Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Department of Theatre and Dance had a whopping five finalists in the Region V Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival gathering in Des Moines last week! That's five out of 16 finalists culled from a pool of about 400 at the start of the competition.
The department participated along with 1,464 registrants, representing 85 colleges and universities during festival week, Jan. 21-27, 2018.
Region V represents Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri, and its regional festival is the largest of the eight in the country.
Minnesota State Mankato had thirteen nominees and placed seven students in the Semifinal round of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition (the top school in the region), including Mitchell Evans (junior BFA Musical Theatre from Litchfield) partnered by Matthew Sather (junior BFA Musical Theatre from Spencer, IA); and Zoe Hartigan (junior BFA Acting from Lakeville) partnered by Felipe Esucdero (sophomore BS Theatre generalist from Burnsville). Five Minnesota State Mankato students advanced to the Finals (top 16 out of over 400 eligible competitors; this is a 21st century record for MSU!). Jessica Staples (senior BFA Musical Theatre from Minneapolis, who was a finalist last year too) was partnered by Gary Du Charme II (senior BFA Actor from Linton, IA); Andoni Marinos (3rd Year MFA Actor from Australia) was partnered by Sarah Thomas (senior BFA Musical Theatre from Roseville); Samantha Fairchild (Senior BA Theatre Generalist from Roseville) partnered by Cam Pederson (junior BFA Musical Theatre from East Grand Forks); Alexis Vencill (Senior BFA Actress from Spruce Pine, NC) partnered by Ashley Ziegler (senior BFA Musical Theatre from Brighton, CO); and Delanie Wiedrich (junior BFA Musical Theatre from Haxen ND) partnered by Sather. Delanie also captured the Best Musical Theatre Actress in the Final Round award.
One student advanced to the Dance Intensive Showcase and performed at the festival, Mitchell Evans. Four students, advanced to the Musical Theatre Intensive, including Fairchild, Jodie Bratager (sophomore BFA Musical Theatre from Rochester), Mack Spotts-Falzone (sophomore BFA Musical Theatre from Wayzata) and Samantha Buckley (BA Theatre Generalist from Thief River Falls).
Jessica Staples won an invitation for presentation for her 10-minute Protest Play: Ignorant Silence. Seth Honerman (1st year MFA Theatre Directing from Sioux Falls, SD)
was the Runner Up for the Society for Directors and Chorographers Award. Henry Anderson (senior BFA Theatre Design/Technology from Woodbury) took the 1st Place Regional Technical Project award for The Diary of Anne Frank. Anderson also won the “Don Childs Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas” Award, including a one-week residency for his work for Death of a Salesman. Ben Kramer (1st year MFA Scene Design from Madison, NJ) took 1st Place, Regional Scene Design award for Romeo and Juliet. Cam Pederson took 1st Place, Regional Allied Craft award for The Little Mermaid.
Emily Kimball’s (3rd year MFA Costume Design from Mankato) costumes for The Women of Troy, for Bethany Lutheran College, were invited to the juried Annual Costume Parade.
KCACTF Certificates of Commendation for past productions at Minnesota State Mankato were awarded to: Jayme Caye Beerling (BFA Design/Technology from Prior Lake) for Scenic Design for The Game’s Afoot; and to Blake Bruns (former student from Nicollet) for Lighting Design for The Glass Menagerie. The Cast of The Glass Menagerie was awarded a certificate for Ensemble Acting for this show; was the Cast of The Aeneid for theirs. The Aeneid Cast also received an award for presetting an invited scene at the festival. David McCarl won a certificate for Costume Parade participation for Aida.
During the past year, faculty members John Paul, Heather Hamilton, Melissa Rosenberger and Paul J. Hustoles have served as Region V Respondents. Faculty George E. Grubb presented workshops at this year’s festival. Hustoles continues his service to Region V by being on the Regional Advisory Board and served as the Festival Registrar for this, his eighteenth time.