Actor Usman Ally ’04 wins roles and recognition
For the award-winning Usman Ally BA ’04, 2015 has already been a good year. A member of Chicago’s American Theater Company, Ally has starred in theatre premieres around the country, including an adaptation of Disney’s The Jungle Book, The Invisible Hand, Disgraced, and The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity. He also appears in television series such as Damages, BOSS, and Madam Secretary.
Earlier this month, Ally’s talent and commitment to his craft garnered him a coveted accolade: an Obie Award for his performance in the play The Invisible Hand, by Ayad Akhtar. Obies are the off-Broadway equivalent of the Tony Awards.
A Third Culture Kid, Ally was born in Swaziland, spent most of his childhood in Tanzania, and lived in Pakistan for a couple of years before moving to the United States for college. The Mary Dimond scholar majored in both theatre and sociology/anthropology. While in Portland, he also began participating in poetry slams and performed with the hip-hop group Prisoner of Politics. These experiences led him to pursue graduate studies at the University of Florida, where he earned a master of fine arts degree magna cum laude.
Earlier this year, Ally took home Lewis & Clark’s Outstanding Young Alumnus Award. While on campus to collect the honor, he demonstrated yet again his commitment to Lewis & Clark and fellow Pioneers by holding a master class for students in the Department of Theatre.
Ally, who now splits his time between Chicago and Los Angeles, had plenty of real-world advice for the students, including this bit of guidance: “Consider a double major. It’s a lot of work, but it is worth it. My studies in theatre and sociology/anthropology enriched and informed each other. Take advantage of the opportunity to dive into more than one discipline!”