Kennedy Center shines spotlight on WCSU theatre arts department

DANBURY, CONN. — Western’s department of theatre arts ended the year on a high note. Fresh off the critically acclaimed three-week run of “Sweeney Todd” and having just staged a 10-Minute Play Festival and a production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” the department received some exciting news at the end of December.

“‘Sweeney Todd’ was chosen to be part of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival’s (KCACTF) regional festival in Fitchburg, Mass., announced Sal Trapani, co-chairman of the WCSU department of theatre arts. “‘The Three Sisters,’ the department’s spring 2011 production, also was selected as an alternate production. These are great honors for our university and our students and faculty,” Trapani added.

WCSU sent 75 students and seven faculty members to Massachusetts to participate in the festival in late January.

“There was a packed house of 1,000 for ‘Sweeney Todd’ at the Stratos G. Dukakis Performing Arts Center in Fitchburg,” Trapani reported from Massachusetts. “It was a wonderful performance. The orchestra was fantastic, the acting and singing were brilliant, the technical crew was flawless. The audience stood immediately and kept on applauding. It was a very moving experience for our company.”

The performance was rewarded with the KCACTF Region I Golden Hammer award, acknowledging “outstanding skill and knowledge of backstage theatrical practices.”

“At the same time ‘Sweeney Todd’ was going on, we had our seven Irene Ryan nominees and partners competing in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition,” Trapani said. “We also had two students competing in the Musical Theatre Initiative and six students competing in various technical competitions, adjudicated by theatre professionals from around the country. The winners in these categories will compete for the national awards at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.”

Vincent McCoy was a finalist for the Irene Ryan Region I Acting Award and the recipient of the VASTA Acting Award for Voice and Speech.

Jessica Camarero received Honorable Mention for Costume Design for “The Three Sisters.”

Five students were finalists in Tech/Design/Management: Casey Miko for Stage Management, Julia Mian and Kayla Iorio for Allied Crafts, Jess Almeida for Hair and Makeup, and Jessica Camarero for “The Three Sisters” Costume Design.

WCSU also received a number of Merit Awards.

For “Sweeney Todd,” Vincent McCoy was honored for Outstanding Choreography, Julia Mian for Outstanding Design and Construction of Masks, the Ensemble for Outstanding Musical and Dramatic Support, the Production Team for Outstanding Execution of Design, and the Run Crew for Outstanding Offstage Performance.

Alumna Danielle Fontaine was honored for Outstanding Prop Design for “The Three Sisters” and the cast of “Seussical, The Musical” was honored for Professional and Quality Student Work. “Participating in the KCACTF is an incredibly huge undertaking,” Trapani said. “We appreciate the support and generosity that have allowed us to be one of the finest programs in the region, if not in the country.”

The KCACTF was started in 1969 and features 18,000 students from more than 600 institutions. Since its inception, more than 400,000 students have had their work critiqued.

WCSU offers a Bachelor of Arts in theatre arts, with concentrations in performance, design technology, theatre management and drama studies; or a Bachelor of Arts in musical theatre.

For more information, call (203) 837-8486.

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.


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