Three students from Texas A&M University-Kingsville (AMK) will compete next week for the prestigious Irene Ryan Acting Award at the Region 6 competition of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Norman, Oklahoma.
Michelle Flores, Mike Lee Mendez, and Marcus Perez were chosen to compete for this award after their performance of “Bethlehem” at the Houston state contest.
The three AMK students will compete against other nominees from Region 6 which includes students from schools in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arkansas and Missouri. There are three rounds, two in which the nominees perform with another person from their school and the third, which is a monologue. After each round, nominees are eliminated, leaving only 16 to compete in the final monologue.
Two winners from each region will go on to the national competition in Washington D.C. Each of the regional winners will receive a $500 prize.
Flores is a senior theatre major from Alice. In addition to “Bethlehem,” she has appeared in “Once upon a Mattress,” “I Hate Hamlet,” “Daughters,” “Savage in Limbo,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Casa Rio,” “Mama Drama” and “Dead Man’s Cellphone.”
Mendez is a junior communications major from Corpus Christi. In addition to “Bethlehem,” he has appeared in “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Once upon a Mattress,” “Sylvia” and “Godspell.”
Perez, a senior English and communications major from Bishop, is a three-time Irene Ryan nominee. In addition to “Bethlehem”, he has appeared in “Dead Man’s Cell Phone”, “Blood Wedding” and “Boxcar”.
In addition, state winners for “Bethlehem”, Vanessa Jurado, costume and makeup design, and Alyssa Gonzalez, props, will have their winning work displayed at the competition. Jurado is a junior theatre major from Eagle Pass who appeared in “Sylvia” and “Tommy” and was in the crew of “Boxcar”, “Las Cartas”, “Wizard of Oz” and “Blood Wedding.” Gonzalez is a sophomore archaeology major from Alice. She has appeared in “Tommy” and “Wizard of Oz.”
Other actors from the state performance of “Bethlehem” received Acting Achievement Awards. They included Stephanie Wright, a senior theatre major/English minor from Kingsville; Megan Saenz, a sophomore theatre major from Alice; and Leah Luna, a senior theatre major from Del Rio.
Faculty director Corey Ranson, assistant professor, was honored with awards for directing and set and lighting design for Bethlehem.
The regional meet is not just competitions. Students going will be able to attend workshops in design, acting, directing, management and much more. There will also be opportunities for students to perform in an open mic situation and professionally audition for summer work or internships.