Robert Morris University’s Colonial Theatre Receives Regional and National Recognition
Thursday, April 7, 2016
Pittsburgh, Pa. -- RMU’s Colonial Theatre’s fall production of the musical Love’s Labour’s Lost, directed by associate professor of communication Barbara Burgess-Lefebvre, was selected by regional theatre professionals as one of the finest productions in the region in 2015. The production was invited to the Region II, Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in January 2016.
On March 24, it was announced that three RMU actors were selected to receive national recognition for their work on the production: awards for distinguished achievement by an actress in a musical was awarded to both Braelin Andrzejewski and Victoria Buchtan, and an award for distinguished achievement by an actor in a musical was awarded to Robert Kowalewski. Fourteen students throughout the nation were presented with a distinguished achievement award for performance in a musical, and RMU’s three recipients ranked the university with the most winners from one institution.
"The Colonial Theatre has been steadily growing in numbers and quality," says Burgess-Lefebvre. "The respondents at the regional level actually assumed that we had a BFA in Musical Theatre because the quality of the production was so high. Ken Gargaro and I have always known that the quality of RMU shows stands up to any university and this regional and national recognition supports that completely."
Started in 1969, the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) is a national theatre program involving 18,000 college and university students. It has served as a catalyst for highlighting quality work in college theatre in the United States, and it has grown into a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country, where theatre departments and their students showcase their work to receive outside assessment from KCACTF respondents.
In addition, three RMU students were selected to compete at the festival in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship and four students competed in the Musical Theatre Initiative. These festival competitions provide recognition and financial assistance to outstanding student performers wishing to pursue further education. Two of the four students who competed in the Musical Theatre Initiative were selected as finalists, and the other two were selected to perform in a cabaret at the festival.
Thanks to generous support from the Communication Department headed by Heather Pinson, dean of SCIS AnnMarie LeBlanc, provost David Jamison, and Student Life the cast and crew of 20 students traveled to West Chester University and performed for an engaged and enthusiastic crowd of theatre students and faculty from throughout the region.
After Love’s Labour’s Lost was performed in West Chester, KCACTF officials awarded RMU alum Raymond Lamont Sims with a certificate of merit for outstanding stage management, and faculty member Brent Alexander a certificate of merit for outstanding music direction.
Photo credit: Beth Barbis.