Two+ Minutes with an ARTeater
Two+ Minutes with an ARTeater hosted by UCI Drama student Kayla Quiroz

Two+ Minutes with an ARTeater is UCI’s newest mini-podcast series, now entering its second year of content. It exudes content created by students, made for students. We interview CTSA’s aspiring artists from all fields through these episodes, whether that be someone affiliated with Art, Dance, Drama or Music. Through this digestible mini-podcast series, CTSA ARTeaters can make their opinions heard and talk about their upcoming performative endeavors. Within the show, there are question speed rounds, games and just a whole lot of fun in general. In Two+ Minutes with an ARTeater, you will learn about UCI’s wonderful programs, people, and performances. New episodes come out weekly, so stay tuned! 

Links below take you to the individual podcasts on our YouTube account page.


Kayla Quiroz

Introducing Kayla Quiroz, the host of Two+ Minutes with an ARTeater. She is a third-year undergraduate earning a B.F.A. in Music Theater and minoring in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In addition, she fell in love with performing when she was six-years-old and has never stopped since. Some of her favorite theatrical experiences include winning Show Choir Nationals four years in a row with her Alma Mater: Los Alamitos High School. Kayla has performed all over the United States - spanning from New York, Florida, Tennessee, Illinois, and others. One of her greatest achievements is singing at Grand Ole Opry. Furthermore, some of her favorite roles that she has had the opportunity to play are: Gabriella in High School Musical, Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods, and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Telly Leung

Telly Leung is the special guest director of UCI Drama’s RENT, opening June 3-10, 2023 in the Claire Trevor Theatre at CTSA. Telly is a Broadway veteran with seven Broadway credits to his name, including being in the final cast of “RENT,” playing the title role of “Aladdin,” and originating the role of Sammy in “Allegiance.” He has also been in several TV shows, such as “Glee,” “Warrior” and “Law and Order.” Through his career, Telly has worked alongside a plethora of seasoned professionals such as the late Stephen Sondheim, Neil Patrick Harris, Vanessa Hudgens, and Lea Salonga, just to name a few. Telly has had a very fruitful career in acting, however he also produces, directs, and creates his own music. Overall, Telly is a man of many talents, and CTSA is excited to claim him as an honorary ARTeater.

Nicholas Coto

Nico Coto plays the jazz drumset and is a third-year music performance major at UCI. He began his musical journey in elementary school, and before applying to UCI, discovered a passion for jazz drumming and a love for improvisation. With experience in performance, composition, music production, and education, Nico is pursuing a career in all of the above, and is eager to continue toward mastery of his craft.

Emily Babette Gross

Emily Babette Gross is a Canadian-born artist who lives and works in Los Angeles. She studied painting and drawing at CSU Long Beach and graduated with her B.F.A. in 2015. She is currently a third-year M.F.A. candidate in studio art at CTSA. For the last few years, Emily has been working and exhibiting in the greater Los Angeles area. Her multi-disciplinary work includes painting, drawing, sculpture, embroidery, assemblage, video and installation. Thematically her work explores identity and belonging, queer identity, subcultures, the performative aspects of gender, internet personas, and the concept of ‘home.’

Ivanna Vargas

Ivanna Vargas is a third year transfer student in music. She began her journey in music when she was living in Mexico in 2017. She joined a church choir with friends and then later joined a community choir where they sang works of composers including Handel, Offenbach, Orff and Verdi. She became interested in singing opera when she heard a recording of Maria Callas singing the famous aria “O mio babbino caro.” When she decided to pursue opera, she moved back to the U.S. and began studying classical voice at Los Angeles City College under LA Opera Chorus member Lori Stinson. Ivanna transferred to UCI in fall 2020 where she now studies under Dr. Darryl Taylor.

Theodora Oldfield

Theodora Oldfield is currently pursuing her B.F.A. degrees in Choreography and Dance Performance at UCI. She has been dancing since she was a toddler, and has studied many styles of dance, including ballet, modern, tap, jazz, and hip-hop, under distinguished faculty and mentors. She has performed and choreographed for several independent performances, and also loves pursuing interests outside of dance such as anthropology and cooking.

Alonso Melgoza

Alonso Melgoza is a third-year transfer student pursuing a B.A. in drama. Prior to attending UCI, they studied Music and classical voice at Diablo Valley College. Some of their favorite roles in past performances include “Head Over Heels” (Musidorus), “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time” (Ed Boone), and “Much Ado About Nothing” (Don Pedro). Alonso has become a member of various groups at UCI like Ballet Folklorico and Brown Bag Theatre Company. In their free time, Alonso likes thrifting for clothes, playing guitar and writing music.

