Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Where Are They Now?

School of Music Alumni

Han-Yuan Wang
B.M. Music Performance: Instrumental and Piano Emphasis 2007

Han-Yuan WangSince her piano debut with the Alton Symphony Orchestra, Han-Yuan has performed with the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra, Sangamon Valley Youth Orchestra, String Arts Ensemble, and Alton Symphony Orchestra. Han-Yuan has also attended many music festivals including her most recent trip to the European American Music Alliance program in Paris, France at the Ecole Normale de Musique, where she studied with Dr. Philip Lasser (Juilliard School) and Dr. Benjamin Boyle. Han-Yuan worked as Starter Strings instructor at Glenwood Intermediate School in Chatham, IL and Adjunct Instructor in the Millikin University Preparatory Department shortly following graduation. She was also an active accompanist at Millikin University, accompanying Class Voice, juries, lessons, opera workshop, and opera rehearsals. Active in music education, Han-Yuan is a frequent adjudicator for IMEA district auditions and IHSA solo and ensemble and is a member of Music Teacher National Association and American String Teacher's Association. In addition, she is a full time member of the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and Eastern Illinois University Orchestra and has been a substitute for the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and Danville Symphony Orchestra. Han-Yuan has recently accepted a full time teaching position in Utah at Wasatch Academy, an international boarding school. Before heading to Utah, Han-Yuan will be attending the International Chamber Music Festival in Bulgaria as an accompanist and second violinist in the Shostakovich quintet.

Jessica Rzeszutko
B.M. Music Education: Vocal Emphasis 2006

Jessica RzeszutkoFollowing graduation, Jessica assumed a long-term substitute position for the spring of 2006 at Waukegan High School in Illinois. In the fall of 2006, she began teaching full time at Friendship Jr. High School in Des Plaines, IL.  At Friendship Jr. High School she teaches general music and drama in addition to directing the school’s three curricular choirs and extra-curricular ensemble, The Firebird Singers, which has received First Place or Division I ratings at all of their competitions. Jessica is also responsible for the schools two musicals. She is currently attending VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, IL for a Masters of Music in Education. In addition to her work at Friendship Jr. High School, Jessica remains active with the direction of her church’s children’s choir, musicals with the Children’s Theatre of Elgin, teaching private voice and piano lessons, as well as regular competition in races and triathlons.

Garrett Taylor
B.M. Music Performance: Vocal Emphasis 2005

Garrett TaylorSince graduating in 2005, Garrett has had the honor of appearing as guest soloist at the National D.A.R. Convention in Washington, D.C., with the New York City Master’s Chorale, in recital work, and in numerous Cabaret performances at Don’t Tell Mama in New York City. In 2006 he accepted a job as musical director, pianist, and vocal coach at the New York City campus of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. When not at AMDA, he can be found working as an arranger and pianist at NYU for the Cap 21 program or in the summers at the Professional Musical Theatre Workshop at Manhattan School of Music as a pianist. In the past few years Garrett has worked on the Broadway National Tours of Sweet Charity and Little Women.  He spent the past fall with Norwegian Cruise Lines as a pianist, musical director, and performer. Garrett was recently accepted into the voice studio of Tony Award Winner Victoria Clark (Light in the Piazza) and landed a job as a substitute pianist on the Broadway show Wicked. Garrett is a proud member of AFM Local 802.

Chris Nolte
B.M. Commercial Music 2005

Since leaving Millikin, Chris has been busy as a freelance bassist and educator in the Central Illinois area. He recently finished his Master's degree in Jazz at the University of Illinois in Champaign and is currently working on his Doctorate at the same University. While studying at Illinois, Chris has become a staple of the Champaign-Urbana music scene. He also regularly performs throughout Illinois and the Midwest, including Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Louisville and Cincinnati, as well as New York and Toronto. This past summer, Chris and his wife Catherine (BS '06) performed in Bali, Indonesia. Chris has had the privilege to work with Willie Akins, the Woody Herman Band, Slide Hampton, Stefon Harris, David "Fathead" Newman, Chuchito Valdez, Joel Spencer, Ron Perrillo, Eijiro Nakagawa, Marvin Hamlish, Monica Mancini, and The Maynard Furguson Birdland Dream Band and Big Bop Noveau Band. In 2008, Chris returned to Millikin as instructor of the Commercial Bass studio.

John Cardoni
B.M. Commercial Music 2004

Following graduation, John moved to Springfield, IL to teach private guitar lessons. He is also a part-time faculty member in the guitar department at Millikin University. In addition to teaching, John tours with The Micah Walk Band.  The group has recorded two full-length albums: Bright Side Fantasy in 2008 and Change in 2006. While in college, John was privileged to travel to the Dominican Republic with the Jazz Band and One Voice and sit first chair in the primary Guitar Ensemble. John also composed, arranged, and managed booking for an independent 9-piece fusion group called Public Display of Funk until they disbanded in 2005.

T.J. Johnson
B.M. Music Business 2004

T.J. began his professional career working at the Ravinia Music Festival in Highland Park, IL as a Production Assistant for the Steans Institute for Young Artists and the Main-stage Production Office.  T.J. had the fortune of securing a second job with Midwest Young Artists (MYA), a leading youth music program. when Ravinia's season completed at the end of the summer of 2004. T.J. was excited to pursue a career in arts administration and this was the perfect opportunity to explore all aspects of the business.  While at MYA, T.J. was exposed to the world of philanthropy and took on a large array of responsibilities including proposal writing for corporate, foundation, and government grants, the pursuit of concert sponsorships, and the implementation of MYA's Annual and Endowment Campaigns. Additionally, T.J. coordinated the design and advertisements for the annual concert program and participated in ensemble coaching and music theory instruction. The most remarkable opportunities for T.J. came through participation in international concert tours where he accompanied student musicians on tours to Spain and Portugal in 2005 and China and South Korea in 2007. In the fall of 2007, T.J. was hired by Children's Memorial Foundation in Chicago, IL as a Development Officer for Corporate and Foundation Gifts. At Children's Memorial he manages charitable contributions to the hospital through a large portfolio of private foundations.  T.J. was a violinist in the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra and still plays today in the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra and for weddings and other church services in the Chicago Metropolitan area.

Andrew Ryker
B.A. Music 2003

Andrew RykerStage director Andrew Ryker is the Artistic Director of Boston Opera Collaborative and teaching fellow at New England Conservatory in Boston, MA.  He has served on the directing staff at Opera North and New Jersey Opera Theater and has directed productions for New England Conservatory, Boston Opera Collaborative, and the Intermezzo Chamber Opera Series. Andrew previously served on the faculty at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, MA as well as Illinois Central College in East Peoria, IL. A versatile vocalist, Andrew has been heard with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops, College Light Opera Company, Overture Productions, New England Conservatory Opera Theatre, Trinity Church, and La Musica Lirica of Italy in addition to recital appearances in the United States and Europe.  He received his master's degree from New England Conservatory and was the recipient of the Goldovsky Directing Internship at the Harrower Opera Workshop in Atlanta.

