Where are they now? Alumni from UCF’s musical theatre program (and a few special guests!) return to UCF to share their professional journeys and sing some Broadway favorites.
Travel back in time with Theatre UCF as alumni share songs from their time at UCF and from their professional careers. Hosted by Cheryl Hines ’90 (Curb Your Enthusiasm, I Can See Your Voice), the evening features musical theatre superstars who have graced Broadway stages, national tours, regional theatres, cruise ships, theme parks… and the humble old Main Stage theatre on the UCF campus.
Alumni guests include Sara Catherine Barnes ’08 (Footloose, The Amish Project), Hannah Arielle Beatt ’22 (Shrek The Musical, The Wizard of Oz) Jerusha Cavazos ’14 (The Prom, Between the Lines), Shelley Cooper ’10 (Sweeney Todd, La Divina: The Last Interview of Maria Callas) Quentin Earl Darrington ’16MFA (MJ The Musical, Once on This Island, Ragtime, CATS), Cornelius Davis ’13 (Aladdin, The Little Mermaid), Mimi Jimenez ’05 (Rent, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Grease), Evan Alexander Jones ’17 (A Big Day For Baseball, Tuck Everlasting), Michelle Knight ’02 (Disenchanted), Kyle Laing ’17 (On Your Feet, In the Heights, Jersey Boys), Catie Pires-Fernandes ’14 (West Side Story, Finding Nemo the Musical, Beauty + the Beast: Live on Stage), Joshian Morales ’12 (Hoop Dee Doo Revue, The Festival of the Lion King), Kayla Kelsay Morales ’12 (Voices of Liberty, Les Miserables), Jarrett Poore ’17,’20MA (A Year with Frog and Toad, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Karen Yvette Reid ’14 (Festival of the Lion King), Michael Swickard ’07MFA (Hoop Dee Doo Revue, The Dapper Dans of Main Street), Jenny Totcky ’17 (Shrek The Musical), Yaniv Zarif ’09 (Music Beyond Language) and a unique appearance by UCF’s very own rockin’ Spiderman, Justin M. Sargent ’08.
UCF faculty and staff, and students from any institution with a valid ID can use the code ILOVEUCF2023 for a $5 discount.
Reach for the Stars: UCF Alumni Showcase
Natalie Zfat is a social media entrepreneur and former Rolling Stone journalist who has partnered with some of the most iconic brands in the world, including Meta, Samsung, LinkedIn and American Express. Zfat’s beloved social media community are dreamers, doers and entrepreneurs, from college students to CEOs. When she’s not engaging with them, Natalie loves sharing her thought leadership on TV, and at conferences and universities – so much so that she recently earned her higher education teaching certificate from Harvard University in the spring of 2021. (What, like it’s hard?) When she’s not on the internet, you can find Natalie out and about with a laptop, diaper bag and strong black coffee in hand.
Sara Catherine Barnes [BFA Musical Theatre ‘08] is the Outreach Director at Theatre Winter Haven, as well as an actor, singer, choreographer, and director in the Central Florida area. Her credits range from community, local, and regional theaters, to Broadway National Tours. Favorite roles include The Baker's Wife in Into The Woods, Maria in The Sound of Music, Amy in Company, Tracy in Hairspray, Judy in 9 to 5, Ursula in The Little Mermaid, Mrs. Wilkinson in Billy Elliot, Madame Thenardier in Les Miserable, Rona Lisa in The 25th..Spelling Bee, Annie in The Play That Goes Wrong and Wendy Jo in the Broadway National Tour of Footloose. Currently, Sara spends most of her time behind the casting table as a full-time director and choreographer. Choreographic credits include: ANNIE, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA, LES MISERABLES, MARY POPPINS, THE DEAD, SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, MAMA MIA, and MATILDA. As a director/choreographer, her credits include: BIG FISH, LEGALLY BLONDE, NUNCRACKERS, FOOTLOOSE, KINKY BOOTS, NUNSENSE, AVENUE Q, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, SEUSSICAL, GREASE, and ELF. She has also directed productions of BAREFOOT IN THE PARK, THE BODYGUARD, and GORGEOUS. Upcoming directorial projects include MARY POPPINS and HAIRSPRAY. 6 OF XIII: THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY THE EIGHTH, an original piece which she directed, and co-wrote with her sister won best Musical at the 2019 Orlando Fringe Festival.
