Theatre Art Students Perform at Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

Bill Doncaster | February 15, 2016
Christy Choi with her winning lighting design for Museum

Christy Choi with her winning lighting design for Museum



This level of recognition speaks to the ideals and professionalism our students apply to their work.



UMass Boston's theatre arts students had a strong showing recently at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCATF), with one student lighting designer moving to the next stage of competition in Washington D.C., actors making it to an the elite round of finals, and casts and crews of shows over the past year receiving merit awards.

Christy Choi, lighting designer for last semester’s production of Tina Howe’s Museum, will represent UMass Boston at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Washington D.C. in April. She was selected from among 102 nominees from all six New England states and New York at the Region I KCATF at Western Connecticut State University, held January 26-31. The award grants a full scholarship for the National Festival, where she will attend master classes with Broadway designers.

Choi was also honored with the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas Award, a summer internship as a lighting designer assistant to a professional in Las Vegas, NV.

Scott Stewardson, Museum’s sound designer, Tori Moline, hair and make up designer for Museum, and Lauren Annese, stage manager for Museum, were all second round finalists in the Design Technology and Management awards.

Erin Reilly, from Musical Theatre Cabaret, and partner Matrid Neli, advanced to the semi-final round of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions, placing in the top 36 out of 250 actors. Stanzi Potenza, and partner Scott Stewardson, both in the cast of Museum, advanced to the final round of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions, placing in the top 16. As a second round finalist in the Maltby Musical Theatre Excellence Auditions, Georgia Johnson, from Musical Theatre Cabaret, was invited to perform in the Maltby Musical Theatre Showcase with 18 other singers from the region.

Patrick McCarthy was a finalist (1 of 6 plays chosen) in Region 1 for his 10-minute play No Second Chance, the first UMass Boston playwright to receive the honor. Cassidy Bane, Sabina Lindsey, and Patrick McCarthy were also nominated for their acting work and auditioned in the first round of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions.

The following Merit Awards were presented for student work in Museum as well as last fall’s Musical Theatre Cabaret, and last year’s New Voices, New Stories: A Celebration of Student Playwrights:

  • The cast of Museum, Excellence in Ensemble Acting
  • Alexanderia Teixeira, Musical Theatre Cabaret, Excellence in Make-Up Design
  • Shannon Doane,Musical Theatre Cabaret, Excellence in Stage Management
  • Cast, Crew, Staff and Playwrights, New Voices, New Stories: A Celebration of Student Playwrights, Outstanding Work in Two World Premieres

Carrie Ann Quinn, associate chair of performing arts and head of acting and directing, has served the KCACTF as an Irene Ryan coach and production respondent for 12 years in Regions I and IV, and was a Irene Ryan audition respondent at the Region I festival.

“The 13 students nominated to attend the festival were selected because the quality of their work distinguished them amongst their peers,” said Quinn. “Each year at KCACTF, we’re thrilled to see our students join students and faculty from theatre programs all around the region and present their artistry for outside assessment by prominent theatre artists, mentors and educators from all over the country. This level of recognition – for Christy and every nominee – speaks to the ideals and professionalism our students apply to their work,” said Quinn.

Assistant Professor Rafael Jaen is a national design-tech respondent and is currently serving as the national DTM chair for KCACTF.

"In my role I get to see new trends, technologies, and participants' achievements across the country,” said Jaen. “Our students fit right there with the very best. It has been an honor to coach them and watch them demonstrate the highest professional standards."

KCATF is a national theater program involving 20,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide annually. For 46 years, the organization has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States. KCACTF has grown into a network of more than 700 academic institutions throughout the country.

Tags: acting , actor , art , costume design , kennedy center , lighting design , performing arts , playwright , playwriting , stage management

Comment on this story

Comments (0)