ISU theatre students earn top honors

"Ghostlight Ceremony" was performed during the opening ceremonies of the Region 5 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
"Ghostlight Ceremony" was performed during the opening ceremonies of the Region 5 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Students in Iowa State University's Department of Music and Theatre were recognized in front of their peers from universities in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Missouri during the Region 5 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in Des Moines January 22-28, 2017.

Taylor Millar, senior in performing arts, took first place in the KCACTF Region 5 Society of Directors and Choreographers Directing fellowship. Millar will represent Iowa State in April as the top Region 5 student director at the national festival held at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

Associate professor of theatre Brad Dell presents Taylor Millar with her first place Society of Directors and Choreographers directing award.
Associate professor of theatre Brad Dell presents Taylor Millar with her first place Society of Directors and Choreographers directing award.

Hannah Rublaitus, senior in performing arts, received first place honors in Dramaturgy for her project on Iowa State’s fall production "Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play." Rublaitus will submit her project to be considered along with the first place recipients from seven other regions. The top four student Dramaturgs will be invited to the National Festival at the Kennedy Center in April.

Rublaitus and Millar participated at the regional festival along with more than 1,500 college and university students and faculty from the Region 5 states. Ninety-five different colleges and universities were represented at the 2017 Region 5 festival.

KCACTF is a national organization which operates out of the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. The organization celebrates and encourages excellence in college and university theatre across the country. Through regional and national festivals, KCACTF participants celebrate the creative process; see one another's work, and share experiences and insights within the community of theater artists. Region 5’s festival includes competitions, workshops, and exhibitions in all areas of theatre, including acting, directing, playwriting, criticism, design, dramaturgy, and technical theatre.

In addition to Rublaitus and Millar, 44 ISU students and six ISU faculty members attended the regional festival in Des Moines. Many of them also received honors and awards.

Vivian Cook, junior in Performing Arts, tied for 2nd place in the Society of Directors and Choreographers Directing fellowship. William Bonfiglio, graduate student in English, submitted a play "Lesser Gods," which was one of three original one act plays to receive a concert reading at the Regional Festival. Bonfiglio and Taylor Sklenar, 2016 graduate with degrees in performing arts, English, and chemistry, also received honors for their original full length plays.

The Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions is one of the largest events at the festival with over 600 student participants. Three pairs of ISU students advanced to the semi-final round: Adam Kroksh, senior in performing arts; his partner Taylor Millar, senior in performing arts; Bridget Johnston, junior in music; and her partner Olivia Griffith, sophomore in performing arts; and Emmy Cuvelier, senior in performing arts; and her partner Morgan Darrow, junior in music.

Maddie Olsem, senior in music, was selected to sing in the finals of the Musical Theater Intensive Cabaret; Emmy Cuvelier was chosen as a dancer. The costumes for "Mr. Burns: a Post-Electric Play," designed by Sarah Bennett, sophomore in Performing Arts, were featured as a part of the festival’s annual Costume Parade.

The ISU Theatre production of Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play was featured in the KCACTF Festival 49 Costume Parade.
The ISU Theatre production of Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play was featured in the KCACTF Festival 49 Costume Parade.

The following students and faculty were honored for their work on 2016 ISU Theatre productions:

  • Taylor Sklenar – for his direction of the student-produced play "Three Days of Rain"
  • Jim Trenberth (ISU Theatre Production Manager) – for the lighting design for "The Secret Garden"
  • Lauren Dursky (who graduated in 2016 with a degree in performing arts) – for stage management of "The Secret Garden"
  • Amanda Petefish-Schrag (assistant professor of theatre) and Ben Schrag – for adaptation of "The Birds"
  • Hannah Rublaitus – for dramaturgy for "Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play"
  • Amanda Keesling (senior in performing arts) – for stage management of "Cabaret"
  • Nathaniel Han (senior in performing arts) and Sarah Etheridge (junior in performing arts) – for dramaturgy for "Cabaret"

Associate professor of theatre Brad Dell is the chair of KCACTF Region 5. Kelly Schaefer, lecturer in theatre, served as the hospitality coordinator; Amanda Petefish-Schrag was the volunteer coordinator; Jim Trenberth was one of the festival technical coordinators; and Charissa Menefee was a 10 Minute Play faculty mentor.

Iowa State previously hosted the festival in Ames in 1999, 2007, 2011, and 2012.