Hannah Arielle Beatt [BA Theatre Studies ‘22] is a Florida-native and a recent graduate from UCF's Theatre program where she majored in Theatre Studies and minored in Music. She most recently finished playing Dorothy in Thin Air Theatre Company's production of The Wizard of Oz in Cripple Creek, Colorado. Theatre UCF productions include: First Date: The Musical (Female Swing), and Shrek the Musical (Gingy/Sugar Plum Fairy.) Thank you to my family for your constant love and support, my friends both near and far, and to Earl Weaver and Michael Wainstein for this once in a lifetime opportunity to celebrate Theatre UCF!
Jerusha Cavazos [BFA Musical Theatre ‘13] ("Broadway: The Prom (OBC). Off-Broadway: Between The Lines (OC). TV: Atlanta (FX) FBI (CBS). Select Regional Credits: Chicago Lyric Opera, Barrington Stage Company, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, & Gateway Playhouse. Jerusha's original music is streaming on all platforms.
Shelley Cooper [MFA Musical Theatre ‘10] is an Off-Broadway Award Winning Solo Theatre performer, SDC Director, and tenured professor. Her one woman show, La Divina: The Last Interview of Maria Callas is the winner of the Best One Woman show at United Solofest Off-Broadway, Orlando Fringe Critic’s choice award for best Individual Performance in a Drama and Hollywood Fringe “Pick of the Fringe” (among many others). Shelley has performed all over the world for a number of companies such as Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Orlando Fringe, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Monroe Symphony, Chicago Summer Opera, Opera Quad Cities, Circa 21 Dinner Playhouse, Orlando Repertory Theatre, Shawnee Summer Theatre, Redhouse Arts Center, Varna Opera Theatre, Bangkok Theatre Festival, and the Simbiose Produções (MOVE Studio) in São Paulo, Brazil and the Venetian Macao in Macau, China. Most noted performances are “Johanna" in Sweeney Todd starring Tony-Award Winning Actress, Faith Prince, “Nellie” in South Pacific, “Cinderella” in Into the Woods, “Ariel” in The Little Mermaid, "Armida" in Rinaldo, “Edith” in Pirates of Penzance, and “Berta” in Il barbiere di Siviglia. Shelley is also an accomplished director/choreographer specializing in musical theatre. Some of her favorite credits include The Drowsy Chaperone, Big River, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Light in the Piazza, Company, Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens and Beehive. Shelley currently serves as the Director of Musical Theatre at Augustana College in IL.
Quentin Earl Darrington [MFA Acting ‘16] is humbled to share with you all this evening. Most recently he starred in the new hit Broadway musical, MJ the Musical, as Rob and Joe Jackson; following his acclaimed performance as Agwe in the Tony Award winning revival of Once On This Island, where he also earned a Grammy nomination. He starred as Coalhouse Walker Jr. in the Tony nominated revival of Ragtime, and was seen as Old Deuteronomy in the Broadway revival of CATS. God’s blessing on Q’s life has taken him across the globe, performing, teaching, and serving in 46 US states: Canada, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, Russia, New Zealand, and Africa. National Tours: Memphis, The Color Purple, The Lion King, Ragtime. TV: Blue Bloods, NCIS NOLA, The Blacklist, Elementary, Madam Secretary, The Good Fight, and recurring on The Code. MFA-University of Central Florida, BFA-University of South Florida.
