Seventeen Theatre Arts majors traveled to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in Des Moines, Iowa, last week and came home with commendations in the areas of performance, directing, management, design, and devised theatre.

More than 315 pairs of actors competed in three qualifying rounds for the Irene Ryan Acting Competition. MSUM sent seven pairs, four of which made it to semi-finals. One pair (Kali Klimek and Lexi Francis), advanced to the finals and ultimately won Fourth Prize. Other students representing MSUM were Noah Roddy, Zach Lutz, Seth Cline, Sloan Hanson, Katrielle Guida, Caleb Reich, Bailey Schumann, Ace I., Michael Kalpakoff, and Jack Bonko.

Paige Walth participated in the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers directing competition. Walth received one of the three special commendations awarded in the competition. She received it for her work in directing a scene from Marsha Norman’s 140. Walth was the only undergraduate in the region to receive one.

Several MSUM University Theatre productions also garnered special recognition:

Carly Cressman received Commendations for Stage Management of The Full Monty; Caleb Reich received Commendations for Movement Advisor in Metamorphoses; the cast of Metamorphoses received Commendations for Ensemble Acting.

Commendations were awarded to David and Joey Wilhelmi for Fight Choreography in Macbeth; to Shaylee Espeseth, Morgan Rebenitsch, and Asheigh Kost for the work as the witches in Macbeth; to Paige Walth for Stage Management in Macbeth.

The Wizard of Oz production brought Commendation to Ace I. for his Costume and Puppetry Design. This production was also invited to participate in the Region Costume Parade which highlights some of the best work from within the 7-state region.

MSUM students also received accolades for their work in the Devised Theatre Project. Eight Theatre Art majors worked collaboratively to create an original piece of theatre based on the concept of fate versus coincidence.

Started in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center’s founding chairman, KCACTF is a national theater program involving over 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide.