MCC students earn honors at prestigious regional arts festival

MCC students who competed at the 2024 Region 8 KCACTF.
MCC students who competed at the
2024 Region 8 KCACTF.

MESA, Ariz. -- March 22, 2023 -- Mesa Community College students from the disciplines of Design, Dance and the Performing Arts competed in the February 2024 Region VIII Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in California at Glendale Community College. Once again, MCC received a wealth of awards and acclaim for talent, skills and creativity.

Two students will go on to compete April 22 at the National Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Washington, D.C. In the Musical Theatre Initiative, Jose Andres Uribe Garza earned first place for singing, qualifying him for the national competition. Zoe Russo is one of only four students from across the nation selected as an Institute for Theatre Journalism and Advocacy finalist going to nationals.

The following MCC students received honors and awards at the recent Region VIII KCACTF.

Beau Morgan, Alex Parker, Meg Perales - Irene Ryan Acting semi finalists

Bo Staas, Theodore Felix Grant McEntire, Rigo Sandoval, Brian Wayne, Tegan Sanders, Amaya Martinez, and Meghan Perales - Design Finalists awarded to all the MCC student designers

Rigo Sandoval, Brian Wayne, Tegan Sanders, Amaya Martinez, Meghan Perales - Don Childs Cross-Discipline Collaborative Design Awardfor "Everything In the Garden"

Bo Staas - Randy Lutz Allied Design and Technology Award and the Gene Flaharty Mehron Award

Theodore Felix Grant McEntire - Design Student Choice Award for Lighting Design

Brian Wayne - Design Student Choice Award for Property Design

Rigo Sandoval - Design Student Choice Award for Costume Design

Breckyn Hall - Dramaturgy:10 minutes Program Notes Award

Ransom Allen - Dramaturgy: Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas Early Career Dramaturgy Award

Suzy Olson, Thea Moore, Autumn Morgan - Musical Theatre Initiative: Singing Finalist

Rio Chavez, Beau Morgan - Musical Theatre Initiative: Singing Alternate

Ben Emerick, Brenda Peres, Alexandra Vargas, Porter Molinar, Suzy Olson, José Andres - Musical Theatre Initiative Dance Finalists

Autumn Kelleher Morgan - Musical Theatre Initiative: Most Vulnerable

Thea Moore - Musical Theatre Initiative: Most Comedic

“We are so pleased to again be sharing the stellar accomplishments of our college’s Theatre & Film Arts and the Music Arts department on this national stage,” said Puvana Ganesan, Ph.D., chair of the MCC Communication, Theatre & Film Arts Department. “I want to acknowledge and congratulate our incredible Theatre & Film Arts faculty team as well as the Performing Arts Facilities team for all their inspiring work and support of our students.”

Competing students are coached by MCC faculty and staff who specialize in their field: Mace Archer, faculty and Theatre Program Director in Acting; Kara Thomson, faculty and Theatre Program Director for Design and Technical Theatre; Jennifer Seigle, faculty and Dance Program Director; Dr. Leia Wasbotten, Musical Theatre Performance faculty; Chris Tubilewicz, Performing Arts Facilities Director; Adriana Diaz, Adjunct Faculty in Costume; Tyler Foree, Adjunct Faculty in Theatre Production: Electrics; Anthony Januzzi, Adjunct Faculty in Lighting; and Jesse Soper, Adjunct Faculty in Properties.

Visit to learn more about the arts programs at MCC and the schedule of upcoming performances.

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Media contact: Dawn Zimmer,, 480-461-7892

The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a year-round program in eight geographic regions in the United States. Regional activities are coordinated through eight KCACTF regional chairs and eight KCACTF playwriting awards chairs. With funding and administrative support from the Kennedy Center, the regional chair coordinates with the Co-Managers of KCACTF all aspects of productions on the local and regional level and supervises regional-level KCACTF award competitions. In January and February of each year, regional festivals showcase the finest of each region’s entered productions and offer a variety of activities, including workshops, symposia, and regional-level award programs. Since its inception, KCACTF has given more than 400,000 college theater students the opportunity to have their work critiqued, improve their dramatic skills and receive national recognition for excellence. More than 16 million theatergoers have attended approximately 10,000 festival productions nationwide. For more Information, visit

An education in Theatre & Film Arts at MCC provides a valuable base from which to launch careers in film, television, stage, management, marketing, advertising, law, politics, theology, social work, or therapeutic fields. Students are provided opportunities to work with industry professionals from across the country and be successful at national competitions such as the national Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and the AriZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence. Experience ranges from acting, design, writing, directing and serving as a crew member in a variety of productions. Learn more about the program and upcoming performances at

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized for university transfer, career and technical programs, civic engagement, service-learning and innovative approaches to education. Host to more than 24,400 students annually, MCC offers degree and certificate programs at its two campuses and additional locations. On average MCC students provide 23,000 hours of community service annually. For more than 50 years, the college has served as a resource for education, workforce development and lifelong learning. MCC is transforming student success through Guided Pathways with Integrated Support Services and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. MCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution. Nearly 50% of MCC students are the first in their families to attend college. MCC has the largest indigenous student population of all the Maricopa Community Colleges. The American Indian Institute serves students from 22 federally recognized Arizona tribes and out-of-state tribes. Our diverse student body includes hundreds of international students from around the world. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training that empowers MCC students to attain their goals. Located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, on the traditional territories of the O'odham, Piipaash and Yavapai Peoples, MCC is one of 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District. Visit to learn more.

MCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC),

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin. A lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in the career and technical education programs of the District. MCCCD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs or activities. For Title IX/504 concerns, call the following number to reach the appointed coordinator: (480) 731-8499. For additional information, as well as a listing of all coordinators within the Maricopa College system, visit

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Publication Date: 
Friday, March 22, 2024