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Nominees for 2014 Iren Ryan Scholarships

February 12, 2014

Nominees for 2014 Iren Ryan Scholarships

January 30, 2014                                                                                                                                                                                 

Allendale, MI – Five students from GVSU’s Theatre program were selected as nominees for The Kennedy Center’s annual Irene Ryan Scholarships. Nominees are selected for Acting, Stage Management, Costume Design, Light Design, Dramaturgy, and Play-writing. This year’s nominees were:

  • Justin Mackey (nominated for acting in The Shape of Things) and his partner, Sammie Chaness
  • Jason Flannery (nominated  for acting in The Good Person of Setzuan) and his partner, Barbra Staffen
  • Matt Fowler (nominated for acting in Much Ado About Nothing) and his partner, Sarah Tryon
  • Alyssa Simmert (nominated for acting in Kindertransport) and her partner, Kim Giggs
  • Amanda Furstenberg (nominated for dramaturgy from Kindertransport)

While at the regional festival, students saw shows, costume and stage designs, workshops as well as participating in the Irene Ryan competition. Two students, Jason Flannery and Barbra (Rae) Steffens, advanced to the semi-finals with a scene from Jeffrey Hutcher’s The Compleat Female Stage Beauty. They were 38 finalists among 200 original participants.

Mr. Flannery’s show he directed, One Blind Mouse by Paul McDonald, was also selected to advance to the national Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for a student-written, 10 minute play.

This year’s festival for Region III was held at Saginaw Valley State University. Participants came from Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois. This year’s Festival was held January 7 – 12, 2014.


As Mr. Flannery mentions, “This was my third year attending, and it is always a hugely reaffirming experience. Any student that wants to pursue theatre as their career should make an effort to go at least once.”


The Irene Ryan Scholarships provide recognition, honor, and financial assistance to outstanding student performers wishing to pursue further education. The Irene Ryan Foundation awards 19 regional awards and two fellowships annually. Sixteen (16) of the awards consist of a $500 scholarship for each regional representative of KCACTF. There are two scholarships of $2,500 each for the winners at the national festival in Washington, D.C. These scholarships are made possible by the generosity of the late Irene Ryan who is best remembered for her portrayal of the lovable and feisty 'Granny Clampett' in The Beverly Hillbillies. (


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