Faculty and Staff

Garry Brown

Garry Brown

Associate Professor, Production Manager

Garry supervises the production of scenery, properties, lighting, and sound for the UofL Theatre Arts Department. He holds an MFA from the University of Memphis and has worked locally with Stage One Family Theatre, the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Kentucky Opera, Louisville Ballet, and Horse Cave Theatre as well as seasons with the Merry-Go-Round Theatre (NY), and with companies from Florida to Colorado. In addition to teaching stagecraft and sound design, he serves as the Theatre Arts Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Phone: 502-852-8688
Email:

Nefertiti Burton

Nefertiti Burton

Professor, Chair

Nefertiti Burton holds an MFA in Directing from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a Research Certificate in Media/Arts Program Development from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her teaching, directing, writing, and storytelling focus on the experiences of people of the African Diaspora. Burton has performed and directed in regional theatre and off-Broadway as well as in international venues including: Adelaide, Australia; Beijing China; and Grahamstown, South Africa. Her professional work has been acknowledged with an American Scene Award and an Audelco. Five of her plays focusing on Yoruba traditional beliefs have toured the Kentucky public schools. Burton has led study abroad tours to South Africa, Senegal, China and Cuba. She is a recipient of the UofL Presidential Exemplary Multicultural Teaching Award and was recently awarded a Fulbright for research and study of International Education in France and Germany.

Phone: 502-852-8444
Email:

Jenn Calvano

Jenn Calvano

Assistant Professor of Acting and Movement

Jenn Calvano explores movement-based actor training pedagogy in the classroom, as a movement coach and director within the department, and as a professional actor.  She earned her PhD and MA in Theatre from the University of Colorado Boulder.  Jenn also holds a BA in Fine & Performing Arts from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and a BA in History from the University of Maryland.  Her dissertation: The Written Body: A Study of Theatre Movement Language and Pedagogy, examines the evolution of the pedagogy and language of various movement-based actor training approaches. Jenn has trained and/or worked with Stephen Wangh, Daniel Stein, and SITI Company in her continued investigation for this project.  Additional research areas of interest include interaction with the male gaze and decontextualization of performance images, translation and adaptation studies, and reimagining history onstage.  If, and when, she has free time, Jenn enjoys developing and exploring her clown persona Lola!

Phone: 502-852-8447
Email: jenn.calvano@louisville.edu

Kevin Gawley

Kevin Gawley

Assistant Professor, Resident Scenic and Lighting Designer

Gawley earned a BFA and an MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his MBA from DePaul University. His freelance work has been seen at the Lifeline Theatre – where he won the Jeff Citation for his design of Jane Eyre and the After Dark Award for his design of Strong Poison– the Organic, Porchlight, Theatre on the Lake, Metropolis, StoreFront, Loyola University Chicago, Revels Chicago, Midwest Jewish and at the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival theatres. He taught at Loyola University Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire before joining the faculty at UofL.

Phone: 502-852-8683
Email:

Zhanna Goldentul

Zhanna Goldentul 

Assistant Professor (Term), Resident Costume Designer

After moving from Russia to the United Stated in 1992, Goldentul began working in the Theatre Arts Department designing costumes and teaching classes. She graduated from the Theatrical Art College in Moscow and earned her MA in Fine Arts from UofL. She has designed costumes in Russia in the Old Drama Theatre and the Moscow Contemporary Theatre, as well as for various ballet companies. Zhanna is a member of the United Scenic Artists' Union 829 Local, and the Louisville Area Fabric and Textiles Association. She has designed costumes at StageOne Family Theatre and at Center Stage Jewish Community Center. Her costume design credits for UofL include: Metamorphoses, Once on This Island, Blues for an Alabama Sky, Gem of the Ocean, Othello, Hint!, and many more. Goldentul teaches classes, including: Costume Design, Sewing and Construction, and Stage Makeup.

Phone: 502-852-8579
Email:

Rachel Hillmer

Rachel Hillmer

Assistant Professor of Voice and Speech

Rachel teaches voice, speech, IPA, dialects, and textwork for UofL Theatre Arts, as well as serving as vocal/dialect coach on many University productions. She earned her MFA in Theatre Pedagogy: Voice and Speech from the Virginia Commonwealth University, and has a teacher certification in the Alexander Technique from The American Society of the Alexander Technique (AmSAT). Prior to joining the faculty at UofL, Rachel was in Chicago where she had the opportunity to work with a variety of schools and theaters, including Roosevelt University, School for Theatre Creators, ChiArts, and Chicago Shakespeare Theater. She is a current member of both VASTA and AmSAT.  