Cornelius Davis [BFA Musical Theatre ‘13] National Tour: Disney’s Aladdin. Select Regional Credits: Something Rotten (Nigel) at Florida Studio Theatre, The Little Mermaid (Sebastian) at Arrow Rock Lyceum and Arkansas Rep., Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Victor) at The Rev. Theatre Co., Sister Act (TJ) at Arkansas Rep, Les Miserables (Combeferre) at Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Once On This Island (Papa Ge) at Flat Rock Playhouse. IG: @cpdavis91
Mimi Jimenez [BFA Musical Theatre ‘05] was born and raised in Miami, FL. She has sung background for Gloria Estefan, Bobby McFerrin, Betty Wright, Ralph Tresvant, Johnny Gill, a host of gospel music artists, and was a member of the gospel group, Revelation S.E.E.D., founded and led by Margaret Reynolds of KC and the Sunshine Band. Broadway National & International Tours: Ain't Misbehavin', For Colored Girls…, Damn Yankees, Smokey Joe’s Café, Fame, Nunsense, and Rent. On the Pan-Asian tour of Grease, she was granted the esteemed honor of being the first woman to play Teen Angel, a role popularized by Frankie Avalon. Mimi has been a Featured Vocalist for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, was the Director of Vocal Artistry through Poet Theatricals for the pop and Cirque-style shows onboard Celebrity Cruise Lines’ Solstice-class vessels, and served as a Guest Entertainer for several cruise lines which featured her one-woman shows, On The Radio: Sounds of the 70s and Color My Soul.
Evan Alexander Jones [BFA Musical Theatre ‘17] is an actor, musical director, and violinist residing in the Orlando area. Most recently, he served as musical director for Orlando Shakes' world premiere production of A Big Day For Baseball. Some favorite credits include Jack in Into The Woods at Theater West End and Miles Tuck in Tuck Everlasting at Orlando Rep. Congratulations to Earl on your well-earned retirement, thank you for your help and guidance throughout my education and beyond.
Michelle Knight [BFA Musical Theatre '03] premiered and starred in the off Broadway musical Disenchanted (Lucille Lortel award Nominee-Lead Actress) after being on Broadway with Jersey Boys. Other credits include national tours of Grease (Rizzo) and the 30th anniversary tour of Annie. Most recently, Michelle has premiered a one woman show on the Disney Cruise Line, DISNEY TO BROADWAY, that has played in the Walt Disney Theatre aboard all 5 ships in the fleet. Michelle is currently the executive show director at Hawkmoon Creative and is mom to Liana and Step Mom to Noah and Jasper
Kyle Laing [BFA Musical Theatre/Dance Minor ‘17] is a NYC based professional performer, educator, and choreographer. Some past credits include: Paper Mill Playhouse (On Your Feet), Maine State Music Theatre (Evita, Joseph…, Jersey Boys), Maltz Jupiter Theatre (Chicago, Mamma Mia!, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels); Shakespeare Theatre Company (Camelot); Orlando Shakes (In the Heights); Slow Burn Theatre Company & Forestburgh Playhouse (Adam/Felicia, Priscilla…). IG: @kylelaing Web: kylelaing.com
Catie Pires-Fernandez [BFA Musical Theatre ‘14] is thrilled to be back in Orlando to perform in the Alumni Concert for UCF Celebrates the Arts! Along with a BFA in Musical Theatre, she graduated with minors in Dance and Mass Communication as well as Honors in the Major for her undergraduate thesis on vocal pedagogy. Before moving to NYC, Catie spent several years performing full time at Walt Disney World, as well as at Universal Studios and the Orlando Shakes. Credits include West Side Story, Pinkalicious, Finding Nemo the Musical, Beauty + the Beast: Live on Stage, and Mickey's Most Merriest Celebration (on the castle stage). IG: @catiepf
Joshian Morales [BFA Musical Theatre ‘12] is a Puerto Rican born, Central Florida raised director, casting director, and actor. Most recently, he worked for Disney Live Entertainment as an Associate Show Director and actively works as a freelance casting director and producer in Orlando, FL! Favorite Acting Credits: From Here (54 Below - NYC), In the Heights and I And You (Orlando Shakes), RSO’s Three Points of Contact (Maltz Jupiter), Festival of the Lion King, Hoop Dee Doo Revue, and Finding Nemo The Musical (Walt Disney World)! As always, much love and endless thanks to his beautiful family!
