Daniel Jones
(308) 865-8919

University of Nebraska at Kearney theatre students are among selected college and university students in an eight-state region competing in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival–Region V in Denver, Colo., this week.

The KCACTF regional festival includes: Irene Ryan Scholarship auditions, student design competitions (scenic, lighting, sound, costume), design/tech expo, stage management competition, 10-minute play competitions, 24-Hour Play Festival, full-length productions, invited scenes, costume parade, a wide variety of workshops, and more.

Irene Ryan Scholarships are for extraordinary ability in performance. This year, 340 students are competing for two regional Irene Ryan Scholarships and an opportunity to compete in the National Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in April. Students are nominated to compete for the Irene Ryan Scholarships based on outstanding performances in productions during the festival (calendar) year. To compete, nominees must prepare and perform a five-minute “showcase,” which includes a monologue or solo song, and a scene or duet song. The scene/duet partners cast for each Irene Ryan nominee are also eligible for awards at the festival.

This year, UNK has eight Irene Ryan Scholarship nominees with eight scene partners. The nominees and their scene partners include:


Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Nominees:

Leah Skorupa (senior, Columbus) – nominated for How I Learned to Drive: Kathryn Miller (junior, Elgin) – nominated for The Imaginary Invalid; Josh Hermansen (senior, Hay Springs) – nominated for Lend Me A Tenor; Jean Duffy (senior, Kearney) – nominated for How I Learned to Drive;Seth Petersen (junior, Lincoln) – nominated for The Imaginary Invalid; Erin Burgess (senior, Omaha) – nominated for In the Gloaming;Matthew Nicholson (sophomore, Omaha) – nominated for In the Gloaming; and Autumn Isaacs (senior, Syracuse) – nominated for In the Gloaming.

Irene Ryan Scene Partners:

Irene Ryan Accompanists (piano): Chisato Nii (junior, Japan), and Dr. Anne Foradori (UNK Music Faculty).

Students competing in other divisions include:

Barbizon Design Award Competitor:

Alex Tracy (senior, Kearney) – Lighting Design from In the Gloaming

Kylie Umstead (junior, Fullerton) – Stage Management for The Imaginary Invalid and Lend Me A Tenor

Kris Haack (junior, Kearney) – Technical Director for In the Gloaming

Regional Workshop Assistants/Co-Presenters:

Charise Dawson (junior, Bertrand) – Assisting Daniel Jones with “Turning a Beauty School Dropout into a Severed


Shauna Warren (sophomore, Elgin) – Assisting David Tidwell with “Research and Reality: 18th Century Theatrical


Larcy Shaw (sophomore, Kearney) – Assisting David Tidwell with”E-bay: Cost Management, Collecting, and Fun”

Regional 10-Minute Play Competition Runner-up, Participant (playwright) in 24-Hour Plays:

In addition, several UNK theatre faculty members are presenting festival workshops. The faculty members and their topics include: Janice Fronczak, Creating Your Own One-Minute Monologue; Daniel Jones, Turning a Beauty School Dropout into a Severed Head; and David Tidwell,Research and Reality: 18th Century Theatrical Techniques Adapted for a Production of Moliere’s The Imaginary Invalid and E-Bay: Cost Management, Collecting, and Fun.

NOTE: You can also find out more about the festival at or

Kevin Nenstiel (senior, Kearney)




Regional Design/Tech Expo Participant:

Regional Stage Management Competitor:

Jacob Enzminger (freshman, Columbus) – performing with Jean DuffyLauren Blessing (freshman, Elwood) – performing with Erin Burgess; Russtanna Faimon (sophomore, Grand Island) – performing with Josh Hermansen; Jon Drew (graduate student, Kearney) – performing with Leah Skorupa; Jack Kreman (senior, Kearney) – performing with Kathryn Miller; Rachael Miller (sophomore, Kearney) – performing with Matthew Nicholson; Scott Schneider (junior, Norfolk) – performing with Seth Petersen; and Chance Hartman (sophomore, Austin, TX) – performing with Autumn Isaacs.