Phone: 502-852-8446
Email: rachel.hillmer@louisville.edu

Johnny Jones

Johnny Jones

Assistant Professor

Johnny Jones earned his MFA in Creative Writing from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), his MA in Performance Studies from New York University, and a BA in Mass Communication from the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Prior to joining UofL, Johnny served as the Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Austin Peay State University. At UofL, Johnny teaches Enjoyment of Theatre, Playscript Interpretation, and multiple courses in the African American Theatre Program (e.g., Acting the Black Experience; Black Dramatic Literature; Introduction to Hip Hop Theatre). Johnny’s scholarly/creative focus is contemporary black culture with emphasis on performances of black masculinities in American society. An interdisciplinary creative, Johnny seeks to produce literature and performance about progressive black identities. Upcoming publications include: “In a Bless’d Tone: Narrative Blackness in HBO’s Treme” in Multiple Representations in HBO TV Series Treme (University of Georgia Press); “From 90s Girl to HipHop Wife: An Analysis of the Portrayal of Tiny as Black Mother in Reality Television” for Black Women Are Loud! A Critical Analysis of Black Women Portrayals on Reality Television (Lexington Books); “Performances of Black Radical Masculinity in American Warfare: Reconfiguring Resistance in the Body of Muhammad Ali Towards Exile” (NorMa: International Journal of Masculinity Studies).

Phone: 502-852-8576
Email:

Baron Kelly

Baron Kelly 

Associate Professor, Head of Acting

Dr. Kelly is a  four-time Fulbright Scholar and a member of the National Theatre Conference. He  earned his PhD in Theatre from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, a diploma from London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and an MFA in Acting from California State University Long Beach. He has traveled  extensively as a  Cultural Specialist for the United States  Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs teaching and lecturing on the theatre in Russia; Scandinavia; Africa;  Europe; London; and  Asia.   He has been a fellow at Harvard  University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African American Research. Currently, he serves on the boards of both the Comparative Drama  Conference (Editorial Board) and Stanislavsky Institute  Advisory Board.  Dr. Kelly has served on review panels for the NEA and Fulbright Commission. He has performed International for the National Theatre of Great Britain; Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada; National Theatre of Norway; Yermelova Theatre, Moscow, Russian; Constans Theatre, Athens, Greece, Academy Theatre Dublin; Edinburgh Theatre  Festival; Bargello, Florence, Italy;  among  others.  Broadway: credits include  Salome and Electra.  Numerous classical and contemporary roles for over 30 of America’s leading regional theatres including the   Oregon, Utah, Dallas Fort  Worth, and California Shakespeare Festivals; Yale Repertory; The Guthrie;   Shakespeare Theatre Washington; Actors Theatre  of Louisville; among others.  Film and Television: A  Day Without a Mexican; Bird; As The World Turns; Loving; Frazier; Law and Order; The Innocent; Majority Rule. Dr. Kelly is the co-editor of Open Cultural Studies: Special Issue on B(l) Futures -  Flat Time in Black Performance. His work has been published in Theatre Journal; American Theatre; Routledge; African American National Biography; Stage Directors and Choreographers Journal; Slovo i Chas; Journal of Ukrainian Institute of Education and Science; Cambridge Scholars Publishing; Peter Lang Publishers; Journal of the institute of African Studies;  among others.   His  book, titled "An Actor's Task: Engaging the Senses," is available from Hackett Publishing Company. Baron Kelly's website: www.baronkelly.com.

