Theatre Student Ashley Kobza Named Region V Irene Ryan Scholarship Winner

Susan Deiger
UNK Theatre, 308.865.8406

Ashley Kobza of David City, a December 2008 graduate from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, took top honors as  a winner of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition at the Region V Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Lawrence, Kan.

Kobza was nominated for her performance in “Three Sisters.” She and her scene partner, James Jelkin of Kearney, will go on to perform at the national festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in April.

The Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship is awarded to two students for extraordinary ability in performance. This year, 316 students competed after being nominated based on outstanding performances in productions during the 2008 calendar year. Each nominee prepares two scenes/duets songs and a monologue/solo song.

Besides the Irene Ryan Scholarship auditions, the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Regional Festival includes 10-minute play competitions, 24-hour play festival, full-length productions, invited scenes, costume parade, workshops, a college fair, and student design competitions in scenic, lighting, sound and costume design.

UNK had three other student acting teams nominated for the Ryan Acting Competition as well as nominations in the categories of accompanist and stage management. Carolyn Wirtz of Manhattan, Kan., presented a costume design project at the design/tech expo. Nate White of Pierre, S.D./North Platte served a workshop assistant. Six UNK faculty and staff members presented workshops.

The UNK participants, and the divisions in which they participated, are listed below, alphabetically by hometown and state:

Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Nominees:
David City- 
Ashley Kobza (“Three Sisters”) 
Joseph Knispel (“Three Sisters”) 
Ryan Hruza (“An Evening of Ionesco”) 
Chelsea Richards (“An Evening of Ionesco”)

Irene Ryan Scene Partners:
James Jelkin (with Ashley Kobza) 
Alex Nickman (with Chelsea Richards) 
Tim Hruza (with Ryan Hruza) 
Chelsea Petska (with Joseph Knispel) 
Irene Ryan Accompanist (Piano):

Dr. Anne Foradori, UNK Department of Music and Performing Arts

Regional Stage Management Competition:
Katy Fagiolo (“Three Sisters”)

Regional Design/Tech Expo:
Manhattan, Kan. – 
Carolyn Wirtz (Costume Design project)

Regional Workshop Assistant:
Pierre, S.D./North Platte – 
Nate White

UNK Faculty Workshop Presenters:

Dr. Anne Foradori, associate professor of music: “The Best 16-Bars I Ever Sang: Preparing a Comprehensive Song Book for Auditions”

Janice Fronczak, associate professor of theatre: “Drama Therapy: Another Career Path After Your B.A. in Theatre,” “Drama Therapy: Facts and Fun for Faculty”

Darin Himmerich, technical director: “Cold Feet? Surviving in LA”

Sara Ice, costume coordinator: “Cold Feet? Surviving in LA”

Mark Wethington, scenic and lighting design: “Beginning Model Building: or How I Learned to Love My Exacto Knife,” “Advance Model Making”

Dr. Andrew White, assistant professor of Music, “Belter Skelter: A Voice Workshop for the Musical Theatre Singer”