Meet the Theater MFA Candidates

Explore the links below to learn more about each of our MFA Candidates and the array of projects and pursuits each is involved in on the stage, behind the scenes at Temple Theaters, and beyond! 

The Department of Theater offers Master of Fine Arts degrees in ActingDirectingDesignPlaywriting and  Musical Theater Collaboration. 

Additionally, the program offers Master of Arts degrees in Musical Theater Studies and Theater Instruction and a graduate certificate in Theater Instruction. Students in these programs are trained by professional faculty who are accomplished in their field, to learn, create and teach. MFA students work together in the classroom, on projects, and in the theater to create innovative, professional, and diverse theatrical experiences.

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Theater MFA Candidates 2020-21

JASON AGUIRRE, MFA Musical Theater Collaboration

MFA Musical Theater Collaboration, Concentration: Directing
Graduate Certificate: Teaching in Higher Education

Jason (he/him/his) is a New York-based Mexican-American Director, Choreographer, and Librettist specializing in new musical development and immersive works. He is a candidate for the George and Joy Abbott MFA in Musical Theatre Collaboration at Temple University, studies with the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Librettist Workshop, and a recipient of Temple University’s Future Faculty Fellowship. Jason has also studied with The Upright Citizens Brigade, The Groundlings, and the Broadway Dance Center Professional Semester. As a writer and performer, he has worked at La Mama Experimental Theatre Club, Ars Nova, and with 5 Senses Theatre’s krav. Musicals in development include Sick Moves! (or The Dancing Plague of 1518) – a pop/rock musical comedy reimagining of the mysterious dancing plague, A Trip to the Moon – a rock-operetta inspired by Georges Méliès Le Voyage dans la Lune, and BRANDED – a Sci-Fi musical comedy about identity politics in the 21st Century.


MFA Design, Concentration: Scenic Design

I am a native of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, specifically the small borough of Quarryville in the rich farmlands of Amish country. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Production & Design from Susquehanna University, and have worked in various theatres ranging from community, academic, and professional.

In my spare time, I work on paintings for friends and family members, commissions, refinishing furniture, and other creative projects.

I moved to Virginia in August of 2016, where I was the Scenic Charge Artist for Liberty University's Department of Theatre Arts. I also designed shows for the department on occasion.

My goals are to continue to work in the entertainment industry with the intention of designing &/or painting sets for theatre, break into designing for TV and Film, and also trying my hand at concept art and level design for video games. I would also like to teach at some point in my career.


MFA Design, Concentration: Lighting and Projection

James W. Bilnoski is a Lighting, Projection and Scenic Designer working towards his M.F.A. in Theatrical Design at Temple University, Philadelphia. Based in New England, he has worked around the country designing for plays, opera’s and events.

SPICER W. CARR, MFA Musical Theater Collaboration
MFA Musical Theater Collaboration, Concentration: Composer/Lyricist

Spicer W. Carr (He/Him) is a Philadelphia based Composer-Lyricist, specializing in Opera, Musical Theater, and Theatre for Young Audiences. As a queer, autistic writer, Spicer seeks out similarly underrepresented voices, and uses his unique perspective to help explore their stories. Current projects include The Rocking Boy, a semi-autobiographical children’s musical about growing up with autism and the meaning of friendship; Chance the Snapper, a coming of age musical based on the events surrounding the infamous 2019 Humboldt Park Lagoon gator; and Bloom, an environmental children’s opera about pollution and the Florida algae blooms. Spicer’s vocal catalogue includes song cycles (Dreams, Dead or Alive), musicals (Downpour), and operettas (Jack and the Beanstalk). His Instrumental work includes pieces for piano (Of no Concern), big band (Lunch Rush), and a violin concerto (Daydreams). Spicer’s work has been developed and performed by The TYE Center, Utah Valley University Chamber Symphony, Utah Valley University Jazz Orchestra, Secondary Players, MusiCoLab, St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Temple University Theater, and The Purple Crayon Players.

MFA Acting

Gabriel is finishing his MFA in Acting from Temple University, and despises all nicknames ever conceived for him. An Oregon native, born and raised in the pacific northwest where he attended his undergrad, he strives to find the complexity of human nature through language. With a strong passion for classical work and its ability to address the sociopolitical problems that face our world today, he spends a good deal of his free time expanding upon and exploring Elizabethan drama.

His most recent work includes Dr. Thomas Stockman from An Enemy of the People, Oberon from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jules from Sunday in the Park with George, and Corin from the World Premiere of SOMEWHERE, by Marisela Treviño Orta.

RACHEL GRAF EVANS, MFA Musical Theater Collaboration

MFA Musical Theater Collaboration, Concentration: Book Writer/Librettist
Graduate Certificate: Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Graduate Certificate: Teaching in Higher Education

Rachel Graf Evans (she/her) is Philadelphia-based writer and theatre artist. Prior to her graduate studies, RGE created theatre in Atlanta, where she served as the Dramatists Guild Regional Ambassador for Atlanta, the Alliance Theatre's 2017-18 Literary Intern, and was a 2016-17 Playwright Apprentice at Horizon Theatre Company. Recent dramatic writing credits include: PHEROMONE: AN AWKWARD OLFACTORY INQUIRY (2020 Elon University Virtual Production; 2018 Working Title Playwrights Ethel Woolson Lab); RANDI & ROXANNE (2020 Hollins Playwright’s Lab Reading); PEACH COBBLER (2020 Going Viral! Festival; The Weird Sisters’ Dangerous Women Horror Showcase); QUARTET (2019 Temple Theaters Side Stage’s Nayyar Kapur New Play Festival). RGE is a proud member of Working Title Playwrights, New Play Exchange, and the Dramatists Guild. Dual M.F.A. Candidate: Musical Theatre Collaboration — Bookwriter/Librettist (Temple University — est. grad. 2021); Playwriting (Hollins University — est. grad. 2022). B.A. with High Honors: Theatre/Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (Oberlin College). Stay tuned at

MFA Acting


MFA Directing

Rose Freeman teaches, stage directs, and produces theatrical performance in multiple performance mediums. Favorite recent projects include development for a book on Acting Methods for Opera, writing a musical about an alligator in Chicago, associate directing TL;DR for Sherri Eden Barber at the 2020 Rhinebeck Writers Virtual Residency, Stage Directing Strauss' Die Liebe Der Danae at Pittsburgh Opera Festival, directing Jaclyn Backhaus' Men on Boats through Temple University, directing an interactive production about cults called Cornerstone with Nothing Without A Company (member emeritus), and staging Vic Mensa’s homecoming Lollapalooza concert. Freeman serves as a teaching artist at University of the Art’s Polyphone New Musical Festival and is a 2020 and 2021 Directing Fellow at Wolf Trap Opera. Currently teaching and pursuing her MFA in directing with the inaugural Music Theatre Collaboration program at Temple University, Freeman has created national fine art shows for M Gallery of Fine Art, served as managing producing director for Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, event managed the largest publicly available sailing fleet in the US, and production managed a national tour for Feld Entertainment’s Monster Jam Monster Truck Show. Rose is an ensemble member of Third Eye Theatre Ensemble in Chicago and regularly directs their operas.


MFA Acting


MFA Acting

With a conservatory style training, Terrance has worked extensively in professional and collegiate films as well as theater.

Recently he played Captain Richard Davenport in the Pulitzer Prize winning play “A Soldier’s Play” at the Virginia Arts Festival, directed by Anthony Stockard. At that point, it was the first officially licensed staged play since the start of the Covid 19 pandemic. He has also been seen playing the role of Pit in the action-packed short film “Jojo and Pit”, written and directed by Steven Michael of Steven Michael Studios. He also played the role of Hovstad, from Anton Chekhov’s “An Enemy of the People”, directed by Marcus Giamatti.

He has trained extensively under Fitzmaurice voice technique masters such as Lynne Innerst, Melanie Julian, and Donna Snow at Temple University’s MFA Acting program. He has studied the Alexander Technique under Diane Gaary, masterclasses of On-camera acting by Marcus Giamatti, Stage combat (hand to hand and single sword) under Ian Rose, Chekhov technique by David Ingram and Amina Robinson, Shakespeare under Cheryl Williams, Le coq under Emmanuelle Delpech, and the Margolis method under Maggie Anderson.

