Milligan Production Recommended for Kennedy Center Festival
November 22, 2006Milligan College has been notified that their original musical production, "The Gospel According to Jazz," has been recommended for the Region IV Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) to be held February 6-11, 2007 on the campus of Southwestern Georgia University in Americus, Ga. Milligan was one of 30 colleges and universities to be recommended from 150 regional entries.
"It is indeed an honor to receive the enthusiastic nod from the KCACTF adjudicators at our statewide festival and to be considered for the festival. An invitation to perform at the regional event is hardly a sure thing at this point, but we have been asked to submit supporting materials from our production to the selection committee," said Dick Major, professor of theatre at Milligan and director of the production.
In early December the selection committee will meet to determine which productions will be invited to the festival. From the 30 productions reviewed only six will be invited to the festival.
"Regardless of whether or not the show advances to the next level, I think we have had tremendous success with this production. While it would be wonderful to share our message with a wider audience, I am very pleased with our run of the production," said Major.
In addition to the production, actors BJ Krug, Tyler Simmons and Caitlin Smith were nominated to compete for the coveted Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Awards at the regional festival. Suzanne Richardson, stage manager for the production, also was selected for her excellence in technical achievement for the equally coveted Barbizon Award for Technical Achievement.
"This is indeed a humbling honor for each of them. To have been singled out for excellence from such an outstanding ensemble of actors is a real tribute to their individual performances," said Major.
Set in what appears to be the washed out remains of a post-Katrina French market section of New Orleans, "The Gospel According to Jazz" is loosely based on the gospel of John. Its ultimate message is one of hope. Fueled by the vibrant, joyous tones of jazz music, the production showcased the talents of a cast of 18 members and a musical ensemble of 26 directed by Milligan professor and local jazz talent Rick Simerly. Broadway vocalist and local gospel and jazz talent Loretta Bowers of Elizabethton, Tenn., joined the ensemble as guest vocalist.