Alumni Spotlight on Ben Bazán

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Ben Bazán is an actor, writer, director, and improviser who was raised in Rio Grande City, Texas. He relocated to Austin in 2008 to attend The University of Texas. He graduated in 2012 and received his B.A. in Theatre and Dance. Ben acted in several main stage productions throughout his time with the Department of Theatre and Dance. Most recently, he was seen as “Andres” in the bilingual premiere of Salt and Pepper at ZACH Theatre which earned him a nominated for a B. Iden Payne Award for Outstanding Performer in Theater for Youth. 

During the Summer of 2012 he began attending classes at ColdTowne Conservatory at The ColdTowne Theater, marking a pivotal point in his career path. He has performed as a member the student troupe Bear Derby along with performances in Powerball, a two-man performance called Instant Classic, and Silent Letters. He also been been involved in several main stage productions at The ColdTowne Theater including Slam Team Six, Late Night Down, and the Organ Trail (currently running every Saturday during the month of October). He most recently directed/produced You Are Cordially Invited, a special wedding event.

In addition to performing, Ben has taught classes with the Paramount Story Wranglers, taught literacy and diversity programs for Creative Action, and served as an acting/playwriting instructor for the Performing Arts School at ZACH Theatre. He spends his days working as an apprentice guide at Acton Academy. 

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Texas Ex offers training through BriteLites Acting Studio

Mona Lee (Attended) is the founder and owner of BriteLites Acting Studio, an Austin, Texas based company providing actor training.

She’s a working actress whose 40 years of experience includes regional theatre, major motion pictures, and television.

While a student in The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance, she was awarded a full scholarship to the Juillard School under the tutelage of John Houseman. Her extensive stage work includes appearances in The Prodigious Snob at Lincoln Center; as guest artist for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; and a tour of the Second Time Around, starring Pat O’Brien. She performed in Marigolds, Crimes of the Heart,and many other stage performances in California, New York and Texas. She has appeared in over 50 films, TV movies and commercials.

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Catherine Ann Jones (BFA 1965), is an award-winning playwright (Calamity Jane, On the Edge, The Women of Cedar Creek) and screenwriter (The Christmas Wife, Unlikely Angel, Touched by an Angel series). A Fulbright Scholar to India studying shamanism with over thirty years teaching experience, Jones is a writing consultant and author of The Way of Story. Her latest book, Heal Your Self with Writing, has been recognized with the Nautilus Book Award for 2014. Established in 1998, the award celebrates books in the genre of social and environmental justice. Past winners include The Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra and Desmund Tutu.

Catherine Ann Jones (BFA 1965), is an award-winning playwright (Calamity Jane, On the Edge, The Women of Cedar Creek) and screenwriter (The Christmas Wife, Unlikely Angel, Touched by an Angel series). A Fulbright Scholar to India studying shamanism with over thirty years teaching experience, Jones is a writing consultant and author of The Way of Story. Her latest book, Heal Your Self with Writing, has been recognized with the Nautilus Book Award for 2014. Established in 1998, the award celebrates books in the genre of social and environmental justice. Past winners include The Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra and Desmund Tutu.

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Alumna to train at prestigious talent agency

Colleen Washington (BA, BS 2013) has been accepted into the Agent Training Program at Agency for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, California. Agency for the Performing Arts (also known as APA) is considered an industry leader in the field of talent and literary representation for nearly fifty years. They represent artists and performers across all media platforms, including feature film, television, music, theatre, publishing and digital.

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Celebrating the Life of Eli Wallach

Best known for his role as “Tuco Ramirez” (shown above) in Sergio Leone’s classic The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, University of Texas at Austin alumnus Eli Wallach passed away June 24, 2014 at the age of 98.

A history major at UT (BA ‘36), Wallach was a member of the university’s Curtain Club. Formed in 1908 by English Professor Stark Young, the Curtain Club was created for “some form of dramatic expression at The University of Texas.” The all-university, extra-curricular club grew in popularity and three decades later helped launch the Department of Drama (now Department of Theatre and Dance) in 1938.

Wallach’s six decade career included roles in The Magnificent SevenHow the West Was WonThe Misfits, and The Godfather Part III. In 2010, he received the 2010 Honorary Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Join us in reflecting on his prolific career, flipping through the images above from the Curtain Club’s productions of Both Your Houses (1935) and Liliom (1936).

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Alumnus Dink O’Neal Garners Many Roles in 2014

Dink O’Neal (BFA 1984) recently appeared as Jeffrey Dahmer’s father on Killer Kids. He shot two “spec” commercials for Virgin Atlantic Airlines and another for the NY Lotto, the latter of which will be screened in competition for the Young Director’s Award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. In addition, Dink played the title role in The Crying Man, an independent short film which will be available for online viewing beginning June 4th on nobudge.com. He continues writing as a theatre critic for ArtsInLA.com.

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UT Family Weekend Festivities: An Insider’s View of Theatre & Dance, October 25, 2014

Department of Theatre and Dance families are invited to an insider’s view of theatre and dance during The University of Texas at Austin’s annual Family Weekend.

Join us in the Winship Atrium, the students’ favorite gathering space, and

  • catch a sneak peek of Fall For Dance, the annual concert by the award-winning student company Dance Repertory Theatre .
  • learn about The Trojan Women, an acting project being presented October 23-26. Meet the director and actors as they discuss their approach to the play. View design sketches for the play and learn how those designs are realized in the production.
  • attend a rehearsal of Fame The Musical, the pop culture hit, coming to our stage November 21-December 6.
  • attend a luncheon for students, their family members and our faculty.

WHEN:   Saturday, October 25 at 11:00AM
WHERE:  F. Loren Winship Drama Building Atrium, 300 East 23rd St., Austin, Texas 78712

Reservations are required.

Register through October 17 online.

For late registration beginning October 18, please email theatreanddance@utexas.edu and include “Family Weekend Registration” in the subject.

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Some of our West Coast Longhorns reunited in May to catch up and reminisce about their time at Theatre and Dance. Smiles all around - it looks a great time was had by all!

Thanks from T&D to Steve Krauss, Wendell Grayson, Candace Sorensen, John Forster, Margaret Valenta Davis, Pete Puckett, Gretchen German, Jody Wassel, Jim Hensz, Kimberly Aileen Scott and Joseph Catmull for sharing.

We love hearing from our alumni! It’s easy to stay connected - send us your latest news today and let us brag on you.

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ALL THE WAY by Robert Schenkkan

Winner of

  • The 57th Annual Drama Desk Awards for Best Play and Best Actor (Bryan Cranston)
  • The Drama League Award for Best Play
  • Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Play and Best Actor (Bryan Cranston)
  • New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play
  • Theatre World Award for Best Actor (Bryan Cranston)

And the frontrunner for the Tony Award for Best Play! Tune in CBS Sunday, June 8th 8/7 CST for the 68th Annual Tony Awards to find out who takes home the prize.

Can’t wait until Sunday? Check out this interview with Robert Schenkkan, Bryan Cranston and Mark K. Updegrove, Director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.

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