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Department of Theatre and Dance

UW Theatre Students Claim Top Honors at Regional Festival

March 2, 2006 -- University of Wyoming Department of Theatre and Dance faculty and students received top honors at last week’s Region VII Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) and Northwest Drama Conference in Pasco, Wash.

UW actors swept the KCACTF Region VII Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition, picking up their ninth regional win. Senior Stephanie Lovell, Enfield, Conn., is one of two Region VII Irene Ryan winners who will go on to compete at the national festival in April at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

"The University of Wyoming has an amazing theatre program, it is absolutely astonishing," says Lovell, who will be among 16 students nationwide competing at the national festival. "Our professors have been trained so well themselves, and we (students) are exposed to so many opportunities. My acting coach, Leigh Selting, has been a huge inspiration."

She credits her scene partner, Cheyenne Christian of Mitchell, Neb., for her contributions toward the award. Christian will partner with Lovell at the national festival.

Other Irene Ryan awards went to sophomore Andrew Franks-Ongoy, Helena, Mont., who was selected as second alternate and won the Mark Twain Comedy Award; junior Claudine Mboligikpelani Nako, Laramie, who won the Musical Theatre Award; and junior Katie Herbert, Granby, Colo., who won the Best Partner Award.

Nako also won a full-tuition scholarship to attend the 2006 TVI Summer Professional Acting Program in London, New York, or Los Angeles. At the TVI Actors Studio, Nako will train with industry professionals including producers, directors, talent agents, casting directors, and faculty members from prominent theatre schools across the country.

The production of “Frequency 98.6" -- a new play by senior Dana Formby of Cheyenne, with original staging by Selting -- was placed on the "short list" to be invited to the national festival at the Kennedy Center.

Senior Jesse Sundell, of Casper, was runner-up for the Region VII 10-Minute Play Competition; second bachelor’s candidate Leann Torske, of Casper, won third place in the KCACTF Critic’s Forum; while junior Russell Gilbert, Roscoe, Ill., picked up a Meritorious Achievement in Lighting Design award from the KCACTF.

Also, UW Theatre and Dance Department Head Rebecca Hilliker was awarded the prestigious Kennedy Center Gold Medallion for her years of service and leadership to Region VII.

Posted on Thursday, March 02, 2006


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