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Blinn Theatre Arts Program earns awards in Kennedy Center American Theatre Festival

'Young Frankenstein' praised for acting, technical production

'Young Frankenstein' praised for acting, technical production

November 2, 2023

The Blinn College-Brenham Theatre Arts Program earned two acting award nominations and five production honors at the prestigious 2023 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF).

KCACTF is a national play festival that allows universities, four-year schools, and community colleges an opportunity for individual recognition and critique from theatre professionals.

Blinn’s production of “Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein” was its entry into this year’s festival. Based on Mel Brooks’ 1974 film, “Young Frankenstein” centers on the grandson of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein.

Irene Ryan Award nominees were Jordan Murrell as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Respondent’s Choice) and Steve Torres as Inspector Hans Kemp (Director’s Choice).

Meritorious Awards went to Madison Manchester, stage management; Samantha Nolen, choreography; Fabian Carranza, technical direction; Technical Theatre Arts Director and Theater Arts Advisor Kevin Patrick, production design; and Quinn Gonzalez-Moore, sound design/microphone operation.

Irene Ryan acting nominations provide recognition and honor to outstanding student performers wishing to further their theater education. Meritorious Achievement Awards are for students and faculty who go beyond the collaborative process in a production.

The play was directed by Jennifer Patrick, Theatre Arts faculty and costume, makeup, and hair designer. Jill Stewart, Instrumental Music Coordinator and professor of Sight Singing/Ear Training, served as musical director.

KCACTF involves more than 200,000 students nationwide. As participants, the Blinn College-Brenham Theater Arts Program is sharing in the KCACTF goals to recognize, reward, and celebrate the exemplary work produced in college and university theaters across the nation.

The respondent for “Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein” was David Kenner, a Blinn-Brenham graduate who serves as a theater lecturer at Sam Houston State University (SHSU). Kenner is co-founder of the award-winning Wheelhouse Theatre Company in New York City and he has taught at the University of Albany. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from SHSU and a Master of Fine Arts from New York University’s Graduate Acting Program.

Blinn’s production of “Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein” drew a total audience of approximately 700. An additional 300 students also attended preview performances, including students from Brazos, Brenham, Burton, and Flatonia high schools.

The next production for the 2023-24 season is “Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol,” at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2 and 3, at the Dr. W.W. O’Donnell Performing Arts Center at 600 Blinn Boulevard.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for Blinn students and children. They are available online at, by calling 979-830-4024, or emailing

Blinn’s Theatre Arts Program integrates artistic, technical, and academic disciplines of theatre from the classroom to the stage. Students have an opportunity to audition for a variety of performances and are prepared to transfer to four-year colleges and universities. For more information, visit

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