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Jane Alexander shares advice, stories of her career at Doane event

Written by Lyndsey Hrabik '13

Most people don't associate big name actors with a small-town Nebraska college.

But Doane College theatre students had the opportunity to listen and learn from one of the arts' finest May 4 in the Conservatory. Actress Jane Alexander, four-time Oscar nominee and Tony award winner, sat down to answer questions for students and the Crete Community. jane alexander

Alexander was on campus to deliver a speech for the May 5 inauguration of Doane College's 12th President Jacque Carter. Carter and Alexander met in Belize while both were conducting wildlife research in the 80s, and have been friends since. Alexander took time out of the inauguration events for a question and answer period Friday afternoon.

The accomplished actress has been a part of over 55 screenplays. Those roles have taken her far and wide, from receiving death threats for her participation on stage in "Great White Hope", to portraying a concentration camp orchestra member in "Playing for Time."

Among her various roles, Alexander spoke of her portrayal of public figures, most notably as Eleanor Roosevelt. Research was an important part of the process, she said, which included hours upon hours of listening to tapes of Mrs. Roosevelt speaking. She said she always kept something in her dressing room that reminded her of the character she would be portraying.

She also spoke of her involvement with the arts, and about how she advocated to keep funding of the National Endowment of Arts. She said the program was slated for elimination under the Bush administration. Alexander was the former director of the National Endowment of Arts during Bill Clinton's presidency.

Doane College theatre students eagerly jumped to ask Alexander about their future careers, her experiences and other important information they could utilize in the future.

"I began, like many of you, taking a lot of acting classes," Alexander said.

Among her advice, she told students they should find something they like to do as a backup and to make ends meet at first, and also to find a good network of friends for support.

Whether it be on a Broadway stage, or in your very own garage, Alexander said there would always be somebody who would want to watch.

"You'll always find an audience for everything," Alexander said.