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Blinn College-Brenham Theatre Arts Program earns awards

'Houdini' receives seven honors from Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival

'Houdini' receives seven honors from Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival

October 12, 2022

The Blinn College-Brenham Campus Theatre Arts Program’s recent production of “Houdini” has won seven Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival awards.

The play, staged Oct. 6-9 at the Dr. W.W. O’Donnell Performing Arts Center, was the program’s festival entry for 2022. The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) is a national theatre program that has more than 1,500 theatre productions involving more than 200,000 students entered each year.

Chase Waites, Professor of Theatre at Lone Star College-Montgomery, served as respondent for Blinn’s “Houdini.” Awards from Waites were:

  • Christopher Westerlund, playing Grattan, a warden, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a judge, and a medical student, was nominated for an Irene Ryan Award (Director’s Choice);
  • Josiah Fernandez, playing Marco Bone, was nominated for an Irene Ryan Award (Respondent’s Choice);
  • the entire cast and crew received a Meritorious Award for Ensemble Work;
  • Alyssa Hale and Samantha Nolen each received Meritorious Awards for Sound Design and for Stage Management;
  • Theatre Arts faculty member Jennifer Patrick received a Meritorious Award for Costume Design; and
  • Technical Theatre Arts Professor Kevin Patrick received a Meritorious Award for Projections Design.

Waites said the production was well-crafted.

“The strong physical commitment of the actors and the seamless integration of the incredibly creative production design was greatly appreciated,” he said.

Waites has directed or designed more than 30 stage productions at Lone Star College. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre at Centenary College of Louisiana and his Master of Fine Arts degree in directing from the University of New Orleans. He is Immediate Past Chair for KCACTF Region Six and was a 2018 recipient of a KCACTF Gold Medallion award.

Blinn Theatre Arts Professor Brad Nies, who directed “Houdini,” said Irene Ryan acting nominations recognize and honor outstanding student performers wishing to further their theatre education.

“Meritorious Achievement Awards are for students and faculty who go beyond and above the collaborative process,” Nies said. “I’m proud of all our cast and production members who earned awards, and I’m also extremely proud of everyone who helped with staging the play. Our students are involved in every part of our productions, from making costumes to sound design to performing on the stage.”

Nies said more than 500 people attended the four performances of “Houdini” and approximately 300 high school students attended two special preview performances.

The 2022-23 season also includes:

  • “The Day Before Christmas,” 7 p.m. Dec. 1 and 2, and 2 p.m. Dec. 3 and 4;
  • “Vinegar Tom,” 7 p.m. Feb. 16 and 17, and 2 p.m. Feb. 18 and 19;
  • and “Ladies at the Alamo,” 7 p.m. April 27-28, and 2 p.m. April 29 and 30.

In addition to the plays, the programs improvisation troupe “Slaphappy” will perform Oct. 13 and April 4, both at 7 p.m. at the O’Donnell Center.

All performances will be held at the Dr. W.W. O’Donnell Performing Arts Center at 600 Blinn Blvd.

Ticket information is available at www.blinn.edu/boxoffice.

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