The CUI theatre department earned an invitation to present “The Drowsy Chaperone” at the regional Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) in St. George, Utah. It is the third such invitation since 2010, marking a string of successes that is unusual for a university of its size.
“They’re looking for shows to represent the region the best to the national event,” says theatre department chair Lori Siekmann. “This is a big deal. We have to bring the cast, musicians and technicians—fifty-five people. We re-collect all props and costumes, and do the sets. It’s an entire undertaking. They want you to recreate the show as closely as possible to the original production.”
“The Drowsy Chaperone” was one of nine shows chosen from seventy entries. In 2010, CUI’s “The Foolish Proposal” was chosen to show at the festival, and in 2012 “The Cover of Life” received the same honor.
For a school of our size to have this many shows go since 2010 is not a common thing.”
“For a school of our size to have this many shows go since 2010 is not a common thing,” says Siekmann. “We’re in with shows by theatre departments that are triple our size.”
This is the first musical CUI will take to the regional contest. Since the show ran in January 2014, some students have graduated. Siekmann was able to re-assemble all but four cast members, and didn’t lose any principal actors.
In separate news, Siekmann was honored with the KCACTF’s Gold Medallion award, recognizing someone who makes extraordinary contributions to teaching and producing theatre and significantly dedicates time and artistry to the development of the KCACTF. It is the most prestigious regional award given by the organization and is considered one of the great honors in theatre education.
“I was super-shocked,” says Siekmann, who has served on KCACTF’s governing board of CUI’s region for seven years and coordinates respondents (who function as judges) from Orange County. “I love going to see shows and interacting with students. I wish I had time to help out even more. I truly believe that this cross-pollination with people from other schools has benefits. It has raised our game because we see what others in our area have accomplished.” Siekmann’s award was presented at the festival in February.