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Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Names Awardees

Jacob Coakley • Theatre Buzz • April 23, 2009

A scene from In The Blood, with lighting design by Marciel Greene, who won the Barbizon Award for Excellence in Lighting Design

WASHINGTON, D.C. ⎯ The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced 38 national awardees at the 41st annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), April 14-18, 2009.  The students from universities and colleges from across the United States secured their places at the national festival and the opportunity to earn awards, scholarships, and fellowships through their success at regional festivals in January and February 2009. 

Developed by Roger L. Stevens, Kennedy Center Founding Chairman, the KCACTF is dedicated to encouraging, recognizing, and celebrating the finest and most diverse work produced in college and university theatre programs.  The eight regional festivals and national festival provide an opportunity for college and university theatre departments to present their work, especially new or student-written work, and to receive outside assessment.  Since its establishment in 1969, the KCACTF has reached more than 17.5 million theatregoers, students, and teachers nationwide.

The recipients of the awards, scholarships, and fellowships announced at the national festival at the Kennedy Center are listed below.

The Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships

Each year the KCACTF selection panel reviews up to 300 nominees chosen from thousands of submissions nationwide.  Two winners from each region are invited to attend the national festival to audition for the national scholarships.  Each of the 16 finalists receive a $500 scholarship and a week-long, expenses paid trip to the national festival, where a judging panel made up of leading artistic directors, actors, producers, and casting agents views presentations of monologues, short scenes, and songs and award two scholarships of $3,000.  

The Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships go to Meredith Hinckley and Adam Navarro, both of California State University-Fullerton.  Their acting partners were Paul Collins and Courtney Howe respectively.  

The finalists and their acting partners were also eligible for additional scholarships, fellowships, and awards.  The recipients are as follows.

•    The Shakespeare Theatre Company Acting Fellowship, Michael Kahn- Artistic Director, and The VASTA Award for Vocal Excellence both go to Adam Navarro, California State University-Fullerton.
•    The Sundance Theatre Lab Acting Fellowship, Philip Himberg- Artistic Director, and The National Partners of the American Theatre Classical Acting Award, presented in association with The Shaw Festival, Jackie Maxwell- Artistic Director, both go to Meredith Hinckley, California State University-Fullerton.
•    The inaugural KCACTF-sponsored Actors Theatre of Louisville Acting Apprenticeships, Marc Masterson-Artistic Director, go to Erin Fried, Colorado State University, and Mike Zuccola, Salem State University.
•    The Williamstown Theatre Festival Fellowship goes to Jonathan Hooks, University of Oklahoma.
•    The Mark Twain Scholarship for Comic Performance goes to Peter Macy, University of Central Missouri.
•    The Dell’Arte Mad River Festival Fellowship goes to Ashley Kobza, University of Nebraska-Kearney.
•    The Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre Training Program Scholarship goes to Matthew Kerrigan, Illinois State University.  Mr. Kerrigan was partner to Ryan Hallahan.
•    The Margolis Method Training Scholarship goes to Matthew Gorkis, Illinois State University. Mr. Gorkis was partner to Max Ganet.
•    The Society of American Fight Directors Scholarship goes to James Jelkin, partner to Ashley Kobza, University of Nebraska-Kearney.
•    The inaugural KCACTF-sponsored Orchard Project Core Company Fellowship goes to Sean Cummings, Colorado State University.  Mr. Cummings was partner to Erin Fried.
•    The Kingsley Colton Outstanding Partner Award, sponsored by Actors Equity Association, goes to Courtney Howe, California State University-Fullerton. Mr. Howe was partner to Adam Navarro.

The Barbizon Awards for Excellence in Scenic, Costume, and Light Design
All national Barbizon Award recipients receive an honorarium of $500 and an expenses paid trip to New York City for the National Design Portfolio Review at the Lincoln Center, as well as a professional development residency, to be determined according to the recipient’s discipline.  The recipients in each category follow.

A scene from The Darker Face of the Earth, with costume design by Marian Cooper, who won the Barbizon Award for Excellence in Costume Designel Greene, who won the Barbizon Award for Excellence in Lighting Design

•    The Barbizon Award for Excellence in Costume Design goes to Marian Cooper of Temple University. Honorable mentions go to Stephanie Kucsera of University of Indianapolis, Mercedes O’Bannion of Mesa Community College, and Bich Do of Sam Houston State University.
•    The Barbizon Award for Excellence in Lighting Design goes to Marciel Greene of Ball State University.  The runner-up was Gregory Contreras of Florida International University.  An honorable mention goes to Stephanie Malone of Linfield College.

A moment from Urinetown, with scenic design by Joe Holbrook, who won the Barbizon Award for Excellence in Scenic Design

•    The Barbizon Award for Excellence in Scenic Design goes to Joe Holbrook of California State University-Fullerton.  The runner-up was Nick Quinn of University of Illinois-Champaign Urbana.  An honorable mention goes to Jessica Emerson and Emily Gorecki of the University of New Haven.

The KCACTF and Alcone Make-Up Design Awards
The KCACTF and Alcone Make-Up Awards give outstanding student designers national recognition and the opportunity to exhibit their work at the Kennedy Center.  The 2009 Award goes to Kelly McBane, Slippery Rock University.

The KCACTF Sound Design Award
The Sound Design Award goes to Patricia Cardona, Penn State University.

The O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference Design Fellowships
The fellowships go to Marciel Greene, Ball State University, for lighting design and Patricia Cardona, Penn State University, for sound design.  Both recipients receive a residency at the O’Neill National Playwrights’ Conference in Waterford, Connecticut, where they will be resident lighting and sound assistant respectively.  

The National Partners of the American Theater Award for Design Excellence
This award is presented to one of the Design Award finalists displaying their work at the Kennedy Center.  The Design Excellence Award is co-sponsored by the Korean National University of the Arts (KNUA) and the 2009 recipient, Nick Quinn of the University of Illinois-Champaign Urbana, will spend an expense-paid week in Seoul, Korea visiting theatre design and traditional arts classes, visiting various design studios, and attending performances among other activities.  

The SSDC Student Directing Fellowship
The Fellowship goes to Doug Oliphant, Central Connecticut State University, who received a grant of $1,000 from the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers to offset the costs of a professional development opportunity, to be arranged in consultation with Mr. Oliphant.

The LMDA Dramaturgy Award in Association with ATHE
Two recipients, Anne G. Morgan of Emerson College and Andy Pierce of University of Missouri, will receive a one-year membership in ATHE (Association for Theater in Higher Education), a one-year membership in LMDA (Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas), and will attend the O’Neill National Playwrights’ Conference as members of the literary staff.

The O’Neill National Critics Institute Scholarship
Bradley Troll, University of New Orleans, received a full fellowship to attend the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center during its National Playwrights’ Conference in July 2009, working with leading professional newspaper and magazine critics from across the United States.  In addition, Kelly Hines of DePaul University and Gabrielle Gaston of University of Utah both received a $600 matching grant from the Critics Institute to attend the summer institute program.   

The Michael Kanin Playwriting Awards Program
The program encourages and supports the development of student-written plays through a variety of honors, including the following scholarships and cash awards.  The winning students were announced at the national festival after performances of the finalists for the Ten-Minute Play Award and John Cauble Award for Outstanding Short Play.

•    The KCACTF Ten-Minute Play Award goes to Dana Lynn Formby, Ohio University, for Armed with Peanut Butter.  Ms. Formby also received the WORDbridge Fellowship.
•    The John Cauble Award for Outstanding Short Play goes to Steven Barkhimer, Boston University, for Hard Rain.
•    The inaugural Ken Ludwig Playwriting Scholarship goes to Christian Krauspe, Arizona State University.
•    The Playwrights’ Center Development Workshop Grant goes to Joe Luis Cedillo, University of Iowa.
•    The Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences Commission goes to Allison Menzimer, University of California-Santa Barbara.

The Kennedy Center Education Department
For over 35 years, the Kennedy Center Education Department has provided quality arts experiences through performances, residencies, workshops, conferences, career development programs, symposia, and on-line and print resources.  In the past year, the Center’s education programs have directly impacted more than 11 million people across the nation.   The mission of the Education Department is to foster understanding of and participation in the performing arts through exemplary programs and performances for diverse populations of all ages that represent the unique cultural life and heritage of the United States.  

For more information, visit the Center’s web site at .

KCACTF Support
Theater at the Kennedy Center and the Stephen and Christine Schwarzman Legacy Award for Excellence in Theater are presented with the generous support of Stephen and Christine Schwarzman.  

The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival is sponsored by The U.S. Department of Education; Dr. Gerald and Paula McNichols Foundation; The Kennedy Center Corporate Fund; and The National Committee for the Performing Arts.

For more information about KCACTF, please visit

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