Alum Regan Forman (’93) redefines what a theatre degree can be

"She was one of these naturals – brilliantly intuitive, always knew what to do right away ..."

By Ryan Clark
NKU Marketing + Communications

When Sandra Forman, NKU Professor of Theatre, is asked what students can achieve with a theatre degree, she needs exactly zero time to come up with an answer.

“I say you can be a vice president at Nickelodeon,” she says.

She looks no further than her own daughter, Regan Forman, who graduated from NKU in 1993 with a BFA in Theatre.

“My mom is very proud,” Regan says, laughing.

Her mother isn’t the only one.

“She was one of these naturals – brilliantly intuitive, always knew what to do right away,” says Sam Zachary, an NKU theatre and dance faculty member who directed her in two plays while she was in school. “She was congenial, well-liked, respective, and joyous – a high-energy person you knew would always do really well. “

But not even Zachary could predict where Regan’s career would take her.

Regan, originally from Greensboro, N.C., came to NKU on a full drama scholarship, and stood out in her classes and productions. Two years later, her mother followed when she accepted a faculty job at NKU. Regan graduated, then worked in New York and North Carolina before landing in Los Angeles.

“When I was acting professionally, one of the last jobs I had was on ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’” Regan says. “It was during the first season and no one even knew what it was going to be yet. It was really fun!”

She appeared in movies as well, like “Enough,” with Jennifer Lopez. And in-between gigs, she served in several temp jobs – including one at Disney.

“When it was over, they didn’t want Regan to leave,” her mother says.

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That led to work with Pixar – and her non-acting career was taking off.

“While working for Disney, my favorite moment was getting the opportunity to work with Pixar Animation Studios,” Regan says. “Meeting personally with Andrew Stanton (director of “Finding Nemo” and “Wall-e”) on reviewing and ultimately approving the entire Toy Line for “Wall-e” was a big honor. I also got to direct John Lasseter, (director of “Toy Story,” “Cars,” founder of Pixar, creative genius, etc.) on lots of presentations and product videos. That was really humbling.”

Now 43, Regan has again switched jobs, this time to Nickelodeon, where she serves as Vice President, Creative Strategy at Nickelodeon Consumer Products in New York City.

“The most important rule for me has been to gain self awareness,” Regan says. “There are so many different kinds of communicators in the world. Some are introverts and some are extroverts. Some only work with facts, while others prefer to primarily speak about their feelings. Knowing who you are and understanding how others provide and receive information has helped me navigate many different types of people.”

Being positive helps too, she says. In stressful situations, people would rather work with someone who is upbeat.

“She had those kinds of qualities … (she’s) the kind of person everyone wants to work with – magnetic, confident,” Zachary says.

Outside of work, she’s an avid runner (she just completed the New York City Marathon), she likes to watch “horrible reality television,” and she likes to jump on the trampoline with her kids. Her husband – playwright and lyricist Oded Gross – asks her to sing some of the parts when he records them.

As the holiday season ramps up, it becomes her busiest time of the year, with children everywhere receiving various Nickelodeon toys as presents. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Spongebob. Dora the Explorer.

Forman knows them all.

And now what? she is asked. What about the future?

“I am meeting up with some friends tonight for dinner and then heading home,” she says, laughing. “This weekend my son, Asher has a soccer game.  Maybe I will get my nails done with my daughter, Noa. Wait, did you mean professional future? Hmmm. I really love working at Nickelodeon. Maybe I will eventually go back to Los Angeles some day. I loved living in California.”

From North Carolina to NKU to California to New York … with Regan Forman you just never know what the next day could bring.