2023 Young Alumni Rising Stars
Anna Leah Uzele ('18)
Anna Leah Uzele
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Musical Theatre (’18)
Singer, Actress, Dancer
Co-star in Broadway production of ‘New York, New York’
It didn’t take long for Anna Uzele to graduate from the stages of San Marcos to the bright lights of New York City. In fact, she landed a role in the Tony-nominated Broadway production of Once on This Island within 10 days of graduating with her bachelor of fine arts in musical theatre in 2018.
Building off that experience and subsequent roles in musicals and television, the multi-talented Bobcat currently stars on Broadway in New York, New York. She plays the lead female Francine Evans in the show, which in May was nominated for nine Tony awards, including best new musical.
Based on the 1977 Martin Scorsese movie of the same name, the show features the songs of Cabaret and Chicago creators Kandor and Ebb, with additional lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the famed creator of Hamilton.
“She is now on the A-list of musical theatre actresses, sought out by some of the biggest names in the Broadway world,” said John Fleming, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication.
If you can’t make it to New York anytime soon, you can still see Uzele in Apple TV Plus’s “Dear Edward” starring Connie Britton and Taylor Schilling and in her recurring role in Showtime’s “City on a Hill” starring Kevin Bacon.
A permanent fixture on the Dean’s List while at TXST, Uzele graduated magna cum laude as a member of the Honors College, all the while navigating four to five hours of nightly rehearsals for at least eight weeks at a time. She won lead roles in multiple TXST musical theatre productions, including a standout performance offering a sign of bigger things to come.
“It was her turn as leading lady Sarah in Ragtime that confirmed for me that Anna was destined to be a powerhouse performer,” said Sarah Maines, chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance.
Uzele remains active in the Bobcat community. She serves on Texas State’s Musical Theatre Alumni Advisory Board, a position in which she mentors students entering the industry. She volunteers annually active for Texas State’s NEXUS summer musical theatre camp — participating via Zoom — and she also participates annually in a virtual Q&A session with musical theatre students.
Uzele is no stranger to supporting her adopted New York community. She’s involved in fundraising for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and has performed at a fundraiser for the group with Nathan Lane, Fran Drescher, and other stage luminaries.
Reflecting on his New York visit to see Uzele perform, Fleming marveled at her capacity to shine even when she wasn’t on stage saying, “despite her rapid success, she has remained a humble person with a generous spirit.”