NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The recent production of Monty Python's "Spamalot" presented by Stephen F. Austin State University's schools of Theatre and Music has garnered a number of awards and nominations from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.
KCACTF is a national organization that celebrates the educational and creative process of university and college theatre. It promotes professional standards and provides students and faculty with opportunities to bridge the academic and professional worlds, according to Angela Bacarisse, professor of theatre at SFA who served as director and choreographer for "Spamalot."
"This brings regional and national attention to the school and the students," Bacarisse said of the honors. "The students will be seen at regional auditions, and they could possibly advance on to national auditions. Just being nominated will be a great line on their resume. For all of us, myself included, it is an acknowledgement of excellence in our area."
KCACTF Region 6 (which includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, New Mexico and Texas) awards and nominations for "Spamalot" include:
- Meritorious achievement for ensemble acting to exchange student Matt Kelly (King Arthur), Rosharon senior Thomas Elam (Patsy), Pearland senior Nnamdi Nwankwo (Sir Bedevere), Fort Worth senior Austin Davis (Sir Galahad), Sugar Land senior Daniel Miller (Sir Lancelot) and Allen sophomore Stuart Neef (Sir Robin).
- Meritorious achievement to musical director Dr. Stephen Lias, SFA professor of composition, and the orchestra.
- Meritorious achievement for costume design to guest designer Randon Pool.
- Irene Ryan Scholarship nominees are Daniel Miller, Stuart Neef and Austin Davis.
- Musical theatre initiative nominees are Lufkin junior Amy Miller-Martin, San Antonio senior Allison Day and Nnamdi Nwankwo.
KCACTF has invited the musical number "His Name is Lancelot" to perform at the regional festival, which will be held Feb. 23 through 28 in San Antonio. KCACTF officials have "held" the entire show for consideration to be performed at the festival, which is a highly prestigious nomination, but one that the School of Theatre will have to respectfully decline, Bacarisse explained.
"This means that they thought the show was good enough to bring it to a larger audience," she said. "I have traveled a show all the way to the national performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. It was a great opportunity for the students to pack a show in a truck and perform it in a different theatre.
"We gratefully thank KCACTF for this acknowledgment," she said. "However, 'Spamalot' is just too big and involves far too many people, including the large cast, the orchestra and technicians, for us to be able to re-mount the production. So we are declining the nomination."
More than 2,200 people came to W.M. Turner Auditorium in November for the six-performance run of the musical by Eric Idle, John Du Prez and Neil Innes. Some returned to watch the show multiple times, bringing friends and family members to enjoy the humorous dialogue and clever songs.
"We are grateful that the community embraced our efforts and came out to see the show," Bacarisse said. "We do a lot of different types of theatre. Some may be your cup of tea, and some may not. But we strive with every production to put our best foot forward.
"This was an ensemble effort," she said. "There is a saying: 'It takes a village to raise a child.' I have been saying: 'It takes a village to put on a show!' It was really great how everyone pulled together to make this happen, and in such a joyous way."
The School of Theatre continues to solicit financial support for Bacarisse's next major project, which will be directing two new plays that will travel to Edinburg, Scotland, next summer to be included in the 2015 International Collegiate Theatre Festival.
During a two-week trip to Edinburgh in August, the School of Theatre will produce "Hate Mail" by SFA playwright-in-residence Jack Heifner and the student-written "Mom and Dad" by Nick Pinelli and Allison Day. Pinelli, The Woodlands senior, and Day wrote the play as an honors project for their class with Heifner.
For information on the project, contact Bacarisse at email@example.com or (936) 468-1126. Tax-exempt donations can be made at sfasu.edu/giving by clicking on the "give online" tab and writing "Scotland trip" for special instructions.