Bachelors Degrees > Ellis College of Arts and Science > Communication and Theatre Arts
J. Todd Howell
J. Todd Howell’s career has taken him to Broadway stages, movie sets, and television studios, but he will never forget his first stage performance in Henderson State University’s Arkansas Hall.
It was a community theater production of “Camelot,” circa 1968. Howell was a young child with a role in the play. He was also enrolled in Henderson then -- in the nursery school on campus. Howell drew a big round of laughter when he forgot to exit the stage during a dress rehearsal, opting instead to stay on stage sucking his thumb and twiddling his ear. “There was uproarious laughter and I think deep down inside I knew I wanted that all the time,” he said.
Living in Arkadelphia gave Howell the opportunity to train with vocal music instructors from Henderson during his junior and senior high school years. Dr. Theresa McCree and Dr. Charles Rye coached him in early vocal technique.
Howell enrolled as a freshman at Henderson in 1982. Between then and 1986 when he graduated with a B.A. in mass media, Howell found himself on that same Arkansas Hall stage a number of times. He took drama classes taught by Kenneth Gilliam. In addition, he was able to study voice with Leslie Uttan who had come from New York to head the music therapy department and direct the Henderson Singers. “How little did I know in 1982 this Henderson contact would be the most instrumental person in getting me to New York and eventually to my dream of performing on Broadway,” he said.
Howell was cast in the Broadway revival of Jesus Christ Superstar. He has also performed in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. On the west coast, he performed in The Bow Wow Club at the Stella Adler Theatre. Film-wise, Howell has appeared in The Falls, Drive, One Three Zero, and Dog.
These days, Howell works as a resident services director at an assisted living community and has a recurring role on NBC’s daytime drama, Days of Our Lives.
Before leaving the state to pursue his acting dreams, Howell continued his education at Arkansas State University. He earned a Masters of Mass Communication in Radio/TV then returned to Henderson to teach a few oral communications classes under Dr. Randy Duncan. “It was yet another great experience that Henderson gave me,” he said.