Success in Theatre and Communication Arts


Theatre and communications arts majors graduate from Whittier College with a wide variety of opportunities before them.

Theatre graduates who enter the professional arena have taken jobs in personnel, education, sales and advertising, business, law, and publishing, as well as acting, directing, design and technical direction, writing, film, television, and the themed entertainment industry.

Find your own career and internship opportunities at the Center for Career and Professional Development.

Theatre alumnus Napoleon TavaleNapoleon Tavale ’07
Actor, Educator

Napoleon is pursuing his dream as an actor, with appearances on Criminal Minds, Grey's Anatomy, Silicon Valley, American Horror Story, Hawaii Five-O, NCIS: Los Angeles, and more. When he’s not appearing on HBO, FX, or network television, Napoleon pays it forward as a theatre instructor at the high school and college level.

“I am doing what I set out to do in Los Angeles 13 years ago. Whittier has done that for me.”

Jennice OntiverosJennice Ontiveros '11

Jennice recently helped bring to life the complex and compelling science of the Cosmos: Possible Worlds audiobook.

Jennice joined author Ann Druyan as narrators of book, which documents where humanity has been and where it’s going, from the emergence of life at deep-sea vents to solar-powered starships, and explores how science and civilization grew up together. It was a big project, and Jennice's Whittier education “absolutely helped” prepare her for the task, she said.

“I remember being in the recording booth, not hitting a character line quite right, and I stood up and created the physical embodiment of my vision of that character,” she said. She was immediately transported back to a moment she once had in the black box theatre of the Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts, as she prepared for her role as Electra, in the play Iphigenia and Other Daughters, directed by theatre professor Jennifer Holmes. “It was with her that I first learned the value of physical work in character expression.”

Each day of the recording session, she used the warm-ups that theatre professor Gil Gonzalez taught her. Other times, she pulled from her first lessons on the history of science, atoms, and quantum mechanics from physics professor James Camparo.

“I used his inspiring passion for science to continue my curiosity outside of the classroom, emailing him after graduating to ask for resources. I used all of these lessons and support as a springboard that led me to this project,” she said. “I truly am thankful for what my professors gave me in my time there.”

Her previous experience includes the television documentary series American Greed and the television series Below Deck.

Karen ManessKaren Maness ’95
Artist, Teacher, Author

Karen has worked extensively as a scenic artist and studio artist in regional theatre, film and music tours, themed attractions, and more. Her amazing works are even held in private collections worldwide.

Her success follows her time in the Whittier Scholars Program, where she was encouraged to foster her interlinked passions for studio art, monumental painting, and theatrical performance design. Karen now imparts her knowledge in master painting classes across the globe, as well as at The University of Texas at Austin as principal instructor of scenic art and figurative painting.

Recently, she also pulled back the curtain on the hidden world and creators of beloved painted movie backdrops in a new book, The Art of the Hollywood Backdrop.

“Whittier College taught me how to trust in the power of my voice.”

Theatre alumnus John MurdyJohn Murdy ’89
Creative Director of Universal Studios Hollywood's Halloween Horror Nights

John’s creative talents bring to life the sights, frights, and bone-chilling experience of Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights. In his fast-paced environment, he is always reinventing, producing, and researching his creations.

In my career, there is not a day that goes by where I don’t use something I learned during my time at Whittier College.”