Photo, back row from left: Nwachukwu Oputa, Lauren Folland, Emilea Paulson, Lia Dewey, Chlorissa Prothro, Alyssa Benitez and Danielle Valdivia. Bottom row from left: Karina Rodriguez, Emily Kearns, Kindle Cowger and Arium Andrews.

Nineteen Fresno State Theatre Arts students competed in the Irene Ryan Acting Competition while at the Region VIII Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Feb. 14-19 in Mesa, Ariz.

The following four students and their scene partners advanced to the semi-finals:

  • Kai Di Mino and scene partner Alyssa Benitez
  • Nwachukwu Oputa and scene partner Arium Andrews
  • Karina Rodriguez and scene partner Dezmen Diaz
  • Chlorissa Prothro and scene partner Aaron Pierce

These students were among 50 semi-finalists selected from 320 contestants from around our five-state region.

Oputa and Andrews were among the sixteen finalists in the regional competition.

As a result of her performance in the finals, Oputa received the Outstanding Vocal Performance Award given by the Voice and Speech Trainers Association and a full scholarship to attend the Screen Acting Intensive this summer at CSU Summer Arts, which will be hosted at Fresno State.

Oputa and Andrews performed scenes from “Gideon’s Knot” and “Our Lady of 121st Street.”

Fresno State students Kindle Lynn Cowger and William Bishop were selected to perform in the Musical Theatre Intensive Cabaret. They performed the song “Seventeen” from the musical “Heathers,” a musical that will be performed this May in the University Theatre season.

Started in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center’s founding chairman, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities. Eight regional festivals are held throughout the country during January and February before the Kennedy Center National Festival April 17-22 in Washington, D.C.