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Seven Duncombe

Class of 2023

Seven Duncombe was born and raised in a small hood inside Miami, Florida known as Opa-Locka. They attended Norland Middle School for Performing Arts as an actor under the direction of Tanisha Cidel (Moonlight & David Makes Man), who inspired them to continue their journey within the arts. From there, they attended New World School of the Arts (NWSA) for acting. In masterclasses with profound storytellers such as Terrel Alvin McCraney and Alex Lacamoire they were enticed by the concept of composing their own stories, as well as handling the stories of others with great care. In that state of awe, they directed their first full length play, The Christians by Lucas Hnath as an independent project at NWSA. Falling downright in love with the process of telling accessible stories to a diverse audience, they carried this curiosity of storytelling into their acting training at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, where they are currently pursuing their higher education. They recently studied abroad in the United Kingdom at Shakespeare’s Globe under an intense acting program for two semesters. They have done and will continue to do this training for one reason — to tell the stories of their community and culture with a great deal of honor. 

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Sasha Nikolaevna Manxetti

Class of 2023


Sasha N. Manxetti is based in New York City. She graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy with a major in Theatre Arts, with a semester dedicated to her talents as a costume designer. She is a passionate singer, actress, designer, and director. Sasha’s home is in theatre, though the film and television focus at Rutgers has allowed her to further strengthen her versatility. Alongside her acting work, Sasha is a freelance costume designer as well as the founder of Manxetti Vintage Rental, a boutique vintage costume rental service. Favorite Rutgers credit is her most recent, playing Masha in Sarah Ruhl’s translation of Anton Chekov’s Three Sisters. Sasha felt this experience to be greatly humanizing to trans women today: We don’t get to see trans women be loudly themselves and be loved, out in the open, especially by men…the world needs to see transness loudly front and center. Sasha is grateful for her journey and all those that fill it.

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Piper Runge

Class of 2023

Piper Runge is originally a proud desert Tucsonian before moving out to Southern California.  Growing up, Piper was surrounded by theatre everywhere she looked, participating in school productions and community productions from the age of 4. She was fated for acting even before
birth, seeing as her parents met and fell in love on the stage together. Her passion and desire for learning led her to Rutgers Mason Gross BFA Acting Program. Any time she’s not acting, Piper can be found working on a new piano piece, singing casually with her sisters, or baking a dessert in the kitchen with her most prized possession: her KitchenAid. Two of her favorite roles she’s gotten to play at Rutgers are Doto in A Phoenix Too Frequent and Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream because she believes there’s nothing better than doing what you love and getting to have a blast of a time while doing it. Piper is so excited to pursue her love and need to create and connect with others through theatre, film, and television at such a booming time for entertainment.

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Paris Evans

Class of 2023

Paris Evans was born in Salem, Massachusetts and came to Mason Gross School of the Arts by way of the beautiful city of Providence, Rhode Island. Paris first took to the stage as a second grader in a school production of 101 Dalmatians at Maui Preparatory Academy in Hawaii. Never looking back, she has performed in school and community productions ever since. Some of her favorite roles include her MGSA performances as, Mary Louisa, in Daughters of Edward Boit and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Paris played #7 in the Rhode Island premiere of the critically acclaimed play, The Wolves, by Sarah DeLappe. She is especially proud of her work in an independent production of Seascape with Sharks and Dancer, in which she played the role of Tracey and co-directed. When not acting, Paris loves to design and sew her own clothing, and illustrate in pen and ink.

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Matthew Thai Ninh

Class of 2023

Born in Irving, Texas and raised in Mukilteo, Washington, Matthew Thai Ninh is a first-generation Vietnamese actor. The theater was not the first job his parents had in mind for their son, but it was inevitable. It began with singing when he was five. Joining choir at the age of fifteen, he realized he was meant to pursue the performing arts. Matthew’s talent grew and in his high school’s barbershop quartet, he performed at senior centers, community theaters, and local restaurants. Combined with his interest in novels, poetry, film and television he began to cultivate a craft and love for theatrical storytelling. He believes that the variation of stories you consume leads to a diversity of the self–that diversity, in turn, serves to support the forgotten, the underrepresented, and the displaced. A stroke of fate, that philosophy coalesced when he met another Vietnamese actor for the first time. Recent highlights include Vershinin in Three Sisters; Antony in The Tragedy of Antony & Cleopatra; and Tegeus in A Phoenix Too Frequent.

