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AU musical production Barnum to be featured at regional theatre festival
Public invited to special rehearsal Feb. 4

Anderson University’s production of Barnum has been selected to be showcased at the Region IV Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) Feb. 6, 2013 in Albany, Georgia.

Under the direction of 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 its run in the fall of 2012. Only five collegiate productions in the region were honored with an invitation to the festival.

To prepare for the event, the AU cast will perform Barnum in a dress rehearsal that’s free and open to the public. The rehearsal at the Henderson Auditorium of the Rainey Fine Arts Center starts at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 4.

This year marks the first that an AU production has been selected for performance in one of the seven regional festivals nationally. Region IV includes schools in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and southern Virginia.

Barnum, by Mark Bramble, Cy Coleman (music), and Michael Stewart (lyrics), along with contributions from Tams-Witmark Music Library, is a musical based on the life of P.T. Barnum, the nineteenth century entertainer who brought the world the Barnum and Bailey Circus.

AU’s cast of about 40 students included Irene Ryan award nominees Peter Crawford (Barnum), Sara Jane Fawcett (Charity Barnum), and Josh Taylor (the Ringmaster). The Irene Ryan competition, which will take place at the festival, recognizes collegiate theatre students who display exceptional talent. 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 and dancers.

Dr. McEniry, in her sixth year at Anderson University, directs the musical theatre productions at AU. She received her M.A. in vocal performance/musical theatre concentration and her Ph.D. in educational theatre from New York University. Dr. 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 AU’s 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 AU. Dr. Howard Kim, professor of piano, was the musical director and Dr. Tommy Watson and Rebecca Yates, both members of the AU music faculty, were the vocal coaches for Barnum. Dalton Cole, shop foreman, constructed the set with the help of theatre students, and Amber Ensley, a senior theatre student, was assistant director for the show.

Started in 1969, the Kennedy Center American College Theater (KCACTF) is a national theatre program involving 18,000 students, which has helped improve the quality of collegiate theater in the U.S. The KCACTF has grown into a network of more than 600 colleges and universities throughout the country, where theater departments and student artists showcase their work and receive outside assessment.

Every January and February, regional festivals showcase the best of each region's submitted productions and offer 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.

For more information about the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival visit For more information about Region IV of the KCACTF visit

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