Phone: 502-852-8442
Email:

Janna Segal

Janna Segal

Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts

Dr. Janna Segal received her PhD in Drama and Theatre from the UC Irvine/UC San Diego joint doctoral program, her MA in Theatre from Cal State University, Northridge, and her BA in Theater Arts from UC Santa Cruz. Prior to joining U of L, Dr. Segal was an Assistant Professor in the Theatre Department and in the MLitt/MFA Shakespeare and Performance program at Mary Baldwin College, and an IHUM Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University. Her dissertation, Shakespearean-Becomings: Transversal Explorations of Amorous Desire on the Shakespearean Stage, is an analysis of the transversal representation of amorous desire in Shakespeare’s theatre and its historical impact on Western cultures through critical and dramatic reconceptualizations. She has published single and co-authored articles on OthelloRomeo and JulietThe Roaring GirlAs You Like It, and Dario Fo and Franca Rame’s Elisabetta. Janna is also a dramaturg whose past production work includes Shakespeare, Shakespearean adaptation, contemporary theatre, and new plays in development. She is the Resident Dramaturg of the Comparative Drama Conference, for which she annually dramaturgs three to four news plays.

Phone: 502-852-8445
Email: janna.segal@louisville.edu

Russell Vandenbroucke

Russell Vandenbroucke

Professor, Theatre Arts department
Director, Peace, Justice & Conflict Transformation Program

Russell Vandenbroucke earned his DFA from the Yale School of Drama and has worked as a director, dramaturg, playwright, and producer at regional theatres across the country including the Yale Repertory Theatre, Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and Chicago’s Northlight Theatre. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Australia, and a Rotary Foundation World Peace Fellow in Thailand where he adapted and directed An Evening with Global Peacemakers.

Plays include: Soldiers Circle, which dramatizes the lives of young American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan; Eleanor: In Her Own Words, adapted from the writings of Eleanor Roosevelt, recipient of an Emmy Award and broadcast on “American Playhouse” series of PBS; Atomic Bombers, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of Hiroshima, also on public radio; and School Play, inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. The Board of Education decision ending school desegregation. Books include: Truths the Hand Can Touch: The Theatre of Athol Fugard and The Theatre Quotation Book: A Treasury of Insights and Insults. He teaches courses in script analysis, applied theatre, the enjoyment of theatre, introduction to graduate studies, and playwriting. He is the founding director of the university’s Peace, Justice & Conflict Transformation Program.

International: Vandenbroucke covered Italy’s Spoleto Festival and the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa, for American Theatre magazine; delivered talks and presentations in Finland, Romania, and (then) East Germany for the State Department; was a Fulbright Scholar (Australia); traveled to Israel and Palestine through the Palestine American Research Center; was Rotary World Peace Fellow (Thailand); and returned to Asia to speak on engaged art, American culture, and critical thinking in Vietnam and Japan, where he also made pilgrimages to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Phone: 502-852-8448
Email:

Staff

Blair Boyd

Blair Boyd

Program Coordinator, Box Office Manager

Blair Boyd is a Louisville native and a Graduate of the Theatre Arts Department at the University of Louisville. She received her Bachelor's of Science in Theatre Arts in 2013. Since then she has enjoyed working with Sylvan Learning and The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. She has also worked with local companies such as Pandora Productions and Bottoms Up! Productions. She loves to combine her passion for theatre with her love of education and the educational environment.

Phone: 502-852-7682
Email:

Jessica Key

Jessica Key

Program Coordinator, Sr.

Jessica Key is a native of Danville, KY and currently resides in Frankfort, KY. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communications with a minor in Music from Campbellsville University. She also earned her Master’s in Facility and Event Management from Western Kentucky University. Jessica has a passion for event coordinating, community outreach projects, volunteering and music.

Phone: 502-852-5922
Email:

Charles A. Nasby

Charles A. Nasby

Technical Production Supervisor

Charles A. Nasby received his BFA in design and production from the University of Louisville. Charles has worked as set designer, technical director, production designer, lighting designer, and as an actor for numerous productions across the globe. Charles is also the creator of Nstages and Rymes4AReason, a sustainable theatre initiative which has manifested from years of learning, designing/building and teaching in and outside the theatre. The goal of Nstages/Rhymes4AReason is to restore, reestablish and/or create spaces into art/culture/museums/theatrical performance spaces. Whether it’s designing or performing, through his Sustainable Theatre Initiative, and international cultural exchange, public and political change can occur. With community engagement and participation of volunteers, positive change will become contagious once this universal collaboration is witnessed and the goals

Phone: 502-852-8748
Email:

