News from University of Iowa Theatre Arts
News from University of Iowa Theatre Arts

Dear Iowa Theatre Alumni and Friends:

After a week of sub-zero temperatures and a couple of feet of snow, our semester is warming up!

We just closed our first mainstage production of the semester, Clare Barron’s Dance Nation, directed by Sarah Gazdowicz (2023 MFA, Directing). We are so proud of everyone who dedicated their time to this empowering meditation on youth, femininity, and the drive to succeed. Please enjoy the photo gallery below and explore the colorful world of competitive dance.

We are excited for another semester full of great performances including Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods directed by Stephen Thorne (1997 MFA, Acting) and Tarell Alvin McCraney’s In the Red and Brown Water directed by Caroline Clay.

As always, we genuinely love staying connected with our alumni and we are eager to hear your updates. If you have news to share about your accomplishments or the work of a fellow Iowa Theatre grad, please let us know.  


Mary Beth Easley  

Chair of the Department of Theatre Arts 

Associate Professor, Head of Directing 

West Illinois Glass House

By Alex Lead
 Feb 16 to Feb 18, 2024
 Alan MacVey Theatre

The Obituary

By Xiaoyan Kang
 Feb 23 to Feb 25, 2024
 Alan MacVey Theatre

Into the Woods

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by James Lapine
Orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick
Directed by Stephen Thorne

Mar 1 to Mar 9, 2024
E.C. Mabie Theatre

Sincerely, Not Seriously

By Søren Olsen
 Mar 22 to Mar 23, 2024
 Alan MacVey Theatre

Dance Nation Photo Gallery


Clare Barron's Dance Nation, presented Feb 2-10, 2024 in David Thayer Theatre


Department News

  • Wednesday, March 27, 2024, is One Day for Iowa, the University of Iowa's 24-hour online giving day. We hope you’ll join other Hawkeye alumni who donate to support their alma mater on this designated day.

  • The UI’s annual “Dare to Discover” campaign showcases researchers, scholars, and creators from across the University of Iowa. The campaign features banners in downtown Iowa City recognizing selected student researchers and is accompanied by a website with profiles of the selected students. This year Theatre students Monté J. Howell (MFA, Acting) and Natanael Payán (BA) were featured on the website and banners in downtown Iowa City. Clara Reynan (2020 BA in Theatre Arts and Religious Studies) has also been featured in the campaign.  

  • Sara Alvidrez (BA) receives 2024 Global Access Ambassador Scholarship to study abroad this semester in Torino, Italy. The scholarship supports students who study abroad with the intent to serve as Global Access Ambassadors upon their return to the UI campus. READ MORE.

Find Department of Theatre Arts News and Updates Anytime HERE.

Alumni News


Help us celebrate the exciting work being done by Department of Theatre Arts alumni!

  • Kristin Clippard (2013 MFA, Directing) was recently in a production of The Sound Inside by Adam Rapp at Urbanite Theatre in Sarasota, Florida. The show was the best reviewed production of the theatre’s 10-year history. Jay Handleman of the Sarasota Herald Tribune said, “it is all beautifully and naturalistically staged by Kristen Clippard that never feels forced.” The play, which premiered in 2018, focuses on two lonely writers who connect in an unconventional and complex way. To read more about Clippard’s production, please see Marty Fugate’s glowing review. Clippard’s next project is Lindsay Ferrentino’s Ugly Lies the Bone at Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota.

  • Amy Rodriguez (2021 BA) is honored to return to the University of Iowa for the national tour of Broadway’s Hairspray. Rodriguez will to play the musical’s lead character, Tracy Turnblad for the 7:30 p.m. show on Saturday, Feb. 24, and the 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Feb. 25. READ MORE.

Amy Rodriguez (center) as Tracy Turnblad in the touring production of Hairspray

  • Kelly "Kiki" Abba (2008 BA) will be performing in The Lower Depths by Maxim Gorky with a new translation at Intiman Theatre in Seattle, WA as part of their 50th anniversary season in February. In March, Abba will be performing in The Moors by University of Iowa Alumni Jen Silverman (2011 MFA, Playwrighting) at Seattle Public Theatre.

  • Sam Collier (2015 MFA, Playwriting) is working on a PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder.

  • Mexodus, a new show by Brian Quijada (2011 BA), is being produced at Center Stage in Baltimore from March 14 to April 7. In Mexodus Quijada and Nygel D. Robinson blend Hip-Hop and history to tell a unique story about the Underground Railroad that led south, highlighting the power of Black and Brown unity. 

