By Alyssa Weston
Youngstown State University theater students landed a gig at The Region II Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.
The theater department attended KCACTF Jan. 16 through Jan. 20 at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The festival allows college students with an interest in theater to take classes, workshops, attend auditions and perform shows.
YSU’s production, “Dead Man’s Cell Phone,” was one of the seven shows chosen out of over 400 in the region to perform at the festival.
This was the first time a KCACTF respondent chose a YSU production to perform at the festival.
Angelique Tanner, a senior musical theater major, said in her opinion, “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” performed amazingly at the festival.
“There is something about doing a show in front of an audience of peers who share the same love of theater that we do. I heard nothing but great things from people that were in the audience and I’m so thankful to have been even the slightest part of this production,” she said.
Tanner said YSU students should consider getting involved in the festival next year.
“I would tell students to seize every opportunity you can. There are classes for just about everything. It’s not just for actors. You can learn a lot from seeing a different school’s production,” she said.
Students attending the festival have opportunities for auditions and workshops that they normally wouldn’t have at their university and a chance to break barriers.
Sarah Dubos, a sophomore theater studies major, said this year was her first time stage managing a show at YSU.
“It was an awesome to be able to experience moving a show to a new location and to a new audience because that isn’t something that many students get the opportunity to do,” she said.
Makenzie Moorman, a junior musical theater major, said she experienced loading a show into a new space the night before a performance, which is something professional shows on tour do on a regular basis.
Lexi Denney, a freshman musical theater major, said she accomplished personal growth in her dancing skills.
“I took workshops to better round myself as a performer, such as Broadway Boot Camp, acting the intimate scene and Droznin Actorbatics,” Denney said.
Ciara Rosario, a sophomore musical theater major, said KCACTF was an opportunity for her to step outside her comfort zone.
“I’m a little nervous about meeting new people, so that was another personal hurdle that I feel like I was able to overcome,” she said.
Katherine Garlick, an instructor in the theater department, was part of the YSU faculty that attended KCACTF to help transport the props, sets and costumes from the original production.
Garlick also presented a workshop focusing on rendering techniques and media for design students.
“All of the production elements had to be packed and transported 100 miles, and loaded into a new theater within a limited window of hours. I helped direct and supervise a team of students to successfully get the technical elements of the show in place,” she said.
Garlick said the festival is an opportunity for students to get a broader perspective on theater, get involved in new work, compete in design and technical areas and audition for scholarship opportunities.
Some YSU students received recognition for their outstanding achievements, including Rosie Bresson who was a finalist in the Musical Theatre Initiative and Miles Garrett who received a certificate of merit for his projection designs for “Dead Man’s Cell Phone.”