Darice Bailey
B.M. Commercial Music; B.S. Accounting 2001

Darice BaileyFollowing graduation, Darice worked as a cost accountant for Caterpillar, Inc. in Decatur, IL before moving to Santa Monica, CA where she became senior accountant for a nonprofit affordable housing firm called the Community Corporation of Santa Monica. After joining the Pasadena Symphony in 2005, she quickly was named General Manager/CFO of The Orchestras of Pasadena, a unification of the Pasadena Symphony and Pasadena POPS. Darice currently performs, tours and records regularly as a keyboard player and backing vocalist with Los Angeles-based bands including The Broken West, Silverface Champs, the U.S. Mail Band, Jason Rossi, the Eugene Edwards Band and Actionslacks.

John Schleppenbach
B.M. Music Business, Business Administration Minor 2000

John "Jay" Schleppenbach is an attorney at Jenner & Block LLP in Chicago, IL. His practice focuses on the litigation of complex civil matters, including class action securities litigation and international arbitrations. He recently published an article on the enforcement of international arbitral awards in Dispute Resolution Journal. He also has a thriving pro bono practice which has included two criminal appeals to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and a successful asylum application for a Cameroonian man who had been jailed and beaten for his political views. Prior to Jenner & Block, John served as a staff law clerk for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. John is also a graduate of Second City's Conservatory program in both comedy writing and improvisation and frequently performs shows at various venues in Chicago with his group, The Success Method.

Peter J. Engle
B.M. Music Business 2000

After graduating from Millikin, Pete moved to Los Angeles, CA to begin working with the respected talent agency, Kazarian Spencer & Associates before moving to his current position as Director of Dance and West Coast Theatre for Clear Talent Group (CTG). CTG is a full service talent agency with offices in Los Angeles and New York. The agency has emerged as the go-to agency for professional dancers and singers. From The Academy Awards and the casts of Wicked and A Chorus Line, or on stage with artists like Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown and Beyoncé, Pete’s clients can be seen in every facet of the entertainment industry. He is continually grateful that he gets to work with some of the most talented dancers and singers in the world every day.

Aaron Humble
B.M. Music Education: Vocal Emphasis, Theatre Minor 2000

Aaron completed a Doctorate of Music in Vocal Performance and Literature from Indiana University shortly after leaving Millikin. He currently sings with Cantus, a nine-member professional, male, vocal ensemble based in Minneapolis, MN.  During his tenure with Cantus, Aaron has enjoyed solo appearances with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, The Minnesota Orchestra and the Boston Pops. Performing with Cantus has taken Aaron from the Library of Congress and the Kennedy Center to Cameroon in West Africa.  In addition to singing, Aaron is also the Artistic Co-Director of Cantus. Oratorio credits include: Seven Last Words of Christ (Dubois and MacMillan), Schumann's Die Rose Pilgerfahrt, Bender's St. Mark's Passion, Gounod’s St. Cecilia Mass, Handel’s Israel in Egypt and Messiah, as well as numerous Bach Cantatas. Operatic credits include Tamino in Die Zauberflote, Jenik in Bartered Bride, Pedrillo in Die Einfuhrung Aus Dem Serail, and Harlequin in Der Kaiser von Atlantis.

Matthew West
B.M. Commercial Music 1999

Matthew WestMatthew catapulted onto the Christian music scene in 2003 with his debut single, "More,” which was the most played Christian AC song of 2004.  He is a multi-Dove Award nominee and has released two critically-acclaimed Universal South recordings including Happy in 2003 and History in 2005. Matthew has toured with such artists as tobyMac and BarlowGirl. In addition, West has penned songs for Rascal Flatts, Billy Ray Cyrus, Natalie Grant and Mandisa, among others. His third studio recording, Something To Say, released in January 2008 made Matthew the best-selling Christian artist on iTunes the week of its release. The album’s debut single and title track additionally peaked at No. 1 on Christian AC radio.

Jennifer Malenke
B.M. Music Performance: Vocal Emphasis 1998

Jennifer MalenkeJennifer was recently a Faculty Member (series regular) on ABC’s “High School Musical: Get in the Picture.”  She has been seen in the Tony-winning revival of Into the Woods on Broadway and most recently originated the role of Barbara in the world premiere of Twice Upon a Time at the Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities in Redondo Beach, FL. She also originated the role of the Bride in Hotel C’est L’amour at Noah Wyle’s Blank Theatre Company in Los Angeles, CA. Jen has been seen in many regional productions including The Pirates of Penzance and Sondheim’s Saturday Night at Musical Theatre West Long Beach in Los Angeles, Into the Woods at Fulton Opera House in Lancaster, PA, Cats and Kiss Me, Kate at the Gateway Playhouse in Bellport, NY, big, the musical and Carousel at Drury Lane Oakbrook in Chicago, IL, among others. Jennifer has also performed at World AIDS Day concerts in NYC and sings at the Upright Cabaret in Los Angeles. In addition to her performance credits, Jennifer has also taught voice and piano at the Studio New Canaan in Connecticut, at the M:Gray Music Academy in Hollywood, and at the Burbank Music Academy in California.

Stacy Williams-Jackson
B.M. Music Education: Instrumental Emphasis 1998

Stacy Williams-JacksonStacy is now in her seventh year as Music Department Chair at Lincoln-Way Central High School in New Lenox, IL. A suburban school of over three thousand students from five communities, she oversees four bands, four choirs, an orchestra (which she directs), two percussion ensembles, a guitar studio class (created and directed by her husband, 1997 Millikin Alum Nate Jackson), and fourteen other piano, music technology, guitar and music seminar classes.  Stacy’s program teams with extracurricular opportunities that include Lincoln-Way Central Marching Knights, the Lincoln-Way Madrigals, winter drum line and color guard, and an active jazz program, which she directs. Stacy taught and coordinated Lincoln-Way Youth Strings and was the District I jazz representative for the Illinois Music Educators Association until 2006. Feeling adamantly that musical opportunities should be offered to everyone, Stacy developed Individualized Music in 2001 for students with developmental disabilities. When not at Lincoln-Way, Stacy enjoys life with her husband Nate and their sons Perry (named after MU music professor Perry Rask) and Béla—and can sometimes still be seen sitting in with the Decatur Big Band from time to time. Jackson loves being an advocate for her department and an inspiring force for her students. One of the biggest compliments she receives comes from students who decide to become music educators and attend Millikin for their degree.  “So much of education is simply giving back to the world all that you received from those who inspired you.  It will be my life’s work to give back all I received at Millikin, and I know I will enjoy the journey that goal will insure.”

Patrick Dill
B.M. Music Education: Vocal Emphasis 1998

Patrick DillPatrick began his teaching career as the Assistant Choir Director at Alief Hastings High School in Houston, Texas. Two years later, he joined the fine arts faculty at Anderson High School in Austin, TX as Director of Choirs and Coordinator of AP Music Theory & International Baccalaureate Music. During his tenure at Anderson, choirs under his direction performed at the 2004 & 2008 Southwest Divisional Conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and the 2007 Music Educators National Conference (MENC) Southwest Symposium. As a clinician, Patrick has conducted several honor choirs and presented interest sessions at both the Texas Music Educators Association and Southwest MENC Conventions. Additionally, he maintains an active schedule as a church musician, adjudicator, and novice carilloneur. In 2005, Patrick was awarded the Silver Apple Award for excellence in teaching by the CBS affiliate in Austin, KEYE News. 

Jaime (Farrey) Hall
B.M. Music Education: Instrumental Emphasis 1998

Hall completed her Masters Degree in Clarinet Performance from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, IL in May of 2000.  While completing her studies there, she performed in a graduate woodwind quintet and the University Orchestra and served as a Graduate Assistant for the Woodwind Division. She has performed as a guest artist with the Nequa Valley, IL High School Bands, the Rockford Concert Band and the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra. She has participated in the Sunflower Music Festival in Topeka, KS and the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Brunswick, ME. From 2000-2004 Jaime ran a private studio of over 30 young aspiring clarinetists in Bloomfield Hills, MI, and performed with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra. Jaime currently lives in Grand Rapids, MI with her husband and two children and works as a full-time mother. Jaime also teaches 15 private clarinet and piano students, as well as performs as a sub musician in a local orchestra.

Kerry Muzzey
B.M. Music Performance: Piano Emphasis; Dance Minor 1992

Kerry MuzzeyAfter graduating, Kerry moved to New York City to apprentice with the music director of ABC soap operas. He then spent eleven years working for MTV, while simultaneously scoring independent films and cable documentaries. In 2006, Kerry became a full-time composer; his music can be heard on many tv shows including, Oprah, The Martha Stewart Show, 1000 Places to See Before You Die, and Kathy Griffin’s Life on the D List. Kerry’s music can be heard in the films Amexicano, Hole in the Paper Sky, and The Unforeseen, a documentary produced by Robert Redford and Terrence Malick and premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival winning an Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary. Kerry is currently developing a TV show and a movie with Jessica Biel’s production company, Iron Ocean Films, and scoring several series pilots for The History Channel, and the Discovery Channel’s Apocalypse How? He recently had a new album released on iTunes.

Andy Grobengieser
B.M. Commercial Music 1991

Andy GrobengieserAndy received his Masters Degree in Music Theory from the University of Texas in 1993, and from there embarked on a musical career that took him to theatres all across the country as a musician on national tours such as Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, and The Lion King. Andy eventually landed on Broadway, where he currently works as a keyboardist and Assistant Conductor for Disney's The Little Mermaid and can be heard on the show's bestselling cast album along with Sierra Boggess, Millikin Alum 2004. Other major Broadway and tour credits include Music Director for Altar Boyz, Associate Conductor for Elton John's Lestat, and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Andy is also active as a freelance arranger and orchestrator, and creates pop sheet music arrangements for the Hal Leonard Corporation. He currently serves as an adjunct professor of Music Theory at Pace University in Manhattan.

John Fremgen
B.M. Commercial Music 1991

After graduating from Millikin, John moved to Los Angeles to pursue a Masters in Music at the University of Southern California. After finishing his degree, he moved to Austin, TX, where he is currently Associate Professor of jazz studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He has recorded three albums for the Viewpoint label--"Meanwhile", "Pieces of String" and "If Not Now" featuring Peter Erskine, Shelly Berg and Mitch Watkins among others. He has been the primary bassist for CBS recording artist PJ Olsson for over 15 years, and has appeared on four of his records, as well as music spots on TV shows such as "CSI", "The Ghost Whisperer", "NCIS", "Alien in America" , "Dawson's Creek"and "Late Night with David Letterman". John also plays bass regularly for legendary jazz drummer Butch Miles and internationally renown pianist Shelly Berg, among many other Texas jazz artists. Music has taken him across the USA, as well as to Germany, Switzerland, The Hague and St Petersberg, Russia. His big band arrangements are published through Walrus Music Publications and he endorses MTD basses and Acoustic Image amplifiers.

Art Alumni

Alida Duff
B.F.A. Studio Art 2006

Alida DuffUpon graduation from Millikin, Alida Duff discovered a passion for teaching and art management. Since 2006, she has taught at Richland Community College (RCC) in Decatur, IL as an instructor of photography. There, she teaches both beginning and advanced courses in traditional darkroom media. She also manages the RCC photography laboratories and is an active member of the RCC graphic arts advisory council. In addition, Duff facilitates the David Erlanson Gallery, producing monthly exhibitions there and at the Lincoln Square Theatre in Decatur. She regularly shows her artwork in various exhibits, including the exhibition of pieces in several academic permanent collections. Currently, Duff is working toward an M.F.A. in photography, while also organizing several service learning projects geared toward bringing awareness to art and art education in and around the Decatur area.

Ben Cohan
B.F.A. Studio Art: Painting and Printmaking Emphasis 2006

Ben Cohan is currently enrolled in an M.F.A. program at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL. He has worked with the Graduate Association of Painters and Printmakers, where he currently acts as president. Cohan’s work has evolved since graduating from Millikin; however, he has retained some of the same conceptual motivations for his paintings such as flatness, composition, color, shape and abstraction. Having been interested in the visual breakdown of fields, roads and skies, his compositions reflect a ruralesque (as opposed to Picturesque) view of the Illinois landscape, in which he finds visual interest in the flatness of the state and the palette of blues, grays, greens and browns. Cohan still keeps in contact with his personal mentor, Millikin professor Lyle Salmi, and hopes that he can one day teach drawing and painting.

Dana Drozd
B.F.A. Art Education: Ceramics and Printmaking Emphasis 2003

Dana DrozdAfter her Millikin graduation, Dana Drozd taught ceramics in Maine at a summer camp, enjoying four seasons there as a member of the Art team. In 2005 she served in the Americorps NCCC program, traveling the Southeast and volunteering with non-profit organizations. Her full-time teaching career began in an elementary school in the suburbs of Chicago before she was invited to teach at an International High School in Nairobi, Kenya. Drozd is currently in the process of continuing her studies, working on a Master's Degree in Education and serves as head of the art department at a British high school near London, England, where she has taught Art and Design for the past two years.

Angie Zielinski
B.F.A. Studio Art: Painting Emphasis 2003

Angie ZielinskiAngie Zielinski is a cross-disciplinary artist, pulling from the influence of abstraction while exploring the possibilities of installation. She received an M.F.A. in Studio Art in 2006 from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Her thesis show, “The Space Between Windows,” consisted of large-scale mixed media drawings and smaller monotypes and paintings. Zielinski’s work has been shown nationally in juried and invitational exhibitions. In January 2007, she had her first solo exhibition at the Parkwood Gallery in Toledo, OH, where she created an installation made entirely of common-use materials and based thematically on instances of celebration and chaos. Her current work investigates events that can be interpreted as celebratory or violent, depending on personal and cultural beliefs. In 2007, Zielinski took a position as Assistant Professor of Art at Idaho State University in Pocatello, ID, teaching undergraduate and graduate painting and drawing. In April 2008, Zielinski exhibited her most recent sculptural installation at the Stephens Performing Art Center in Pocatello.

