Alumni Success

Jaren Mitchell

Southeastern Louisiana University, B.A., General Studies Theatre Concentration, Summer 2011. Currently Jaren works in New Orleans as a film actor. He has appeared in following movie The Town that Dreaded Sundown, 21 Jump Street, Now You See Me, From the Rough, Haunted High, The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghost of Georgia, American Horror House, Scent of the Missing, Ghost Shark, W.I.N.O., Free State of Jones, Life at These Speeds, Roots and When the Game Stands Tall.  Other credits include  working in award winning television series True Blood, Treme, Togetherness, Underground, Zoo, and  True Detective. Commercial credits include Microsoft and Bing. Most recently he appeared as one of the apostles in FOX's live two-hour musical "Passion" pageant, shot in New Orleans, recounting the last hours of Jesus' life for a national TV audience.

Justin Davis

Southeastern Louisiana University, B.S. Business Marketing, Fall 2017.  University of New Orleans, M.F.A. - Theatre Performance, 2021. While at Southeastern, he performed in Oedipus as Oedipus, Last Days of Judas Iscariot as Satan, and No Exit as Joseph Garcin. While at The University of New Orleans, he performed as Othello in William Shakespeare’s Othello, Eddie in Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love and as Brutus Jones in Eugene O’Neill’s The Emperor Jones. He will be performing in the 2021 production of the Outdoor Drama, Tecumseh!. 

Stephen Varnado

Stephen Varnado , B.S. General Studies - Theatre Concentration. Spring 2013, just received his Actor's Equity Card as a stage manager in New York City. He is now part of the union, eligible for benefits and union scale for work. Stephen is the first SLU grad to earn his card.

Michael Kramer

Southeastern Louisiana University, B.S. Industrial Technology, Spring 1997.  M.F.A. in Scenic Design, Western Illinois University, Spring 2000. Michael’s production credits include production design for the CBS Super Bowl at Jackson Square, CBS Champions square and CBS Radio Row in New Orleans in 2013. He also redesigned the WDSU TV NBC affiliate in New Orleans in 2014. Other credits include NFLam, NBC Sports Network, Glenn Beck GBTV Dallas, NFL Network's Gameday & First on the Field - Jack Morton PDG,  ESPN’s “SportsNation” (Emmy Nominated Production Design), The Papal visit to Ground Zero, ESPN’s 2010 World Cup Studio - South Africa, and The Golf Channel's "Morning Drive" - Hotopp Associates.  Astoria Performing Arts Center, New York City,  credits include: "Ragtime" & "Children of Eden" (both New York Innovative Theatre Award winners for Outstanding Scenic Design 2009 & 2010), "A New Brain", "Proof", and "Triumph of Love".  Other NYC Theatre credits include: "For the Love of Christ!" – 2009 NYC Fringe Festival, "Trails" - NYMF 2010, "Seeing Stars" – NYMF 2009, "The Play about the Naked Guy" – Emerging Artist Theatre, "A Good Farmer" and "Flyer" – 3Graces Theatre Company, and "The Wake of Jamey Foster" – Connection Theatre Company. Regional credits include "Steel Magnolias", and "The Wedding Signer" – Le Petit Theatre New Orleans. "The Miracle Worker" and "Evita" - Foothills Theatre Company.

Lydia Cabellero

Southeastern Louisiana University, B.A. General Studies Theatre Concentration, Fall 2016. In January, Lydia was chosen for a paid internship with the Blue Man Group's Casting and Training office in New York City.  Lydia stage managed and assistant directed the Aaron Latham-directed revival of Clifford Odets’ The Golden Boy in a limited run NYC fundraiser for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.  She is currently working as a Stage Manager for the Miller Theatre at Columbia University and as a stage deck assistant for Blue Man Group at the Astor Place Theatre in  New York City.  She’s been busy Stage Managing many productions in NYC including Orphans directed by Aaron Latham, In the Heat of the Night directed by Joe Tantalo, and Quotidian directed by Bruce Baen. Coming up this October she will be Stage Managing the remounted production of Golden Boy at the famous La Mama Theatre in New York City.

Chelsea Krause

Southeastern Louisiana University, B.A., General Studies Theatre Concentration, Spring 2014. Chelsea was awarded a Marketing Intern for the award winning Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC) in New York City, after graduation.  MTC is dedicated to producing new work through an intensive Artistic Development Program that offers commissions, script evaluation, dramaturgical support, readings and workshops. It has won 19 Tony Awards and 6 Pulitzer Prizes including such pieces as Rabbit Hole, Proof, and Doubt. She is a member of The Heights Players in Brooklyn, where she performed as The Ghost of Christmas Past in their production of A Christmas Carol. In the Spring of 2015, Chelsea returned to Southeastern for the world premiere of her play, Peter & Tink. She is working for Walt Disney Theatrical Productions, Ltd. Currently she is a writer, actor, director and producer of the new webseries Mandated. She helped to raise over $18,000 dollars for the project and she is in preproduction, Summer 2017.

