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"A Starry Night" performer bios

Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert (C86), who will host A Starry Night at CommFest 2018, is host, executive producer, and writer of CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where he debuted as host on September 8, 2015. An Emmy and Peabody Award–winning host best known for his Comedy Central show The Colbert Report, Colbert is also a best-selling author and accomplished actor, writer, producer, and comedian.

On Sunday, September 17, 2017, Colbert hosted the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on CBS. The Late Show received three Emmy nominations for outstanding variety series, outstanding writing for a variety series, and outstanding directing for a variety series. In addition, Colbert and his staff received three nominations for the live election night special he hosted on Showtime.

From its debut, The Colbert Report was a critical and cultural success, winning two Peabody Awards and earning 37 Emmy Award nominations. The series won the Emmy for outstanding writing for a variety, music, or comedy program in 2008, 2010, 2013, and 2014. Prior to hosting The Colbert Report, Colbert spent eight years as the longest-tenured correspondent

on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The Late Show has carried on this success, earning a 2016 Writers Guild Award nomination for outstanding comedy/variety talk series.

Colbert began his television career after graduating from Northwestern and joining Chicago’s famed Second City improv troupe. It was there he met Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello, with whom he created and starred in the half-hour sketch comedy series Exit 57. The trio went on to create the live-action narrative series and cult hit Strangers with Candy. Colbert was also a cast member and writer for the variety series The Dana Carvey Show and a writer for Saturday Night Live. His television acting credits include guest roles on The Mindy Project, House of Cards, The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Colbert is the executive producer of Showtime’s Our Cartoon President, the half-hour animated series focused on the Trump White House that premiered on February 11, 2018.

A celebrated author, Colbert contributed to America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction, which topped the New York Times bestseller list for 15 consecutive weeks. His first solo book,  I Am America (And So Can You!), spent 29 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in 2007, debuting in and occupying the No. 1 spot for 13 weeks. His second book, America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t, was released in October 2012 and spent 17 consecutive weeks on the New York Times bestseller list; for the audiobook he won a 2014 Grammy Award for best spoken word album. In May 2012 Colbert released his first children’s book, I Am a Pole (And So Can You!). He also coauthored the critically acclaimed book Wigfield. In September 2017 Simon & Schuster released Stephen Colbert’s Midnight Confessions,  a book and audio edition based on his popular “Midnight Confessions” segment on The Late Show.

In 2010 Colbert received three Emmy nominations and won a Grammy for best comedy album for A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift  of All!, the album from his hour-long musical  holiday special on The Colbert Report. In 2011 Colbert starred as Harry in the New York Philharmonic’s concert performance of Stephen Sondheim’s Company.

More than an entertainer, Colbert has drawn on his comedic talents to influence culture in extraordinary ways over the past decade. In 2011 he was granted permission by the Federal Election Committee to organize his own political action committee, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow. In 2009 The Colbert Report traveled to Iraq on a USO tour titled “Operation Iraqi Stephen: Going Commando” to perform shows for US troops, becoming the first television program in USO history to produce a full week of shows in a combat zone. In 2007 he launched a brief presidential bid but withdrew after being denied a place on the ballot of the South Carolina Democratic Party. The success of The Colbert Report has allowed Colbert to lend his name to things such as the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor Americone Dream, the Virgin America jet Air Colbert, and a NASA training device, the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (COLBERT). Colbert Nation sponsored the US speed skating team for the 2010 Olympics.

Raised in South Carolina, Colbert currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and three  children. His birthday is May 13. Follow him  on Twitter @StephenAtHome.

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Celebrity performers

Sharif Atkins

Sharif Atkins (C97) was most recently seen in a current recurring role on the new CBS series Seal Team as well as a starring role in the Fox pilot Amy’s Brother. Probably best known for his five memorable years as Dr. Michael Gallant on the iconic television hit ER, he also starred as Clinton Jones for six seasons on the USA original series White Collar. Atkins has performed many memorable television roles in such series as The Good Wife, House, CSI: Miami, Criminal Minds, Lucifer, Rizzoli & Isles, Sleepy Hollow, Cold Case, Numb3rs, Hawai’i, The 4400, Eve, Chase, Raising the Bar, and Close to Home. On film Atkins starred in the Warner Brothers feature Preacher’s Kid and has appeared in the Marvel feature Guardians of the Galaxy as well as various independent features, including Open House, Brothers Blood, and Oceanus. Other notable film appearances include All Nighter, Paved with Good Intentions, and Out of Exile. Born in Pittsburgh, raised in Chicago, and educated at Northwestern, Atkins began his career in Chicago theatre and then moved to  Los Angeles to pursue television and film. He made a triumphant return to the stage to star as Clay in the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s critically acclaimed 50th-anniversary production of Dutchman.

Paul BarrossePaul Barrosse (C80) always enjoyed telling a good joke while a kid growing up in Cleveland, Ohio. His love of comedy led him to perform in the Mee-Ow Show, Northwestern’s campus improv comedy revue, and then to cofound Evanston’s Practical Theatre Company. The PTC opened a 42-seat storefront theater on Howard Street in 1980, quickly gaining recognition for its comedy revues. This resulted in an invitation from Second City owner Bernie Sahlins to establish a 150-seat cabaret theatre adjacent to Second City. Six weeks after it opened, the entire cast of the show—including Barrosse, Brad Hall, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Gary Kroeger—was whisked away to Saturday Night Live, kickstarting Barrosse’s long career as a comedian, writer, television producer, and actor. Among his many television credits are stints  as head writer and performer on Fox TV’s Totally Hidden Video, five years as head writer and supervising producer of VH1’s landmark series Behind the Music, and the launch of such reality series as TLC’s Little People, Big World and the Sundance Channel’s Push Girls. Most recently he has written and produced the first three episodes of the new A&E series Autobiography and went to South Korea in February to help cover the Winter Olympics for NBC. Barrosse’s Chicago, Evanston, and Northwestern ties run deep. At Northwestern he met his wife, Victoria Zielinski—who also performed with the Practical Theatre Company in the 1980s and is his primary comedy collaborator to this day—as well as Dana Olsen, a fellow Mee-Ow Show veteran. Onstage, he and his wife revived their comedy careers in 2010 with The Vic & Paul Show, which they performed in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Cleveland. They have since appeared with Dana Olsen in The Vic & Paul & Dana Show, which debuted in Hollywood in 2015, and last year’s Mr. Olsen’s Holiday Party at Studio5 in Evanston.

