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 UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

February 1, 2013
Mark Harvey | Associate Professor, Department of Theatre| | 218 726-8776 |
William Payne | Dean, School of Fine Arts | 218 726-8597 |
Cheryl Reitan | Associate Director of External Affairs | 218 726-8996 |


DULUTH, MN — The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Region V Festival was held January 21-25, 2013 in Lincoln, Nebraska. UMD received four awards, two commendations, and an original play is being considered for a performance spot at the Kennedy Center.

"The School of Fine Arts is extremely proud of the excellence our students carry with them everywhere," said William Payne, Dean of the School of Fine Arts. "The strong showing by these theatre students is a prime example of the talent, the hard work, and the creative potential they develop through their work at UMD."

The Irene Ryan Acting Competition was entered by 325 actors, resulting in 64 semi- finalists, and 16 finalists. UMD had two candidates, Kate Zehr and Caity Shea Violette, qualify for the final round, and Violette was one of two winners in the competition, Zehr was first runner-up. Violette will be traveling to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. in April to compete in the National Irene Ryan Acting Competition.

Daniel Novick was awarded Best Acting Partner in the competition, and will be accompanying Violette to the Kennedy Center.

Kate Zehr won the Best Classical Acting Award for Region V.

Topaz Cooks won a design commendation for her scenic design for Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?

The cast of Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? received a commendation for ensemble acting.

Caity Shea Violette's 10-minute play, Disconnect, has moved on for consideration at the national KCACTF Festival in Washington, D.C.

Violette is the seventh Irene Ryan Regional Winner in UMD's history, and the sixth in the last 12 years. The others are: Brett Rickaby (1985), Adam Hummel (2001),Andy Bennett (2002), Ben Elledge (2005), Ben Elledge (2006), and Martha Gagliardi (2008).

This is the third time that UMD has had the regional winner and first runner-up. In 2001: Adam Hummel/Brandon Breault received the awards. In 2008: Martha Gagliardi/Kate Zehr received the awards.

Daniel Novick is the second from UMD to be named Best Partner. Brandon Roberts was named in 2010.

Kate Zehr is the first from UMD to win the Best Classical Acting Competition.

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