Lisa Allin

Lisa Allin is an M.F.A. candidate in dance at UCI, as well as an aspiring choreographer, teacher, and retired performer from Los Angeles. Before continuing her education, she enjoyed many years as a freelance dancer in a variety of commercial and concert dance productions. Her passion brought her back to academics at Irvine Valley College, where she danced with Marie de la Palme. Through this experience, she was inspired by how dance can serve the community, and became involved in teaching, choreographing, and facilitating events designed to awaken more social inclusion with dance performances. In 2021, she received a B.A. in drama from UCI, which gave her a superb overview of theater-making, then continued her research here in the M.F.A. dance program.

Tiffany Ana López

Introducing Dr. Tiffany Ana López, a visionary artist, administrator, and proven champion for diversity, equity, and inclusion. In her new role at UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts, Dean López intends to further the School’s mission by creating and building connections with the community by harnessing the strengths of the School to create clear throughlines and professional pathways for both student and faculty research.

Gianna Acciacca

Gianna Acciacca is a fourth-year student pursuing a B.F.A. in dance performance at UCI. Gianna has had the opportunity to study in various dance styles and has studied under distinguished faculty at CTSA, including Lar Lubovitch. She has been recognized with scholarships for her hard work and artistry. She is a second company member of Emergent Dance Company and has freelanced for numerous project-based works during her time in college. Through her experiences, she has learned the value of collaboration, empathy, vulnerability and storytelling through movement in a dance space. She has been involved in Bare Bones Dance Theater since her second year and now acts as co-director of the longstanding, student-run, non-profit dance organization, which hosts workshops, showcases and outreach events. The club is open to students of all majors at UCI.

Sadie Rose

Sadie Rose is a third-year art major and the head curator of Catalyst Undergraduate Art Gallery. Her interest in curating was sparked by her experience working for UCI’s art galleries on campus. Additionally, she is the events director for the Art History Undergraduate Association, where she plans their yearly exhibitions. In her own practice as an artist, she works across various mediums, such as photography, painting and sculpture.

Moses Carter

Moses Carter is a 5th year music major, minoring in African American Studies. He has held the position of Peer Academic Advisor at CTSA for three years now, and is also a first year Resident Advisor for the freshman housing community at Mesa Court. Moses enjoys performing in music ensembles in the Department of Music, including the UCI Symphony Orchestra. He recently got accepted into Teach for America and, after graduating in the spring, plans on moving to Washington D.C. to teach high school English. In the future, Moses hopes to combine his love for African American history and classical music to study Ethnomusicology in grad school, specifically focusing on music within the African diaspora. Moses feels that current classical music and the way it’s taught at institutions is Eurocentric, and hopes to be part of the change to involve more Black and POC composers and performers in classical music academia.

Trevor Bourland

Trevor Bourland began began his career assistant music directing his high school’s production of The Addams Family. He has worked with Mark Fearey at the Valley Youth Theatre and Jamie Reed at Tucson Repertory Theatre. Trevor found a passion for composition in high school, beginning to write short pieces for piano and completing a musical for a senior thesis project. He was accepted into the composition program at the University of Arizona’s Fred Fox School of Music, studying with Daniel Asia. He has a passion for minimalism and 20th-century music and musical theater. He is studying Music Directing for Musical Theatre at UC Irvine’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts under Zachary Dietz. Most recently, Trevor served as composer on a production of Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson’s An Iliad, and staged a workshop reading of an original one-act musical, Carmilla, based on the novel of the same name by J. Sheridan Le Fanu.

Johnny Martinez

Johnny Martinez is a jazz drummer born and raised in Los Angeles, California, with experience playing bass and piano in several jazz bands. He has played drums for jazz bands such as Jazz Angels, Crescendo Jazz All-Stars, and more. Johnny attended Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, he was awarded “Outstanding Soloist” at the Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival (2018), “Outstanding Soloist” at the Fullerton Jazz Festival (April 2018), and awarded first place in the combo division at the 2017 Reno Jazz Festival. He has studied privately with drummers such as Bernie Dresel and Clayton Cameron. He has performed at many festivals and, in the process, made personal connections with many great jazz musicians. Johnny has also attended masterclasses with Butch Miles, Vincent Gardner, Alex Acuña, and many more. He currently studies under Jason Harnell at the University of California, Irvine, and privately with Jeff Hamilton.