Craig BierkoCraig Bierko (C86) and his combination of leading-man good looks, mesmerizing charm, and incredible acting range have seamlessly enabled the talented actor to cross over among numerous productions on the big screen, television, and theatre. Bierko currently stars as series regular Chet Wilton in UnReal for Lifetime. He most recently appeared in Fair Market Value and Equity. Bierko’s other motion pictures credits include Anthony Fabian’s feature Louder than Words, The Change Up (Universal), The Three Stooges (20th Century Fox), Scary Movie 4 (Weinstein/Disney), Christopher Guest’s For Your Consideration, Ron Howard’s Cinderella Man (Universal), and Renny Harlin’s Long Kiss Goodnight and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Universal). On stage Bierko appeared in the New York Philharmonic’s 2012 performance of Stephen Sondheim’s Company, directed by Lonny Price. He also starred as Sky Masterson in Des McAnuff’s Tony-nominated Broadway production of Guys and Dolls and as Professor Harold Hill in the critically acclaimed Broadway revival of Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man, for which he received nominations for the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, and Drama League Award and won the Theater World Award. Bierko’s other television credits include major roles in the Farrelly Brothers’ sitcom Unhitched (FBC) and David E. Kelley’s Boston Legal (ABC). Additionally, he has made guest appearances on Damages (FX), The Good Wife (CBS), Necessary Roughness (USA), and Sex and the City (HBO).

Stephanie DAbruzzo

Stephanie D’Abruzzo (C93) is a Tony- and Drama Desk–nominated actress best known for her work in the original New York company of Avenue Q. She has graced the stage on, off-, and off-off-Broadway and has performed in countless readings, workshops, concerts, cabarets, and benefits in such venues as Town Hall, Carnegie Hall, and the Hollywood Bowl. Since 1993, when she began freelancing with the Jim Henson Company as a Muppet performer, she has performed more than 400 puppet or animated characters for film and television. Her career highlights as a puppeteer include 23 seasons of Sesame Street as well as Oobi, The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss, and several appearances on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Most recently she played Peri and was the puppeteer captain for the Netflix series Julie’s Greenroom, starring Julie Andrews. D’Abruzzo’s voiceover credits include Nature Cat, Wallykazam!, Sheep in the Big City, and a myriad of promos, commercials, video games, inter active products, demos, industrials, educational tools, and preschool audiobooks. Her other work ranges from guest starring in the musical episode of Scrubs to pondering pop culture in VH1’s I Love the 70s Part II/I Love the 80s 3-D to being a celebrity player on the game show Pyramid, where she helped her contestants win $20,000. In 2015 she singlehandedly made nine short episodes of Chimpy and Pansy, an original stop-motion web series. Stephanie has produced and edited several video compilation reels for the Jim Henson Legacy’s screening series and assisted in editing many presentations for the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York. She also coproduced and coedited all of the exhibit reels in the new Henson Wing at Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts. A former Burger King Employee of the Month, D’Abruzzo resides in New York City with her husband, 1988 Northwestern graduate and Emmy-nominated producer, editor, and writer Craig Shemin.

Nancy DussaultNancy Dussault (BSM57) is an Emmy Award–winning and two-time Tony Award-nominated singer and actress with an exceptional stage and screen career that has spanned nearly 60 years. Her television credits include her starring role as Muriel Rush in Too Close for Comfort as well as The New Dick Van Dyke Show and dozens more appearances on series ranging from The Ed Sullivan Show to Alias. On stage she made her New York debut off-Broadway in The Boyfriend. On Broadway she played Maria in The Sound of Music and the Witch in Into the Woods and garnered Tony Award nominations for Do Re Mi and Bajour. Her other New York stage credits include Side by Side by Sondheim, Love, Loss and What I Wore, Trelawny of the Wells at Joseph Papp’s Public Theatre, and Street Scene, The Cradle Will Rock, and The Mikado at New York City Opera. Last September she appeared at New York’s 54 Below in her one-woman show “My Life…Upon the Wicked Stage.” Dussault and David Hartman were the original cohosts of ABC’s Good Morning America. She helped initiate the musical theatre program at UCLA, where she taught for six years and continues to serve as a vocal coach. As a music school student at Northwestern, she frequently starred in School of Communication stage productions. In 1980 she was a member of the celebrity cast of Northwestern’s nationally televised celebration “The Way They Were.” Dussault was the recipient of the Alumnae of Northwestern University’s 1990 Alumnae Award and a 2003 Northwestern Alumni Association Alumni Merit Award.

