WMU News

Two theatre students win national ACTF acting awards

April 27, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Two Western Michigan University theatre majors made strong showings at the national American College Theatre Festival competition in Washington, D.C., earlier this month.

Junior Larry Herron and sophomore Joseph Johnson traveled to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to vie for a bevy of scholarships with seven other acting teams from across the country. Both came away happy men. Herron received the TVI Actors Studio Career Enrichment Award, and Johnson was recognized with the Kingsley Colton Best Partner Award.

The Actors Studio prize gives Herron, a native of Mattawan, Mich., a full-tuition scholarship and travel costs to attend the TVI Summer Professional Actor Training Program in either New York or Los Angeles. He will study at the British Academy of Dramatic Arts this summer, and pursue the TVI program in 2005. Johnson, of Flint, Mich., received a scholarship through the Kingsley Colton Award for use at a graduate school of his choosing. He plans to continue his coursework at WMU this summer.

Their invitation to Washington came through their winning performance at the American College Theatre Festival regional competition at Illinois State University in January. Their scene, an excerpt from Susan-Lori Parks' "Top Dog, Underdog" won Herron an Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship for outstanding performance, in which he surpassed approximately 350 undergraduate and graduate actors vying for the prize. He and Johnson offered this same scene in Washington.

The two most recently shared the stage in Kalamazoo for "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" at the University Theatre earlier this month. They will both appear in the University Theatre production of William Shakespeare's "Othello" during November 2004. Herron will carry the title role, and Johnson will perform as Iago, the scheming friend who seeks to destroy Othello.

Sponsored by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the annual American College Theatre Festival aims to identify and promote quality in college theatre productions.

Media contact: Patrick Donnelly, 269 387-6222, patrick.donnelly@wmich.edu

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