UND Theatre Arts recognized at regional Kennedy Center festival


David L. Dodds

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

College of Arts & Sciences


The University of North Dakota Department of Theatre Arts faculty and students came away with a number awards and honors, including a certificate of merit for their original production of My Generation, at the recent Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region V in Lincoln, Neb.

UND Theatre Arts' My Generation cast, band and crew received the honor for the 2012 production, which was conceived and directed by UND faculty member Emily Cherry. Working with choreographer Ali Angelone, musical director Anne Christopherson and the cast, Cherry also supervised the creation and writing of the show. The UND production of My Generation held the prestigious honor of being an invited festival production and presented it on Wednesday, Jan. 23, in the Lied Center on the campus of the University of Lincoln-Nebraska to more than 2,000 college and university students and faculty.

UND faculty member Brad Reissig designed the set and lights with student Daphne PanKratz designing costumes and makeup. Loren Liepold was sound designer and technical director with community volunteer Cory Gray as assistant. The 13-person cast, four-member band, and 20-person backstage crew received accolades for their ensemble work and were presented with a certificate of merit at the festival.

My Generation originally was performed in April at the Burtness Theatre, but the cast reprised their roles for a Grand Forks audience Jan. 16, at the Chester Fritz Auditorium in a public rehearsal before the Kennedy Center festival, which ran Jan. 20-25, in Lincoln. The reproduction at the Fritz also served as a fund-raiser for the festival.

The cast for My Generation included Jacqueline DeGraff, Brian Dempcy, Patrick Kloeckner, Daniella Lima, Philip Muehe, Jackie O'Neil, Casey Paradies, Rachel Perry, Tyler Rood, Abby Schoenborn, Casey Smith, Emily Wirkus, and Jordan Wolfe.

The production stage manager was Chelsie Pollert with assistant stage managers Matthew Dempsey, Nick McConnell and Emily Elisabeth. Projection designer was William L. PanKratz II. Candyce Iseminger and Heidi Mann were sound operators. The backstage crew for lights, costumes and video included Tyler Sannes, Billy Chesemore, Hannah Rosenthal, Lindsay Escobar, Howie Korsmo, Lucas Skjaret, Brett Olson, Sarah Lawler, Ryan King, Anthony Albright, Shawn Bakke and Crysta Robinson.

Band members for the festival performance were Anne Christopherson, Keyboard; Miles Uhrich, guitar; Mark Lentz, bass; and Brad Larson, drums.

Community volunteers Cory Gray (sound and video) and Eric Voight (electrician and lighting) provided invaluable assistance. Gray drove one of the two set trucks to the festival and, together with Anthony Albright, supervised the loading and unloading of the trucks.

In addition to the honor of presenting an invited production, Cherry received a certificate of merit for her direction of Urinetown, The Musical by Hollman and Kotis in November 2012. The festival selection team also invited UND to present the Urinetown costumes designed by Michelle Davidson in the Festival Costume Parade.

Other highlights from the festival:

  • Reissig received a certificate of merit for scenic design for Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley in September 2012.
  • At the festival, UND faculty member Ali Angelone presented a workshop on "Movement for the Actor".
  • UND senior Philip Muehe and his acting partner Brian Dempcy advanced with sixty-four students out of about 300 to the semi-finals in the Irene Ryan acting scholarship awards competiton.
  • UND students Abby Schoenborn and Lukas Skjaret assisted faculty mentors to cast and direct student written plays at the festival.
  • Graduate students Brett Olson and Jordan Wolfe were invited to serve as emcees for the festival Musical Theatre Intensive presentations.

All students attended several workshops during the week and many auditioned for summer theatre. Those students who were given a callback audition/interview will be contacted later this month with the final word about a summer job.