Marching to New Heights

Image: Jenn Colella in Suffs. Photo by Joan Marcus.

UCI alumna Jenn Colella M.F.A. ’02 earns Drama League nomination for Suffs

By Chiara Guastella

Jenn Colella (M.F.A./Acting ’02), is captivating audiences in the Broadway hit Suffs. The Tony-nominated musical, produced by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, brings to life the inspiring stories of women who fought for the right to vote in 1920. 

Colella recently received a Drama League nomination for the Distinguished Performance Award for her portrayal of women’s suffrage leader Carrie Chapman Catt, highlighting her exceptional talent and dedication to storytelling. The Drama League Awards, created in 1922, honor distinguished productions and performances both on Broadway and Off-Broadway, in addition to recognizing exemplary career achievements in theatre, musical theatre and directing. 

“I've been working on Suffs for the last seven years. It is beautiful and surreal to see it finally find its home on Broadway,” said Colella. “As an artist, it's always extremely gratifying to be a part of something that's not only entertaining but also has the real power to incite change. Having a three-month-old daughter waiting for me at home every night reminds me why aligning myself with pieces of art that move people into action is so important. This piece has the power to do that.” shares Colella.

Jenn Colella’s role in Suffs continues her history of portraying groundbreaking women on Broadway. She previously originated the role of Captain Beverley Bass, the first female captain in American commercial aviation, in the acclaimed 2017 production Come from Away. Colella’s performance earned her both a Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical.

“It's no secret that this election year is a big one for women's rights, and Suffs amplifies the need for women to exercise their right to vote and speak up for their beliefs. I hope audiences leave our theater feeling empowered and motivated to VOTE and continue carrying their ancestors' torch. The work is never over; we must keep marching!” Jenn Colella reflected, emphasizing the show's impact.

An Outer Critics Circle Award nominee, Colella is also a Grammy winner for contributing to the Dear Evan Hansen cast recording. Her talent and craft continue to earn her consistent recognition in the theatre world. To learn more about Suffs, visit

Image: Jenn Colella with cast of Suffs; photo by Joan Marcus