Katie Hinton
B.F.A. Studio Art; German Minor 2003

Katie HintonIn 2004, Katie Hinton continued her education by attending a Post-Baccalaureate program at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD and graduated in May 2007 from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI, where she received her M.F.A. in painting. Hinton’s approach to painting was heavily influenced by Abstract Expressionism and her background in classical ballet. These influences on her paintings incorporated the representation of the body's movement through space. Hinton’s experimentation with different materials guided her into creating sculptural paintings that moved beyond pictorial space. Hinton has received The Pilchuck School of Glass Scholarship and The Women's Committee Merit Scholarship of Cranbrook Academy of Art for her studies. She has shown her work in a number of exhibitions including “Wayne State University Exchange Exhibition” in Detroit, MI, “New American Talent: The Twenty-First Exhibition” Arthouse in Austin, TX, “Artist as Mentor” at McClean County Arts Center in Bloomington IL, and the Cranbrook/Daimler Financial AG “Emerging Artist Exhibition” in Berlin, Germany. Her works are included in the Daimler Financial AG collection and the Cohen collection. She currently lives and works in Decatur, IL.

Kim Frieders
B.F.A. Studio Art 2000

Kim FriedersKim Frieders is an abstract painter and mixed media artist based in Chicago, IL. Her professional career began with non-profit juried exhibitions including the National Drawing + Print Exhibition, Chicago Art Open and Around the Coyote Arts Festival, from which she earned three Curator’s Choice distinctions. Frieders also began volunteering for the Chicago Artists’ Coalition and other arts organizations, including ARTbitch, a peer critique group. Her involvement with these organizations led to group shows at several alternative spaces and a solo exhibition with the Chicago Public Library. Group exhibitions with galleries in Chicago have included Judy A Saslow, Ai and Polvo and a group and solo exhibition with Stephen Kelly Gallery. In 2007, Frieders was invited to join the Infidel Group and Parts and Labor Collective, with whom she participated in several self-governed exhibitions, including roles as artist, organizer, host and curator. Frieders received a CAAP grant from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs in 2006 and in spring 2007 was chosen for The Artist Project, an independent artists’ fair concurrent with Art Chicago. The following summer, Frieders completed her first public artwork, an 11x33’ mural, as part of the Bloomingdale Mural Project, for which she acted as curatorial committee member. Her work has been included in web and print publications, most recently with a cover story and image in the Chicago Journal. Frieders also had two large works on a six-month installation at the public lobby in downtown Chicago.

Cheryl Paswater
B.F.A. Studio Art 2000

Cheryl PaswaterCheryl Paswater received her M.F.A. in painting from Pratt Institute in New York and is now based in New York City. Her work is largely comprised of paintings and works on paper; however, Paswater also works in printmaking and has recently begun working in sculpture and installation art. Cheryl is best known for her large scale, abstract, oil paintings on wood. Her work has been exhibited at various galleries including the Pratt Institute and Artist’s Space in New York, the Harrison Center for the Arts in Indianapolis, IN, J. Martin Gallery, and the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art. She has been an Artist in Residence at the Vermont Studio Center and the Cooper Union Summer Residency Programs. Paswater returned to the Vermont Studio Center in the summer of 2008 on a full fellowship. She is currently part of the studio residency program at chashama.

Michael Wille
B.F.A. Art Education 1998

Michael WilleAfter graduating from Millikin, Michael Wille spent a short time living on the Zuni Indian reservation in New Mexico, where he taught and learned about the Zuni lifestyle, before pursuing an M.F.A. degree in painting at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH. Since completing his M.F.A. studies, he has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the country at venues such as the Toledo Art Museum, Oklahoma City Arts Center, Thomas McCormick Gallery in Chicago, and Hoffman LaChance Contemporary in St. Louis. In 2007, he was a featured artist in Mapping The Terrain: New Directions on Abstract Painting in Louisiana. His works on paper are also part of the Boston Drawing Project at Bernard Toale Gallery in Boston. In addition, Wille’s paintings have been featured in the Midwest edition of New American Paintings three times. His work is a part of the corporate collections of The Four Seasons Hotel in Boston, the Renaissance Suites Hotel in Chicago, Vinson & Elkins LLP in Houston, and the Avalere Health LLC in Washington, DC. Wille has recently lectured about his work at Temple University in Tokyo, Japan and the North American Society of the Sociology of Sport conference in Pittsburgh, PA. In addition to keeping an active studio practice, Wille is an Assistant Professor of Art at Illinois State University in Normal, IL, where he teaches a wide range of courses within the Painting and Drawing curriculum, including mentoring M.F.A. students. Wille was awarded the Illinois State University Service Initiative Award in 2005.

Nathan Cox
B.F.A. Studio Art 1997

Nathan Cox has exhibited his mixed media drawings and sculptural ceramic vessels in over seventy five solo, group, juried or invitational exhibitions, where it has won numerous awards.  As a professor of art, he has taught a wide range of courses including drawing, painting, graphic design, sculpture, and ceramics at several Illinois colleges and universities such as Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Western Illinois University in Moline, Monmouth College in Monmouth, and at Bradley University in Peoria, where he received his M.F.A. in 2000. In the summer of 2002, Nathan moved to South Carolina to develop a ceramics program at Anderson University, where he currently teaches sculpture and freshman foundations art. In 2007, Nathan received a South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities Excellence in Teaching Award, and was named a lifetime Fellow of the Hambidge Center for the Arts and Sciences.

Richard Keen III
B.F.A. Art Therapy 1995

Richard Keen IIIRichard Keen III has taught and worked in the visual arts for 10 years while actively exhibiting in commercial, nonprofit and university galleries throughout New England and the Midwest. He currently lives in Topsham, Maine and balances his art career by working on Casco Bay as a mooring diver. His abstract seascape paintings reflect a deep connection to his time spent working on the ocean and has been exhibited in Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont. Throughout his career, Keen’s work has been accepted in numerous regional, national and international juried exhibitions and has been reviewed in local and regional papers including “Art New England.” Recently, several of his “Area Below Water” paintings were selected by Wes LaFountain for inclusion in Greenhut Galleries “Fusion: 10 Maine Encaustic Artists,” in Portland, ME. Keen was awarded a "Good Idea Grant" by the Maine Arts Commission during the 2007 season to assist him with his ongoing "Area Below Water" series. His work was selected for the Biennial “Encaustic Works 2003” at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY by Tracey Bashkoff, Associate Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum and for the 2002 National Cambridge Art Association’s “National Prize Show” in Cambridge, MA by Lisa Dennison, Director and Chief Curator at the Guggenheim Museum. 