Gregg EdelmanGregg Edelman (C80) has earned four Tony Award nominations as well as numerous other honors, including the Drama Desk Award. Since his first Broadway appearance in Evita, Edelman has gone on to star in such Broadway productions as City of Angels, 1776, Into the Woods, Anything Goes, Falsettos, Wonderful Town, and Cabaret. Recent acting credits include Sweeney Todd, Death Trap, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Black Tie, and Twelve Angry Men. His directing credits include Constellations, Arsenic and Old Lace, and the new musical Night without a Moon. He is currently in preproduction for the new play Coming Back Like a Song at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. Film credits include Little Children, Jane Wants a Boyfriend, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Spiderman 2, Liberal Arts, and Green Card. His numerous television appearances include 30 Rock, Shades  of Blue, Brainstorm, Braindead, Madam Secretary, and all the Law and Order series (and no list would be complete without mentioning the time he spent as the voice of the peanut M&M). His concert work has given him the opportunity to appear with major orchestras of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago, among many others. His 17 recordings of Broadway shows include City of Angels, Wonderful  Town, 1776, Into the Woods, On the Town, Cabaret, and Anything Goes.

Daniele GaitherDaniele Gaither (C93) has appeared in The Thundermans (Nickelodeon), Uncle Buck (ABC), Transparent, Table 58 (Amazon Prime), Bojack Horseman (Netflix), Mike Tyson Mysteries, Key & Peele, Chocolate News, Reno, 911! (Comedy Central), Family Guy, American Dad, MADtv (Fox), The Soul Man (TV Land), 2 Broke Girl$ (CBS), Real Husbands  of Hollywood (BET), Greek (ABC Family), Tyler Perry’s House of Payne (TBS), The Rerun Show, Tucker (NBC), and Hype (WB). Her stage credits include The Black Version (Largo Los Angeles, Groundlings Theatre), Meet & Greet (Theatre Asylum), 227: The Lost Episodes (Second City, Hollywood), and the Groundlings Company (Groundlings Theatre).

 

Frank Galati

Frank Galati (C65, GC67, GC71) was a full-time faculty member of the School of Communication’s Department of Performance Studies from 1970 to 2005, when he became professor emeritus. He has won 10 Joseph Jefferson Awards for his work in Chicago theater and has directed at Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Metropolitan Opera. A member of the Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble since 1986, Galati won two Tony Awards for adapting and directing Steppenwolf’s production of "The Grapes of Wrath." He also was nominated for a Tony for directing the musical "Ragtime" and was nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay (with Lawrence Kasdan) of "The Accidental Tourist." Galati has been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is currently an associate artist at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, Florida. 

Ana GasteyerAna Gasteyer (C89) is best known for her incomparable work  on Saturday Night Live. Currently she is starring in two critically acclaimed television series: Netflix’s Lady Dynamite (opposite Maria Bamford) and TBS’s People of Earth. She also has recurring roles on NBC’s Great News and ABC’s hit comedy The Goldbergs, currently in its fifth season. Last year Gasteyer dazzled in her first residency at New York City’s famed Café Carlyle, where she performed an eclectic range of covers and reimagined classics from her rapturously reviewed jazz album, I’m Hip. Her other television credits include Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Good Wife, Suburgatory, Girls, and Law & Order as well as A Christmas Story Live! and Grease Live!, which debuted to record ratings on Fox. On the big screen, Gasteyer has starred in Mean Girls, What Women Want, The Women, and Dick, among others. On stage, Gasteyer has appeared in the Encores! Off-Center production of A New Brain and on Broadway in The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Royal Family in addition to starring as Elphaba in Wicked.

 Kathryn HahnKathryn Hahn (C95) has enjoyed a career full of memorable roles, with her versatility in both comedy and drama making her one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actresses. She can currently be seen  with Zoey Deutch, Adam Scott, and Tim Heidecker in Max Winkler’s indie coming-of-age film Flower. She also stars with Paul Giamatti in Tamara Jenkins’s Private Life, which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and will debut on Netflix. Recently Hahn costarred with Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell in Jon Lucas and Scott Moore’s holiday-themed film A Bad Moms Christmas, a followup to her starring role  in Bad Moms. Previously Hahn was seen opposite Kevin Bacon in Jill Soloway’s Amazon comedy I Love Dick. Additionally, Hahn costarred in the third season of Soloway’s Emmy-nominated Amazon original series Transparent; for her portrayal of Raquel Fein, she received a 2017 Emmy Award nomination for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series. Film credits include Matt Ross’s Captain Fantastic with Viggo Mortensen; Steven Brill’s The Do-Over with Adam Sandler and David Spade; Peter Bogdanovich’s She’s Funny That Way with Imogen Poots, Owen Wilson, and Jennifer Aniston; Rawson Marshall Thurber’s We’re the Millers with Aniston and Jason Sudeikis; Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland with George Clooney; The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, starring and directed by Ben Stiller; M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit; Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel’s The D Train; Shawn Levy’s This Is Where I Leave You; and Jason Bateman’s Bad Words. Hahn also starred in Soloway’s Afternoon Delight, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and garnered her a 2013 Gotham Award nomination as breakthrough actor. Other feature film credits include David Wain’s Wanderlust, Jesse Peretz’s Our Idiot Brother, James Brooks’s How Do You Know, Neal Brennan’s The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, Sam Mendes’s Revolutionary Road, Adam McKay’s Step Brothers, Robert Shaye’s The Last Mimzy, Nancy Meyers’s The Holiday, and Adam McKay’s Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Additional television credits include Showtime’s dark comedy Happyish opposite Steve Coogan as well as roles on NBC’s Crossing Jordan, Four Kings, Hung, and Free Agents. Hahn was seen in a guest starring arc on NBC’s hit series Parks & Recreation as well  as HBO’s Newsroom and Girls. She also has lent her voice to the FX animated series Chozen and Fox’s Bob’s Burgers and American Dad! Hahn made her Broadway debut with Bradley Whitford, Gina Gershon, Mary McCormack, Christine Baranski, and Mark Rylance in Boeing-Boeing, which won the 2008 Tony Award for best revival of a play. Her theatre credits also include Dead End at the Ahmanson Theater and Huntington Theater Company, Ten Unknowns at Huntington, Hedda Gabler at Bay Street Theatre, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Chaucer in Rome, and Camino Real for Williamstown Theatre Festival mainstage. Hahn received her bachelor’s degree from Northwestern and her MFA from the Yale School of Drama, where  she appeared onstage in Othello and The Birds.

