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UVU Secures Regional Awards At American College Theater Festival

26 February 2014 No Comment

February 26, 2014

For Immediate Release

University Marketing & Communications: Melinda Colton

Utah Valley Univerrsity’s Department of Theatre Arts has once again received high honors at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival regional awards in Los Angeles.

Expectations regarding the national awards are high. “I am absolutely thrilled with the efforts and results for our department at the festival,” said Christopher Clark, theater department chair. “This wasn’t just a great year for us. It represents many years of work, training and dedication. I am proud to be a part of the UVU theater department, and I’m so excited to see our faculty and students recognized on a regional and national level.”

After sweeping the national awards last year in Washington, D.C., the department left for the regional awards in L.A. this year with high expectations for entrants and the highlight, “Next to Normal.” Those expectations were rewarded.

“Our theater department regularly wows the region with our talent, focus and skills,” enthused James Arrington, one of the faculty winners. “We came away with ‘plums’ of awards.”

Individual students and faculty members took several awards:

Ben Henderson —Irene Ryan winner (one out of 330), invited to Washington, D.C.

Zoe Wilde — Irene Ryan alternate winner

Topher Rasmussen — Irene Ryan Best Scene Partner, invited to Washington, D.C.

Heather Oberlander — Festival winner in “Dramaturgy,” invited to Washington, D.C.

Shawn Saunders — Best actor in a 30-minute play

James Arrington (faculty) — Best director of a 10-minute play

Natasha Danae — National finalist for hair and make-up, invited to Washington, D.C.

Emily Griffith — Meritorious achievement for stage management

In addition, UVU faculty member Lisa Hagen was instated as the new vice chair of region VIII, which includes Utah, for the National Playwriting Program.

The musical, “Next to Normal,” was ecstatically received, and the national awards are pending. Dave Tinney, director of “Next to Normal,” was thrilled with the recognition.

“I was so proud of our students. Not only are they incredibly talented, but they are fearless,” he said. “They seem to be blazing a trail for others to follow. They were so professional and supportive of everyone else at the festival. I was so proud to be a part of UVU.”

The Kennedy Center National Festival is April 14-19 in Washington, D.C.

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