MCC Theatre Earns Honors in Regional Kennedy Center Competition

Mesa Community College’s Theatre and Film Arts Department just returned from Los Angeles, CA where they competed in Region VIII of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) at the Los Angeles Theatre Center and Millennium Biltmore Hotel. Nationally, 550 colleges compete in KCACTF with 55 competing in Region VIII. Approximately 20 of the colleges in Region VIII are two-year institutions. Many of the four-year schools have graduate programs with their students competing under KCACTF rules. All competitions are head-to-head regardless of the institution.

Students competed in a vast array of theatre specialties including acting, design, theatre criticism and research, and stage management. A quarter of the design and theatre technology finalists were from MCC.

Glenn Starr earned the highest recognition as the Allied Theatre Crafts National Winner for his Technical Direction of MCC’s production of Zorro (Z). Glenn earned a trip to the United States Institute for Theatre Technology Convention to be held during March in Milwaukee and has been asked participate in their design competition. Additionally, Jesse Soper took Second Place for Property Design; Tasia Mercadante took Second Place for Makeup Design; Tyler Scrivener took Third Place in Set Design; Kenzie Wood took Third Place in Lighting Design; and Solomon Cruz was Fourth Place in Sound Design. Matthew Huss was also Second Place in Dramaturgy, which is theatre research for a director. All were part of the Zorro (Z) production that was adjudicated on the MCC campus in December 2012.

Five MCC students and their scene partners competed in the Irene Ryan Scholarship acting competition: Matthew Huss/Nathan Luis, partner; Hollie Ortiz/Nathan Luis, partner; Diondre Price/Brittany Woodbury, partner; Marissa Salazar/Flory Mares, partner; and Kelli Johnson/Madolyn Tipton, partner. More than 300 students competed for honors after being selected for outstanding acting by outside adjudicators at their institutions. Although none were Irene Ryan Scholarship winners this year, MCC actors garnered numerous accolades in a variety of events.

In the Next Step Auditions for professional acting companies and schools, Matthew Huss and Brittany Woodbury are under consideration for acting residencies with the Missoula Children’s Theatre. Hollie Ortiz and Nathan Luis received callbacks from two conservatories, Stella Adler in New York City and the Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts in California. In addition, Hollie was called back for further interviews by most California State Universities. Nathan is also being considered as a returning member for the Neil Simon Festival as well as casting in the Kingsmen Shakespeare Company.

Actors also auditioned for 10-minute productions at KCACTF that were rehearsed and presented during the four days. Numerous MCC students were cast. Matthew Huss played the character of the Timekeeper in a short piece entitled, “Opening Doors;” Nathan Luis was cast as an ex-lover in “Timing is Everything;” Brittany Woodbury assumed one of the stooges in the “Three Stooges of Time;” and, Diondre Price and Ricky Bennett played roles in “Cell Phone Disconnect.” This event provided an opportunity for actors to network with faculty directors and students from other institutions.

MCC faculty also had a moment in the spotlight. MCC Director of Theatre Activities, Kevin Dressler, was recognized by KCACTF for Excellence in Theatre Education for his work as an educator during a faculty reception.

All Design and Technology students were coached by Kara Thomson, Head of Design & Production; Chris Tubilewicz, Coordinator of Performing Arts; and Kay Townsend, Design Faculty. Kevin Dressler coached the student actors.

About Mesa Community College

Mesa Community College provides outstanding transfer and career and technical programs, workforce development, and life-long learning opportunities to residents of the East Valley area of Phoenix, Arizona. MCC excels in teaching, learning and empowering its more than 40,000 students who attend annually to succeed in a local and global community.  Mesa Community College is one of ten colleges that comprise the Maricopa County Community College District.

Please direct media inquiries to Angela Askey at or Sally Mesarosh at  or the Office of Institutional Advancement at 480-461-7445.  IA website:


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Publication Date: 
Tuesday, February 19, 2013