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Minnesota State Mankato Scores Big at Theater Festival

Various students took home honors from Region V Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Theatre and Dance News Release, 1-30-2017

MANKATO, Minn. – Various Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Theatre and Dance students took home honors from the Region V Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, held Jan. 22-28, 2017, in Des Moines, Iowa.

The festival, hosted by Iowa State University, had 1,508 registrants representing 95 colleges and universities. Region V represents Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri, and it is the largest regional festival in the country.

Minnesota State Mankato had 12 nominees and placed six students in the semifinal round of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition, including:

  • Alyssa Johnson (senior BFA acting candidate from Eagan), partnered by Claire Clauson (senior BFA musical theatre from South St. Paul). Johnson then captured the Best Classical Actor award in the semifinal round.
  • Mathew Sather (sophomore BFA musical theatre candidate from Spencer, Iowa) and Alex Blesi (senior BFA actor from Blaine). Both had the same partner, Maureen O’Malley (senior BFA musical theatre candidate from Minneapolis), who took Best Partner in the semifinal round.
  • Erin Horst (3rd year MFA musical theatre candidate from Vinton, Iowa), who won Best Partner in the final round two years ago and reached the semifinals for the second year in a row. She this time was partnered by Amanda Mai (senior musical theatre from Beaver Dam, Wis.).

Two Minnesota State Mankato students who made it to the semifinal round then advanced to the Finals (top 16 out of over 400 eligible competitors). They were:

  • Jessica Staples (junior BFA musical theatre candidate from Minneapolis), who was partnered by Mitchell Evans (sophomore BFA musical theatre candidate from Litchfield).
  • Andrew Anderson (senior BFA actor from Roseville), who was partnered by Mai.

Two students advanced to the Dance Intensive Showcase and performed at the festival: Evans and Scinto.

Three students advanced to the Musical Theatre Intensive, including Mai, Cam Pederson (sophomore BFA musical theatre from East Grand Forks) and Clauson.

Clauson went on to win first place in the Musical Theatre Intensive competition, and that earned her a spot to go to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., with the top 8 collegiate musical theatre performers in the country.

Minnesota State Mankato was invited by the Region V National Playwriting Program
to present a staged reading for the NAPAT Award winning full-length musical, “Inn-Dependent,” and 11 students participated in this ticketed performance, directed by Paul J. Hustoles (faculty), with musical direction by Nick Wayne (faculty).

Minnesota State Mankato’s Isaac Sawle (3rd year MFA technical direction candidate from Minneapolis) took the first place Regional Technical Project award for “Antigone” (he has previously won this award and placed second in the previous two years). In addition, his work on “Frankenstein” took the Vector Works Award.

Matt Gilbertson (2nd year MFA in technical direction candidate) took the Region V ATHE Student Dramaturgy first place award.

Adam Guss won the “Don Childs Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas” Award, including a one-week residency for his technical work. Emily Kimball’s (3rd year MFA costume design candidate from Mankato) play “Aboveboard” was honored as the Region V Full-length Play Selection.

Costumes from “The Two Henrys,” designed by David McCarl (faculty), were invited to the juried Annual Costume Parade.

KCACTF Certificates of Commendation for past productions at Minnesota State Mankato were awarded to: Jayme Caye Beerling (senior BFA design/technology candidate from Prior Lake) for Stage Management for “Frankenstein”; George Grubb (faculty) and Gilbertson for Rigging and Flying of “Mary Poppins”; McCarl for Costume Design for “Mary Poppins”; child actors Marco Jakovich and Rebekah Mihalik, for their portrayals of Michael and Jane Banks in “Mary Poppins”; and McCarl for Costume Parade participation for “The Two Henrys.”

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