The Dallas Theater Center has announced two new members have joined its resident acting troupe: Kieran Connolly (above, left) — who’s taught at SMU and most recently appeared as the father in the Theater Center’s production of Next Fall – and recent SMU grad, Tiffany Hobbs (above, right), who’s performed in Cabaret and A Christmas Carol. Connolly, presumably, will be talking on the older male roles that might have gone to original company member Sean Hennigan — who more or less has left the company since appearing in It’s a Bird … It’s a Plane … It’s Superman! last season.
But if the DTC has never mentioned Hennigan’s departure, it does make note of the fact that company member Abby Siegworth is leaving (her spot in the 2-year designated SMU MFA residency is being filled by Hobbs) as is Cedric Neal, currently onstage in New York in the Broadway revival of Porgy and Bess.
That makes nine current actors, and the DTC is in the midst of a national search for a Latino actor — “who will contribute to DTC’s new efforts to explore the work of Latino playwrights and increase outreach efforts in the Latino community.”
For me, the surprise in all this is the departure of Matthew Gray, who has been a talented actor at the Theater Center (Dividing the Estate) and Kitchen Dog as well as a smart director (Second Thought’s Pluck the Day). Gray has accepted a creative position with a global marketing and communications agency. After all, one purpose of the Brierley Resident Acting Company is to try to keep good actors in North Texas, keep them, you know, acting.
Oh well. Ave atque vale, as the Romans would say. Congrats to the newbies. And welcome.
The full release follows:
Dallas Theater Center Announces Kieran (Michael) Connolly and Tiffany Hobbs as New Members of the Brierley Resident Acting Company
DALLAS (May 17, 2012) – Dallas Theater Center Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty is pleased to announce two new members of DTC’s Diane and Hal Brierley Resident Acting Company – Kieran (Michael) Connolly and Tiffany Hobbs.
“Michael and Tiffany are talented actors whose work has graced the DTC stage in several of our signature productions during the past few years,” says Moriarty. “Together they will be strong additions to our Resident Acting Company, bringing their breadth of experience and talent to our stage. Their appointments also serve as a sign of our continued desire for the acting company to change and develop over time, thus remaining an active creative source of new ideas, energy and experiences for the artists and our audience.”
Both Connolly and Hobbs have strong ties to SMU Meadows School of the Arts, where DTC has an ongoing collaborative relationship. As associate professor and former head of the acting program, Connolly has been one of Hobbs’ teachers for the past three years, during which time she was a student in the MFA acting program. “Their appointments are a testament to the depth of the faculty and student talent at SMU and a sign of the thriving partnership between DTC and SMU,” says Moriarty.
Connolly appeared in DTC’s recent production of Next Fall and last season’s Dividing the Estate. “Michael brings to the company an impressive depth and range of theatrical experience, great passion for the power of theater to impact lives, immense classical skills and over 30 years of teaching experience at the university level,” says Moriarty.
“When Kevin offered me a place in the Brierley Resident Acting Company, I felt surprised, challenged and invigorated: surprised that he and DTC would consider me; challenged because I know the high caliber of the actors who already comprise the company and the directors who guide their work; and invigorated because working with DTC will take me to so many new places,” says Connolly. “All I can do now is work as hard as I am able with my new, gifted colleagues to continue advancing the work we do.”
He is joined by former student Tiffany Hobbs, who graduated from SMU’s MFA acting program this month. She has appeared on DTC’s stage in Cabaret and A Christmas Carol, both in the 2010-2011 season. Hobbs is joining the Acting Company for a 2-year appointment and will fill the position Abbey Siegworth is vacating. “Tiffany’s wide-ranging talents include her ability to move easily from the classics to comedy and drama, her captivating charisma on stage and her strong musical theater skills,” says Moriarty.
“I could not be happier to be offered such a wonderful opportunity with DTC,” says Hobbs. “After spending the last three years in intensive acting training at SMU, I am looking forward to applying the valuable knowledge, skills and confidence my education has afforded me in a professional atmosphere and developing beyond what I have already achieved.”
José Bowen, dean of the Meadows School of the Arts, believes in the importance of community collaboration and is excited for the opportunities DTC’s Brierley Resident Acting Company provides.
