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December 18, 2013

Anoka-Ramsey Community College’s theater department has been selected as one of four Midwest regional finalists to present a play and compete for national honors in the Kennedy Center American College Theater program.

Chosen from about 80 college productions, Anoka-Ramsey’s production of Las Hermanas Padilla will be presented Jan. 19 to Jan. 25 at the Region 5 Kennedy Center festival in Lincoln, Neb. More than 1,500 students and faculty from 84 two- and four-year college programs in seven states are expected to attend.

An award-winning work by emerging New York playwright Tony Meneses, Las Hermanas Padilla is a poetic, humorous and fantastical vision of 10 sisters-in-law who, while the world is at war, find solace, despair, humor and grace in their unexpected sisterhood.

“We are thrilled that our Theater Department has received this recognition,” said Dean of Student Life, Lisa Harris.  “Our Theater faculty member, Blayn Lemke, has an unshakeable dedication to providing an extraordinary educational experience for our students. This honor simply confirms the excellence in theater production that our college’s Theater Department provides to the community.”

Las Hermanas will be presented Jan. 16 at Anoka-Ramsey’s Coon Rapids Campus Performing Arts Center and again Jan. 17 in a special benefit performance to help offset the costs of sending 23 students – actors and technicians – along with two faculty members to the regional festival. Three Anoka Technical College welding students were instrumental in the creation of the set.

Director Blayn Lemke said, “This production involves students from all three of our aligned campuses. Anoka Tech did a wonderful job helping on the set. There are a number of students who began their Associate of Fine Arts-Theater degrees in Cambridge and are completing their studies here. They join the Coon Rapids students on stage and in the crew. When the audience applauds our efforts in Lincoln all three campuses will be a part of that bow.” 

In addition, the production will tour in the Twin Cities:

  • Jan. 29, the play will be performed at the Capris Theater in North Minneapolis as part of a collaboration with the Children’s Theater Company and the Plymouth Christian Youth Center Arts and Technical High School.
  • Jan. 30, the play will be performed at St. Francis High School. Students from St. Francis will shadow Anoka-Ramsey students to learn what is involved in setting up a touring production.

Student actors include Michael Courtney, Salomey Dankwah, Jarrod Dukowitz, Robert Fix- Keltner, Michelle Francher, Emili Goenner, Derrick Jackson, Madeline Larson, Ashley Milewski, Delaney Murphy, Melissa Olmsted, Emily Picardi, Ana Putle, Autumn Sisson, Teddi Scheele and Maia Walter.

Anoka-Ramsey’s Associate in Fine Arts-Theater degree is designed for transfer to a four-year program.