MSU Students Earn Top Theater Honors

For the second year in a row, Montclair State University students won top acting honors at the Northeast regional Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) Desiree Rodriquez, a senior, and Jon Barker, a junior, each won the Irene Ryan Acting Awards, the top acting award of the festival. Barker also won the best classical actor award and Rodriguez garnered the VASTA (Voice and Speech Trainers of America) award. Both actors will now go on to the Kennedy Center in April for the national competition.

Honors also went to Jackie Young, a senior, who won the highly regarded National Stage Management Award and will serve as stage manager during the KCACTF in April. Playwright and MSU senior Ben Clawson’s Spilling Stuff and Breaking Things was read in concert and won the David Mark Cohen Award for new plays. J. Maher, a senior, won honorable mention for his lighting design and Rob Bradshaw, an M.A. candidate in the graduate school, was selected as an alternate for the SSDC (Society for Stage Directors and Choreographers) National Directing Scholarship.

The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide which has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States. The Northeast regional festival (region II) of KCACTF includes colleges and universities from the District of Columbia, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The 2007 competition, held from January 15-19 at the State University of New York at New Paltz, hosted more than 200 pairs of actors from schools including Pennsylvania State University, The University of the Arts, New York University, and Carnegie Mellon University.

The Department of Theatre and Dance is located within Montclair State University’s College of the Arts (CART). Twice designated as a Center of Excellence, the College offers more than fifty majors, minors and concentrations in art and design, broadcasting, communication studies, dance, music and theatre. The College of the Arts offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees and is home to the new John J. Cali School of Music, the only university-based school of music in the state. Arts facilities at Montclair State University include the new 500-seat Alexander Kasser Theater (open in October 2004); University Art Galleries and art collections; and the new George Segal Gallery (open in April 2006.)