Dillon Zamora

Dillon Zamora is majoring in both Dance Performance and Dance Choreography at UCI. He had his roots in theatre via attending the Orange County School of the Arts for Acting, but later realized that dance was his true calling. Ever since, he has focused extensively on concert dance forms and what concert dance can be. Dillon trained in the Cecchetti method of ballet and has worked with many contemporary dance choreographers. For performances, he has worked with choreographers such as Lar Lubovitch, Alex Ketley, Vitor Luiz DeSantos, Charlotte Griffin, Lindsay Gilmour and Chad Michael Hall. Don’t miss him in UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts’ upcoming production of Dance Visions 2023 on February 23-25 at Irvine Barclay Theatre!

Annelise Hermsen

Annelise Hermsen is completing her fourth and final year of undergraduate study at UCI. A member of the Campuswide Honors Collegium, she will graduate this spring with a B.A. in both drama and business economics, along with honors in acting and honors in economics. Annelise recently made her professional debut at New Swan Shakespeare Festival last summer where she was cast as Marina in “Pericles, Prince of Tyre’’ and Courtesan in “The Comedy of Errrorrs.” She is a recent recipient of the 2022-2023 Kris and Linda Elftmann Scholarship at CTSA, and is currently the swing for all female roles in the upcoming CTSA Department of Drama mainstage, “Airness,” directed by Eli Simon. Hear about her experience in the show in this episode of Two+ Minutes with an Arteater.

Aziza Stewart

Aziza Stewart is a fourth-year transfer student majoring in drama with honors in acting. Although her emphasis is in acting, Aziza has many hobbies on the side. In her free time, she loves to dance, play guitar, practice Jiu Jitsu and write poetry. In addition, she also works as a personal trainer and she hopes to get involved with Muay Thai in the future. Some of Aziza’s favorite roles that she has had the opportunity to play include Hamlet in Leah Jackson’s rendition of “Hamlet,” and being a mover in Chloe King’s DCP project “Out of the Void.” Come see Aziza in the Department of Drama’s next mainstage show, the world premiere production of “The Story of Biddy Mason,” opening December 1-4, 2022 at the xMPL Theatre.

Veronica Allen

Veronica Allen is from Omaha, Nebraska, and is pursuing a B.F.A. in Dance Performance at UCI. While being on campus, she has had the opportunity to be a part of a variety of department shows, including both virtual and live performances. Most recently, she was in a collaborative piece choreographed by Charlotte Griffin and Ariyan Johnson, which she was able to showcase both modern and house dance. Next, she’ll be performing onstage in the show “New Slate 2022” from UCI Dance, opening December 1-3, 2022 at Claire Trevor Theatre. In 2022, she received the Donald McKayle Dance Scholarship and the Claire Trevor Society Scholarship - two awards given to distinguished students for their talent and character. 

Sarah Soza

Sarah Soza is the principal violist of the UCI Symphony Orchestra and is currently in her final year at UCI. She is a double major in viola performance and international studies. In post-grad, Sarah hopes to combine the two in a functional yet meaningful way. Sarah has been playing violin since the age of 2. Before entering university, she started playing the alto-reading instrument, believing that its traditionally supportive role has evolved within the last century, and wants to be a part of its evolution. From the start, Sarah has been involved in several chamber and orchestra performances but aspires to expand her playing style.

Jax Dean

Jax Dean is a fourth-year transfer student receiving a degree in Drama; however, they are also engaged in the dance department. Jax is a member of Bare Bones Dance Theater, a student-run Dance club established in 1987 that is still running strong on campus and is open to all majors. Jax made their professional theatrical debut this summer in the repertory productions for the New Swan Shakespeare Festival. In addition, some of Jax’s most treasured shows they’ve been a part of include “Rebecca Oaxaca Lays Down a Bunt” (UCI) and “Into the Woods” (UCI). In addition to being an avid member of Bare Bones, they are also performing in Romeo and Juliet this quarter!