Clarence Wethern

Southeastern Louisiana University, BA Communications with emphasis in Theatre, Spring 2001. Clarence has established himself as a prolific figure in the Twin Cities market.  He studied improv with the prestigious Brave New Workshop and ComedySportz and performed with numerous theatres, with roles including Edgar in King Lear (Starting Gate Productions), Chris in Killer Joe (Theatre Pro Rata), and Guy in Some Girl(s) (Walking Shadow). Off stage, Clarence has amassed a formidable body of independent film work, including the independent films 2021 and Twin Cities and the comedy web series Theatre People. He also works regularly in commercials and industrials. In 2011, Minnesota Monthly magazine included Clarence in their list of “Artists We Love”, the same year he earned accolades as Oliver in The Pride (Pillsbury House Theatre) and for his tour de force performance as Hamlet (Theatre in the Round). Most recently, he appeared in Lucas Hnath’s Death Tax at Pillsbury House Theatre and Alan Berks’ original ode to the ‘80s Minneapolis music scene Complicated Fun at the History Theatre.

Marcy Jarreau

Southeastern Louisiana University, B.A., General Studies Theatre Concentration, Spring 2005. After graduating, Marcy moved to New York City and began studying and performing at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Marcy was a contestant and winner of the web-based reality series 'Project Improviser.' Marcy is currently a teacher at the Upright Citizen Brigade training center in Los Angeles, and a member of the house team 'Search History.' Marcy’s acting credits include 'Comedy Bang! Bang!' (IFC), 'The Birthday Boys' (IFC), 'Adam Ruins Everything' (TruTV), 'The To Do List' (Maggie Carey), and 'The Last Word' (Mark Pellington) alongside Shirley MacLaine. She also wrote, starred in, and produced the award winning short film 'Relationship Goals.'

Misty Pelas

Southeastern Louisiana University, B.A. in Visual Arts, Spring 2002.University of Texas Austin, M.F.A. in Scenic Design, Spring 2005. Currently serves as Scenic Charge Artist with the Kansas City Repertory Theatre

Benjamin Norman

Southeastern Louisiana University, B.A. General Studies Theatre Concentration , Fall 2010. MFA in Lighting Design, University of Southern Mississippi.  Ben is currently the Campus Technical Director for Southeastern Louisiana University.  His past work includes: Carpenter for Blue Man Group New York, Electrician for Inside the Actors Studio, Rigger for The Women’s Project Julia Miles Theatre, Entertainment Technician on the Nighttime Awakenings show at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, and Assistant Technical Director for The Flea Theatre.

Lynsey Manley

Southeastern Louisiana University, B.A. General Studies - Theatre Concentration, Fall 2013. Lynsey Manley graduated this spring with an MFA lighting design from the University of Houston. Her most recent credits are as the Projections Assistant at The Alley Theatre for their All New Play Festival and serving as both Lighting and Projections designer for the University of Houston's production of She Kills Monsters. As well as designing University Productions, Lynsey is a freelance lighting and projections designer in the Houston area and works as a stagehand for a popular dinner theatre in the downtown Houston area. Lynsey was one of seven students chosen worldwide to be awarded the ETC LDI sponsorship. Last summer she worked as the Assistant Lighting and Projections designer for the Houston Shakespeare Festival. She is currently the Assistant Lighting Designer for Nashville Rep.

Will James Stacey

Southeastern Louisiana University, B.A. General Studies Theatre Concentration, Spring  2010 MFA in Theatrical Design from Western Illinois University, Spring 2014. Will has designed and/or installed lighting, scenery, graphic art, costumes, projections, and logistics for a variety of productions across the country. His credits include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hair, Next to Normal, Tarzan the Musical, 9 to 5 the Musical, Thrill Me, Carousel, Chicago, Lend Me A Tenor, Smokey Joe’s Café, Cabaret, The Nutcracker, Take Me Out, Arabian Nights, Irving Berlin’s I Love a Piano, Hairspray, Henry VI, Romeo and Juliet and Gianni Schicchi. Since 2013, He has worked as an assistant professor of theatre at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

David J. Badon

Southeastern Louisiana University, B.A. General Studies - Theatre Concentration, Spring 2005. Western Illinois University, M.F.A. in Scenic Design, May 2008. Currently serves as the Scenic Studio Supervisor and Facilities Manager at University of Texas at Arlington.

Amanda Klipsch

Southeastern Louisiana University, B.A. General Studies - Theatre Concentration, Spring 2012. Magna Cum Laude.  Amanda is currently pursuing an MFA in Scenic Design at the University of Southern Mississippi and has been involved in many projects with Solomon Group such as: Super Bowl XLVII, the Essence Festival and several exhibits at the National World War II Museum.

Alicia Hanley

Southeastern Louisiana University  B.A. Liberal Arts Concentration in Theatre and English, Magna Cum Laude, 2009.  MFA in Directing from the University of Southern Mississippi. Alicia currently teaches theatre at the Math, Science and Arts Academy West, directs and stage manages professionally and owns her own theatre company, Bridge Nouveau Theatre Company LLC. Some of her favorite plays that she has directed include Eleemosynary, Anna in the Tropics, Dancing at Lughnasa, Red, Rumors, Alice in Wonderland Jr., Captive, Lysistrata and The Indian Wants the Bronx. Some of her favorite plays that she has stage managed include The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), The Learned Ladies, The 13th of Paris, and The Servant of Two Masters.

Jeff Polito

Jeff Polito earned his MFA in Acting from the University of New Orleans in 2000 and his BA in Communications and Theater from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1996. In Graduate School, Jeff was awarded Best Partner-Irene Ryan award in 1996 and was in the cast of Lots Daughters, National Finalist in the American College Theater Festival in 2000.  He has been teaching at Southeastern Louisiana University since August of 2000. During this time he taught Communication 211 for several years and currently teaches Theater 131 for Southeastern Theater.  Jeff recently directed the premier performance of the Inkslinger Playwriting Competition Award winning play entitled Encore, Encore at Southeastern Theatre. He has also directed several original plays for the Hammond Horror Festival. In August 2000 he was also hired in the St. Tammany Parish Talented Arts Program teaching theater. During this time he has been teaching acting and stagecraft classes in every grade from 1st to 12th. Since 2005 he has been at Fontainebleau High School in Mandeville where he has directed numerous productions including: Brighton Beach Memoirs, Dancing at Lughnasa, Hamlet ESP, Guys and Dolls, Our Town, The Sound of Music, Shogun MacBeth, and The Odd Couple.  Jeff continues to work as an actor in regional independent film projects and commercials and teaches private acting classes. He lives in Mandeville with his three sons.

Gary Mendoza

Southeastern Louisiana University, B.A. General Studies - Theatre Concentration, Spring 1999. University of New Orleans, M.F.A. - Theatre Performance. 2003.   Gary Mendoza works successfully as an actor, director, playwright and stage technician in addition to teaching Talented Theatre at Covington High School, where he’s been since 2005. He was voted his school's Teacher of the Year in 2012 and has had students compete in national competitions in both New York and Washington DC. Extremely active with Slidell Little Theatre, he spent several years on the Board of Directors and has earned awards for his performances (The Lion in Winter, A Christmas Story) and lighting designs (Cabaret, Man of LaMancha). He is currently the Co-Artistic Director and Technical Director for the Covington Louisiana Actor's Playhouse System (CLAPS), a summer theatre program for high school students celebrating its 21st season in 2016. Recently he was awarded a BUSS (British University Summer School) Scholarship through the English Speaking Union of the United States to study for three weeks at The Globe, culminating with a performance on The Globe stage.

Tara Bennett

 Southeastern Louisiana University, M.A. Organizational Communication, 2012 and a B.A. Liberal Arts, Minor Theatre, Fall 2008.  During her tenure at Southeastern Louisiana University, Tara has worked extensively in the theatre department as an actor, makeup designer and publicist. In 2012, she obtained her Master's degree in Organizational Communication, focusing in news and social media. Currently, she works as the Entertainment Editor for DIG Magazine, the Media Coordinator for the Hammond Regional Arts Center and as a theatre critic for In her spare time, Tara remains an active alum of Southeastern's chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, the national theatre honorary. She also serves on the board for the Hammond Horror Festival, which highlights visual and theatrical arts in a new setting for the under 40 crowd. She also does freelance makeup design for film and theatre productions in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Covington. In 2015, she and fellow Southeastern alums Alicia Hanley and Kaci Davis created Bridge Nouveau Theatre Company in Baton Rouge. This theatre company's mission is to bring and adapt theatrical productions in unique spaces outside the traditional theatre setting, and sold out its first inaugural show Red, which was held at the Baton Rouge Gallery in July 2015.

Drew Zeringue

Southeastern Louisiana University, B.A. General Studies English and Theatre Concentration, August 2011.  He is currently teaching talented theatre at Math Science and Arts Academy East and West in Iberville Parish. He also freelances as an actor and musician.