Theatre graduates take the next step

Highlighter & Laureate,
Summer 2003





Recent theatre graduates Jessica Cloud, Tim McKernan and Amanda Stein are successfully moving on with their careers.

Last February, the three went to New York City where they auditioned at the University and Resident Theatre Auditions (URTA). URTA auditors evaluate theater prospects for their graduate and professional acting programs. Auditions are held annually in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. One hundred and sixty students from around the country auditioned in the first round. Of those 160, 40 were chosen to go on to the second round, including all three UDM students.

“They received interviews from 24 different programs, including UC-Irvine, Rutgers, Southern Methodist, Ohio State, Penn State and Indiana, and the professional companies: The Cleveland Playhouse and The Actors Theatre of Louisville,” says Yolanda Fleischer, associate professor of Theatre.“That looks like a 100 percent track record. It happens nearly every year for us.”

The three young actors are currently investigating their options. Besides graduate school, they are considering preparing their resumes for professional work in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles. To that end, they are auditioning in area professional theatres to earn their Actor's Equity cards.

McKernan has already done several well-received roles at the Jewish Ensemble Theatre, while Cloud performed at Performance Network last summer and again this spring. Stein is pursuing modeling and commercial work.

UDM’s theatre graduates continue to be successful and present in Detroit theatre. This year, in fact, many received nominations and several won Detroit Free Press Theatre Excellence Awards. Cloud was nominated for "The Runner Stumbles," a play from the 2002-2003 UDM Theatre Company schedule; Travis Reiff (’00) for directing; James Bowen (’75) won Best Actor. Professor of Theatre Arthur Beer also won Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Denial” at the Jewish Ensemble Theatre.

Graduates are also making their mark across the country. Rick Frederick is managing director for the European Repertory Theatre in Chicago. Karen Kron (’94) is also an actress with this group.

“Whatever their direction,” says Fleischer, “these bright and talented UDM actors have a wide horizon open to them.”