When most students think of famous Drama Department alumni, Tina Fey comes to mind. But many students don’t realize there are multiple other distinguished alums who got their start within that same University department. With names ranging from Mark Johnson, producer of “Breaking Bad,” to Lear deBessonet, director of public works at the New York Public Theater, the Drama Department has trained professionals who have achieved success both on screen and behind the scenes.
“All of these [famous alums] are wonderful people,” Drama Prof. Bob Chapel said. “They were wonderful students and great people in the department. You had a good idea they were going to probably do something out in the world in a bigger way.”
Beyond Fey, some of the University’s biggest on-screen alums include Sarah Drew and Jason George from “Grey’s Anatomy,” Sean Patrick Thomas from “Save the Last Dance,” Ben McKenzie from “The O.C.” and Emily Swallow from “The Mentalist.” From the beginning, drama professors noticed exceptional skills in these performers.
“Something that was the hallmark of all these actors was a very particular and lively sense of humor,” Drama Prof. Richard Warner said. “They are incredibly playful, imaginative artists.” ....
After graduate school, many of these University alums moved to New York or L.A. to work in theater or television. Like Drew and George (Sarah Drew and Jason, McKenzie ended up in L.A. after he received a role on “The O.C.”
“Ben [McKenzie] was quiet — there was sort of a James Dean quality to him,” Warner said. “He was a very subtle actor. He had a real truthful quality to everything he did. He was a fearless actor that could erupt. All of a sudden he would explode and his energy would be really watchable.”
photo : The Thrilling Adventure Hour (Sept. 2012)