NOTABLE & RECENT ALUMNI
Beth Malone was nominated for a 2015 Tony Award and Grammy for her game-changing role of “Alison” in Fun Home. Malone most recently starred as the titular character in the world premiere of The Unsinkable Molly Brown, directed by Kathleen Marshall at the MUNY. She originated the role of June Carter Cash in Ring of Fire on Broadway, as well as the roles of Betty Jean in The Marvelous Wonderettes and Alison in Bingo off-Broadway. Other off-Broadway and regional credits include Fun Home(The Public Theater), Annie Get Your Gun (CMT) and Sister Act (Alliance Theatre). On film, Malone can be seen in Taylor Hackford’s The Comedian. Her television television credits include Braindead, Bull, The Good Wife, Reno 911, Judging Amy, Laying Low, What’s On?, One Minute Soaps and the Fox pilot Second Nature.
“When I got a callback for Angels in America revival on Broadway the first person I told was Annie Loui. The re-imagining of the Angel in this production was intensely physical utilizing all my contact improv and devising skills as well as puppetry and the ability to integrate all of this with text. It’s as if Annie knew one day I’d be asked to wear all of these hats at once and systematically prepared me for that moment in time. I wrote to her again to tell her I’d booked the job and to thank her for the care she put into our time together and for the courage her work continues to inspire in mine.”
Jenn Colella has a Best Actress Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards and Tony Award nomination for playing "Beverely Bass" in Come From Away. She has been seen on Broadway in If/Then, Chaplin, High Fidelity and Urban Cowboy (Outer Critics Circle Award nomination) and off-Broadway in Beebo Brinker, Lucky Guy, Slut and Closer Than Ever. Her regional work includes Annie Get Your Gun (PCLO); Peter Pan (Sacramento Music Circus); Side Show (Kennedy Center). She's been seen on screen in Feed The Beast, Elementary, All My Children, The Good Wife and Rescue Me.
“Without Annie Loui, I would not have had the guts to work with Twyla Tharp. But I did. With no formal dance training, armed only with three years of movement education under Ms. Loui’s guidance, I was cast as the lead of the Twyla Tharp/Bob Dylan musical The Times, They Are A-Changin’. Not unlike Twyla, Annie Loui understands that spatial awareness, partnering tools, an active imagination, and a courageous heart are all one needs to enhance her natural capacity to trust her instincts and, subsequently, create a vocabulary of movement that is deeply connected.”
National Tour: The Book of Mormon. Off Broadway: Love’s Labour’s Lost. Regional: Chautauqua Theatre Company, Bay Street Theater, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey, B Street Theatre, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Atlanta Shakespeare Company. TV: “Little America,” “The Code.” MFA: University of California, Irvine. @iamoge
“My time at UCI certainly helped propel my career and I, quite often, reflect on the memories made there. There’s nothing like the baptism by fire of a rigorous graduate school program to prepare you for...LIFE.”
Sepideh Moafiis a Brooklyn-based artist. She currently stars in the HBO series The Deuce, and has starred in various shows on Showtime, Amazon, USA, ABC, NBC, & CBS. Sepideh was recently praised amongst NY theater critics for her work as Scheherazade/Dahna in the off-Broadway world-premiere of One Thousand Nights and One Day. She has played lead roles in the award-winning festival films Quest and Best Man in the Dark. She has been part of the development of new works at The Public Theater, Signature Theater, Atlantic Theater Co., LABrynth, and New Dramatists.
Byers best known as series regular, Anika Calhoun, in the Fox musical prime time drama, Empire, playing opposite Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson. She performed Off-Broadway in many shows, including in Venus Flytrap: A Femme Noir Mystery, and Rent. Chicago productions include The Misanthrope and Tartuffe.
BEN JACOBY made his Broadway debut as "Barry Mann" in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, a role he held for over three and a half years. He originated the role of "Raoul" in the 25th Anniversary National Tour of The Phantom of Opera and has worked regionally at the Milwaukee Rep, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Weston Playhouse, Gulfshore Playhouse, and Marriott Lincolnshire among others. Television credits include appearances on The Good Wife, Madame Secretary, and Ava DuVernay's When They See Us for Netflix.
"I needed a ton of work when I got to UCI as a first year. I'm still not sure how I got in. But--even for me--the goal of the instruction was to take what was working and add to it. I'm a much more honest listener, mover, and speaker on the stage and screen than I was when I got there, and I still try to bring the inquisitiveness my teachers demanded into every project I do. Deciding to attend UCI was the first "career move" I ever made...and it was one of the best."
Off-Broadway: The School for Scandal (Red Bull Theater). Regional: Antony and Cleopatra, Macbeth, Hamlet, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Playboy of the Western World, The Foreigner, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Lend Me a Tenor (Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival); Twelfth Night, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Shakespeare in Love, The Great Gatsby (Orlando Shakespeare Theater).
Jade Payton is an actress, known for Daybreak (2019), iZombie (2015) and The Rookie (2018). In 2019, Paytonbegan appearing as Vanessa in The CW's Dynasty.