Tony-Winner Alice Ripley Returns to Her Alma Mater Kent State University

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This weekend Kent State is celebrating one of its own.

Alice Ripley's star began to rise on Broadway in the 90s - not long after her time at Kent State University and its summer stage - the Porthouse Theater at Blossom.

In her Broadway career, she's played a siamese twin ("Side Show") a delusional, bipolar depressive ("Next to Normal") and most recently the mother of an "American Psycho."

Alice Ripley [photo courtesy: Kent State University]

Ripley returns to Kent State this weekend to participate in the 50th anniversary celebration "Blossoming Gala" for the KSU and Blossom Music Center program, which includes the Porthouse Theater and the Kent Blossom Music Festival.

She spent the summer of 1985 performing in shows like "Babes in Arms" and "Robin Hood" at the Porthouse Theater. 

Ripley graduated from the KSU theater program in 1986 and says she benefitted from the opportunities the school gave her.

Alice Ripley and John Cameron in "Legend"  [photo courtesy: Kent State University]

"[There] was always something to audition for, there was never a shortage of projects to get involved in.  That's really important when you're learning how to do this life," she said.

She also competed in the American College Theater Festival with an original production of "Legend" written by classmates Jeff Richmond and John Cameron.

"I would say that's a reason to go to Kent State.  Knowing that you could participate in the production of a show that's new that was written by somebody who goes to school there.  That's not an experience you're going to get very often," she said.

Ripley's passion for original theater productions continued when she originated the role of "Violet" in "Side Show" for which she was nominated in 1998 for best actress.

In 2009, she won the best-actress Tony for originating the role of "Diana Goodman" in the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Broadway hit about mental health, "Next to Normal."

"I am drawn to complicated characters, but I've enjoyed playing the classics as well," she said.

Alice Ripley working with Kent State University students [photo courtesy: Kent State University]

She plans to perform songs from past productions including "Next to Normal" at Saturday night's "Blossoming Gala" celebrations in the KSU Ballroom. 

 

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