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Taye Diggs

The Broadway, movie and TV star stays active with his alma mater.

Well known for his roles in the Broadway musical Rent and the motion picture How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Taye Diggs ’93 stars in the ABC series Private Practice. Shortly after graduating from SU, Diggs appeared in the Tony Award-winning revival of Carousel. In 1996, he originated the role of the landlord Benny in Jonathan Larson’s Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning Rent, where he co-starred alongside his future wife, actress and singer Idina Menzel. Other appearances on Broadway included Chicago and Wicked. Diggs became an author with the publication of the children’s book Chocolate Me! (Feiwel & Friends, 2011), which was illustrated by Syracuse classmate Shane W. Evans ’92.

Diggs has been extremely active with his alma mater throughout his post-graduate years, most notably as a guest artist in the Department of Drama. He came to campus in 2011 as part of Orange Central, the University’s reunion and homecoming celebration, where he held a book signing, participated in a workshop for drama students, and led a public event for Syracuse children that promoted literacy. Diggs has also participated in SU’s Sorkin Week in Los Angeles, the weeklong program that gives drama and film students in the College of Visual and Performing Arts a taste of life in Los Angeles. 

SU offers drama department students numerous opportunities to hone their craft. The department’s close relationship with Syracuse Stage, the professional theater of Central New York, gives students the chance to observe and interact with working professionals on a daily basis. The Tepper Semester, a unique program from the Tepper Center, offers undergraduate students in advanced levels of acting, musical theater, design, and stage management the opportunity to immerse themselves in a rigorous artistic training program in the culturally rich setting of New York City.

SU is the alma mater of many famous actors, including the late Peter Falk G’53, best known for his role as Columbo; Broadway and screen star Frank Langella ’59; Jerry Stiller ’50, star of stage, screen, and television; and Vanessa Williams ‘85, whose acclaimed career encompasses stage, screen, television, and recordings.