Heather HeadleyHeather Headley (C97) has been hailed by Billboard as “among the top singers, with a vocal that absolutely astounds with its intensity” and “one of the great entertainers of the day, on record  and on stage.” The Tony and Grammy Award winner considers her multifaceted career a blessing. She was born and spent most of her childhood on the beautiful Caribbean island of Trinidad. In the early 1990s the family moved to the United States, where her love for  the arts continued to grow. In 1997 Headley won the role of Nala in the original Broadway cast of Elton John and Tim Rice’s hit Tony-winning musical The Lion King. While still in that production, she was cast in the title role of the writing duo’s next Broadway venture, Aida. Her portrayal of the Nubian princess won critical praise as well as the Tony Award for best actress in  a musical, the Drama Desk Award for outstanding actress in a musical, and other prestigious awards. That year she was listed as one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” and Essence magazine’s “30 Women to Watch.” In 2012 Headley made a triumphant, critically acclaimed return to the stage as star of The Bodyguard in London’s West End, where she gained a new overseas fan base. To the delight of audiences and critics, Headley returned to Broadway in 2016 to star as Shug Avery in the Tony-winning revival of The Color Purple. Headley’s 2002 debut album on RCA Records, This Is Who I Am, earned her numerous accolades, including Grammy nominations for best new artist and best female R&B vocal performance; the songs “He Is” and “I Wish I Wasn’t” both emerged as top-five R&B and dance chart hits. Headley returned  in 2006 with In My Mind, her long-awaited second solo album. As a single, the opening title tune became Heather’s first number one hit, topping the dance and R&B charts. In 2009 Headley released Audience of One, for which she won the Grammy for best contemporary R&B gospel album. Her 2012 album Only One in the World features songs written by Headley as well as covers of some of her favorite songs.

Kyle HeffnerKyle Heffner (C79) is a Chicago-born actor who has been featured in high-profile film and television programming since 1982. Among Heffner’s many credits are the films Young Doctors in Love, Flashdance, and When Harry Met Sally and the television series Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Like many fellow Northwestern alumni, Heffner received his “big break” from Garry Marshall, who cast him in Young Doctors in Love in 1982.

 

 

Marg HelgenbergerMarg Helgenberger (C82), an Emmy Award winner and Golden Globe nominee, is currently starring off-Broadway in the WP Theatre’s What We’re Up Against. Last seen guest starring on the CBS series Under the Dome, she starred in Washington, DC., in the Arena Stage’s 2016 production of The Little Foxes and in Massachusetts in Barrington Stage Company’s 2014 production of The Other Place. Previously she costarred in the CBS drama series Intelligence, also starring Josh Holloway. In 2013 she ended her 12th season of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, for which she earned two Emmy nominations. Helgenberger starred with Kevin Costner in MGM’s psychological thriller Mr. Brooks and with Julia Roberts in the Universal hit drama Erin Brockovich. She also starred as Patsy Ramsey in the highly rated CBS miniseries Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, based on the best-selling book about the unsolved murder of Jon Benet Ramsey. Helgenberger appeared in two original telepictures for Showtime—Thanks of a Grateful Nation and, with Ann-Margret, Happy Face Murders. Her breakout role as K.C. on China Beach won her a 1990 Emmy Award. In 1997 she guest starred on a four-episode arc on ER playing George Clooney’s love interest. Her other television credits include Murder Live with David Morse and Teri Garr, Stephen King’s highly rated miniseries The Tommyknockers, a Tom Hanks–directed episode of Showtime’s Fallen Angels, The Gold Coast opposite David Caruso, and the Oscar-nominated short film Partners, directed by Peter Weller. On the feature film side, Helgenberger starred in Species opposite Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, and Forest Whitaker as well as in Species II. Other film credits include In Good Company with Dennis Quaid and Scarlett Johansson, Fire Down Below with Steven Seagal, The Last Time I Committed Suicide with Keanu Reeves, My Fellow Americans with Jack Lemmon and James Garner, Cowboy Way with Woody Harrelson, Bad Boys with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, Always with Holly Hunter and Richard Dreyfuss, and Crooked Hearts with Peter Berg and Noah Wyle. Growing up in North Bend, Nebraska, Helgenberger acted in school plays, but it was not until she attended Northwestern that she thought of acting as a career. While there she appeared on stage as Kate  in The Taming of the Shrew and as Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire. After graduating she was cast on the ABC-TV daytime drama Ryan’s Hope. While in New York she also worked with the children’s theatre company TADA! Helgenberger lives in Los Angeles.