  • Elizabeth and Emily Hinkler (2014 BAs) recently costarred in the motion picture film Good Burger 2.

Elizabeth and Emily Hinkler at the Good Burger 2 Premiere

  • Sandra Cavenaugh (1996 MFA) is a speaker, coach, and educator who has taught thousands of successful actors, writers, directors, and more. Cavenaugh uses techniques developed over almost 40 years to provide profound wisdom and deceptively simple strategies for teaching us to expect, respect, and maximize the unique creative genius in ourselves and all those around us. In her internationally bestselling book, SPONTANEOUS BRILLIANCE, she illuminates the meta meaning of Shakespeare’s assertion that “All the world’s a stage...” with her playful and powerful metaphorical, metaphysical guide to sharing your unique creative genius in this 24/7 Improv on the great stage of life. The feature film adaptation of her play AVATARA is currently in post-production. 

  • David Adjmi’s (2001 MFA, Playwriting) new play, Stereophonic, is going to Broadway. The show will begin previews on April 3, 2024, ahead of an April 19 opening night at Broadway’s Golden Theatre. The play, directed by Daniel Aukin, completed a Playwrights Horizons’ Off-Broadway run on Dec. 17, following a three-week extension. Read More.

  • Greg Jackson (1990 BA) returned to UI last month as an actor with the national tour of Broadway’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Read More about Jackson’s journey to the Hancher stage.   
  • Eric Holmes (2016 MFA, Playwriting) co-edited the recently released Decentered Playwriting for Routledge Press. Decentered Playwriting is a collection of essays by writers and scholars from around the globe presenting writing tools, techniques, and exercises informed by an underrepresented culture, tradition, or methodology.

  • Cristina Pippa (MFA 2005) was commissioned by The 92nd Street Y in New York to write an adaptation of The Tempest, which was recommended by The New York Times this past spring. Her new show, Ice Queen, a musical adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story, opened at 92NY this February. She is also the Director of the MFA in Dramatic Writing and Screenwriting Programs at Missouri State University.

  • Eric Marlin (2019 MFA, Playwriting) developed a new play, Shot List, in residence at the Baryshnikov Arts Center this past fall. The dramaturg for the piece was Luke White (2020 MFA, Dramaturgy).

  • Bo Frazier’s (2020 MFA, Directing) production of Jonathan Larson’s Tick, Tick ... Boom! has garnered FIVE Jeff Award nominations! In a Facebook post, Bo said “Congrats to the entire team who made this life-changing revolutionary musical happen. This is for the trans folks who came before us and paved the way.” Bo’s production was also featured in American Theatre for showcasing an all transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming cast. The show, produced by BoHo Theatre and directed by Frazier, opened at the Edge Theater in Chicago on January 12. Read More.
  • American Theatre previewed the Goodman Theatre premiere of Highway Patrol, a new collaboration between Jen Silverman (2011 MFA, Playwrighting), Dana Delany, and Mike Donahue. The production is a thriller that mines the archives of Delany’s Twitter and will run through February 18. Read More.

  • Margo Skornia (MFA Dramaturgy 2023) serves as the resident dramaturg at First Woman Productions, a production company that develops and produces projects for television, film, stage, and work for young audiences.


Faculty News

  • Lisa Schlesinger’s new opera, Ruinous Gods: Suites for Sleeping Children, a collaboration developed by Schlesinger and Layale Chaker, will premiere at the Spoleto Festival USA in May 2024.The opera focuses on displaced children who suffer from resignation syndrome, a rare trauma response to the state of living in the limbo of displacement. The project is fostered by a vibrant team including Maya Zbib and Omar Abi Azar, from Zoukak Theatre in Beirut, Lebanon, bring narrative depth and emotional resonance through their direction and dramaturgy. They are also collaborating with Joelle Aoun (Scenic Design) and James Ingalls (Lighting Design) and producers Mena Mark Hana and Liz Keller-Tripp at Spoleto. For More.

  • After a sold-out run last year and being named a Minneapolis Star-Tribune Critic's Pick, Walking Shadow Theatre Company is remounting its production of Megan Gogerty's FEAST, a one-woman feminist retelling of the Beowulf story.

Image from Megan Gogerty's FEAST

Coming Soon to Hancher


Directed by Jack O’Brien 
 Choreographed by Jerry Mitchell 
Feb 23 to Feb 25


Music by William Menefield
Libretto by Sheila Williams
Directed by William Menefield

Apr 26 to Apr 27, 2024

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