, Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa
Directed by Alvin Mayes and Scot Reese
Kogod Theatre
November 4 – 11, 2016

MFA Dance Thesis Concert
Bearglove for Cary. Ask Her. by Sarah Oppenheim
Full Circle: Bridging the Gap by Chris Law
Dance Theatre
December 9 – 11, 2016

The Importance of Being Earnest
By Oscar Wilde
Directed by Amber McGinnis Jackson 
Kogod Theatre
February 10 – 18, 2017

The Amish Project
By Jessica Dickey
Directed by Mitchell Hébert
Kay Theatre
February 24 – March 3, 2017

The Schooling of Bento Bonchev
By Maksym Kurochkin
Translated by John Freedman
Directed by Yury Urnov
Kogod Theatre
April 28 – May 6, 2017

UMoves - Undergraduate Dance Concert
Dance Theatre
May 6 – 7, 2017

New Visions/New Voices International Playwrights' Intensive reading in April (top) / Photo credit: Dylan Singleton
3rd Annual Black Theatre Symposium workshop in April (bottom left) / Photo credit: Treva Thrush
TDPS students at "Hamilton" at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway in February (bottom right)
TDPS students have the profound advantage of learning in a world-class facility, engaging with faculty and artists who are transforming the way we think, accessing information from a high-quality performing arts library, and participating in cross-disciplinary collaborations. Scholarships enable our academically and artistically talented students to devote time to their studies, take advantage of unparalleled growth opportunities, while fostering excellence in their field. Thoughtful support from alumni helps ensure that the School has significant financial aid to be more competitive with the top programs in the country—and to offer opportunities that transform students' lives.

Consider a donation to the following Dance and Theatre scholarship funds:
Give Now
Alumni Quotes

“The program was amazing and gave me a rock solid foundation to pursue doctoral training in two areas and ultimately work at Harvard and Johns Hopkins. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the department and the school.”
George S. Everly, Jr., PhD, ABPP, FAPM, FAPA (MA Speech & Dramatic Arts '74)

“At its heart, my graduate studies reinvigorated my curiosity in the world around me and allowed me to find ways to pull that into my teaching, which is especially helpful in higher ed teaching and in being a more invested performer.”
- Nicole McClam (MFA Dance '15)

“Because I was able to experience and was exposed to such a wide range of things at UMD [as a Dance major], I feel like now I have the focus and clarity on who I want to be as a professional artist. UMD has provided me with such an immensely supportive network of people, and I know I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if it wasn’t for them.”
- Candace Scarborough (BA Dance '12)
Have a memory, story, or photo
you'd like to share?

Send to TDPS alumni coordinator Kate Spanos at
Copyright © 2016 School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, All rights reserved.

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