Campus: CSU Fullerton -- March 01, 2002

CSUF Captures Regional Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Honors

Theatre students from California State University, Fullerton garnered major awards in the 34th regional Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) held Feb. 12-17 in Hayward, California.

CSUF acting student Omid Abtahi of Irvine was selected "Best Actor in the Irene Ryan Regional Competition" and will go on to the national competition in Washington, D.C., April 16-23. In playwriting competitions, alumna Kristina Leach was voted "Best in the Festival for Playwriting" for her original work, "Grasmere," and Santa Ana resident Todd Kulczyk's new play, "The Zipper Effect," won the "Best Invited Scene." "Grasmere," directed by CSUF Associate Dean of the Arts Joseph Arnold, is being held for consideration for performance at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Other awards include honors to Santa Ana residents Megan Foster for "Best Set Design in Regional Competition," Nathan Jones for "Best Lighting Design in Regional Competition," and Aaron Lamb for "Best in the Festival for Acting" in "Grasmere" and 2nd alternate for the Irene Ryan national competition in D.C. Design student Heidi Ballard of Gardena won a full scholarship to California State University's Summer Arts program.

Additionally, Jason McBeath of Anaheim was selected as first alternate for the Irene Ryan national competition in D.C. Sarah Opstad of Long Beach achieved the "Best Makeup Design in Regional Competition" and will go on to the national competition. She also won a full scholarship to CSU's Summer Arts program. Michele Petersen of La Habra was selected for the national competition for lighting design.

Also, Joy Shannon of Rancho Santa Margarita won a full scholarship to CSU's Summer Arts program; Dan Volonte of Riverside won the Kate D. Lawson Lighting Award; and Rebecca Wright of Brea was named "Best Irene Ryan Partner" in the festival.

More than 40 CSUF acting students were nominated for the prestigious Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship. The scholarships are made possible by the generosity of the late Irene Ryan, best remembered for her role in the Broadway hit, "Pippin" and as the lovable and feisty Granny Clampett on "The Beverly Hillbillies."

Abtahi, selected from the thousands of competing actors and hundreds of regional finalists to represent the Region VIII KCACTF in the final competitions in Washington, D.C., will be competing for two $2,500 scholarships in the KCACTF finals. Fellow student Jason Buuck was one of the 2001 winners of the national Irene Ryan scholarships. Abtahi was nominated for his performance in CSUF's fall 2001 production of Steve Martin's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile." Irene Ryan Regional finalists were Abtahi, Brooke Aston of Canyon Lake, Matt Connelly of Yorba Linda, Jennifer Hubilla of Fullerton, Lamb and McBeath.

In addition to the above awards, CSUF graduate student Kulczyk's new play, "The Zipper Effect," received a Meritorious Achievement Award for playwriting. Meritorious Achievement awards also were granted to Brandie Peck of Placentia, Noelle Benny of Perris, Scott Yarborough of Garden Grove, Melissa Maxwell of Cypress, Darline Sacquety of Cedar City, Ballard, Marcie Landherr of Fullerton, Laura Kettle of West Covina, Heather McClain of Anaheim, Andrea L. Lee of Rancho Palos Verdes, Kathy Hardoy of Costa Mesa, Ryan Hannig of San Diego and the cast of the CSUF production of "The Fantasticks."

A number of CSUF student designers advanced to the KCACTF Regional Festival for consideration for the Kate Drain Lawson Design Award. They include Melissa Cannon of San Dimas and Foster for costumes, Opstad for make-up, Petersen and Volonte for lights and Kendra Roberts of Anaheim for sound. In addition, CSUF students Ballard, Foster and Cannon were nominated as costume designers; Ballard, Mathew Scarpino of Riverside and Foster were nominated for scenery design; and Volonte, Guada Monzon of Long Beach, Matt Schleicher of Brea, Petersen and Jones were nominated as lighting designers.

Patrick Johnson of Cypress and Roberts were nominated as sound designers. Shannon, Coryn Ellis of Huntington Beach, Jennifer Rose of Los Alamitos, Cannon, and Opstad were nominated for make-up design.

Faculty members from the university's Department of Theatre and Dance involved in regional workshops included Larry Biederman on directing, Ann Sheffield on scenery design, Evelyn Carol Case on Shakespeare, Svetlana Efremova-Reed on Stanislavski, Donn Finn on auditioning, Joan Melton on Fitzmaurice and Bruce Goodrich on theatrical design.


Jim Volz, Office: (714) 278-3538
or Susan Hallman, chair of theatre and dance, at (714) 278-3629

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