CSU Theater students win regional acting competition; will compete nationally in April

Columbus State University junior theater student Caroline Thrasher and her acting partner, Jim Pharr, won the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region 4 Irene Ryan acting competition, and will go to Washington, D.C., on April 18 to compete for the national title.

The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival's Region 4 consists of schools from Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. Out of the thousands of participants in college productions in these states, nearly five hundred graduate and undergraduate students were nominated for the competition for their superior work in college productions, including 12 from Columbus State.

The nominated students select an acting partner and perform two scenes, as well as a song or a monologue. After the preliminary auditions, 32 pairs of semi-finalists are selected. Also making the semi-finals this year was CSU senior Samantha May, who also partnered with Pharr. The semi-finals reduce the number of competitors to 16 pairs, and two pairs of students are selected as regional winners at the final audition.

Thrasher and Pharr will represent CSU at the national festival in April. They will receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., where they will participate in workshops and seminars with Tony Award-winning directors, authors and playwrights. On April 18, they will perform on the Kennedy Center stage for a chance to win the national title. The Irene Ryan Acting Award is the highest collegiate acting award in the country. Ryan is best known for playing Granny on long-running television series, "The Beverly Hillbillies."