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Theatre Students to Showcase Their Work Prior to Competition at Regional Festival

About a dozen Merrimack students from the theater department are scheduled to hold a rehearsal that’s open to the public and college community Sunday, Jan. 24 at 4 p.m. in the rogers Center Atrium, before heading to the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region 1 competition at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn. Jan. 26-31.

Mic Lonati and Michael Semonelli in "Next to Normal" - Lonati is an Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Nominee for her performance as the embattled Diana in "Next to Normal." ; Semonelli is a Ryan nominee and a Richard Maltby Musical Theater nominee for his role as the Emcee in "Cabaret."

Actors, directors and scene designers will go through their scenes and discuss their works from productions during the past year.

The festival celebrates college theater in the region that includes all of New England and New York State, said Visual and Performing Arts Department associate professor and chairman Kathleen Sills.

Merrimack’s students are competing in a variety of categories, including acting, costume design, lighting, and directing. Each student was nominated by a member of the Kennedy Center American College Theater.

“In each case they are looking for excellence in acting or in design,” Sills said.

Students at the festival will watch up to two plays a day and take part in workshops when not presenting their own material, she said.

“They are seeing theater, they are learning about theater, and they are competing,” Sills said.

All the actors who compete in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship will perform a two-person scene and then a monologue. Winners will advance to a national festival competition in which the winner will receive a scholarship to study for a master’s degree of fine arts in acting.