Theatre at Tarleton Production Earns More Recognition

Tarleton theater students, from left, Anna Lee Williams, Rebecca Franko, Benny Brown and Maddy Munn lead the cast of LIZZIE: The Musical. The production has been named by the to the short list of college productions for Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival regional competition as well as individual honors for members of the cast and crew.

STEPHENVILLE — Theatre at Tarleton’s “LIZZIE: The Musical” continues to accumulate awards.

Most recently, the Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Awards honored the groundbreaking presentation for Outstanding Achievement in the Facilitation of a Brave Rehearsal Space, Distinguished Production of a Musical, and Distinguished Achievement in Ensemble Performance.

Additionally, Wade Girton and John Greer earned the award for Special Achievement in Musical and Vocal Direction while Benny Brown received Outstanding Achievement in Performance.

The Citizen Artist Awards recognize higher education programs that use theatrical production to promote long-term societal impact in artistic terms, encourage empathetic exploration of the complex cultural and physical world, and advocate for justice on campus and throughout the world.

“As more and more recognitions roll in, I can’t but think about the bright future that lies ahead of Texan Theatre and the other performing and visuals arts programs here at Tarleton State,” said production director Daniel Stone.

“LIZZIE” draws inspiration from Riot grrrl music, queer sensibilities and ’70s/’80s female punk. Riot grrrl is a subculture combining feminism and punk music. Its songs frequently dealt with rape, domestic violence, sexuality, racism, patriarchy, classism, anarchism and female empowerment. 

Two principals of the show were previously lauded for their contributions in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival and will travel to Washington, D.C., the week of April 21.

Benny Brown, who portrays the titular character, was named one of three outstanding college actors in the U.S. and invited to appear at the Kennedy Center as a solo performer. Production costume designer Rebecca Franko was awarded the National Region Award and advances to the national convention at the Kennedy Center; she will compete with seven other regional winners.

Both Brown and Franko were nominated for the elite Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship for their work on “LIZZIE.”The production features an all-female cast and was entered as part of the nationwide festival, earning a spot in regional competition, a first for Tarleton State’s theater program.

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