Acting Up – The Alumni Performers
Acting Up wouldn’t be what it is without the contributions of our esteemed alumni spanning the 1970s to the 2010s. Here are the full biographies of the performers!
Hailed by The New York Times as “delightful and vocally strong and versatile,” Emily Albrink is a soprano whose career sports esteemed collaborations with venerable composers and conductors such as James Levine, Plácido Domingo, Robert Spano, Marin Alsop, Jake Heggie, and John Musto. An alumna of the Young Artist Program at the Washington National Opera, Ms. Albrink has appeared there many times in roles including Gretel in Hansel und Gretel, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Sophie in Werther, and Frasquita in Carmen. She made her debut with Kentucky Opera as Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore and has returned to sing Musetta in La Boheme, Magnolia in Show Boat, Kitty Hart in Dead Man Walking, and will appear in the fall as Yadwiga in Enemies, a Love Story. She has sung leading roles with Ash Lawn Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Opera Boston, Indianapolis Opera, and Chicago Opera Theater and has been a featured soloist with orchestras including the Boston Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, and the Phoenix Symphony. Ms. Albrink made her Carnegie Hall debut opposite Dawn Upshaw as Nuria in Ainadamar with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and her Alice Tully Hall debut singing Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas. Ms. Albrink made her international debut with a 10 day tour of China as the soprano soloist in the Brahms’ Requiem.
John Austin Clark
Director of Music and keyboardist John Austin Clark serves as founding Producing Artistic Director for Bourbon Baroque, an ensemble that performs the music of the Baroque on period instruments. In addition to his administrative responsibilities with Bourbon Baroque, Mr. Clark operates a private piano studio, is an active accompanist and vocal coach, and directs musical theatre and opera including work with Seton Hall University (South Orange, New Jersey), CenterStage (Louisville, Kentucky), Music Theater of Louisville (Louisville, Kentucky), Pandora Productions (Louisville, Kentucky), and Gulfshore Playhouse (Naples, Florida). He performs regularly with Catacoustic Consort (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Galileo’s Daughters (New York, New York) among others. In the Summer months, Mr. Clark serves as Music Director for Gulfshore Playhouse’s STAR Academy in Naples, Florida. He made his professional recording debut this past Summer with the Naxos/Centaur label in a premier recording of the choral music of Mexican Baroque composer Antonio Juanas. He is the recipient of the 2017 Young Alumni Achievement Award from his alma mater Louisville Collegiate School in Louisville, Kentucky and recently was awarded funding from The Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts (GSA) Toyota Alumni Fund which was put toward an apprenticeship with harpsichord builder, Yves Beaupré.
Donald Kimmel has over thirty five years professional experience in show business as an actor director, designer, stage manager and stagehand. He is a member of SAG/AFTRA, AEA, and IATSE Local One. He was a student at Walden Theatre from its inception until he graduated from high school. While at Walden, he performed in over 30 plays, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream (twice), Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, The Tempest, Hamlet, Macbeth, Love’s Labours’ Lost, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Importance of Being Earnest. He lives in Garrison, NY and is mostly a stagehand nowadays, having just completed lighting for The Iceman Cometh, Three Tall Women, and Escape to Margaritaville on Broadway.
I began Walden in the summer of 1981 when it was still at the church. 1982-1988 I attended fall and spring semester classes including Young Playwrights where I contributed to the publications “Inside Out Upside Down” and “In Sight.” After Walden I attended Colby College where I majored in International Studies and minored in Performing Arts. I have a Master’s Degree in Exceptional Child Education, and I have been working with children for the past 18 years. I am currently a Success Coach at Camp Taylor Elementary School.
Lethia Nall is a native Louisvillian and an alumni of Walden Theatre (1985-1991). She was lucky enough to be taught and mentored by the unique genius that was Nancy Niles Sexton and is still working on “Early is on time, on time is late!” Marc Antony in Julius Caesar and Abigail in The Crucible are favorites. Later she studied the ballads of John Jacob Niles and Appalachian dulcimer under Ms. Sexton, work she continues to this day. Nall lived and worked as an actor in New York City for 11 years. The premiere of Tom Stoppard’s Indian Ink at SOHO Rep and As You Like It at the Public Theatre are highlights. Films: Summertime in New York; A Decent Arrangement (shot in India). TV: Law & Order, Rescue Me. A graduate of Vassar College with a major in both Drama and Anthropology and also of BADA in London. She is so very grateful to be a part of the work here tonight and to be back on stage with her talented friend from so many moons ago, the rapturous Ms. Mudd.
Neill is a proud alum of the Walden Theatre Conservatory program at the Commonwealth Theatre Center (2003). Upon graduating from the program, Neill attended the American Music and Dramatic Academy in New York City, where he graduated in 2005. Neill moved back to Louisville in 2010, and he has been seen on stage all over the city. Recent credits include Dracula at Actors Theatre of Louisville (Renfield), Hamlet with Stage One (Horatio/Player Queen), Richard II with Kentucky Shakespeare (King Richard), Misalliance with the Professional Co. at Commonwealth Theatre Center (Bunny), the title role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch with Pandora Productions, and The Language Archive with Theatre  (Resten). Without the technique, discipline, and passion that was instilled in him at such a formative age by the instructors at Walden Theatre, Neill would not be the full time, professional actor that he is today. As Nancy Sexton would say, “Focus- Concentrate- Listen- Think- React.”- words of wisdom to carry with you throughout your entire life.
Charlie has proudly carried on the theatrical traditions and values of Walden Theatre founder Nancy Niles Sexton, his mother, since her retirement in 1999. He was among the first class of Conservatory students, and he performed in, directed, and wrote numerous Walden Theatre productions before receiving his B.F.A. from Southern Methodist University. Prior to returning to Walden, Charlie was the Education Director for Wheelock Theatre in Boston. During his tenure as Artistic Director, Charlie has created the largest performing arts summer training program in Louisville as well as the Young American Shakespeare Festival, which was the first of its kind in the nation. He has also expanded professional opportunities for Conservatory alumni through alumni and staff productions, touring shows, and Outreach Education programs. Charlie’s resume includes many artistic accomplishments as an actor, director, and playwright, but his proudest achievement is the professional training and mentoring of thousands of students through the Conservatory program. His students have been accepted into the nation’s best college theatre programs, including Juilliard, Carnegie Mellon, New York University, Northern Illinois University, and the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater. Notable students include Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games), Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter), Jess Weixler (The Good Wife), Wes Ramsey (Charmed), Tom Graves (The Rude Mechanicals), Gisela Chipe (Asolo Rep’s Hamlet, Prince of Cuba), and Adam Wesley Brown (Once on Broadway). Charlie and his wife, costume designer Laura Patterson, have two sons: Aaron & Ian.
Becca is currently a sophomore pursuing a BFA in Acting and a BA in Spanish at Western Kentucky University. She graduated from Walden Theatre Conservatory in 2016. Some of her favorite credits include As You Like It, Kafka’s Metamorphosis, and Henry VI: Part III. Most recently at CTC, Becca was part of Walden Theatre Alumni Company’s Summer 2017 productions of Shipwrecked! and Dry Land. In 2018, Becca performed as Mary Anne Rowen in WKU’s Studio Production of Tall Tales and her devised piece, The First Breath, was produced as part of WKU’s New Works Festival 2018.