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AU News

Anderson University’s production of Barnum has been selected to be showcased at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival

January 22, 2013

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Anderson University’s production of Barnum has been selected to be showcased at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region IV, February 6, 2013 in Albany, GA. Under the direction of the College of Visual and Performing Arts Theatre Chair, Dr. Deborah McEniry, the show featured circus tricks, walking a tight rope and a simulated elephant during it’s run in the fall of 2012. Only 5 collegiate productions in the region were honored with an invitation to the festival.

This marks the first time an Anderson University production has been selected for performance in one of the seven regional festivals nationally.

Barnum, written by Mark Bramble (book), Cy Coleman (music) and Michael Stewart (lyrics) and produced in arrangement with, and the dialogue material furnished by TAMS-WITMARK MUSIC LIBRARY, Inc., is a musical theatre production loosely based on the life of the consummate showman P.T. Barnum, the 19th century entertainer who brought the world the Barnum and Bailey Circus. The cast of 40 plus students included Irene Ryan Nominees Peter Crawford who played Barnum, Sara Jane Fawcett who played Charity Barnum and Josh Taylor who played the Ringmaster. The Irene Ryan Competition will take place at the festival; the award is given to collegiate theatre students who display exceptional talent in a given year. The performance of Barnum at the regional festival will be slightly pared down from the original fall production, but will still boast a cast of nearly 30 actors/singers/dancers.

Dr. Deborah McEniry, in her 6th year at Anderson University, directs the musical theatre productions at the University. She received her M.A. in Vocal Performance/Musical Theatre concentration and her Ph.D. in Educational Theatre from New York University. McEniry is a veteran director, actress and vocalist and has taught theatre courses and directed theatre productions in the U.S. as well as in Germany. Cara Wood, the design member of the theatre faculty, was responsible for the lighting design and oversaw the set construction. The show was choreographed by Terrie West Poore who heads the dance program at Anderson University. Dr. Howard Kim, professor of piano, was the musical director for the production and Dr. Tommy Watson and Rebecca Yates, both members of the AU music faculty, were the vocal coaches for Barnum.

Started in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center’s founding chairman, the Kennedy Center American College Theater (KCACTF) is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide, which has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of collegiate theater in the United States ( The KCACTF has grown into a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country, where theater departments and student artists showcase their work and receive outside assessment by KCACTF respondents.

In January and February of each year, regional festivals showcase the finest of each region’s entered productions and offer a variety of activities, including workshops, symposia, and regional-level award programs. Regional festival productions are judged by a panel of three judges selected by the Kennedy Center and the KCACTF national committee.

In preparation for the festival, the AU theatre students and faculty will perform Barnum in a special dress rehearsal that will be free and open to the public as well as the Anderson University campus community. The special performance will be at the Henderson Auditorium of the Rainey Fine Arts Center on Monday, Feb. 4th at 7pm.

The KCACTF website:
The Region IV website:


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