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Date ArticleType
1/14/2013 Press Release
3 SVSU Theatre Students Best in Great Lakes Region Advance to D.C.

For Immediate Release: January 14, 2013

Contact: J.J. Boehm, Director of Media Relations, (989) 964-4055
University Communications

3 SVSU Theatre Students Best in Great Lakes Region Advance to D.C.

Three theater students from Saginaw Valley State University left the stage with first place honors at last week’s Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Two of them made university history in the process.

Rusty Myers, a theatre major from Breckenridge, received one of two regional Irene Ryan Awards for acting among 250 competing performers — a first in SVSU history. Myers was joined by Lexee Longwell, a theatre major from Howell, for his performance.

Cameron Thorp, a theater major from Vassar, took first place for his prop design – another first for the university; and Mara Berton, a theatre major from Howell was honored for her excellence in stage management.

Myers, Thorp and Berton will advance to the national Kennedy Center festival in Washington, D.C., in April.

“It is immediately going to give these students connections to industry insiders,” said SVSU associate professor of theatre Ric Roberts. “Many casting directors and agents are going to be on hand, because they want to meet the top acting students in country. These students are going to be exposed to people that, under ordinary circumstances, would take many years of auditioning in New York to get exposed to. Basically, they’re jumping ahead two or three years in their careers.”

Roberts also lauded Isaac Wood, a freshman theatre major from Flint, who with his partner Mykaela Hopps of Bay City, made it to the Irene Ryan Award acting scholarship’s final round.

“Making it to finals in your freshman year is almost unheard of,” Roberts said.

The weeklong festival brought more than 1,200 competitors from colleges and universities in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, and generated some $2.8 million in economic activity for the Great Lakes Bay Region.

For more information about the festival, visit