Laura InnesLaura Innes (C79), actress and director, is best known for her portrayal of Dr. Kerry Weaver on NBC’s ER. As the longest-appearing cast member in the history of the show, she was nominated for two Emmy Awards, received five nominations from Viewers for Quality Television, and won three SAG Awards as part of the ER ensemble. She subsequently starred on The Event and played a recurring role on Awake, both for NBC. Innes began her directing career on ER and has gone on to direct episodes of The Affair, How to Get Away with Murder, Grey’s Anatomy, Brothers & Sisters, Awake, and Studio 60. Upcoming directing projects include Mercy Street for PBS and Sneaky Pete. She also directed for The West Wing, receiving an Emmy nomination  as best director of a drama series. After launching her theatre career starring as Stella opposite John Malkovich in A Streetcar Named Desire at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater, Innes starred in the world premiere production of David Mamet’s Edmund, in Two Shakespearean Actors opposite Eric Stoltz at Lincoln Center, as Emily in Our Town opposite Campbell Scott at Seattle Repertory Theater, and as Olga in Three Sisters at La Jolla Playhouse. Among her other illustrious theatrical collaborators are Daniel Sullivan, Robert Falls, Gregory Mosher, Des McAnuff, and Christopher Durang.

Brian D'Arcy JamesBrian D’Arcy James (C90) currently stars in the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. He can soon be seen starring with Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, and Kyle Chandler in Universal Pictures’ First Man, directed by Damien Chazelle, as well as On the Basis of Sex for Focus Features opposite Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux,  and Kathy Bates. James is also seen in two films premiering at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival: Song of Back and Neck, directed by Paul Lieberstein, and All These Small Moments, opposite Molly Ringwald and Jemima Kirke. Other recent feature credits include Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut, Molly’s Game, opposite Idris Elba and Jessica Chastain; Stephen King’s 1922, directed by Zak Hilditch; Peter Landesman’s Silent Man with Liam Neeson; Theresa Rebeck’s Trouble with Anjelica Huston; and Danny Strong’s J. D. Salinger biopic Rebel in the Rye with Nicholas Hoult. In 2016 James starred with Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel McAdams as Matt Carroll in Spotlight, winner of the 2016 Best Picture Oscar and the SAG Award, Critics Choice Award, Gotham Award, and Independent Spirit Robert Altman Award for best ensemble. James is also a celebrated stage actor who has received three Tony nominations for his performances as Nick Bottom in the hit musical Something Rotten, Shrek in Shrek The Musical (for which he won the Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards), and Sidney Falco in Sweet Smell of Success. In 2015 James originated the role of King George in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton off-Broadway, and last year he returned to the role on Broadway. Additional Broadway credits include his turn as Banquo opposite Ethan Hawke in the Lincoln Center production of Macbeth, costarring with Laura Linney in Time Stands Still, and starring in the Pulitzer Prize–winning musical Next to Normal. As a concert artist James has performed worldwide, notably at the White House, Madison Square Garden, and Carnegie Hall.

Adam KantorAdam Kantor (C08) appeared on Broadway last fall in Itamar Moses and David Yazbek’s critically acclaimed new musical The Band’s Visit, directed by David Cromer. Shortly after its opening, Kantor headlined at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops, alongside Betsy Wolfe. Previous Broadway credits include Motel in the revival of Fiddler on the Roof, directed by Bartlett Sher; Mark in the final year of Rent, directed by School of Communication alumnus Michael Greif, and in Sony Pictures’ Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway; and Henry in Next to Normal, also directed by Greif. Off-Broadway, Kantor played Princeton/Rod in Avenue Q and Jamie in Second Stage’s production of The Last Five Years, directed by its writer, Jason Robert Brown. At the Old Globe he played Proteus in Two Gentlemen of Verona, directed by Mark Lamos, and Jeff in the world premiere of Itamar Moses and Gaby Alter’s Nobody Loves You. Kantor played Eddie in the world-premiere production of Sheryl Crow and Barry Levinson’s Diner, directed by Kathleen Marshall. Television credits include Showtime’s Billions and CBS’s The Good Wife. Kantor cofounded the nonprofit arts organization Broadway in South Africa, which provides arts education to underprivileged youth in South African townships. He also cofounded the interactive immersive dinner series Story Course. After graduating from Northwestern, Kantor studied at the British American Drama Academy. Fun fact: he made his Broadway debut in Rent while still a senior at Northwestern.

Richard KindRichard Kind (C78), a Drama Desk Award winner and Tony nominee for the Broadway hit The Big Knife, is an accomplished stage, screen, and television actor who continues to redefine the term character actor. Kind has appeared in Argo, winner of the 2013 Academy Award for best picture, and starred as Bing Bong in the hit Pixar film Inside Out. He is starring in the hit Amazon series Red Oaks, now filming its second season. Kind played a starring role in The Hereafter, directed by Clint Eastwood, and his role as Uncle Arthur in A Serious Man won critical acclaim worldwide. His many additional film credits include All We Had, The Lennon Report, The Paper Store, The Visitor, and The Station Agent as well as voicing characters in A Bug’s Life and Cars. On television, in addition to his infamous roles on Spin City and Mad About You and guest appearances on numerous shows, Kind starred in the acclaimed HBO series Luck, played a recurring role on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and currently has recurring roles on Fox’s Gotham and Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here. On stage he has starred regionally in Candide and Bounce and on Broadway in The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife and the smash hit musical The Producers, among others. Kind started his career in Chicago with the Practical Theatre Company, founded by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Brad Hall, and Gary Kroeger.

Gary KroegerGary Kroeger (C81) was an actor and writer on Saturday Night Live for four seasons. Among his other acting credits are the television series Hidden Hills, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Murder, She Wrote and the films The Big Picture, Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again, A Man Called Sarge, and Radioland Murders. In addition to hosting Fox’s Comic Strip Live and revivals of The Newlywed Game and Beat the Clock, he was the announcer for Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck and a revival of Card Sharks.

