Two Students Win Musical Theatre Prize at SIU

by Jacob Coakley
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C.J. Bathiany, Rachel Gordon Fischoff (on piano) and Nathanial Washington,
C.J. Bathiany, Rachel Gordon Fischoff (on piano) and Nathanial Washington,

Nathaniel Washington and C.J. Bathiany were each awarded the Stuart Fischoff Excellence in Musical Theater Award for spring 2016. Established in 2013 by Stuart Fischoff and Rachel Gordon Fischoff the award supports students at the Southern Illinois University (SIU) Department of Theater and School of Music who show outstanding excellence and exhibit great potential for success in their career. The award comes with a cash scholarship for each of $1,000.

AND THE WINNER IS…THE WINNERS ARE…

Nathaniel Washington and C.J. Bathiany were each awarded the Stuart Fischoff Excellence in Musical Theater Award for spring 2016. Established in 2013 by Stuart Fischoff and Rachel Gordon Fischoff the award is given each semester to a student, or students in this case, in the SIU Department of Theater and School of Music who show outstanding excellence and exhibit great potential for success in their career. The award comes with a cash scholarship for each of $1,000.

Nathanial Washington now in his third year of study at SIU is from Newburgh, Indiana. He became interested in musical theater in high school, first appearing as Niki the commander of the flying monkeys in “The Wizard of Oz.” For him, receiving this scholarship means “that there is somebody out there that wants me to succeed just as much as I do.” He is very grateful for the support.

C.J. Bathiany is in his second year at SIU. From Fort Thomas, Kentucky, Bathiany became interested in performing after seeing the VHS recording of Donny Osmond in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” For him the scholarship helps with the financial issues of education. He also feels he is being “recognized as a serious performer, and that means the world to me.”

Rachel Gordon Fischoff is well known in the community for her active support of the arts. She and her husband moved to the area in 2008. Stuart Fischoff, for whom the scholarship is named, was an award winning screenwriter and film consultant, and taught psychology at California State University, Los Angeles for 33 years. He passed away in 2014 after suffering several strokes. Rachel, also a writer, serves as a script consultant.

Commenting, Fischoff said, "Three, maybe four years from now, I expect to be watching Broadway's Tony Awards on TV and they'll be on stage, Nate Washington and CJ Bathiany, tied for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical."