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UW-Green Bay’s ‘Almost, Maine’ honored at regional festival

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UW-Green Bay cast and crew of Almost, MaineUniversity of Wisconsin-Green Bay theatre students brought home several awards, including a fifth Golden Handtruck Award, from the American College Theatre Festival (ACTF) Region III gathering in Saginaw, Mich. on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011.

In addition, the University’s production of Almost, Maine emerged as a contender for an invitation to the National Festival at the Kennedy Center in April.

Productions invited to the national competition will be announced in March.

“The fact that the national selection team has asked us to hold our show and is considering us for the National Festival in Washington, DC is the cherry on the sundae,” said Prof. John Mariano who directed the show. “I’m proud of our students and our program.” 

The ACTF is a national theatre organization through the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. There are eight regions in the competition. Wisconsin is part of region three, which also includes Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and part of Ohio. Only four to six shows total are invited to the take part in the national competition.

UW-Green Bay’s two performances of the romantic comedy Almost, Maine on Saturday, Jan. 8 received standing ovations at the Pasant Theater on the Michigan State University campus.

UW-Green Bay also won the coveted Golden Handtruck Award, which recognizes the best technical work, efficiency and professionalism in getting production materials — set, lighting, sound system, costumes and props — ready for the performance and then taken down afterward. It’s a true test for collegiate theatre programs, where crews aren’t used to taking their shows on the road.

The last five times UW-Green Bay has taken a show to the regional competition it has received the Golden Handtruck Award.

“That is something we all do together entirely,” said Prof. Jeff Entwistle, scenic designer for Almost, Maine who received a Regional Service Award. “Every single student and faculty and staff member focused on excellence throughout this entire process.”

UW-Green Bay senior Dustin James Wagner, a graduate of Pulaski High School majoring in history and theatre, received Honorable Mention in the National Costume Design competition.

“I got great feedback, great suggestions, and even was told I’d be great for film and media design,” Wagner said. “It was such a great experience to go through, because it reassures us that we are capable of achieving our dreams.”

The production of Almost, Maine also received a Regional Certificate of Merit for Costume Design and Lighting Design.

Almost, Maine, a romantic comedy featuring a 13-member student cast in nine vignettes, was performed on campus in October. The show earned enthusiastic reviews and audience response over its seven-show run. Almost, Maine is the tenth UW-Green Bay production to receive a regional ACTF invitation since 1980.

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