Kayla Kelsay Morales [BFA Musical Theatre ‘12] is excited to be back singing with Alumni from UCF! Credits include the Voices of Liberty at Walt Disney World, Cosette in Les Miserables, Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible! Along with her husband, she is the creator and owner of Kelsay + Morales Company, a local theatrical casting and producing company that focuses on providing innovative casting services and solutions and focuses on providing new opportunities to the amazing entertainment community here in Orlando. Love to my sweet family. IG: @kelsaymoralescompany
Jarrett Poore [BFA Musical Theatre ‘17] [M.A. in Theatre Pedagogy ‘20] has worked professionally as an actor, director, and teaching artist at local and national levels with companies such as The Orlando Repertory Theatre, Orlando Shakes, and the Chicago Underscore Theatre as well as making magic at Universal Studios and Walt Disney World! Favorite credits: Toad in A Year with Frog and Toad (Orlando Repertory Theatre); The Baker in Into the Woods (ME Theatre); Snug in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Orlando Shakes); Ethan/Reba McEntire in Mean Gays (Orlando Fringe); The Producer in The Spider Queen (New York Theatre Festival; Orlando Fringe) The Stage Manager in Oh Hi, Johnny! (Chicago Underscore Theatre). Commercials and Television: Stranger Things (Netflix), Sleeper App, Aventura Hotel, Universal Orlando Resort. Love to Mom, Bryan, and Noni, always.
IG: @jarrettpoore Web: jarrettpoore.com
Karen Yvette Reid [BFA Musical Theatre ‘14] has been a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Association since 2015. Currently, you can find her performing in The Festival of The Lion King at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Special thanks to her husband, Del, son Luke, Miss Judi, Jim, Be, Tara, Miss Sue, Heather, Dr. Steve, Papa Earl, and our beloved Mark Brotherton.
Michael Swickard [MFA in Musical Theatre ‘12] holds a BFA in Theatre from Emporia State University and an MFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Central Florida. He performs full-time at Walt Disney World in a variety of shows including Finding Nemo, Hoop Dee Doo Revue, The Dapper Dans, and The Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser. Michael also performs and music directs around the Central Florida area. He enjoys watching his boys play sports and spending time with his wife and family.
Jenny Totcky [BFA Musical Theatre ‘17] is currently serving as the Director of Operations for Runway to Hope, a local nonprofit organization benefiting children and families battling pediatric cancer. She performs as often as she can in addition to her full time position, performing in shows such as Shrek The Musical (Slow Burn Theatre Company) and Orlando Artist Guild’s Concerts, to name a few. Jenny is so appreciative of this opportunity to perform with her alma mater!
Yaniv Zarif [BFA Musical Theatre - ‘09] is feeling so nostalgic being back at Theatre UCF, and honored to be a part of this event . Currently touring internationally with his headliner show “Music Beyond Language”, which highlights the story of Yaniv’s life as a polyglot of 32 different languages . Yaniv’s most cherished role at UCF was Leo Frank in “Parade” in 2008, and is so thrilled to be able to revisit such wonderful memories . So much love to Jim Brown, Earl Weaver, and the rest of the faculty and talent at UCF! @YZmusicYZ Web:YanivZarif.com
Music Director: Terry Thomas
Music Supervisor: Richard Crawley
Orchestrations adapted by: Jacob Stebly
Production Stage Manager: Ayana Yokie
Stage Manager: Matthew Patterson, Grace Caudill, Abigail Willis, Addison Wood
Lighting Designer: Rob Siler
Sound Designer: Casey Deiter
Piano: Terry Thomas
Trumpet: Chris King
French horn: Sean Callahan*
Trombone: Clay Lukovich
Woodwinds: Jesus Lopez
Violin: Abby Goodman*
Violin/Viola: Jose Florentino*
Cello: Dennis Fleitz*
Bass/Electric Bass: Geordan Raisler*
Electric Guitar: Tommy Harrison
Drums: Christian Snedeker*