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SAU slays at KCACTF

two students on stage

Jordan McGinnis '16 and partner First Year Jessica Koralczak

February 2017

The 2017 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) will forever go down in St. Ambrose history as one of the most exciting and rewarding years for both the students and faculty. The St. Ambrose theatre department returned victorious from the Region 5 festival after spending the week of Jan. 23 attending workshops and plays and competing in several competitions including the Tech Team Showdown, Musical Theatre Intensive, Society for Directors and Choreographers (SDC) Scholarship Competition, and Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition.

The St. Ambrose tech team, self-named the "Suspenders of Disbelief," (bottom right picture) is comprised of seniors Jordan Webster-Moore and Jackson Green, sophomore Hannah Donavon, and freshman Kiara Thomas. They kicked off the week's competitions and made an attempt to defend last year's title. Though they fell short of back-to-back championships, they did not go down without a fight! The department cheered them on as they hung lights, tied knots, and quick-changed.

This year, St. Ambrose had an astounding number of students that were given the incredible opportunity to audition for the Musical Theatre Intensive. Those students included alumna Becca Brazel ‘16, senior Jordan Webster-Moore, juniors Kelci Eaton, Kayla Lansing, and Christian Colmenares, and sophomore Sarah Goodall. Sophomore Rebecca Moews also competed in the intensive but, along with singing, she made St. Ambrose proud by displaying her dance skills.

group of peopleSeniors Rachael Pribulsky and Max Moline competed in the SDC scholarship competition (finalists in picture at-left) against a select group of 14 other directors from the region. Pribulsky advanced her scene from Doug Wright's play, The Stonewater Rapture, through the semi-final round, ranking in the top eight directors for the region. Moline made St. Ambrose proud with his scene from Rag and Bone by clinching a spot in the finals and placing runner-up overall in the competition. Senior Sam Jones also represented SAU by directing a staged reading of an original, 10-minute play written by another KCACTF participant. (L-R in photo at left: Junior Kayla Lansing, Senior Jordan Webster-Moore, Jordan McGinnis '16, Senior Nick Pearce, Dr. Corinne Johnson, First Year T.J. Green, Junior Megan Clarke, and Senior Max Moline)

The Irene Ryan Scholarship Competition kept St. Ambrose nominees on their toes all week! This year's nominees included: alumni Becca Brazel ‘16 with her partner Jonathon Johnson ‘16; Jordan McGinnis ‘16 and partner First Year Jessica Koralczak; seniors Jordan Webster-Moore and partner Megan Clarke; Jackson Green with partner Megan Clarke; Max Moline with partner Kelci Eaton; Junior Kayla Lansing with partner Jonathon Johnson; and First Year T.J. Green with partner Sarah Goodall. Having participated in the competition before both as a nominee and a partner, Brazel advanced to the semi-final round for the first time. McGinnis and Webster-Moore were given the incredible opportunity to perform among the top 16 finalists, McGinnis for a second year in a row! Cries of joy and exclamations of excitement filled the theatre as McGinnis was announced as the third runner-up for the competition. Congrats Jordan!

Though many SAU students excelled at this year's festival, the beloved Dr. Cory Johnson took home the highest honor: being awarded the Kennedy Center Gold Medallion for her life-long achievements and contributions to the teaching and production of theatre. Her acceptance speech was filled with thank-yous, and insightful advice brought tears to the eyes of many St. Ambrose students and ended with a standing ovation from a packed theatre.

four students with trophyThough this year will be hard to top, the students of the St. Ambrose University Theatre Department returned to campus with their hearts filled with determination and inspiration to begin preparations for next year's festival. The pride for our little liberal arts college is one that cannot be contained. Standing united as a team of supportive, strong, and compassionate students, we came together to celebrate the many victories from the week. Those victories - which softened the blow of the losses - also allowed them us to enjoy the company of hundreds of other like-minded scholars who attended the festival.

Nobody knows what is in store for St. Ambrose at the KCACTF Region 5 Festival 50 next year, but it is safe to say that the St. Ambrose Theatre Department will be coming with their game faces on, ready to win.

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