Terrance also has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Norfolk State University and has volunteered his services in multiple campaigns and elections. He was also a star linebacker at a NCAA Division I football program amassing All-Conference awards in his senior year.

He cannot wait to become the next household name on the stage and on the big screen, performing next to the highly respected actors of our lifetime.

MFA Acting

Garrett McCord has received his Master's Degree in Acting from Temple University, where he worked with professors Douglas Wager, Marcus Giamatti, and Lynne Innerst. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance from Western Michigan University. He was last seen in recent productions of An Enemy of the People, A Midsummer Nights' Dream, and the world premiere of the play Somehwere by Marisela Trevino Orta. Garrett is looking forward to working at Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre beginning August 2021 in their productions of Murder on the Orient Express, Our Town, and Charley's Aunt.
ADAM J. RINEER, MFA Musical Theater Collaboration

MFA Musical Theater Collaboration, Concentration: Composer/Lyricist
Graduate Certificate: Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Graduate Certificate: Teaching in Higher Education

ADAM J. RINEER (he/him/they/them) is a Philadelphia/NYC-based Composer, Lyricist, Librettist, and Music Director. As a creator and facilitator of music in theatre, Adam tells stories that examine “otheredness”, queer social norms, and teach empathy accessible through a wide range of popular music styles. Their musicals include The Naked Truth (The Green Room 42, The West End Lounge), Obscene Lewd Lascivious and Filthy! (NAMT 15-minute Musical Contest Winner), A Trip To The Moon (The Maas Building), Ghosted (songs featured at NYMF), TM! Sick Moves! (or The Dancing Plague of 1518), and Branded . Adam’s songs have been featured in “A Little New Music” (LA) and New York Musical Festival (NYMF). Adam also contributed songs to the second season of the award-winning web series Merce, one of which POZ Magazine named the 2017 World Aids Day Anthem. Adam graduated with a B.A. in Music from Millersville University and is currently a Composer/Lyricist in the inaugural cohort of the George and Joy Abbott M.F.A. in Musical Theatre Collaboration program at Temple University.


MFA Acting

Parker Sera is an actor, theatre maker, deviser, writer, and teaching artist from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Parker is drawn to stories that teach us about ourselves and one another, and guide us toward a better world. She especially enjoys Shakespeare, workshopping new plays, and anything with puppets or singing.

She is a former company member of Minneapolis feminist comedy collective Raw Sugar, and has performed in Minneapolis at the Red Eye Theatre, the Sandbox Theatre, Collective Unconscious, Little Lifeboats, and Shoot the Glass theatre, among others. She has a BFA in Musical Theatre from the Santa Fe University of Art & Design, but she is not that good at dancing. Her poetry has appeared in online magazines and in print.

PATRICK TICE-CARROLL, MFA Musical Theater Collaboration

MFA Musical Theater Collaboration


MFA Design, Concentration: Scenic Design


MFA Design, Concentration: Lighting and Projection 

Riley Woods, lighting designer, is a third year grad student in the Lighting and Projection Design program at Temple University. Riley grew up in North Manchester, Indiana and has a BA in Theater from Goshen College. Previous designs at Temple include the opera The Elixir of Love (2019), and Fabulation, or the Reeducation of Undine (2019). Other favorite past designs include Mother Hicks (2018), Legally Blonde (2017), Julius Caesar (2016), Godspell (2015), and Eurydice (2014). Another favorite design is for the show Kindertransport (2017), which won a Certificate of Merit from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Riley had been working on, and was mostly finished with, the show The Country Wife for the spring of the 2019-2020 season at Temple when campus was closed in March of 2020, so the show and its design were not able to be seen in its entirety. Riley was also assistant lighting designer for the 2019 summer season at the Ohio Light Opera in Wooster, Ohio, and plans to return next summer for the third year. Ohio Light Opera has a seven-show rotating repertory season each summer, focusing on operetta and musical theater, especially works from Gilbert and Sullivan.

When outside of the theater, Riley likes to spend time outside, play tennis, and try new vegetarian food. Philadelphia is Riley’s first home in a city, and outside the Midwest, so exploring the city is also fun.

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