Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Theatre UNO Continues to Triumph

The University of New Orleans' award-winning theatre program, Theatre UNO, brings home a Director's Choice award and five Distinguished Awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for its production of Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. The University of New Orleans' award-winning theatre program, Theatre UNO, brings home a Director's Choice award and five Distinguished Awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for its production of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated and Tony Award-winning play "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo," written by Rajiv Joseph. Photo credit: Ross Nelson

The University of New Orleans’ award-winning theatre program, Theatre UNO, continues to bring home prizes. Theatre UNO recently performed Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo at the Kennedy Center American College Festivals’ Region Six Festival — earning a Director’s Choice Award and five Distinguished Awards.

“We are so proud of the students and faculty who helped to create this award-winning production and we are so grateful to our sponsors,” said David W. Hoover, chair of the UNO Film and Theatre Department.

“Our students had a profound experience – they performed as professionals, among professionals, in a nationally acclaimed theatre festival series. The KCACTF only selects the best and our cast and crew made the University of New Orleans proud.”

The New Orleans Theatre Association and The Azby Fund, a philanthropic trust, helped to fund Theatre UNO’s trip to perform at the festival, Hoover said. In December, NOTA also provided a grant to the theatre program that allowed students to perform Bengal Tiger at the Rivertown Theatre, a professional theatre in Kenner.

The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival is a year-long competition of university productions from all over the U.S., Hoover said. Region Six is comprised of Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

In December, cast and crew received high honors for their performance of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated and Tony Award-winning play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, written by Rajiv Joseph. The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival invited seven shows from the six-state region to perform in the Region Six Festival, held in February. Theatre UNO was the only theatre program from Louisiana selected to compete. At that time, UNO graduate students and Bengal Tiger cast members Sam Malone, John Neisler and Kyle Woods, were nominated for Irene Ryan Acting Awards. Hoover received a Meritorious Achievement Award for directing and faculty member Kevin Griffith received a Meritorious Achievement Award for Scenic Design.

In February, Theatre UNO’s performance of Bengal Tiger was selected as “Directors’ Choice,” a juried award voted on by directors at the Region Six Festival.

John Neisler, who is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree, was selected as an Irene Ryan Acting Award finalist, placing him in the top 16 of 180 nominees. The award, which brings scholarships to outstanding actors, honor the late Irene Ryan who portrayed the lovable and feisty “Granny Clampett” in The Beverly Hillbillies.

“We also recently received extra recognition from the Kennedy Center itself,” Hoover said. “A panel of KCACTF judges travels to all eight regional festivals and selects work that stands out among competitors from across the country. These ‘Distinguished Awards’ are national honors.”

Theatre UNO’s performance of Bengal Tiger received five Distinguished Awards: Best Contemporary Play; Scenic Design; Lighting Design; Direction and Lead Actor, an award that was given to John Neisler.

Back home in New Orleans, Bengal Tiger has been nominated for a Big Easy Award for “Best University Theatre Production.”

Several dozen UNO theatre students, faculty, and alumni are also up for Big Easy Awards in 20 categories. A handful of productions featuring casts full of UNO students and alumni are also up for prizes.

Read More

New Orleans Theatre Association (NOTA) 
UNO Department of Film and Theatre
Encore Presentation! Theatre UNO Receives NOTA Grant, Performs Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo at Rivertown Theater      
New Orleans Theatre Association Gift to Help Establish UNO Endowed Professorship
Theatre UNO Heads to KCACTF Regional Festival in February
Theatre UNO Receives Early Recognition for "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo"
Kennedy Center recognizes Theatre UNO
Theatre UNO Presents a Season to Challenge the Mind
New Orleans Theatre Association Gift to Help Establish UNO Endowed Professorship
All the World's A Stage, World-renowned playwright Mark Medoff tops the marquee at UNO as he writes — and rewrites — his next world premiere, UNO Magazine.
Theatre UNO Presents 'To Kill a Mockingbird'
Theatre UNO Provides an Arresting Performance of Orestes 2.0
Theatre UNO Performs Rx
Theatre UNO Begins Falls Season with A Bold Debut
Theatre UNO's Race Receives Early Recognition
Theatre U.N.O. Performs The Good Doctor