The creator and original director of famed Los Angeles theatre company The Groundlings, he helped launched the careers of such well-known comedians as Will Ferrell, Phil Hartman and Julia Sweeney.
| Martin Benson
He was trying to break into the movies as an actor when he and fellow alumnus David Emmes started a small theatre company in an old dime store. Today South Coast Repertory remains a major force in American theatre.
| Bernard Bragg
Deaf theatre artist
The co-founder of the National Theatre of the Deaf, he is the recipient of a Special Tony Award, an honorary doctorate from Gallaudet University and a special Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Federation of the Deaf.
A distinguished artist-in-residence at Northeastern University, this living legend has written more than 50 plays and earned the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the Vernon Rice Drama Desk Award, and the Obie, among others
After earning a master's degree in drama at SF State, she went on to study with esteemed masters of Kyogen and Noh. In 1978 she brought these traditional Japanese aesthetics to American audiences when she founded the Theatre of Yugen in San Francisco.
He was teaching theatre at Long Beach City College when he reunited with fellow alumnus Martin Benson to form what would become the South Coast Repertory, today one of the country's most successful regional theatres.
Broadway music director
Stephen Sondheim's music director of choice, he's wielded the baton for "Sweeney Todd" "Into the Woods" and many more. In 2001, he won a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre.
She was a librarian and full-time actor and founded the critically acclaimed Word for Word Performing Arts Company with alumna JoAnne Winter in 1993. Susan says that attending SF State "opened up the whole world to me."
The artistic director of San Jose Repertory Theatre for more than two decades, Near won an Obie Award during her earlier acting career. Today she continues her national freelance career directing theatre and opera.
She assembled the core group of actors for Word for Word, a literature-based theatre company described by Tobias Wolff as "a new art form, and a deeply affecting experience."
He made his Broadway debut in "M. Butterfly," which earned him the Outer Critics Circle Award, Theatre World Award, Drama Desk Award, Clarence Derwent Award and Tony Award. No other actor has earned all five for a single production.
When he became artistic director at Harvard University's American Repertory Theatre, this alumnus was described by his predecessor as "one of the most imaginative and visionary directors in the world." He is now on the faculty at the Yale School of Drama.