Heather Echeverria

Heather Echeverria is an M.F.A. Acting student (Class of 2023) at UC Irvine. She graduated from UCI's undergraduate drama program with Honors in Acting in 2020. Some of her past credits at UCI include: Plumas Negras (Aurora), Rebecca Oaxaca Lays Down a Bunt (Ella Elizondo), Silent Sky (Henrietta Leavitt), When We Were Young and Unafraid (Mary Anne). She is excited to play Juliet in Romeo & Juliet at The Irvine Barclay Theatre this November for her thesis role. Additionally, she serves as a graduate mentor for Brown Bag Theater Company, UCI's only Latinx theater student company. Most recently, she worked at the Great River Shakespeare Festival as Community Outreach Director for their Community Engagement Project, All The Town's A Stage: A Winona Story, while also appearing onstage as Laurie, acting alongside the community members of Winona.

Taylor Fagins

Taylor Fagins is a UCI alumni who graduated in 2017 with a B.A. in Drama. He is currently attending Graduate school at Berkeley College NYC, earning his M.F.A. in Creative Technology with a specialization in Writing in Musical Theater Design. Taylor dabbles in songwriting, filmmaking, and playwriting. He is truly a jacque of all trades! Most recently, Taylor made his American Idol Debut. The judges, including Lionel Richey, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan, went as far as to say that his audition performance was simply magical. Taylor sang an original song, “We Need More,” which spoke about issues of injustice revolving around black lives in America. Taylor is a bright light in the entertainment industry who hopes to pursue the arts for the rest of his life. Listen to this podcast to learn more about Taylor and his various artistic endeavors!

 Michael Thomas Holmes

Michael Thomas Holmes earned his M.F.A. in acting at UCI. He previously attended Washington University in St. Louis for a B.F.A. in Graphic Design. He has been featured in a plethora of Broadway National Tours, Films, and TV Shows. Some of his credits include being a part of The Broadway National Tour of “Phantom of the Opera,” The Broadway Production of “Oklahoma!,” and regional productions such as “1776,” “South Pacific,” and “The Rocky Horror Show.” In addition to performing, he also teaches on the side and dabbles in graphic design. Listen to this podcast about Michael’s post-graduation career and future creative endeavors.

Jessica Spruiell

Jessica Spruiell is a third-year earning her B.F.A. in Music Theatre and a minor in Management. Jessica has done a plethora of musical theater and straight theater. Some of her favorite roles include The Witch in "Into the Woods," Belle in "Beauty and the Beast," and Roz in "Moon Over Buffalo." Her specialty is singing in a soprano register, which makes sense that her dream role is Christine in "Phantom of the Opera." Some of her hobbies include drinking coffee, going to the "Rocky Horror Picture Show," and binge-watching reality TV. As a talented and adventurous creative, she is embarking on her journey in the New York Satellite Program. Listen in to hear about her experience with this exciting CTSA opportunity.

Jackie Diaz

Jackie Diaz will be graduating in the Spring of 2022 with a double major in Vocal Performance and Drama. She believes that music is the strongest form of expression and continues to inspire her daily. Jackie is truly a jack-of-all-trades as she is skilled in all angles of the industry. She will be ending her college career with a bang via Chamber Singer’s final recital, in which she holds the title of Co-President. Some of her other hobbies include hiking, cooking, and painting. In the future, Jackie hopes to move to New York and pursue Musical Theater. Listen to this podcast to hear about life and college through the lens of Jackie Diaz.

Natalie Aronno

Natalie Aronno is a dance major studying Modern, Ballet and Jazz. She became involved with dance at a very young age and aspires to pursue this magnetic art for the rest of her life. Some of her favorite dance performances include her Spring Concerts in high school, being cast in the Debbie Allen Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, and UCI’s most recent New Slate 2021. She claims that New Slate 2021 was a very emotional return to the stage, as it was her first in-person performance during her college career. In her spare time, some of her hobbies consist of cooking, watching movies, and spending time with loved ones. After college, Natalie plans to tour with a professional dance company. After traveling the world, she wishes to be a choreographer or be in a company that encourages its dancers to create their own works. Through this episode, Natalie speaks on her experience with the Dance Department’s upcoming show: Dance Visions!

Chloe King

Chloe King is a third-year graduate student earning her M.F.A in directing. Chloe previously attended Capital Stage Directing Apprenticeship from 2014-15 and received her B.F.A. in Theatre and Dance at the University of Wyoming. She has had a passion for the arts since she was a kid and dabbles in a wide variety of artistic endeavors, including Directing, Fight Choreographing, and even creating visual arts! Chloe maintains a very busy schedule but also finds time for lifting, traveling, and playing on her crew rowing team. Chloe claims that her most rewarding directorial experience was “Out of the Void,” which was performed at UCI in the fall! Listen in to hear more about Chloe’s style of directing and some insight on the UCI Drama production of “The Effect!”

