Check back for new featured alumni throughout the semester and join our alumni database. This semester’s alumni features are recent graduates Bobby Becher, Savannah & Vivian Reach, and Stephen Tyler Davis.
What have you been up to since you graduated? Directly after graduating, I rejoined UA’s professional theatre company, SummerTide, for the (record-setting) fourth consecutive year. After SummerTide, Stacy Alley pointed me in the direction of the “Edutainer” department at Gyeonggi English Village Paju Camp, in South Korea. The Edutainers create completely original ESL musicals as a part of a government subsidized, English immersion theme park. I was hired as an actor/composer thanks to an arrangement of “I Drove All Night” by Céline Dion I conceived for Guerrilla Theatre. Upon leaving GEV, my girlfriend/business partner and I obtained the rights to some of the shows we created with the hopes of adapting them for the families of America.
Where are you now?I moved to NYC in August 2014. WhatFun! Theatre Company was born, and eventually one of the shows I co-wrote – Rapunzel in the Wild West – was accepted into the FringeJR division of the New York International Fringe Festival.
What advice would you offer for current students about to enter the field? Get your degree and get out of there. Don’t let yourself get trapped trying to save up or make a plan. Just get on the plane. Be flexible. Maybe you’re Nick Burroughs and you’ll walk off the Gallaway stage and onto the Broadway stage, but if you’re not, it’ll be there for a long time. Long enough for you to hop on a cruise, go out on tour, work at a theme park, etc.
Do you have a favorite story from your time at UA? The huge tornado that came through T-Town in Spring 2011 had a particularly large effect on our graduating class. Showcases were cancelled, APO events were postponed, and graduation was put on hold. Despite all of this, a group of APO members got together in some members’ back yard, and held the “Alphies”. Raphe showed up and made little paper towel diplomas for each of the graduating seniors and handed them out to us after the ceremony. It was such an amazing scene, and special for all of us who were there. We truly are one.
What have you been up to since you graduated?After graduating in May 2014 with my dance degree, I continued working on my Masters Degree in Organic Chemistry. I was able to finish my Masters at an accelerated rate due to the University Scholars Program, which allowed me to work on my Bachelors and Masters Degrees simultaneously. For the first part of the fall semester, I was torn between pursuing a PhD in Organic Chemistry or an MFA in Dance. I researched graduate school opportunities in both areas. I finally decided to pursue an MFA Degree in Dance, with the University of California Irvine being my top choice. Their graduate program offers a unique Dance Medicine and Science track, which would be a perfect collaboration for my background. After a very intensive audition process, I was honored to not only be accepted in the the MFA Graduate Program at UC Irvine, but to also receive full funding through a fellowship and a teaching assistantship.
How do you think UA prepared you for what you are doing now? The University of Alabama developed my skills in leadership, research, service, and performance. I was blessed to have a strong support group of professors and mentors, who challenged me to pursue tasks that seemed impossible. I feel confident in my abilities to pursue an MFA Degree in Dance Medicine and Science. I do not know what the future will bring, but I know I am prepared.
What advice would you offer for current students about to enter the field? Be your best and believe in your abilities. Do not compare yourself to anyone else. Find your passion and then work hard to REACH your goals. “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
What do you hope to accomplish in your career? I decided to apply to graduate school at the University of California Irvine because of their collection of research topics. My science background equips me to use my research skills to study human kinesiology and movement analysis. I plan to conduct research on the scientific execution behind mechanical motion in dance and the correlation between organic processes with dance choreography. I am pursuing an MFA Degree in Dance with the goal of one day becoming the Dance Department Director at a University.
Vivian Lee Reach
UA Theatre & Dance, 2014
Bachelor of Arts (Dance)
What have you been up to since you graduated? Since graduating in May, 2014 I have been preparing for graduate school. This February, I was awarded a fellowship and teaching assistantship at the University of California Irvine. My college experience at the University of Alabama enhanced my love for both classic literature and dance. In May, I was introduced to Inferno by one of my past English professors as a “fun summer read.” I then decided to focus my research for graduate school on Dante’s Inferno. This summer, I was invited by Professor Giuseppe Mazzotta to visit Yale University to collaborate and combine our ideas on Dante’s Inferno.
What does a typical day look like for you? Surprisingly when I first wake up, coffee is not on my agenda. My mom has the best homemade lemonade recipe, so three tall glasses in the morning are essential. I have ballet class every MWF from 8-9:50 with the brilliant Shaun Boyle. After ballet I go back to my apartment and either study, work on choreography, or read Lord of theRings. Throughout the week, I have classes in Dance Science, Bibliography and Research, Movement Analysis, and Graduate Choreography. Every day is different, but for me three things are a requirement: drinking lemonade, studying, and writing letters to my family.
Do you have a favorite story from your time at UA? My favorite story from my time at The University of Alabama was practicing and performing the Rumba with Dean Olin for the Arty Party Fundraiser. Being ballroom champions, I was honored to have Professor Rita Snyder and her husband, Dr. Richard Richards, choreograph and rehearse our dance. This experience proves, without a shadow of doubt, that The University of Alabama has unbelievable administrators, such as Dean Olin, who take the time and effort to support every student. This type of dedication brings together the students
and the faculty in “Sweet Home Alabama.”
What do you hope to accomplish in your career? In the future I would love to teach choreography at the University of Alabama, publish my novel, start a food blog, be in a Star Wars movie, and last but not least be a backup dancer for Justin Timberlake.
Stephen Tyler Davis
UA Theatre & Dance, 2006
Bachelor of Arts (Acting/Directing)
What have you been up to since you graduated? I moved to New York to be an actor, but I have much more to give. I rallied a group of colleagues and formed a company of theatre artists with a mission to create and produce new work. I wrote a musical, Huckleberry Haywood, that premiered at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2012. After that, I started working on number of other projects including an original children’s musical called Monkey Boogers, which premiered in NYC in 2014 and is set (fingers crossed) for an Off-Broadway run in the Spring 2016. I now serve as Artistic Director for CitySalt Theatricals.
Where are you now? I started my second year of graduate school at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. I’m studying to receive my MFA in Theatremaking. I love this program because there are no set tracks for actors or directors or playwrights. It is truly “choose your own adventure.” I’m writing
3 new shows, directing a show for the fall season, taking 12 classes, while also serving as the Graduate Student Senate President.
How do you think UA prepared you for what you are doing now? I had the great honor of serving as President of the Alpha Psi Omega Theatre Honors
Fraternity my junior year at UA. Theatre is about collaboration, teamwork, and a mutual respect within an artistic community. The relationships I made with the incredible company of APO is something I truly treasure. We were a family and many of those people are still very close to me today. Looking back, that was the greatest preparation, and most magical learning experience I could have ever asked for.
Do you have a favorite production from your time at UA? I never thought I’d say this, but I think it was Two Gentleman of Verona. What a wild and wacky show. We were so angry that the faculty chose it for the season, but it turned in to one of the most fun theatrical experiences of my life. I miss that cast!
What advice would you offer for current students about to enter the field? Don’t wait for someone to give you your big break- make your own work! Youhave a voice that the world has never heard. Hone in on that voice. Be kind to yourself. Be present. Set goals. Save your money.