Theatre & Dance Alumni

Drew Nellessen
B.F.A. Musical Theatre; Dance Minor 2007

Drew NellessenSince graduating from Millikin, Drew has performed in several productions at Stages in St. Louis, MO, including Crazy for You, Dan in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and in Thoroughly Modern Millie, the production for which he earned his Actors’ Equity Card. Drew finished a six month national non-equity tour of Chicago before starting the Broadway national tour of Chicago.

Tiffany Topol
B.F.A. Musical Theatre 2007 

Tiffany TopolTiffany moved to Chicago after graduation. Her Chicago credits include, Luciana in The Boys from Syracuse at Drury Lane Oakbrook, IL, Nunsense, Seussical and The Wizard of Oz at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, IL, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood at Noble Fool Theatricals in St. Charles, IL. Tiffany performed in the Broadway national tour of Xanadu and starred in A Chorus Line at the Gateway Playhouse in Long Island.

Kyle Fowler
B.F.A. Musical Theatre; Dance Minor 2007

Kyle FowlerAfter graduating Kyle performed as Charlie Brown in the musical Snoopy! and in A Little Night Music at Stages in St. Louis, MO. Immediately after the closing of Night Music, Kyle flew to Los Angeles, CA, to rehearse and perform as the Lead Singer for the Holland American Cruise Line ship, the MS Veendam. Kyle’s voice can be heard on the original cast recording of the new musical Make Me A Cowboy and recently performed the role of George in the national tour of Irving Berlin’s I Love a Piano.

Erik Floor
B.A. Theatre 2006

Erik FloorOriginally from Cary, IL, Erik is now a resident of NYC, and is represented by Clear Talent Group. His regional credits include: Don Lockwood in Singin’ in the Rain at Cape Fear Regional Theatre in Fayetteville, NC, Johnny Pride in the premier performance of the new musical Crazy Love, the title role in Pal Joey and Joe/Josephine in Sugar at Naples Dinner Theatre in Naples, FL, and Jesus Christ Superstar and Lucky in Dames at Sea at Porthouse Theatre in Cuyahoga, OH. Erik has also been seen in national commercials for Target and Shoe Carnival.  In association with the Entertainment Design Group out of Atlanta, GA, Erik has been featured in numerous industrials in GA, NC, IN, IL, and NV. Erik is a proud member of Actors’ Equity. Most recently Erik was seen in The Producers, The Will Roger’s Follies and Urban Cowboy at Gateway Playhouse in Long Island, NY. He returned to perform in Gateway’s Holiday Spectacular 2008: A Century of Christmas.

Jeremy Blair
B.A. Theatre, Dance Minor 2006

Jeremy BlairAfter graduation Jeremy moved to Chicago to begin a career in dance.  During his first year in Chicago he was able to put his dance training and circus experience to use with such professional companies as AMEBA Acrobatic and Aerial Dance, Chicago Moving Company and Khecari Dance Theatre.  Jeremy is currently spending his second season with Thodos Dance Chicago.  With the diverse company he is able to perform and tour nationally as well as teach modern dance throughout Chicago and showcase his work as a choreographer. Jeremy has also been involved in Chicago-area theatre, including working with the Lookingglass Theatre. In addition he is a certified Hatha Yoga instructor and teaches for the Chicago Sport and Social Club.

Ian Liberto
B.F.A. Musical Theatre, Dance Minor 2005

Ian, a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association, has performed in musicals across the country. In addition to his training at Millikin, Ian became an apprentice with Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. He has received dance scholarships from Gus Giordano, The Ballet of Chicago, and the Alabama Ballet. After graduating from Millikin he spent a year on the road with the national tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie. His regional credits include The Most Happy Fella starring George Hearn at the Ravinia Festival, Sweet Charity and Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Gateway Playhouse, The Producers, The All Night Strut, and The Nutcracker at Marriott Lincolnshire, A Chorus Line at Broadway Palm West, and Oklahoma, Grease, Grand Hotel, Pirates of Penzance, Hello Dolly, 42nd Street, Swing, Beauty and the Beast, and Joseph...Dream Coat at The Little Theatre On the Square. Ian is currently a swing for Promises Promises on Broadway.

Brian Marshall
B.F.A. Design/Technical 2005

Brian MarshallBrian has toured North America with several productions including the national tours of The Producers and Rent as the Head Electrician and the national tour of Care Bears Live! as the Lead Follow Spot Operator. Currently, Brian is working as the Assistant Head of Lighting on Cirque du Soleil's international tour of Corteo, and will leave North America with the show in 2009 to begin a 16 month tour of Japan.

Angie Balsamo
B.A. Theatre; B.A. Spanish 2005

Angie BalsamoAngie completed an M.F.A. in Theatre in 2008 at SUNY Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, NY. She has completed an internship in Artistic Administration with the Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago, IL and a Literary internship at Northlight Theatre in Skokie, IL. Angie is a certified Vocologist and recently won the LMDA KCACTF National Award for Dramaturgy. Her regional credits include dramaturging and dialect coaching for productions with the Minneapolis PlayLabs in Minneapolis, ME, Asolo Theatre in Sarasota, FL, Airmid Theatre Company in Long Island, NY and HERE Arts Center in New York City, NY. Angie is currently a faculty member at Stony Brook and an adjunct professor at City College of NY.

Bryan Lefeber
B.F.A. Musical Theatre, Dance Minor 2005

Bryan, a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Association, signed with an agent at Millikin’s yearly senior New York Showcase. Since graduating, he has performed in several productions at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park including Hello Dolly, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Mame, A Flea in Her Ear and Kiss Me, Kate. Recently, Bryan performed in the ensemble, as well as understudied various roles in the Las Vegas production of Monty Python’s Spamalot. Bryan is currently performing in Cirque du Soleil's LOVE in Las Vegas as the Romantic Nowhere Man.

Tyler Albright
B.A. Theatre, Dance Minor 2005

Tyler AlbrightSince graduating in 2005, Tyler has performed in regional theatres across the country including Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Fireside Theatre in Fort Atkinson, WI, La Cage aux Folles at the Cohoes Music Hall in Cohoes, NY, Cats at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Ft. Myers, FL and The Pajama Game at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre in Lancaster, PA. However, it is the musical 42nd Street that seems to be Tyler’s lucky charm. He has performed in productions of the tap extravaganza at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre, The Fireside Theatre, and the Asian tour performing in South Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand. Tyler recently completed the national tour of Chicago and 42nd Street at the Goodspeed Opera House.

