JMU Theatre students win awards at Kennedy Center Festival

james madison university jmuTwenty-four theatre students and four faculty members from the James Madison University School of Theatre and Dance had a successful trip to the Region II Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival held in early January.

Three of the students were rated number one in their categories; one of the students earned an all-expenses paid trip to the Kennedy Center national festival in Washington, D.C., in April while three others are under consideration.

JMU students also received regional recognition, and three JMU acting teams advanced to the finals for the Irene Ryan acting scholarship.

Senior Casey Martin Klein won the Musical Theatre Initiative competition and will compete in the national festival. Sophomore Sky Wilson won the O’Neill Critics Institute competition for critical response, junior Sierra Carlson won the dramaturgy competition, and junior Diego Salinas earned a Certificate of Merit in the 10-Minute Play competition. Wilson and Carlson are currently being considered for inclusion in the national festival, as is the work of Salinas.

Megan Holden won the regional award for scenic design, and Simon Lass won the regional award for technical direction. Jessica Bae earned a regional honorable mention award for sound design. Both Lass and Bae also received awards from the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas, which include weeklong scholarships for workshops in Las Vegas. Chelsea Janke reached the finals in the stage management competition.

Three JMU teams reached the final round of 16 out of 240 pairs in the Irene Ryan acting competition. Students who made the final round include Casey Martin Klein with partner Matt Merline, as well as Melissa Carter and Irene Hamilton, who each partnered with Chris Consaul.

The students were accompanied by faculty members Kate Arecchi, associate professor of musical theatre and musical theatre area coordinator; John Burgess, associate professor of theatre and interim director of the JMU School of Theatre and Dance; Ingrid DeSanctis, assistant professor of theatre, playwriting; and Wolf Sherrill, associate professor of theatre.

The KCACTF awards program provides student designers with feedback from professionals in the field and national recognition in acting, musical theatre, playwriting, dramaturgy, critical response, scenic design, sound design, stage management, and technical direction. Approximately 1,200 students and faculty from Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. attended the five-day event.

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