Senior sings for scholarship

By Rebekah Frank


Cody Bray and Martin Sanks attended the College Theater Festival on Feb. 16-22. Photo by Karissa Berg

EWU senior Cody Bray returned to campus from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Boise, Idaho, with new experiences, acquaintances and winning the Irene Ryan Scholarship Audition.

The festival took place from Feb. 16-22. The United States is divided up into eight different regions and EWU is part of region seven. Bray, along with about 20 of his fellow Eagles, represented Eastern at the festival.

According to the College Theater website, the festival was established in 1969 to “encourage, recognize and celebrate the finest and most diverse work produced in university and college theater programs, to provide opportunities for participants to develop their theater skills and insight, improve the quality of college and university theater in America and encourage colleges and universities to give distinguished productions of new, the classics, revitalized and experimental works plays.”

EWU Theatre Lecturer Jeffrey Sanders described the festival as Disneyland for theater students. According to Sanders, there are a multitude of events taking place that offer a variety of opportunities to students such as scholarships, auditions for professional companies and workshops from professional actors and directors.

EWU seniors Martin Sanks, Alyssa Day and Nichole Meyer were among the 247 college students who competed in the Irene Ryan Scholarship Audition. The audition, according to Sanders, consists of three rounds in which the applicants have to present two scenes as well as a monologue and/or song.

Out of the 247 original applicants, Sanks, Day and Meyer were all finalists with their partners. This accomplishment is one of prestigious pride for the EWU Theatre Department.

“EWU can be proud to boast that it had three pairs of students make it to semis and to finals, a feat never been accomplished before,” said Sanks.

In addition to that, Bray and Sanks were both finalists in the Musical Theater Scholarship. Out of 147 contestants, Bray and Sanks made it to the final round, and Bray was selected along with a student from the University of Idaho as winners. After winning this prestigious award, Bray was invited to sing at the final ceremony.

In addition to the $250 scholarship, Bray was given “The Singing Actors Guide to Musical Theatre,” a book not yet published, and the author is dedicating the book to Bray, as well as the co-winner and the runner-up of the MTSA.

Sanders said that Eastern has attracted many possible future Eagles based on the success of its theater department at this festival, even with its small size. “I think our program is the little engine that could,” said Sanders.

This was the EWU Theatre Program’s third year visiting the festival and their success is noted by many in the theater department. “It’s an exciting thing to see our students excel there,” said Sanders.

“I recommend going to it to anybody who is interested at all in theater,” said Meyer.