 

 

Harry LennixHarry Lennix (C86) has been seen in such films as The Five Heartbeats, Comfortably Numb, Get on the Bus, Love & Basketball, Titus, Ray, Across the Universe, Barbershop 2: Back in Business, Stomp the Yard, State of Play, and The Matrix series. On television he currently costars as Harold Cooper on the NBC drama The Blacklist. Previous TV credits include roles on the series Commander in Chief, Dollhouse, Diagnosis: Murder, 24, and ER. For his starring performance as Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., in the Showtime television film Keep the Faith, Baby, Lennix won a Black Reel Award and was nominated for both an NAACP Image Award and a Golden Satellite Award. As a stage actor in Chicago, Lennix was the first recipient of an Ollie Award for his portrayal of Malcolm X at Chicago’s Goodman Theater and won Joseph Jefferson Awards for his roles  in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Caught in the Act. He made his Broadway debut in August Wilson’s Tony-nominated play Radio Golf and starred in Wilson’s King Hedley II at Los Angeles’s Mark Taper Forum. His credits as a stage director include The Glass Menagerie for Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater Company and  the stage version of The Five Heartbeats, which received three NAACP Theater Award nominations.

J.P. ManouxJ.P. Manoux (C91) has appeared in more than 150 different projects for film and television, including Scary Movie 5, EuroTrip, How I Met Your Mother, Phil of the Future, and ER. He was the voice of Kuzco in Disney’s The Emperor’s New School and played Green Grapes in seven years of commercials selling underpants for Fruit of the Loom. His vanity license plate is IMDB ME.

 

 

 

Stephanie MarchStephanie March (C96) is an actor, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. Best known for her role as Alex Cabot on the hit TV series Law & Order: SVU and most recently star of Adult Swim’s Neon Joe, March has also appeared in 30 Rock, Happy Endings, Rescue Me, Grey’s Anatomy, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, The Treatment, Predisposed, and Innocence and has been seen onstage in critically acclaimed revivals of Death  of a Salesman, Talk Radio, and Boys’ Life. She cofounded the makeup salon Rouge with her longtime Law & Order: SVU makeup artist Rebecca Perkins. Mach spends significant time traveling globally in her capacity as an activist for causes benefiting women and education. She has served on the board of Planned Parenthood Global, the advisory board of OneKid OneWorld, and for five years on the board of directors of Safe Horizon. March is the celebrity ambassador for the World of Children Award and an advocate for Planned Parenthood. She currently resides in Manhattan with her husband, Dan Benton, and her Maine coon, Taco Cat

Seth MeyersSeth Meyers (C96, H16) (special video appearance) is an Emmy Award–winning writer and the current host of Late Night with Seth Meyers. In 2014 Meyers was named to the Time 100, Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people. Host of the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards in 2014, he was nominated for a 2017 Emmy for outstanding writing for a variety series. Meyers began his television career in 2001 with Saturday Night Live, where he was a cast member for 13 seasons, head writer for nine seasons, and “Weekend Update” anchor for eight seasons. In 2011 Meyers won the Emmy for outstanding original music and lyrics for host Justin Timberlake’s musical monologue. Meyers has also garnered 14 additional Emmy nominations for television writing. After graduating from Northwestern, Meyers studied and performed at Chicago’s iO Theatre before moving on to Amsterdam’s Boom Chicago Theater. His acclaimed show Pick-ups and Hiccups with partner Jill Benjamin toured Europe and eventually caught the eye of SNL. Meyers also executive produced and lent his voice to Hulu’s animated superhero show The Awesomes, which ran for three seasons. In addition, Meyers has joined forces with SNL alumni Fred Armisen and Bill Hader to create IFC’s Emmy-nominated docuparody series Documentary Now! Meyers hosted the 2010 and 2011 ESPY Awards on ESPN and headlined the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner to rave reviews. He currently resides in New York City.

Dermot MulroneyDermot Mulroney (C85) played a breakout role in the 1988 western Young Guns and has gone on to appear in such films as Longtime Companion, Point of No Return, Copycat, My Best Friend’s Wedding, About Schmidt, Where the Day Takes You, Living in Oblivion, The Wedding Date, Georgia Rule, The Grey, and the Steve Jobs biopic Jobs. On television he has played recurring roles on such series  as New Girl, Enlightened, Shameless, and Pure Genius. In addition, Mulroney is an accomplished cellist who has played on the soundtracks of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Star Trek: Into  Darkness, Mission: Impossible–Ghost Protocol, and other films.

 

Dana OlsenDana Olsen (C80) is a screenwriter, actor, and producer. His writing credits include the films George of the Jungle, The ’Burbs, Inspector Gadget, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Wacko, and Going Berserk. Olsen is cocreator, co-executive producer, and a principal writer for the Nickelodeon series Henry Danger.

 

 

 

Tony RobertsTony Roberts (C61) made his Broadway debut in 1962 in the play Something About a Soldier. For writer/director Woody Allen he has appeared in the films Annie Hall, Radio Days, Stardust Memories, Hannah and Her Sisters, and A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy as well as both the Broadway and film versions of Play It Again, Sam (directed by Herbert Ross) and Allen’s segment for The Concert for New York City. Roberts’s film appearances also include The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Serpico, Just Tell Me What You Want, Amityville 3-D, and The Longest Week. His Broadway credits include Barefoot in the Park, Promises, Promises, Murder at the Howard Johnson’s, Sugar, The Sisters Rosensweig, They’re Playing Our Song, Victor/Victoria, The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, Arsenic and Old Lace, Cabaret, Xanadu, and How Now, Dow Jones. He also played Buddy in Follies at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse. On television Roberts has appeared in numerous series, including The Carol Burnett Show, Matlock, Rosetti and Ryan, The Love Boat, and Law & Order. In 1980 he was  a member of the celebrity cast of Northwestern’s nationally televised celebration “The Way They Were.

