The Ada News
By Corey Scott
ECU Journal Staff Writer
ADA – Every year, students who participate in theatrical productions at East Central University are nominated for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship.
The director of each ECU production, in conjunction with a respondent from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, selects up to three actors per production for nomination.
Cabaret and Lysistrata, both performed last year, produced three nominees each. This semester’s production of Chickasaw Tales will do the same.
“Winning the scholarship is huge,” Richard Groetzinger, director of theatre, said. “It opens many doors for the student.”
In 1972, the Irene Ryan Foundation set up the award thanks to Irene Ryan herself. Ryan is better known as Granny from the TV series The Beverly Hillbillies. The scholarship is to help actors further their educations.
ECU students who were nominated will travel to Shreveport, La., in February to compete in the regional leg of the audition process against actors from across the nation. If they win there, they and their partner will travel to Washington, D.C., and perform at the Kennedy Center for a chance to win the national prize.
“I am extremely honored to be nominated at this level,” said Barbara Tiry, Skiatook junior and nominee for Lysistrata. “It just shows all of the hard work has paid off.”
Students will have to take it upon themselves to prepare material for the auditions.
“Students have to make the time,” Groetzinger said. “I have had students come in on Saturdays or set up independent studies to prepare.”
ECU actors will face off against other schools in their region, which consists of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.
“Competing against these other schools will be very, very tough,” said Lacee Elliot, Davis senior and nominee for Cabaret. “We will all have to bring our ‘A’ game. Some schools have classes just to prepare for this.”
Many students participating this year are first-time nominees and will have to compete against others from ECU.
“It will not be awkward competing against fellow students,” