A record-setting 50 UM-Flint students were invited to participate in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) regionals held in East Lansing in early January.The musical "The Drowsy Chaperone," a student-written ten-minute play, four design entries, two pair of hopefuls for the Tech Olympics and an impressive 11 Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship nominees hit the boards at the Fairchild Theatre on the Michigan State University campus to represent the best of the best in college theatre for Region III (Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana).
Directed by Assistant Professor Bill Irwin, "The Drowsy Chaperone" was performed twice in its entirety. Although the audience at MSU, as well as those who saw the musical performed at the UM-Flint Theatre, enjoyed every minute, the judges did not advance the production.
Destiny Dunn, a junior Theatre major, presented her ten-minute play about two small boys' dramatic coming of age, "Riverside," as part of the festival's National Playwriting Program. It tied for first place and is in the pool of hopefuls for the nationals in Washington, D.C. "I was ecstatic to learn I tied for first," Dunn said. "I'm so pleased to be in a position where I can see something I've written make it somewhere."
Eight of the 11 Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship nominees participated in the competition. The students, paired with an actor of his or her choice, presented two contrasting scenes, and a choice of monologue or song. Jessica Flemming, paired with Alex Ghattas, made it to the semi-finals; Kenn Hopkins, partnered with Samantha MacFarland, advanced to the finals but was not chosen for the nationals.
In the Tech Olympics, a competition of technical dexterity, Corey Boughton and Lacie Tate took home the gold–a first for UM-Flint in this category. Costume designers Cat Boss and Joe Schipani passed on to the finals, and Samantha Jarrett advanced for her scenic design for "Intimate Apparel." Although their journey ended in East Lansing, these three have much to be proud of.
"We have never had that many in the final round, let alone three," explains Dr. Lauren Friensen, chair of the Theatre and Dance Department. "It says something about what we're doing here at the university."
Started in 1969 by Kennedy Center founding chairman Roger L. Stevens, KCACTF is a national theatre organization involving more than 18,000 college and university students and a network of over 600 academic institutions nationwide. It is committed to celebrating the finest works produced in college theatre, providing a vehicle for students and theatre departments to present work and to be evaluated by KCACTF respondents. At the beginning of each year, eight regional festivals are held throughout the country with winners selected to compete in the national festival in April.