FSU Theatre Department Celebrates Current Alumni in Spotlight on Broadway

Oct 29, 2021 1:30 PM

Broadway is back and Frostburg State University Bobcats are taking center stage.

As New York Theatre reopens after a year-and-a-half pandemic-enforced shutdown, three graduates of the FSU Department of Theatre and Dance are stepping into the spotlight. FSU alums Keenan Scott II, Jessica Frances Dukes and Shahzeb Hussain are currently undertaking groundbreaking and unique roles in the New York theatre scene.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to watch FSU Theatre alums reach the potential we always knew they had,” said Nicole Mattis, chair of the FSU Department of Theatre and Dance. “They are at the top of their games and now we get to learn from them.”

Playwright Scott is making headlines with his Broadway-debut play “Thoughts of a Colored Man” at the John Golden Theatre. Heralded by critics as “captivating and piercing” (Broadway News) and “the most important play of the 21st century” (Amsterdam News), Keenan wrote the first draft and workshopped the play while he was a student on the FSU campus. The story centers on a day in the lives of seven Black men and blends spoken word, slam poetry, rhythm and humor. The play is currently in a limited-engagement run through March 2022.

Three blocks south at the American Airlines Theatre on 42nd Street, Dukes (Netflix’s “Ozark” and Marvel’s “Jessica Jones”) is starring as “Millie Davis” in a revival of Alice Childress’s play “Trouble in Mind.” First opened Off-Broadway in 1955, this acclaimed play follows a Black stage actress through rehearsals of a major Broadway production. No stranger to the stage, Dukes received an Obie Award for her performance in Playwrights Horizon’s “BootyCandy” and was nominated for a Drama League Award and won an Audelco Award for playing the title character in “By The Way, Meet Vera Stark” at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Va. “Trouble in Mind” runs until Jan. 9, 2022.

Off-Broadway at the SoHo Playhouse, Hussain plays the roles of “Curry” and the “Assistant Stage Manager” in the immersive theatre experience “Tammany Hall.” The interactive show takes audiences back to election night of Nov. 5, 1929, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the political organization Tammany Hall, which controlled the New York Democratic Party, and the scandalous night when the corrupt political machine came crashing down. Hussain previously starred in the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s presentation of “Romeo and Juliet.”

Mattis is elated, but not surprised at the successes of these three alums of the Theatre Department and appreciates their generous spirit toward their alma mater and current students.

“The Department of Theatre and Dance is delighted to provide a nurturing platform for artists to take risks, thrive and learn about themselves and their craft,” she added. “We are incredibly grateful to our alums for their continued connection with the department and their engagement with students who now stand in the shoes they once wore. Their generosity is meaningful and humbling.”

For more information on the FSU Department of Theater and Dance, visit www.frostburg.edu/TheatreDance.