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Irene Ryan Nominees Make Ambrose Proud

February 2011

At this year's Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, seven students represented St. Ambrose in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition. At the festival, the nominees for this scholarship competition are narrowed down to two winners, who proceed to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. to compete with the other regional winners.

From around the region–Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota–296 students competed in the preliminary round, in which each nominee is allotted three minutes to perform one scene with a partner. In this round, the nominees and their partners are divided between several different centers, each evaluated by two esteemed judges. The strongest scenes from each center are selected to move on to the semi-final round, taking the number from 296 down to 64–about 20 percent of the original pool of acting duos. Abby VanGerpen '10 with partner Grant Legan ‘10, and Stephanie Seward '13 with partner Aaron Randolph III '12, were two of the 64 who proceeded to this second round, in which two contrasting scenes are performed in a five minute timeframe. The semi-finals are all judged by the same two people, allowing for a more even playing field.

The finals round consists of only 16 acting duos, and this year SAU's Stephanie Seward '13 was selected. The final round features the same two scenes each duo performed in the semi-finals, as well as a monologue/solo piece from the nominee. Seward performed the following pieces: "Blackbird," by David Harrower; "The Importance of Being Earnest." by Oscar Wilde;and  "See, I'm Smiling," from Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years.

Two winners are chosen from these final 16 to travel to the Kennedy Center and compete with other regional winners, as well as two alternates, and other awards such as Best Partner, Best Musical Theatre Performance, and Best Classical Performance.

Just being chosen to participate in this prestigious acting competition is a huge honor! The SAU Theatre Department is so proud of all of our nominees. Keep up the good work!

As a bonus, all of the nominees' work will be showcased Feb. 8 at 4 p.m. in Allaert Auditorium.

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