Don Smith
B.F.A. Musical Theatre 2005

Don accepted a position as the Director of Musical Theatre at Oakbrook Academy of Music & Art in Oak Brook, IL in 2007 after previously teaching workshops and guest directing musicals at the academy on and off since 2002.  In the '08-'09 Season he is directing Lucky Stiff, Seussical, The Winter One Act Plays and the first non-equity production in Chicago of the recent Broadway musical ALL SHOOK UP.  Previous directing credits at Oakbrook Academy include Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Once on This Island, Bye Bye Birdie, and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.  After graduating from Millikin, Don spent two and a half years in New York City working as a performer, teacher, nanny and film extra (most notably in Spiderman 3). Previously he has taught voice and drama for Applause Theatrical Workshops/Broadway Babies in NYC, Little Theatre on the Square in Sullivan, IL, and The Grand Lake, Colorado Park District. In the fall of 2008, Don was hired as the Fellowship Choir Director for First Congregational Church of Downers Grove, IL and continues to bring new life and energy to the teen ensemble. Also since moving to Chicago he has performed with AlphaBet Soup Productions Children's Theatre in The Christmas Toyshop.  Don is thrilled to bring his love for music and theatre to the youth of the Chicago land area in so many ways and is excited each day to share the things he learned while at Millikin.

Anthony Majewski
B.F.A. Musical Theatre, Dance Minor 2005

Anthony MajewskiAnthony, a new member of Actors’ Equity Association, has traveled all over the U.S. and performed with many theatres including the Fulton Opera House in Lancaster, PA, the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Mesa, AZ, and the Dutch Apple Theatre in Lancaster, PA. He also performed in A Midnight Frolic starring Helen Gallagher and Jane Summerhays in New York City. Recently Anthony was seen in Damn Yankees at the Carousel Dinner Theatre in Akron, OH and in 7 Brides for 7 Brothers at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre in Indianapolis, IN.

Sierra Boggess
B.F.A. Musical Theatre 2004

Sierra BoggessSierra Boggess, a native of Denver, Colorado, is currently starring as Ariel in the Broadway production of the The Little Mermaid. In February 2009, she performs alongside Kristin Chenoweth in the week long performance of Music in the Air. During her college years she performed roles in regional productions at the nearby Little Theatre On the Square in Sullivan, IL as Polly in The Boyfriend, Mabel in Pirates of Penzance and Rizzo in Grease. After performing in Millikin’s New York Showcase during her senior year, she signed with an agent. After graduating, Sierra played Maria in West Side Story and made her touring debut as the understudy for Cosette in the Broadway national tour of Les Miserables. This was quickly followed by the role of Binky in the workshop of the pre-Broadway David Zippel musical Princesses which was performed at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, WA and Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT. Next, Sierra performed the role of Christine opposite Brent Barrett as the Phantom in the Las Vegas Production of Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian. While performing in Phantom she was called in to audition for, and ultimately landed the role of Ariel in The Little Mermaid on Broadway. Sierra is currently in workshop for the sequel to Phantom of the Opera set to open on the London West End and then on Broadway in late 2009/10. 

Eric Sharp
B.F.A. Acting 2003

Eric lives and works in Minneapolis, MN and has been seen on stage at Theatre de la Jeune Lune (The Miser, Lettice and Lovage), Pillsbury House Theatre (Breaking Ice, Chicago Avenue Project), Frank Theatre (Mother Courage and Her Children, By the Bog of Cats), Children's Theatre Co. (Peter Pan), Nautilus Music-Theater (Man of La Mancha), Park Square Theatre (Romeo & Juliet), Live Action Set (The Piano Tuner), Walking Shadow Theatre Co. (Mr. Marmalade).  The Southern Theater with director, Jon Ferguson (Or the White Whale), and as the young Dalai Lama in TigerLion Works' Minneapolis and New York productions of The Buddha Prince.  He works regularly with Mu Performing Arts, the Midwest's premiere Asian American theatre company where he has performed in A Midsummer Night's Dream, the world premieres of new works for the AA stage like Bahala Na, and the award-winning comedy, Ching Chong Chinaman as well as serving as Assistant Coordinator for Shaping Our Voice & Vision: The 2nd National Asian American Theater Conference. Eric is also a co-founder of Perpetual Motion Theatre Co., which has become a regular at the Minnesota Fringe Festival since debuting in 2005 with their original ensemble-created play, Common Frequency.  In '07 the company toured its fringe smash, The Depth of the Ocean to the Toronto Festival Fringe. In addition to his stage work, Eric also makes his living as a voiceover artist and on camera in commercials, industrials, and independent film. He recently performed in The Buddha Prince in New York's Central Park in the summer of 2009.

Nathan Claus
B.A. Theatre 2002

After graduating from Millikin, Nathan spent a year stage managing in the St. Louis opera community before moving to New York.  His early New York stage management experience included the critically-acclaimed Off-Broadway premieres of Blackbird with Jeff Daniels and Alison Pill, Eduardo Machado's The Cook, the musical Grey Gardens, the revival of The First Breeze of Summer with Leslie Uggams, and a site-specific production of To Kill a Mockingbird.  He also stage managed the hit musical, SHOUT!, both Off-Broadway and in West Palm Beach, Florida.  On Broadway, Nate has been fortunate to work on David Mamet's November, with Nathan Lane and Laurie Metcalf, and on the Tony-winning trilogy, The Norman Conquests.  He is currently the resident PSM for the Gingold Theatrical Group, which produces the monthly reading series, Project Shaw, and is the resident ASM for the modern dance company, Jennifer Muller/ The Works.  He is currently working on the Broadway play, God of Carnage.

Brianna Borger
B.F.A. Musical Theatre 2002

Brianna BorgerBrianna has been performing steadily since graduating. Most recently, she headlined the International Asian tour of The King and I. Other national tours include A Christmas Carol and Gypsy. In Chicago, she performed in the world premiere of The Three Musketeers at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre as well as in the closing cast of The American Girl Revue.  Brianna’s regional credits include Me and My Girl at Music Theatre of Wichita in Wichita, KS, Sarah Jane Moore in Assassins at the Alaska Shakespeare Festival in Fairbanks, AK, and several roles at the Wagon Wheel Theatre in Warsaw, IN. Brianna also teaches voice lessons and audition workshops for all ages, and runs Pink Chair Web Design, an independent website design company geared specifically to performing artists. She recently accepted a position at Roosevelt University. 

Eric Abbott
B.F.A. Design/Technical 2002

After graduating from Millikin, Eric was the Master Electrician for NETworks Presentations touring production of Seussical: The Musical. This led to work in New York City, where he was the Assistant Electrician for the Broadway productions of Legally Blonde: The Musical, The Color Purple, and The Wedding Singer. Additionally Eric has worked internationally on the Korean and Japanese tour of Cabaret and the London productions of Jersey Boys and Gypsy. After working on the Las Vegas production of Jersey Boys, Eric became Master Electrician for the Broadway show 9 to 5.

Carey Anderson
B.F.A. Musical Theatre 2001

Carey AndersonCarey made her way from Millikin to New York's Great White Way, where she was the longest running Sophie in Mamma Mia!, a part she first understudied and then performed in the 2nd national tour. Before moving to New York, Carey worked at theatres across the country including the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Ft. Myers, FL, Shadowlands Theatre in Ellenville, NY, Rocky Mountain Repertory in Grand Lake, CO and Creede Repertory Theatre in Creede, CO. In New York City, Carey has performed in several staged readings including Pride and Prejudice, Picnic at Hanging Rock at Lincoln Center, and Ever After. Carey recently starred in the Broadway production of Avenue Q as Kate Monster/Lucy.

Beth Albright-Miller
B.F.A. Musical Theatre 2001

Beth AlbrightAfter graduation, Beth returned to her hometown of Dallas, TX and has enjoyed continued success in numerous theatres in the area. Some of her favorite roles include Rebecca in RAGS at the Eisemann Center in Richardson, TX, Into the Woods and The Mystery of Edwin Drood at the Water Tower Theater in Addison, TX, A Year with Frog and Toad  at Dallas Children’s Theatre and A Man of No Importance with the Uptown Players in Dallas. Beth has also originated the role of The Pig in the world premiere performances of If You Give a Pig a Party for Dallas Children’s Theatre and the role of Neely O’Hara in Valley of the Dolls for the Uptown Players. Beth was one of seven actresses selected to perform in Broadway Our Way, a concert benefiting the Dallas Theatre League.

Shawn Renee Lent
B.F.A. Theatre, Dance Minor 2000

After graduating in 2000, Shawn went on to get a Masters degree in Arts Management with a concentration in Arts in Youth and Community Development from Columbia College Chicago.  From 2001-2003, she worked in London, England as a dance critic and youth worker. Shawn is now the full-time Arts Integration Program Specialist at Columbia College and also serves as a dance educator and advocate. Presently a member of the Open House Dance Collective, her choreography has been shown at many local festivals. In addition, Shawn has the unique honor of being selected as one of 100 outstanding young professionals from North America and Europe to participate in the Transatlantic Network 2020. This group will gather in person and online through 2020 to establish a new cross-border dialogue at a critical time, to learn about and identify solutions to global problems, and to build a cohort of leaders for the next generation. In September 2008, Shawn joined the other participants for the inaugural summit in Dublin and Belfast.

Gen (Hurst) Thompson
B.F.A. Acting 1999

Gen ThompsonIn 2001, Gen and other Millikin alumni co-founded the Infamous Commonwealth Theatre (ICT) in Chicago. Currently, Gen is serving as the Artistic Director. She has also directed several productions for ICT including Lady From Dubuque, My Thing of Love, Cloud 9, Credo, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, Tree Girl, and Tetherball. Gen also co-directed The Kentucky Cycle 1 & 2 with Millikin Alumnus Jason Kae (B.F.A. Acting 1998). Performance credits include Linda in Savage in Limbo and Here in Big Dreams. Gen’s work at ICT has not gone unnoticed. She has received several Jeff Recommended and Jeff Citation Awards, which are given to recommended professional productions in the Chicago area. Millikin Alumni John Obligato (B.F.A. Acting 2000) is a current board member of the ICT while Clarissa Gregg (B.F.A. Musical Theatre 1999) and Whitney Hayes (B.F.A. Acting 2002) are both members of the company. Additional Millikin University alumni that have worked for ICT include Stephen Dunn (B.F.A. Acting 1996), who has received award nominations for his work, Gina Monreal (B.F.A. Acting; Writing Minor 1999), Ryan Lawrence (B.F.A. Acting 1999), Tony Piscotti (B.F.A. Acting 1995), Diana Skvarce (B.F.A. Acting 2001), and Terri Falvey (B.F.A. Acting 2001).

Annie Wersching
B.F.A. Musical Theatre 1999

Annie WerschingAnnie’s work in regional productions includes Greenshow and Royal Feaste at the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, UT, Evita at the Marriott-Lincolnshire in Lincolnshire, IL, Common Rooms at Victory Gardens in Chicago, IL, and And They Called it Ireland at the Fireside Theatre in Fort Atkinson, WI. Her touring production credits include the national tour of Anything Goes and A Christmas Carol with the Nebraska Theatre Caravan. Annie performed in the Pasadena Playhouse of Pasadena, CA in their production of Do I Hear a Waltz? starring Carol Lawrence, and her voice can be heard on the cast recording. In 2001, Annie moved to Los Angeles for her first television appearance on Star Trek: Enterprise. Since then, she has appeared in Journeyman, Boston Legal, Cold Case, Supernatural, Frasier, Charmed, Killer Instinct, Friends, Out of Practice, The E-Ring, Angel, Company and Birds of Prey. Along with television shows, Annie can be seen in a number of films including Bruce Almighty, Birdkeeper, Return Address, Veronica’s Veil, and The Showdown. Most recently, Annie debuted on General Hospital and in the 7th season of 24.

Ryan Lawrence
B.F.A. Acting 1999

Ryan LawrenceFollowing graduation from Millikin, Ryan received his M.A. in Writing from DePaul University in Chicago, IL. In Chicago, Ryan has worked with several reputable companies including Bailiwick Repertory, Defiant Theatre, Light Opera Works, Backstage Theatre Company, Infamous Commonwealth Theatre, co-founded by fellow Millikin alumni Genevieve Hurst Thompson (B.F.A. Acting 1999), and Will Act for Food, founded by Corri Feuerstein (B.F.A. Acting 2000). Ryan has also directed several productions including Massacre of the Innocents and The Virtue of Mortification for Boxer Rebellion Theatre in Chicago, IL and The Balcony Scene for the Infamous Commonwealth Theatre’s “Home for the Holidays” Festival. Ryan is a former actor/combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors and he recently published an article in the society’s journal “The Fight Master.” Ryan’s current artistic focus is magic and he is a twelve-year member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. His one-man magic show The Vanishing Art will premiere at Chicago's Fine Arts Building this year. Ryan enjoys sharing his love performing and has taught workshops on magic, juggling, and combat with the Second City Training Center in Chicago, Emerald City Children's Theatre of Chicago, and Circesteem - Chicago's Youth Circus.

Aaron Jackson
B.F.A. Design/Technical 1999

Aaron JacksonAaron Jackson continued his education following graduation from Millikin University, receiving an M.F.A. at Rutgers University in 2002. Since graduating Aaron has designed and taught extensively. Most notably he has designed scenic elements for the off-Broadway show A Leopard Complains of Its Spots performed at the Pantheon Theatre in New York City, and the Kids WB Television Network/Cartoon Network’s 2004 Up Front corporate presentation/event. He has also designed sets for productions at Shakespeare By The Sea in San Pedro, CA, the Riant Theater in New York City, Theatre OUTlanta in Atlanta, GA, and Amphibian Productions based in Fort Worth, TX and New York City. Aaron’s teaching experience includes guest lecturer on scenic art at the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, teaching assistant for Scenic Design at Rutgers University in New Jersey and at the Instituto Cultural Dominica Americana in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Aaron is also an illustrator and has worked on many conceptual designs for television, films, theatre, theme parks and children’s books.

