Students, Faculty Attend Theater Festival

Twelve St. Bonaventure University theater students and two faculty members participated in the regional Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, held Jan. 15-19 at Montclair State University in New Jersey.

Lauren BarryThey were among approximately 1,000 students and faculty attending the festival for Region II, which comprises college and university theater programs in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. Also attending the week-long festival were guest artists from Broadway and regional theaters.

The festival featured workshops, seminars, presentations, exhibitions and various types of theater production, including devised theater and new works.

Eight St. Bonaventure students participated in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions. Four students were nominated by festival faculty responders for their work in SBU Theater’s 2018 productions of “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” and “A Christmas Carol.” Each of those students chose a scene partner and presented auditions, which included a two-person scene and a monologue. The eight participants included Cameron Pettrone, Elizabeth Freeman, Emily Weber, Dwight Coleman, Taylor Morton-Lewis, Abbey Schandelmeier, Sarah Wright and Nathan Nicotera. Another student, Matt Tyssee, was also nominated for his work in “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” but was unable to attend the festival.

Three SBU Theater students were cast in pieces that were auditioned, rehearsed and performed at the festival. Taylor Morton-Lewis and Emily Weber performed in the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) Student Directing Fellowship final presentations. Weber played the role of Alice in a scene from Caryl Churchill’s “Vinegar Tom,” and Morton-Lewis performed the role of Persephone in a scene from Naomi Izuka’s “Polaroid Stories,” which took the regional directing award at the festival.

JeanCarlos “JC” Aponte participated in the National Playwriting Program One Act Plays, playing the role of Roger in the new play “I. I Am,” by Lindsay Adams.

Lauren Barry won honorable mention in the Design/Tech/Management (DTM) Allied Crafts Exhibition for the props she designed and fabricated for SBU Theater’s production of “A Christmas Carol.” 

In addition, Elizabeth Freeman and Jessica Cason entered binders containing their stage management work from “A Christmas Carol” and “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” in the Design/Tech/Management (DTM) Stage Management competition. The binders, which contain cueing for actors, lights, sound, prop and scene shifts, and everything else that goes into each production, were responded to by industry professionals and design faculty.

SBU Theater faculty, besides chaperoning, advising and coaching students, also participated in the festival.

Becky Misenheimer, M.F.A., associate professor of theater, presented three workshops to student and faculty attendees of the conference: “Beyond the Literal: Visual Research for the Designer,” “Artists Changing the World,” and “Dying for the Art: Health & Safety in the Theater.”

Ed. Simone, Ph.D., professor of theater and director of St. Bonaventure’s theater program, was a faculty responder for the Irene Ryan Auditions and the Musical Theater Intensive Auditions.

Financial support for several of the student attendees was made possible through the Buzzy Fund grant program, which provides personal and professional growth for St. Bonaventure students. This fund is named in honor of Bernard E. “Buzzy” Stoecklein Jr., who served on the St. Bonaventure University Board of Trustees from 2005 to 2014.


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