“We are thrilled to be continuing and strengthening our partnership with the Dallas Theater Center,” says Bowen. “Kevin Moriarty really understands the multiple benefits of this kind of collaboration. Together we are working to make Dallas a city of great opportunities for artists to live and work.”
In addition to Siegworth, who was the first to fill the 2-year residency for an SMU MFA graduate, Cedric Neal and Matthew Gray are also leaving the company. Neal is currently in New York continuing his work on Broadway in Porgy and Bess and Gray has accepted a creative position with a global marketing and communications agency. Connolly and Hobbs’ appointments will bring the company to nine members. DTC is in the early stages of a national search for a tenth company member, who will contribute to DTC’s new efforts to explore the work of Latino playwrights and increase outreach efforts in the Latino community.
Moriarty formed DTC’s Brierley Resident Acting Company in 2009 to develop and nurture professional actors within the community, expand DTC’s artistic profile, and create ongoing collaborative relationships. “Great acting is at the center of all great theater,” Moriarty says. “The members of the Brierley Acting Company are vital to our artistic success and our relationship to the community.” Company members are Hassan El-Amin, Kieran (Michael) Connolly, Chamblee Ferguson, Tiffany Hobbs, Liz Mikel, Lee Trull, Sally Nystuen-Vahle, Christina Vela and Steven Michael Walters.
KIERAN (MICHAEL) CONNOLLY began teaching on the university level in 1980. Prior to SMU, he taught at Penn State and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. In 2006, Connolly was named a Meadows Foundation Distinguished Teaching professor. National credits: The Utah Shakespeare Festival; PlayMaker’s Repertory; Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival; Centre Stage; Boston Repertory; the Camden Shakespeare Festival. Dallas credits: DTC: Next Fall, Dividing the Estate; Laramie Project Revisited; The Seagull; A Christmas Carol. Kitchen Dog Theatre: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf; King Lear. The Dallas Opera: Bluebeard’s Castle. Dallas Shakespeare Festival: Much Ado About Nothing.
TIFFANY HOBBS holds an MFA acting degree from SMU. She received undergraduate degrees in both theatre and public relations from the University of Georgia. Last year, she won two San Francisco Broadway World Awards for best leading actress in a musical and best featured actress in a musical for her portrayal of Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray and Joanne in Company, respectively. She was also named the 2011 female Star Project winner by NBC and the American Black Film Festival. Tiffany’s other recent roles on stage include Juanita in Blues for Mister Charlie, Susan in Race, Frosine in The Miser, Berniece in The Piano Lesson and Fritzie in Cabaret at the Dallas Theater Center.
ABOUT DALLAS THEATER CENTER:
One of the leading regional theaters in the country, Dallas Theater Center (DTC) performs to an audience of more than 90,000 North Texas residents annually. Founded in 1959, DTC is now a resident company of the AT&T Performing Arts Center and presents its Mainstage season at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, designed by REX/OMA, Joshua Prince-Ramus and Rem Koolhaas and at its original home, the Kalita Humphreys Theater, the only freestanding theater designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty and Managing Director Heather M. Kitchen, DTC produces a seven-play subscription series of classics, musicals and new plays and an annual production of A Christmas Carol; extensive education programs, including Project Discovery, SummerStage and partnerships with Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts; and community outreach efforts including leading the DFW Foote Festival and recent collaborations with the Dallas Public Library, Dallas Holocaust Museum, North Texas Food Bank, Dallas Opera, and Dallas Black Dance Theater. Throughout its history, DTC has produced many new works, including The Texas Trilogy by Preston Jones in 1978, Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men (directed by Adrian Hall) in 1986, and recent premieres of Giant by Michael John LaChiusa and Sybille Pearson, The Trinity River Plays by Regina Taylor, the revised It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, Give It Up! (now titled Lysistrata Jones and recently on Broadway) by Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn, Sarah, Plain and Tall by Julia Jordan, Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin and The Good Negro by Tracey Scott Wilson.
Dallas Theater Center gratefully acknowledges the support of our season sponsors: American Airlines, The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, Lexus, National Endowment for the Arts, TACA, TCA, Texas Instruments and WFAA.
Kelsey Guy Public Relations Manager Dallas Theater Center 2400 Flora Street
Dallas, TX 75201