Jessica Wright
B.F.A. Musical Theatre; B.M. Music Performance: Violin Emphasis 1996

Jessica WrightJessica has performed in theatres across the country. Her credits include Brigadoon, Kiss Me,  Kate, The Melody Lingers On, Beauty and the Beast, Of Thee I Sing, Nunsense Jamboree, Singin' in the Rain and Radio Gals. In addition, her work as a violinist can be heard on the album, Coffee House. In 2005, Jessica became the standby for the Broadway Revival of Sweeney Todd, starring Patti LuPone and Michael Cerveris. As one of seven standbys, Jessica was on call for the roles and instruments of Pirelli (Flute), the Beggar Woman (Clarinet), and Tobias (Violin). After Sweeney Todd closed, Jessica was called to be a temporary replacement in the Broadway production of Company, starring Raul Esparza, which featured actors who performed the function of both actors and accompanists. Jessica was the standby for the roles and instruments of Amy, Jenny and Susan (violin and flute). Shortly after leaving Company, Jessica began rehearsals as a swing for the Manhattan Theatre Club production of Love Musik, the story of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya. She recently performed the role of Pacquete in the New York City Opera's production of Candide! along with a performance of And the World Goes 'Round at the Gettysburg Festival.

Allen Cook
B.F.A. Design/Technical 1996

Allen CookAfter graduating from Millikin, Allen moved to Los Angeles, CA where he worked as a lighting technician in the Special Events industry, eventually landing a position as Resident Lighting Designer for Merv Griffin Event Productions. Allen spent several years with Disney's Special Events group as a digital media specialist and worked behind the scenes at Disney's El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, CA.  In 2003, Allen started TourTechSupport, a company that provides voice-over IP phone and wireless networking systems to touring productions.  In 2004/2005 he toured the US and Eastern Europe with Phil Collins. TourTechSupport's clients now include Genesis, The Eagles, Radiohead and Live Nation Special Events.

Scott Rollison
B.F.A. Directing 1996

Scott RollisonFollowing graduation, Scott moved to New York for an internship at The Juilliard School.  The revival of The Sound of Music was his first Broadway stage management experience.  He most recently finished the run of Kander and Ebb’s Curtains, starring David Hyde Pierce and Debra Monk.  Other Broadway stage management credits include Jersey Boys, Spelling Bee, Little Women with Sutton Foster and Maureen McGover, Stephen Sondheim’s The Frogs with Nathan Lane and Roger Bart, Into the Woods with Vanessa Williams, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Waiting in the Wings with Lauren Bacall and Rosemary Harris, Annie Get Your Gun with Bernadette Peters and Reba McIntire, and Rent. Scott also stage managed for the San Francisco pre-Broadway production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and the Los Angeles pre-Broadway production of Curtains.

Shelly Gaza
B.F.A. Acting 1995

Shelly GazaA proud member of Actors’ Equity Association, Shelly received her Masters in Fine Arts in Theatre from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. Shelly has been seen onstage at the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, UT as Viola in Twelfth Night and Cordelia in King Lear. In addition to her stage work, Shelly has pursued independent film, voice over, and commercial work. She can be seen in the national commercial for HGTV’s popular show House Hunters.  Shelly recently joined the Theatre Arts Faculty at Minnesota State University Moorhead in Moorhead, MN, where she will be teaching acting, directing, and movement.

Jennifer Armstrong
B.A. Theatre; Business Administration Minor; Dance Minor 1995

Jennifer ArmstrongJennifer is currently the Director of Community Arts Development Programs for the Illinois Arts Council in Chicago, IL.  She coordinates research and program initiatives focused on economic and community development through the arts, consulting with community leaders, public officials, and arts leaders throughout the state. At the national level, Jennifer is a co-founder and past Chair of Americans for the Arts Emerging Leader Council, and was the recipient of the inaugural Emerging Leader Award in 2006. She also serves on the board of The Association of American Cultures. Jennifer was a co-chair for the 2007 Illinois statewide arts conference, and was a member of the Illinois Arts Council's most recent strategic planning task force. Locally, she served as Co-Chair for Big. Small. All. Champaign County and currently serves as part of the Go To 2040 Arts & Culture Advisory Committee in Chicago (county wide visioning and planning initiatives). Prior to moving to Chicago, Jennifer served as the first Executive Director of 40 North | 88 West - Champaign County's Arts, Culture & Entertainment Council (Illinois).  Jennifer moved back to Illinois in 2004 from Phoenix, Arizona, where she worked as Program Coordinator for the Herberger College Department of Dance at Arizona State University. An Illinois native, Jennifer spent several years as part of the Peoria area cultural community and served as Managing Director of the Peoria Area Arts Council.

LaVon Fisher-Wilson
B.F.A. Musical Theatre 1995

LaVon Fisher-WilsonLaVon made her Broadway debut in The Color Purple, and is succeeded Carol Woods as Matron "Mama" Morton in the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of John Kander and Fred Ebb's Chicago. She received the Suzi Award for her portrayal of Gran Mimi in Jelly's Last Jam at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta, GA, and has also been seen in productions of Once on This Island as Asaka; Crowns as Velma and Jeanette; Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope as Pat; Dreamgirls as the West Coast Tour understudy for Effie; Tommy as the Acid Queen; and Beehive singing the Tina and Aretha tracks. For several years LaVon ran Ujamma, an African dance program for girls. LaVon is currently performing the role of Dolly in Hello Dolly! at the Fulton Theatre in Pennsylvania.

Becki Dosen-Arnold
B.F.A. Design/Technical 1994

Becki received her Masters Degree in Costume Design from the University of South Carolina in 1999 and her costume designs have been seen at The Little Theatre on the Square in Sullivan, IL, Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH, and the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre in Clinton, IA. She has also performed at Marriott Lincolnshire in Lincolnshire, IL, Chautauqua Opera in Chautauqua, NY, Opera Illinois in Peoria, IL, and The Guthrie in Minneapolis, MN. For the past eight years, Becki has been teaching costume design at Bradley University in Peoria, IL. While at Bradley, Becki has continued to work professionally. She was the Designer/Stylist for Tyson Chicken’s web-based “improve-o-gram” ad campaign, and the Designer/Stylist for both the live and prerecorded sections of Bradley’s Renaissance campaign gala. Because of these and other collaborations with Multimedia, and IRT, Becki was one of the recipients of the 2008 Theodore C. Burgess Award for interdepartmental collaboration.

Jenny Guse
Musical Theatre 2009

Jenny will appear in the Chicago Shakespear Theatre's production of Stephen Sondheim's Follies.  The show opens October 4th and runs through November 6th.  The production will be directed by Gary Griffin (Broadway:  The Color Purple, The Apple Tree, West End:  Pacific Overtures, Kismet) and will feature Broadway veteran, Brent Barrett (who played opposite Sierra Boggess in Phantom of the Opera in Las Vegas).



Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL