The Kennedy Center recognizes Hilltop Players

By Morgan Goddard, Assistant Editor

West Liberty University’s Hilltop Players took to the stage during the new year when their production of “Poe: Master of Macabre” was selected to perform at the Region Two festival in New Jersey, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCATCF). The university was one of eight chosen from 66 other productions in the region. The original production was performed in October in the Kelly Theatre.

The festival took place from Tuesday, Jan. 3 through Saturday, Jan. 7 at Montclair State University, in Montclair N.J. The Hilltop Players had their performance on Saturday.

A unique aspect of the production was that there were two casts, respectively named the “Edgar” and the “Allen” casts. Students performing in the production included Jebediah Shook, Callie Carroll, Brady Dunn, Carly Balog, Daniel White, Kobe Wade, Zach Morris, Alex Burdick, Alex Franke, Amanda Tamplen, Alex Gordon, Sarah Lemley, and Grant VanCamp. Both casts attended the festival.

“Performing at the festival was very exciting for me personally, because I’ve never performed on any stage except ours here at West Liberty,” Franke said. “It was an extremely valuable experience to have professionals from the world of theater give their outside opinions on our production of ‘Poe: Master of the Macabre.’ The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive on all ends.”

“It has lit the fire to start strong this semester and keep reaching goals and creating success,” Franke added. “I am extremely fortunate to be part of such a wonderful theater program and to have opportunities to go to these professional development conventions and festivals. The knowledge and connections I gain every time I go will further my success tremendously.”

Fellow performer Alex Burdick also said, “Performing at the festival was absolutely life-changing. Many of us have dreamed of this moment, but never imagined it as a reality. This was a learning experience for all of us and we have benefitted from it in so many ways.”

This highlight of West Liberty University’s performing arts has set the tempo for the 2017 theatre program. Upcoming productions include “Hope and Gravity” by Michael Hollinger and “Seussical” by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens.

Photo credit: Ingrid Young