Minnesota State University’s Department of Theatre & Dance participated along with almost 1,400 registrants, representing 80 colleges and universities, in the Region V Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival gathering at Iowa State University, Jan. 15-21, coming away with some top honors.

Anthony DePoto (3rd year MFA Acting from Danbury, CT) partnered by Larissa Schmitz (junior BFA Acting from New Prague) advanced to the Final round of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival’s Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition, keeping Mankato’s streak alive of placing at least one student in the Finals from the very first Irene Ryan competition. 

Anthony also took the Best Classical Actor in the Semifinal Round award and placed as Second Irene Ryan Alternate (or 4th place out of 300 competitors).

MSU had four other students break into the Semifinal round: Ceara Dowell (junior BA from Bemidji), partnered by Amanda Forman (junior BA from Tiffin, IA); Morgan Mallory (2nd year MFA Musical Theatre from Pocatello, ID), partnered by Carter Allen (sophomore BFA Acting from Cedar Rapids, IA); Lindsay Overgaard (senior BA from Mason City, IA) partnered by Emily Jansen (junior BFA Musical Theatre from St. Peter); and Laura Otremba (senior BFA Musical Theatre from Andover) partnered by Tim Gagne (senior BA from Roseville).

Thomas Fagerholm (3rd year MFA Technical Direction from South St. Paul) took the 1st Place Regional Technical Project award for the Technical Direction of “Rent.” Sam Juhnke (sophomore BFA Theatre Design/Technology from Edina) won the 2nd Place award in Regional Lighting Design for “The Shape of Things.”

KCACTF Certificates of Commendation for productions at Minnesota State Mankato were awarded to: Sam Juhnke for Production Stage Management for “Dracula”; Jordan Green (2nd year MFA Lighting Design from Grand Forks, ND) for Lighting Design of “Wait Until Dark”; Kim Steffen (senior BFA in Musical Theatre from Spencer, IA) for Musical Direction of “Altar Boyz”; Lauren Looby (junior Dance minor from Maple Grove) for Choreography of “Altar Boyz”; Steve Smith (faculty) for Lighting Design for “Altar Boyz”; Naoko Ishizuka (2nd year MFA Scene Design from Urayasu-shi, Japan) for Scene Design for “Altar Boyz.”

Costumes from “The Producers,” designed by David McCarl (faculty), were invited to the juried Costume Parade, which was co-hosted by Ceara Dowel by virtue of her work in the Ryan Semifinal round. 

“Altar Boyz,” directed by Paul J. Hustoles (faculty), performed a cutting in the Invited Scene Showcase, featuring Adam Moen (senior BFA Musical Theatre from New Richland), Jason Garton (senior BFA Musical Theatre from Casper, WY), Sam Stoll (sophomore BFA Musical Theatre from Perham), Jake McInerney (sophomore BFA Musical Theatre from Sioux Falls, SD) and Carter Allen.

During the past year, faculty members Paul Finocchiaro, Heather Hamilton and Hustoles have served as Region V Respondents.  Faculty member John Paul responded to many productions, served on the Region V Selection Committee and completed his three-year term as the Region V Chair of Design, Technologies and Management. 

Finocchiaro served as an Irene Ryan Preliminary Round Judge and he presented workshops along with faculty member George Grubb. 

Hustoles continues his service to Region V by being on the Regional Advisory Board and served as the Festival Registrar for this, his thirteenth time. For the first time, he will serve as a National Irene Ryan Judge for Classical Acting at the Kennedy Center in April.

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