CTSA celebrates alumni during the month of August
At the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, August is Alumni Appreciation Month! We have dedicated our Instagram account to celebrating our alums' work and accomplishments in and beyond the arts all month long. Spend the month learning more about just a few of our outstanding alumni! CTSA alums from the Departments of Art, Dance, Drama and Music who work in different professional fields all across the globe, giving back to their communities in various ways.
Learn more about a few of our featured alumni here:
Ryan Brodsky, B.A. Drama '15, is currently a production coordinator on “SANTIAGO AND THE SEAS” at Nickelodeon Animation. Before returning to California in 2020 to begin his animation journey, Ryan worked in New York in the magical world of Broadway. He worked in talent management, casting, production, licensing and yes, he would be happy to give you recommendations of what to see next time you visit New York!
Ryan shares some words of advice from his own experience. “My advice for current CTSA students is to stay curious while you pursue your passion. Otherwise, you might miss an exciting alternate route on the journey!”
Michelle Maasz Brouwer
Michelle Maasz Brouwer, Dance and Art History ’14, grew up in the ballet studio always wanted to work behind the scenes. Michelle enjoys working with all of the community groups and UCI organizations in her current role as Director of Client Relations at Irvine Barclay Theatre. She also teaches dance, and is mom to two “pandemic babies.”
Michelle shares, “Say “yes” to every opportunity, keep in touch with your CTSA friends as they become your colleagues and professional network, learn as much as you can about every facet of your art form.”
Taylor Fagins, B.A. Drama ’18, is a singer, songwriter, actor and playwright based in New York City.
In May 2020, two days after a Minneapolis police officer murdered George Floyd, Fagins woke up, inspired to share his heartbreak through song. Written in a whirlwind half hour, “we need more” addresses the violence against young Black men and women like Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and Fagins’ fears for his own younger brother and sister.
He posted it online that morning, and within hours, Fagins had an offer to produce a more polished version of the song, which attracted tens of thousands of views on social media. On a whim, he entered American Songwriter 2020, a nationwide contest, and won $10,000 and a new guitar.
“That made me feel like my writing is pretty important and people are interested in what I have to say,” Fagins recalls. “I decided to be the type of writer who innovates, and stick to my life goal of writing the stories that are unseen, giving stage to the voices that are unheard.”
Read our full story on Taylor’s journey at https://www.arts.uci.edu/in-the-news/we-need-more-taylor-fagins
Beth Malone, Drama ’00, is most well known for her groundbreaking portrayal of Alison in the Tony Award-winning musical “Fun Home.” She is currently in the TV series “City On Fire” which begins airing early next year in 2023. Beth is also the co book writer of the musical “Starstruck” which she conceived with Emily Saliers of the musical duo “Indigo Girls.”
Beth shares her words of advice for students. “For young people just beginning their career in the arts I hope you’re true to your own voice right out of the gate. It took me a long while to trust that what I had to offer was enough. We need your stories and your perspective. Your truth will always be enough.”
Rachel Fine, Music ’94, attended UC Irvine in the 1990s as a transfer student, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UCI.
After training for many years as a classical pianist, she briefly considered an academic career in musicology. However, thanks to her broad education at UCI, she expanded her field of vision and became an arts administrator and leader for various arts organizations. She’s now CEO and executive director of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, a post she’s held since 2018. (She was managing director there since 2015.)
“I knew nothing about UC Irvine when I chose to move down south,” said Fine, who was born and raised in Berkeley, and initially attended college at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. At Eastman, the young classical pianist suffered from repetitive stress injuries in her wrists, and needed to take a leave of absence.
UCI “ended up being a wonderful place for me, a place where I could not just study music,” Fine said. “It opened up my eyes and my world to other professional opportunities outside of music. I took a lot of classes outside of my department.”
Read our full story on Rachel here: https://www.arts.uci.edu/rachel-fine-leads-arts-organizations
Jenny Yurshansky, Art ’10, is a Los Angeles-based artist whose work is deeply informed by being a refugee. Through a research-based approach, she explores the trauma of displacement, interrogating notions of belonging and otherness within the frames of landscape, historical documents and social constructs. Formally, this manifests as absence, loss, or erasure. Her long-term projects form intertwined narratives and span the mediums of sculpture, photography, installation, writing and community engagements.
Jenny reflects on her time as a student. “Make the most of this precious time to explore, dive deep, develop lifelong relationships, and say yes to any and all opportunities and paths that become available to you, you never know where they will take you, ignore the voice in your head that is questioning if you are "right" for it, just go for it.”
An actor, playwright, director, and composer, Patrick Burns, Drama ’12, is currently the Production Manager at Broadway Sacramento and a recent Lincoln City Fellow with the Speranza Foundation. He has performed off-Broadway, regionally and in national tours. His plays have been produced off- Broadway and regionally and his writing and songs have been featured online as well as on streaming platforms and concerts nationwide.
Make sure to follow us on Instagram for more alums throughout the rest of August!
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