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Department of Theatre and Dance

UW Theatre Student Captures National Playwriting Honor

March 20, 2002 -- University of Wyoming theatre student Todd McCullough is elated about a depressing subject.

His play, "Rainy Day People," was one of two in the nation selected for the Mark Twain Comedy Playwriting Award, the most prestigious playwriting award presented by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Rebecca Hilliker, UW Department of Theatre and Dance head, says both winners will receive a $2000 award, a fellowship to the prestigious Sundance Theatre Laboratory, and an offer to publish with Dramatic Publishing Company.

The play is a comedy about depression, a concept McCullough says he wanted to write about since he was a freshman. In the play, the writer of a depressing newspaper column falls in love, and has a hard time writing about depressing subjects.

McCullough, a senior from Green River, began working on the script with help from William Missouri Downs, UW's playwright-in-residence and associate professor of theatre and dance.

"I'd write a draft, Bill would make suggestions, I'd get ideas from other students and faculty, and we were ready to start rehearsing," says McCullough. "The theatre department really encourages creativity. I learned a lot not only about writing, but also about acting and directing."

The Twain award is the latest in a series of honors for McCullough. His play "Local Celebrities" was first place at last year's regional American College Theatre competition in Anchorage, Alaska, and "Rainy Day People" was this year's winner. McCullough's 10-minute comedy "Forever Blue" was chosen for Kennedy Center competition in April. Downs was among eight faculty directors from across the United States selected to direct at this year's Kennedy Center program.

Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2002

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