Spotlight on Alums

Students graduating from the Department of Theatre & Dance go on to pursue successful careers as actors, dancers, directors, choreographers, technicians, teachers and arts administrators, among others. Some MSU Theatre & Dance alumni perform with prestigious theater and dance companies, while others have pursued graduate work with the goal of teaching in a college or university. Numerous alumni have opened their own studios or serve as teachers/administrators in the private sector. The MSU Theatre & Dance curriculum provides excellent preparation for a range of careers.

Alumni Profiles

Kevin Allen – Production Designer

Class of 1981: BA Speech and Theatre

Credits: TV – Money Line on CNN, CNBC New York, Larry King Live, Nick U-Pick Live!. Other – Amazon.com, Geico, Founder of KLAD Design Company. Awards – Emmy Award.

Erick Avari – Actor

Credits: Broadway – Tis Pity She’s a Whore and The King and I. Regional – King Lear and The Norman Project. Film – Planet of the Apes, Stargate, Independence DayThe MummyMr. Deeds, and For Love or Money. TV – Stargate SG-1, Cybill, Cheers, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Murder, She Wrote, and NYPD Blue.

Stephen Bienskie – Actor, Singer, Dancer

Class of 1989: BFA Acting/Directing/Tech Theatre Major

Credits: Broadway – Cats and Chess (revival). Tours – International Tour of Tommy, and understudy for national tour of Tommy. Off-Broadway – The Last Session, ZombieProm, and Slut. Regional – Avenue X, Balm in Gilead, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Pirates of Penzance.

Kevin Carolan – Actor

Class of 1990: BA Theater Studies

Credits: Broadway – Dirty Blond. TV – Curb Your Enthusiasm, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and Trinity. Other – Over 30 Commercials and a Stand-up Comedian.

Tom Leonardis – Producer

Class of 1986: BA Speech and Theatre

Credits: Broadway – Produced Whoop: Back to Broadway-The 20th Anniversary. TV – Co-executive produced Ruby’s Bucket of Blood, Sketch Off, Strong Medicine. Film – Claus. Other – Personal assistant to Whoopi Goldberg and President of One Ho Productions. Awards – Nominated for a Tony for Best Special Theatrical Event.

Gaspard Louis – Dancer

Class of 1993: BFA Dance

Credits: Dancer with Pilobolus Dance Theater

Karen Love – Dancer, Teacher, Choreographer

Class of 1993: BFA Dance

Credits: Founder of Umoja and Usaama Dance Theater

Gerard McIntyre – Actor, Singer

Class of 1984: BFA Acting/Directing/Tech Theatre Major

Credits: Broadway – Anything Goes, Once on This Island (revival), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (revival), and Uptown…It’s Hot!. Off-Broadway – Forbidden Broadway. TV – Law and Order, The Nanny and The Pretender. Gerard McIntyre IMDB Profile

Wilson Mendietta – Actor, Dancer

Class of 1997: BFA Acting major/Dance minor

Credits: Broadway – Man of La Mancha (revival) and Bombay Dreams. Regional work – A Chorus Line, West Side Story, and Camilla. Dance – performer with Shapiro & Smith Dance Co. Teacher – Culture Shock Dance Center, SUNY Purchase, and NYU Tisch. Awards – Nominated for Barrymore Award.

Krista Miller – Dancer

Class of 1993: BFA Dance

Credits : Dancer with Kevyn Wynn, Lucinda Childs.

Grace O’Brien – Stage Manager

Class of 2001: BFA Production Design

Credits: Stage Manager – Cirque de Soleil, Las Vegas.

Donna Scro-Gentile – Dancer/Choreographer

Class of 1991: BFA Dance

Credits : Dancer with Nikolais/Louis Dance Theatre & Sean Curran Dance. Artistic Director of Freespace Dance.

Sebastian Smeureanu – Dancer

Class of 1991: BFA Dance

Credits: Dancer with Pilobolus Dance Theater

Susan Speidel – Theatre Business/ Director

Class of 1978: BA Theater

Credits: Director of Education at Paper Mill Playhouse; oversees the Rising Star Award for Excellence in the Production of High School Musical Theatre; vocalist with the Key West Symphonic Pops.

Joelle Van Sickle – Dancer/Choreographer

Class of 1991: BFA Dance

Credits: Dancer with Nikolais/Louis Dance Theatre

Michele Tauber – Actress

Class of 1987 : BFA Acting/Directing/Technical Theatre Major

Credits: Off-Broadway – Romeo and Juliet, The Rivals, The Prodigal Cow and Dial M for Murder. Film – Funny Money. TV – The Street, Kate & Allie, and Law and Order.

Jill Witte – Lighting Designer

Class of 2003: BFA Production Design

Credits: Awards – Emmy Award for 2004 Winter Olympics.

John Wooten – Playwright, Director

Class of 1990: BA Theatre Studies

Credits: Published texts – Best scenes of 1998, Plays for Actresses, and Playing Contemporary Scenes. Play scripts – Trophies, The Role of Della, and The Mission Home. Artistic Director – Kean University’s Premiere Stages. Produced/Directed – over 50 Productions as Artistic Director of Theatrefest at Montclair State University. Memberships – Dramatists Guild. Awards – Nominated for American Critics Association New Play Award.

Stuart Zagnit – Actor

Class of 1974: BA Speech and Theatre

Credits: Broadway – Seussical, The Wild Party, and Those Were the Days. Off Broadway – Little Shop of Horrors, Enter Laughing, Lucky Stiff, Mr. President, Breaking up is Hard To Do, What Makes Sammy Run?, and The Grand Tour. TV – Law and Order, Shaman King, and Winx Club.

Dance Companies

Additional alumni have gone on to perform with such prestigious dance companies as: