California State University, Fresno senior theater arts major Ferin Petrelli and acting partner Danny Cobb will represent the region in April in the American College Theatre Festival at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Four Fresno State thespians and their partners were among the 16 finalists in the program’s regional competition at UCLA, which welcomed competitors from California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii.
Since 1972, the Irene Ryan Foundation of Encino has awarded scholarships to the outstanding student performers at each regional festival. The scholarship program was established by Ms. Ryan, best known for playing Granny on “The Beverly Hillbillies” TV series. She died in 1973.
Petrelli, who like Cobb attended Clovis West High School in Fresno, was nominated from her performance in “The Polish Joke,” which opened the 2007-08 University Theatre season at Fresno State.
The other Fresno State regional finalists are Rhiannon Fernandez, nominated from “Macbeth,” and a Madera High School graduate and Cobb; Hayley Galbraith, nominated from “The Little Foxes” and “Doubt,” who attended Roosevelt School of the Arts in Fresno and partner Michael Oldham (from Clovis High); and Megan Gilmore, nominated from “A Lie of the Mind” and from Clovis High, and partner Johno Cota (from Madera High).
Two additional Fresno State duos were in the semi-finals: Christine Andrews (nominated from “Speed the Plow” and attended Buchanan High School in Clovis) and her partner Ryan Anders (Mt. Whitney High School, Visalia); James Taylor (“The Polish Joke” and a transfer from College of the Sequoias, Visalia) and Dana Cooper (from the Santa Cruz area).
Galbraith won the Classical Acting Award and Brad Myers, a professor of theatre arts at Fresno State, won the Outstanding Classical Acting Coach Award.
David Gould (nominated from “Doubt” and from North Gate High School, Walnut Creek) won a regional honorable mention in sound design.
Started in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center’s founding chairman, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival is a national program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide. It has served as a catalyst for improving the quality of college theater in the United States, growing into a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country.
Each winter, regional festivals are held to select four to six of the best and most diverse regional festival productions for the annual spring noncompetitive national festival at the Kennedy Center, this year scheduled April 14-20.