Release date: March 7, 2019

Bossier Parish Community College Theatre Arts students were selected as finalists following their competition in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), Region VI, February 25-28 in Abilene, Texas. Mikah Thomas, along with his acting partner, Kelsi Canada, qualified as a finalist with his acting entry in the annual Irene Ryan Scholarship Competition. Michael Rogers qualified as a finalist with his vocal performance in the Musical Theatre Initiative Competition (MTI).

As an Irene Ryan finalist, Thomas and his partner presented two scenes and one solo acting presentation in the festival’s spotlighted “Showcase of Scenes.” The Irene Ryan Acting Competition is funded by a foundation established by the late stage and screen actress, Irene Ryan, best remembered for her portrayal of “Granny” in the “Beverly Hillbillies” Television series.

The KCACTF Region Six Irene Ryan Acting Competition drew 180 nominated undergraduate and graduate acting teams representing 50 colleges and universities from Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and New Mexico. Thirty-two teams qualified for the semi-final round of the competition. Mikah Thomas’ team was one of the twelve teams that qualified for the final round, representing ten colleges, including BPCC.

Rogers performed a full song and 32-bar cut for the Musical Theatre Initiative Final Showcase. The initiative’s goal is to celebrate and recognize outstanding musical theatre students associated with productions from Region VI. Over the past eight years, the MTI competition has seen a growth in participation and is now the final event of the competition weekend.

The KCACTF MTI Region VI musical theatre competition selected 14 finalists from a group of 87 nominated undergraduates and graduates. Rogers represented BPCC as one of the finalists from seven different colleges to compete in the final round.

Both competitions give nominees the chance to compete for scholarships and the chance to perform in the Kennedy Center and the National Festival in Washington, D.C., in April. “Seeing that our training at BPCC held up against universities and graduate programs at KCACTF was a very encouraging experience,” said Thomas.

“Overall, the trip was full of laughs and I feel that I’ve grown a lot as a performer from it.”

A total of nine BPCC students competed at the Region VI Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. In addition to Thomas, the Irene Ryan nominees and their partners were Malicia Owens and Regina Williams, Myeleke Saimon and John Medlin, and Annie Barker and Jaren Stringer. Annie Barker and Myeleke Saimon also competed in the MTI event. Students who participated in separate competitions were John Medlin for the Student Dramaturgy Award and Michael Rogers for the Design and Technical Management Award.

Dr. Ray Scott Crawford, Dean of Communication and Performing Arts, attended the festival as well, coaching BPCC’s acting teams for the competition. Crawford also serves as a regional respondent throughout the year leading up to KCACTF Region VI, giving critical feedback to a number of productions looking to compete at the regional festival.

For more information on BPCC’s Communication and Performing Arts programs, contact Kim Condon at kcondon@bpcc.edu or 318-678-6525.

(l to r) Kelsi Canada, Mikah Thomas, Michael Rogers, Malicia Owens and Regina Williams (l to r) Kelsi Canada, Mikah Thomas, Michael Rogers, Malicia Owens and Regina Williams