Kimberly WilliamsPaisleyKimberly Williams-Paisley (C93) continues to garner praise for her dramatic and comedic roles in feature film and television. Recently seen starring in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, Williams-Paisley first lit up the screen as the radiant young bride in the comedy features Father of the Bride and Father of the Bride Part II. She went on to costar as Dana in the eight-season run of ABC-TV’s According to Jim, a comedy series for which she directed three episodes. She has starred in such films as How to Eat Fried Worms, the Warner Bros. feature We Are Marshall, and the independent feature Undiscovered Gyrl, costarring Christian Slater and Martin Sheen. On television she starred as Peggy Kenter on the hit ABC drama Nashville and in Lifetime Network’s Amish Grace. Williams-Paisley’s other television credits include starring in and coproducing ABC Family’s Lucky Seven and Lifetime Movies’ original feature Identity Theft. She costarred in CBS’s The Christmas Shoes, ABC’s Relativity, the NBC miniseries The Tenth Kingdom, and Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Follow the Stars Home. Williams-Paisley also wrote, directed, and costarred in the short film Shade, winner of the Heartland Film Festival’s Vision Award for best festival short, among other awards. Her second short, Numero Dos, premiered at the Nashville Film Festival. Williams-Paisley made her Broadway debut in the Tony Award–winning The Last Night of Ballyhoo and has appeared on stage in The Vagina Monologues in New York and Los Angeles, All in the Timing at the Geffen Playhouse, and Speed the Plow on London’s West End. Also an accomplished writer, Williams-Paisley has written articles published in In Style and New You magazines as well as the yearlong column “My Life as a New Wife” for Redbook. She and her father, Gurney Williams, coauthored the children’s book Henry and the Hidden Veggie Garden. Asa result of her acclaimed and influential Redbook feature “Is My Mother Gone?,” Williams-Paisley began working closely with the Alzheimer’s Association of America, and her memoir Where the Light Gets In: Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again was published by Crown Archetype in 2016. For Nashville Public Television, Williams-Paisley hosted the critically acclaimed series NPT Reports: Children’s Health Crisis, which won a Midsouth Regional Emmy. She is actively involved with Live Beyond, which works to improve the lives of the people of Thomazeau, Haiti; the organization’s recent clean water initiative aims to provide over 200,000 people with clean water. A member of the Entertainment Council for Feeding America, she is  also associated with St. Jude’s Hospital and the XP Foundation.

Student performer

Lucy GodinezLucy Godínez (C18) is an actress and singer. Her Chicago acting credits include In the Heights (Nina, Porchlight Music Theatre) Hair (Jeannie, Mercury Theatre Chicago), and West Side Story (Maria, Court Theater Gala 2018). A current Northwestern University senior studying musical theatre and Latino/a Studies, Godinez’s favorite Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts credits include Green Day's American Idiot (Extraordinary Girl), Urinetown (Pennywise), and the 86th Annual Waa-Mu Show: Beyond Belief. She can be seen in this year's Waa-Mu Show: Manhattan Miracle and as Serena in Legally Blonde at the Paramount Theater coming this Fall. She is proudly represented by Stewart Talent.

 

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Artistic staff

RAC ClarkRAC Clark (C78) (co-executive producer) is an Emmy-nominated producer who has overseen thousands of hours of television programming as an executive producer and producer of live-event programming and reality, competition, and game shows. Clark recently completed production on Grammy Red Carpet Live! and Elton John: I’m Still Standing—A Grammy Salute as well  as the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards, which this year returned to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Clark has produced the ACM Awards live on CBS since 1999; the 50th, in 2015, was held at AT&T Stadium, setting a Guinness Book of World Records mark as the largest award-show audience. Over the past three years Clark has executive-produced Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants as well as One Voice: Somos Live! A Concert for Disaster Relief; Stayin’ Alive: A Grammy Salute to the Music of the Bee Gees; ACM Honors; ACM Presents: Superstar Duets; Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life—An All- Star Grammy Salute; Shining a Light: A Concert for Progress on Race in America; Sinatra 100: An All- Star Grammy Concert; and Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. In 2014 Clark executive-produced the Hollywood Film Awards; ACM Presents:  An All- Star Salute to the Troops; MDA Show of Strength Telethon; and Emmy-nominated specials in six categories, including The Night That Changed America: The Beatles—A Grammy Salute, nominated for outstanding variety special. His other recent executive producer credits include Tim McGraw’s Superstar Summer Night; the 2013 Inaugural Balls and Commander-in-Chief Ball for the Presidential Inaugural Committee; Healing in the Heartland; 2013 MDA Show of Strength; 2013 Hollywood Film Awards; The Million Second Quiz; Lionel Richie and Friends: In Concert; Girls’ Night Out: The Superstar Women of Country; Brooks and Dunn: The Last Rodeo; and George Strait: ACM Artist of the Decade. Additional credits include the Academy of Country Music’s 40th-anniversary celebration, 165 episodes of Prime Time Country for Nashville Network, and the NBC special Garth Brooks and the Magic of Christmas. He also produced live satellite remotes of the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin for the American Music Awards on ABC. Born  in Philadelphia and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, Clark now lives in Santa Rosa Valley, California, with his wife, Eve Adair, and their daughter, Sophia Renee.

Dave HardingDave Harding (C78, MSJ79) (co-executive producer) is an award-winning film and television producer and production executive associated with the Academy Award–nominated Encounters at the End of the World. His other credits include The Grizzly Man, The U.S. vs. John Lennon, Leonard Cohen—I’m Your Man, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, and most recently Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary. Harding recently produced “This Is Bob Hope...” for American Masters on PBS and the feature documentary Sergio Mendes: The Boy from Niteroi. A three-time Emmy nominee and an Emmy winner for Wage Slaves: Not Getting By in America, he produced or supervised more than a thousand hours of documentary and non-fiction television programs while executive vice president of the indie powerhouse Creative Differences.