Melissa K. Shepherd

Melissa K. Shepherd

Costume Shop Manager, Part-Time Faculty

Melissa is the Costume Shop Manager, part- time acting faculty, and serves as the costume designer for the traveling Repertory Company. She also is one of the directors of the Rep Company, where they work with existing scripts or devise their own work to travel into local elementary schools all year.  The rewards of working as the Costume Shop Manager give Melissa the opportunity to guide and work with a crew of undergraduate students daily. They create all the costumes for all Main Stage and Rep Company productions and learn in an environment outside the confines of a normal classroom setting.  When not at UofL, Shepherd works as a performer for local theater groups; Stage One Children’s Theater and Center Stage at the JCC.  Shepherd's professional costume design credits include work for the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Melodrama Musical Theatre, Center Stage, Prather Entertainment, and Argosy Entertainment. Production credits in costume design include:  Oliver!, Parade, Sweeney Todd, Once on this Island, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Steel Magnolias, Wonderland!, and A Doll’s House. 

Shepherd is a graduate of UofL's Theatre Arts Department earning an MFA in Performance in 2001. She also serves as a part- time faculty member for the department teaching undergraduate majors.

Phone: 502-852-8441
Email:

Part-Time Faculty

Dru Pilmer

Senior Lecturer

Dru is one of a select few worldwide of Designated Linklater Voice Teachers, having been chosen to train with Kristin Linklater. A professional coast to coast actor with extensive training at Shakespeare & Company in Massachusetts, for 21 years she has taught university and private voice, acting, improvisation, and movement classes, and has led multiple local and regional workshops. She served as Master Voice Teacher for Kentucky Shakespeare, and trains local TV personalities. Dru is also a professional painting artist.

Kathy Reynolds

Lecturer

Kathy Preher Reynolds has been Stage Managing professionally for over 20 years making her primary home Actors Theatre of Louisville. Some favorites include: Hedwig and The Angry Inch, Kite Runner, 43 Plays for 43 Presidents, Crime and Punishment and her many years Stage Managing The Humana Festival of New American Plays annually. Other theatres: Shakespeare Notre Dame, Shakespeare and Company, Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Orlando UCF Shakespeare Festival, The Kentucky Opera, Stage One and many more. Along with her years Stage Managing Kathy has also worked in nearly every area in theatre, from Front of House and Box Office to Lighting Designer and even Acting. Kathy has a passion for sharing her knowledge with anyone who is interested.

Zan Sawyer-Dailey

Lecturer

Zan Sawyer-Dailey teaches a graduate level acting class at U of L focused on audition technique and business protocol. She retired from Actors Theatre of Louisville in May, 2016 after 31 years as the Associate Director. Her responsibilities included coordinating artistic resources, personnel, and casting for all productions and readings; supervising departments involved in education and community outreach, professional theatre training, casting, and company management and coordinating the artistic with the administrative operations of the organization. She was a master teacher for the Apprentice Acting Company. She joined the company in 1985 and then joined the adjunct faculty of the University in the spring of 1986. She has a BA in Theatre Arts from Butler University and an MFA in Arts Administration from Florida State University. Professionally, she studied at the Central School of Drama in London, England. She is a proud member of Actors Equity Association.

Carol Stewart

Lecturer

Carol has been teaching courses in theatre and the humanities for the past ten years, including classes in Acting, Voice, Radio Drama, Theatre History, Performance Theory, Script Analysis, Creativity in the Arts, Shakespeare, and Prison Theatre. An award-winning audiobook narrator with twenty years experience in the studio, Carol has recorded over 300 titles for the Talking Book Program of the National Library Service (a division of the Library of Congress) as well as full-length and abridged texts for commercial audiobook publishers. Carol earned her BFA at the Goodman School of Drama and an MA at the University of Louisville; she is currently a doctoral candidate in Interdisciplinary Humanities at UofL. She has trained with New York’s SITI Company. Her areas of research and artistic practice are focused on the training and creative experience of the actor; SITI Company training and productions; devised theatre; Shakespeare in translation; and Shakespeare with non-traditional artists, including the incarcerated and the aging. She is one of the conference organizers for Stage the Future, an international conference on science fiction and theatre, and is co-producer of Parallax, a new science fiction theatre festival in Louisville. She is co-artistic director of Here There Be Monsters & Co.

Emeritus Faculty

  • Rinda Frye
  • Bert Harris
  • Michael F. Hottois
  • Lundeana Thomas
  • James Tompkinse