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The Last Word

All the world's a stage for the 'Berg alums
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Recently I was given a writing assignment, something I thought would never happen again after graduation. I was asked to write about what life is like as a working actor post Muhlenberg. I was both honored and scared to accept such a task. After all, what does one say about being a working actor? Is there such a thing as a "working" actor?

But, I am very happy to report that indeed there is such a thing as a working actor, and many of us have recently graduated from the 'Berg.

Many Muhlenberg alumni recently came together for an event in New York City that turned out to be an unofficial reunion of sorts. During the event, I asked my fellow "Berg alums the same question that had been posed to me: “What has it been like for you as an artist after Muhlenberg?" I was very happy with the responses I received. Our alumni are working in the arts throughout the entire country.

Speaking with Kelly Vivian '00, I was informed about her many recent successes. Kelly has been hired by such prestigious theatre organizations as the Arkansas Repertory Theatre and the world famous Paper Bag Players of New York City. She is also currently acting and singing on a developing piece in Manhattan. Chrissy Benner '00 is the assistant director for "The Mad Woman of Chaillot" currently running Off-Broadway at The Neighborhood Playhouse in Manhattan.

Elmer Moore Jr. '99 has been dancing professionally with a plethora of companies both in and out of New York City and has recently been promoted to the position of executive producer of Ghost Light Productions.

After some success in the world of soap operas on the East Coast, Tade Reen '99 has moved out of Manhattan. Tade now resides in Los Angeles and is currently in search of his next opportunity. Mr. Reen has also finished writing a new screenplay, "The Last American Guido," with some songs written by fellow class of '98 graduate Josh Northridge.

Josh Sigal '01 is in the midst of DePaul University's graduate acting program in Chicago. Keiko Yamamoto '00 is also in the midst of graduate school; her next years will be spent in New Haven, Conn., at Yale University. Ms. Yamamoto spent last year successfully developing experimental theatre works in Manhattan on the fringe scene.

Zack Mannheimer '99 has written and co-produced works that have been seen on stages all over Manhattan. One of his recent works showcased many alumni including Pete Barry '97, John Dowgin '96, Adam Kaufman '95, Anthony Grinage '00, Ruben Ortiz '00, and Skip Moore '99. "Backstage," an actors' newspaper, favorably reviewed Mr. Mannheimer’s piece, which was presented as part of the New York City Fringe Festival.

Josh Hinden '00 has just landed himself a position with the Manhattan Theatre Club as a resident stage lighting electrician, and Adam P. Matyseck '99 is working as a production assistant for "The Education of Max Bickford" featuring Richard Dreyfuss.

Kenneth Baldino '00 had been teaching classical acting to youngsters at The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival and currently has had success on the regional theatre circuit. Since finishing an internship last year with the Cincinnati Ensemble Theatre, and developing masterful puppetry skills on the side, Mr. Baldino can be seen today on the stage of the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre in a hysterically funny play "The Front Page."

Ryan Gardner '01 shared the glories of Muhlenberg Summer Theatre's (MST) smash hit "Crazy For You" with Cheryl Galaga '01. Ryan then traveled to Martha's Vineyard for a revival of his famed interpretation of Sparky in "Forever Plaid" at the Vineyard Playhouse. Cheryl has been on the stage in Detroit as part of the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular in a four-person song and dance review.

Matt Allar '00 is consistently working on the design scene of Manhattan and his work can sometimes be seen in two different plays at two different theatres at the same time.

Nathan Lombardi '00 was an entertainer for three months on the cruise ship Costa Clissica, sailing from Venice to other ports of the world. He earned his Actor’s Equity Association card while working on a national tour of "Amelia Bedilia and the Baby," and his recent movie "Minevillie" has just been picked up by Propaganda Films.

Jessica Damrow '94 also appeared this summer in MST's production of "Crazy For You." She is currently planning to direct and act in a production of "Twelfth Night" with Scott Lazzar '95 as Sir Toby Belch alongside several other alumni in what is sure to be a sensational production of the classic Shakespeare tale.

Other alumni who appeared on the MST stage this season were Rachel Shapiro '01, Kelly Vivian '00, Demos Tsilikoudis '98, Jared Benn '01, Michael DeAngelis '01 and myself.

Before appearing on the MST stage for the third time, I was acting with the Milwaukee Repertory Theater for a full season in what proved to be a very beneficial internship. Following the glorious summer in "The Last Night of Ballyhoo," alongside fellow alumni and Muhlenberg College's Associate Acting Professor and Artist-in-Residence Devon Allen, I made the move back to the Midwest. This time, however, I was headed for Chicago. Since my arrival the PROP THTR has cast me in "1001 Afternoons in Chicago," my first Chicago show!

These events were just some cases of alumni news that crossed my path. They speak highly to the amount of work that is being developed by our alumni. The network that Muhlenberg College artists have been developing is growing stronger by the minute. There are plays in the works, and productions featuring our alumni all over the United States.

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