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Malena Sadaka

Class of 2023

Malena Sadaka (she/her) is a proud native of Miami, Florida, who began her love for the performing arts in the comfort of her own living room, where performing dance numbers for her parents and older sister was her primary source of entertainment. Her passion for theater would soon motivate her to audition for New World School of the Arts high school, where she would begin her acting and movement training journey. Her dedication and strong work-ethic led her to Rutgers, where she would explore all the versions of her actor’s expression in roles such as Natasha in Three Sisters, Antony in Antony and Cleopatra, Carmelita in Hagridden, and Sophia Matilda in the Mary Celeste. Taking advantage of the creative resources at these institutions, Malena had the privilege of expanding her talents by choreographing her own movement shows, Evoke and High Noon. When not creating, you can find Malena cooking, singing, sunbathing, dancing, practicing yoga, laughing, and enjoying a good Colombian empanada.

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Madeleine Warren

Class of 2023

Madeleine Warren has lived all over the States, most recently in Durham, North Carolina. During her senior year of high school, she attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ high school drama program, where she got a taste of an acting conservatory before attending Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts. When she is not acting, you can find Madeleine hiking or canoeing, ideally somewhere in Maine. Some of Madeleine’s favorite Rutgers Theater credits include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, When Silence Falls, 12 Angry Jurors, and, of course, Antony and Cleopatra at Shakespeare’s Globe. 

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Lexie Waddy

Class of 2023

Lexie Waddy (she/her) was born in the DMV and raised in Delaware. She grew up around arts, with her family all playing different instruments or drawing. She started learning piano at the age of four, attempted the violin, and had a brief stint with the flute. Introduced to theatre at twelve, she fell in love with acting. Her Rutgers Theatre Company credits include Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra, and Olga in Three Sisters. Other credits include Emily Webb in Our Town and Lauretta in The World’s Ending and Maybe That’s Kinda Hot. Outside of acting, she takes great pride in being the legally certified Cool Auntie of an 11 year old and multiple small children. Because of this experience, Lexie has expertise in answering a variety of questions such as: “do you wanna play a dinosaur game” (yes, of course), “can you play Elsa on piano” (Uh, I can learn!), and “Auntie, who were your Percy Jackson book crushes” (Charles, Leo, and Reyna, obviously). She can also hula hoop for an absurd length of time.

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Keivana Wallace

Class of 2023

Keivana Wallace was born in Washington D.C then moved to Maryland but her heart is in both.  She grew up in a household centered around faith, family, comedy, sports, and arts. She found her first love, singing, at the age of 4. Since then, she has sung at numerous venues across the DMV, taking on dance and piano lessons along the way. It wasn’t until high school that she found her passion for theater. Some of her Rutgers theater credits include The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra as Cleopatra, Midsummer Night’s Dream as Oberon, and Men on Boats.

Other credit: A Colored Girl in Yellow as Gina (Staged reading at Working Theater).

Outside of performing, Keivana is also a natural hair enthusiast, “an athlete at heart”, poet, and loves being black. Her goal is to continue to spread light in a dark world. She is a walking miracle and beyond blessed for the life she was given. If you ever need a word of encouragement she will willingly give.

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Joyce Meimei Zheng

Class of 2023

Joyce Meimei Zheng is a bonafide Jersey Girl, daughter of Chinese immigrants, and passionate lover of song. Though performing all her life, it was at MGSA where in one ultimate fell swoop, the acting bug sank its teeth into her and will not let her go. She dabbles in directing and editing, revels in dialect-work and voices, and finds her safe haven in writing music. She was able to exercise those skills collaboratively devising Rutgers Theater Company’s -Itude. Some of her favorite Rutgers Theater credits include, Irina in Three Sisters, Enobarbus in The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra, and Starveling/Moonshine in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Outside of Rutgers she’s also enjoyed working on several new works such as  Bad Koreans, A Love Story with Supernatural Roadblocks, and Crocs!: The Musical. Her faith, family, and heritage center her and she is excited to step into this coming season of her life and career.

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