September 30, 2010

SIUC to host Tony Award-winning actress

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- It’s a long way from lead monkey to Tony Award, but actress, singer and songwriter Alice Ripley knows how to get there.

Ripley will be a guest of the Department of Theater at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where she will present a master class for musical theater students and a solo performance of her music. The performance is at 2 p.m. on Oct. 10 in the McLeod Theater. Admission to the concert is free.

Ripley received a Tony Award in 2009 for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for her role as Diana Goodman in “Next to Normal.” She received a Tony Award nomination, along with her co-star Emily Skinner, in 1998 as Best Actress in a Musical for her role in “Side Show.”

Ripley’s Broadway debut was in 1993 when she appeared in “The Who’s Tommy.” Other Broadway credits include “Sunset Boulevard,” where she played the lead role of Betty Schaefer in 1994, “King David,” in 1997 in the role of Bathsheba, “Les Misérables” in 1998 as Fantine, “James Joyce’s The Dead” in 2000 as Molly Ivors, and Janet in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” in 2000.

Ripley started young as an actress. Her first stage performance was as lead monkey in a production of “The Wizard of Oz,” when she was just 13. She earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in Musical Theater from Kent State University, and has found steady work as an actress since then.

More recently, Ripley branched out into songwriting and solo performance. She also has a band, RIPLEY, which functions generally as a trio though sometimes with guest musicians. According to band credits, Ripley handles vocals and plays guitars, toy piano, and Kaoss pad.

Ripley’s performance is a Student Fine Arts Activity Fee sponsored event.