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MCC student awards, recognitions at KCACTF Regional Festival


More than 100 Mesa Community College Music and Theatre and Film Arts students competed alongside participants from 70 colleges in the Region VIII Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), again hosted at MCC’s Mesa campus last month.

The festival recognizes and celebrates the finest and most diverse work produced by university and college theater programs in KCACTF Region VIII states: Arizona, Central and Southern California, Hawaii, Southern Nevada and Utah. Approximately 45 of the colleges in Region VIII are four-year schools with the remaining being two-year institutions.

Students received many awards. Tu Nguyen was recognized with the Regional Allied Design and Technology Award for her makeup and hair design for “Eurydice.” Nguyen will represent Region VIII at the United States Institute for Theatre (USITT). Kiri Malolo earned Honorable Mention in this category for her Properties Design for “Story Theatre” and is a Regional alternate.

The MCC “Eurydice” collaborative design team was honored with the Don Childs Las Vegas Stagecraft Institute Scholarship to attend a summer training program in Las Vegas. Team members are Omar Aguilar, costumes; Ambar Dominguez, lighting; Aaron Roberts and Louis Ponesse, scenic; Tu Nguyen, makeup and hair; and MaryLou Montgomery, props. Harrison Hayes was a Scenic Design finalist for his work on “Of Mice and Men.”

Miguel Lopez Maldonado earned the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA)/KCACTF Student Dramaturgy Award for Program Notes for work done during the Festival Dramaturgy Intensive. This award recognizes contributions to the conception, development and production of theater within their colleges and universities, or to educational projects in dramaturgy.

Xelha Castrejon and Macy Wood were selected to participate in the Open Jar Institute summer intensive music theater workshops in New York City.

In addition to competing for awards and scholarships, student talent was recognized through invitations to perform and assist during the festival.

Brianna McClure, Ayanna Le Andre and Michael Koester-Hestand were three of 20 students chosen from 100 auditionees to sing in the KCACTF Music Theater Initiative Cabaret.

Xelha Castrejon, Macy Wood, JT Ziervogel, Katherine Hudnall, Hep Witzel, Brianna McClure and Sarah Davidson were chosen to dance in the KCACTF Region III Music Theater Initiative Cabaret.

MCC’s “Story Theatre,” performed six times during the festival, was selected as the Invited Production from over 175 productions adjudicated over the past year.

These 14 MCC students were semifinalists for Irene Ryan Scholarships, providing recognition, honor and financial assistance to outstanding student performers wishing to pursue further education: Theater and Film Arts (TFAD) students Seamus McSherry and Brandon Caraco, with scene partners Cedar Eileen Cody and Natalie Payan, respectively; and music student teams Katherine Hudnall with Thomas Wilson; Samantha Merkley with JT Ziervogel; Rio Chavez with Xelha Castrjon; and Michael Koester-Hestand with Thomas Wilson.

MCC students are coached by faculty and staff specializing in their fields: Kevin Dressler, Performance faculty; Kara Thomson, Scenic Design faculty; Adriana Diaz, Costume Shop supervisor; Stephanie Salem, Scene Shop supervisor; Jeff Parulski, Lighting and Sound supervisor; Cathy Hauan and Sue Anne Lucius, Music Theatre Performance faculty; and, Jennifer Crandall, Pianist. Christopher Tubilewicz, Performing Arts coordinator, deserves special recognition for his service as the primary organizer of a successful 50th Region VIII Festival.

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