Guest Artists in Theatre & Drama

Guest Artists in Theatre & Drama

U-M Theatre is thrilled and honored to welcome a variety of guest artists and master teachers each year. Guest artists enliven the educational experience as they present workshops, conduct open forums, and teach master classes with our students.



Our senior-year actors participate in an intensive audition workshop led by agents Richard Fisher of the Abrams Artists Agency and Arnold Mungioli of Mungioli Casting. Richard and Arnold work with the students, in groups and then individually, providing valuable feedback to the actors as they progress through prepared audition pieces and one-on-one interviews. The agents present the specific challenges of the profession for today’s actor. Students are enthusiastic about the experience, finding the sessions to be enormously helpful in the development of their audition preparation.

Donn Finn, casting partner in the office of Mali Finn Casting, conducts audition workshops for Acting majors. Donn is also a retired professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at California State University in Fullerton. His professional stage direction credits include Roger Cornish’s A Class “C” Trial in Yokohama for Paramount Pictures/Apollo Chicago, starring William Peterson (CSI), Dennis Farina, Ted Levine and D. W. Moffatt. For the National Theatre of Yugoslavia he directed House of Blue Leaves, Waiting for Godot, and Vlast (Power). Recent film casting credits include: Undertow, Eight Mile, Phonebooth, Titanic, LA Confidential, Wonder Boys and THE MATRIX I, II and III. In addition, he has served as an acting coach on several films and television series.

Our guests have included such distinguished actors and directors as:

Maureen Anderman – film, stage, and television actress; Michigan alumna
Hal Cooper – Hollywood television producer; Michigan alumnus
John Cullum – two-time Tony Award winner, television and film actor
Jeff Daniels – stage and film actor, director, founder Purple Rose Theatre
Ruby Dee – stage and film actress, Emmy Award-winning actress
Timothy Douglas – professional theatre director
David Alan Grier – actor and Michigan alumnus
Pamela Hunt – professional theatre director
James Earl Jones – stage and film actor, Michigan alumnus
Christine Lahti – stage, film, and television actress, winner of the New York Film Critics Award; and Michigan alumna
Arthur Miller – Pulitzer and Tony award winning playwright, Michigan Alumnus
Vladimir Mirzoev – Russian-born professional theatre director
Lewis Palter – professional theatre director
Travis Preston – professional theatre and opera director
Rick Rosen – talent agent and founder of Hollywood’s Endeavor Agency, past president of the Board of Directors of the Hollywood Radio and Television Society.
Kim Rubinstein – professional theatre director
Michele Shay – professional director and actress
Lynn Thompson – Circle Rep Theatre in New York City
Robert Ulrich – stage, film and television actor
Janet Zarish – stage, film and television actress, Head of Acting at Tisch School of the Arts

Other distinguished guests have included:

Libby Appel – former artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Michigan alumna
Ann Bogart – award-winning director and Artistic Director of the Saratoga International Theatre Institute (SITI)
Jim Clark – former Managing Director of the Syracuse Stage, professor Syracuse University
Stuart Duke – Managing Director Weston Playhouse Theatre Company, lighting designer
David Edgar – English playwright
Richard Gilman – theatre critic, Yale University
Stanley Kauffmann – New York Times theatre critic
Tony Kushner – playwright
Mark Lamos – Tony Award-winning producer, director, and actor
Jack O’Brien – artistic director of the San Diego Old Globe Theatre; Michigan alumnus
Frank Rich – former theatre critic for the New York Times
John Rich – television and film director; three Emmy Awards, Two Golden Globes, Michigan alumnus
Lloyd Richards – Canadian-American theatre director and actor, former Dean/Artistic Director and Professor Emeritus of Yale School of Drama/Yale Repertory Theatre
Ed Stern – Producing Artistic Director of the Cincinnati Playhouse
Derek Walcott – Nobel Prize-winning poet and playwright
Lanford Wilson – Noble-Prize winning playwright
Robert Woodruff – acclaimed New York and regional theatre director

A number of guest designers have taught master classes:

Susan Benson – Canadian set and costume designer for opera, theatre and ballet
Linda Buchanan – multiple award-winning scenic, costume and lighting designer and Head of Scene Design at DePaul University
Dawn Chiang – lighting designer
Jeff Davis – lighting designer for theatre, opera, and television
Olga Dimitrov – costume designer for theatre, film and television in the U.S., Canada and Czechoslovakia
Antonin Dimitrov – scenic and graphic designer for theatre, film and television in the U.S., Canada and Czechoslovakia
Russell Metheny – scenic designer; three Helen Hayes Awards
Shirley Prendergast – Obie-Award-winning lighting designer for Broadway and regional theatre
Vladimir Schpitalnik – professional scenographer

Collaborations with professional theatres

The Royal Shakespeare Company – In 2001, the U-M became the first American university to partner with the RSC with three biennial residencies of performances presented through the auspices of the University Musical Society. The residencies included a series of educational activities for adults and children and provided context and background for the plays. The U-M Theatre Department, its faculty, and particularly its students, worked directly in a studio setting with RSC actors, directors, and production personnel. Activities took place throughout each residency and included interviews, lectures, workshops, and behind-the-scenes events. In 2010, a new collaboration with U-M included a residency involving RSC directors, playwrights and dramaturges to workshop two new plays.

Other companies, such as the Stratford Festival, the Shaw Festival and the Pan-Asian Repertory have visited the U-M campus and held master classes for Theatre majors.