Devin Wilson

Devin Wilson is a first-year graduate student here at UCI earning their M.F.A. in art. Devin previously earned their B.F.A. at Boston University. Devin perceives themself as an “AI for artistic content”. They are obsessed with studying creative material and then producing their own art. Something that is very important to them is researching art and attending conferences. One of their other favorite hobbies is baking bread, pretzels, and bagels! In addition, they are a DECADE representative for the upcoming Open Studios Event. Devin hinted that they will be performing in drag at this event. Don’t forget to come support CTSA’s M.F.A. Artists!

Aejin Yi

Aejin Yi is a first-year undergraduate majoring in Art. Aejin is a bubbly and intuitive creative who is making her official artistic debut in the 17th Annual Undergraduate Art Exhibition at UCI in March. She keeps a busy schedule and loves to immerse herself in a plethora of subjects, whether that be embroidery, songwriting, or making collages. One of her long term goals is to start a small business where she produces her own art. In addition, she hopes to one day spread her works internationally and head to Korea to be involved in graphic design and music production there! Listen to this episode to learn more about the multi-talented Aejin and her current endeavors.

Summer Session

Summer Savonna Session is a graduate student here at CTSA, who is earning their M.F.A. in directing. They previously attended Fresno City College for an Associates Degree in Theater Arts and also California State University, Fresno for a Bachelor's Degree in General Theater. Summer is a true lover of the arts and hopes to pursue directing for the rest of their life. In Summer’s free time, they enjoy reading, painting, and watching anime! However, the majority of their current time is spent on perfecting the upcoming UCI mainstage production of The Seagull. Summer is thrilled to be spearheading this endeavor, which comprises an extremely talented cast and crew. Listen to this episode to learn more about Summer.

Joseph Wong

Joseph Wong is an undergraduate student who is double majoring in music and computer science. His instrument of choice is the violin, and he is also the concertmaster of his orchestra. By holding this title, he is the leader of his team and is the second-hand-man to the conductor. Joseph was a child prodigy and has been playing since he was 5-years-old. In addition, he has performed all over the United States. His favorite venue he’s had the chance to perform in is Carnegie Mellon’s Weill Recital Hall. Listen to this episode to learn more about this creative and his passion for music. Also, don’t forget to go see the upcoming concert from UCI Symphony Orchestra!  

Ian Bowers

Ian Bowers is a fourth-year transfer student earning his degree in drama and is on track for a B.F.A. in music theater. Ian is drawn to comedic theater and enjoys playing into tragedy and dramatic pieces (a true jack-of-all-trades)! Some of his favorite roles include: Satan in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Leaf Coneybear in The Putnam County Spelling Bee, Bat Boy in Bat Boy the Musical, and Mercutio in Romeo & Juliette. That being said, his dream role is Emcee in Cabaret. In his free time, Ian loves going on beach trips, adventuring with friends, and eating way too much sushi! After graduation, he plans to move to New York to kickstart a career on the East Coast. In this episode, Ian shares a little bit about his first UCI mainstage production, Rebecca Oaxaca Lays Down a Bunt, which opens in early March.

Leah Jackson

Leah Jackson is a graduating senior earning her degree in drama. She has an emphasis on directing and music theatre. Leah enjoys keeping a busy schedule and is also a part of UCI’s Campuswide Honors Collegium. In addition, she will be writing her thesis about her upcoming directorial endeavor, Hamlet. She loves to work with actors who follow their instincts and lean into comedic timing. Leah Jackson is an exuberant and kind human being who hopes to create a long lasting career within the entertainment industry. We hope you enjoy this episode of Two+ Minutes with an ARTeater, where she gives us insight on how her rendition of Hamlet is coming along!

Tony Garcia

Tony Diego Garcia is an undergraduate at UCI earning his B.F.A in music theatre. Tony is a hardworking creative who loves to dance, sing, and act. He is attracted to rock-pop theater and dance-heavy shows. His favorite roles that he has had the privilege to play include: Emmett in Legally Blonde, Doody in Grease, and Charlie in Merrily We Roll Along. He hopes to eventually book musicals on Broadway and perform internationally. In his spare time, he loves to build LEGO sets and complete puzzles. Tony has a jovial and outgoing personality, which made him a perfect fit as our first interviewee. Listen to this episode to learn more about the amazingly talented Tony Diego Garcia and his upcoming performances!