Don WeinerDon Weiner (C79) (executive producer) is a producer and director who earned his first television credit 38 years ago working on the first School of Communication gala, “The Way They Were.” His credits include some of America’s most popular and critically acclaimed television shows, such as So You Think You Can Dance, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader, and Magic’s Secrets Finally Revealed. He is currently the director of the NBCUniversal daily talk show Steve as well as the executive producer and director of Showtime at the Apollo, the iconic weekly variety show that ran in syndication for 20 years and has now been revived in prime time on Fox.

 

Peter FlynnPeter Flynn (C87) (stage director) is a New York City–based director, producer, and teacher. His most recent directing credits include the off-Broadway musical Curvy Widow by Bobby Goldman and Drew Brody at the Westside Theatre; Ragtime (for which he is nominated for a Helen Hayes Award) at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC; and Born Yesterday, starring Andréa Burns, at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. His New York credits include Chess with Josh Groban, Adam Pascal, and Julia Murney; Funny Girl with Whoopi Goldberg, Jane Krakowski, and Sutton Foster; the 75th-anniversary performance of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town with Adriane Lenox, B. D. Wong, and S. Epatha Merkerson; On the Twentieth Century with Douglas Sills and Marin Mazzie; Skippyjon Jones and Junie B. Jones (nominated for two Lucille Lortel Awards, including best musical); and Rhapsody in Seth starring Seth Rudetsky. Other credits include Andrea Martin’s one-woman show, Andrea Martin: Final Days! Everything Must Go!; the world premiere of Willy Holtzman’s Smart Blonde at Pittsburgh’s City Theatre (transferring off-Broadway in spring 2019); Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop; Gypsy at the Muny in St. Louis; 1776 and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee for Ford’s Theatre; and Man of La Mancha, for which he won the South Florida Carbonell Award for best direction, at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. As a producer, Flynn is a partner in Mainspring Arts Cooperative, a not-for-profit organization that produces and presents national tours at regional the-aters, most recently Tectonic Theater Project’s premiere of Uncommon Sense at the Sheen Center in New York. Other projects in development with M.A.C. include Wait Wait Don’t Kill Me by Alan Schmuckler (C05) and David Holstein (C04) and The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin by Kirsten Childs.

Shelly GoldsteinShelly Goldstein (C79) (head writer) has written and produced for film, television, animation, and stage for every major US studio and network as well as for productions in Canada, Europe, and Asia. She is currently writing episodes for China’s first English-language fantasy-drama, Age of Heroes. Garry Marshall saw her comedy revue Broad’s Side at Northwestern and later her play Coming Attractions, which ran for two years in Chicago. He then brought Goldstein to Los Angeles and put her under contract as a sitcom writer at Paramount. She wrote the Emmy-nominated PBS special Chicago Voices and has polished screenplays for Steve Martin, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, and others. Cocreator of the animated musi-cal series Shelldon (NBC) and Flying with Byrd (Asia), she has written scripts, lyrics, and special material for such artists as Lily Tomlin, Barbra Streisand, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, Jane Lynch, Larry Wilmore, Quincy Jones, Craig Ferguson, and Yoko Ono. Her one-woman shows have played in L.A., London, and Dublin, and she costarred in the British film The Riddle opposite Sir Derek Jacobi and Vanessa Redgrave. She was wildly happy to reunite with former Mee-Ow castmates Dana Olsen, Victoria Zielinski, and Paul Barrosse in the original comedy revues Mr. Olsen’s Neighborhood and Mr. Olsen’s Champagne Celebration and directed the first Vic & Paul Show. 

Doug PeckDoug Peck (WCAS03) (music director) is a Los Angeles–based multigenre musical director, pianist, conductor, orchestrator, arranger, vocal teacher and coach, and educator. He has appeared in concert with such artists as Renée Fleming, Michelle Williams, Lupe Fiasco, Jessie Mueller, Shemekia Copeland, John Prine, André DeShields, Heather Headley, Ernestine Jackson, Sylvia McNair, Rod Gilfry, and George Hearn. Peck conducted the original full orchestration of Carousel at the Glimmerglass Festival and created new Indian-jazz fusion arrangements and orchestrations for the stage version of Disney’s The Jungle Book as seen in Chicago and Boston. Musical supervisor for the hit off-Broadway musical Ride the Cyclone, Peck has won six Joseph Jefferson Awards for musical direction as well as two After Dark Awards, the Guy Adkins Award, the Actors Equity Spirit of Diversity Award, and the Sarah Siddons Award. He is cocreator of the Goodman Theatre’s unique free musical theatre program for talented high school students who would not otherwise have access to conservatory training. His collaborations with Tony Award–winning director Mary Zimmerman include The Jungle Book, Wonderful Town at the Goodman, a new production of Guys and Dolls for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Los Angeles’s Wallis Annenberg Center, and a celebrated revision of Candide seen in Chicago, Washington, and Boston. Peck can be heard on the recordings Bright Young People: The Songs of Noël Coward and Stephen Flaherty and Frank Galati’s Loving Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein. Peck has also presented Assassins and Follies in concert, A Night at the Oscars (a marathon concert of every Academy Award–winning song), A Night at the Tonys (one song from every Tony Award–winning musical), and concert tributes to Prince, David Bowie, Josephine Baker, Eartha Kitt, Nina Simone, and Tina Turner.

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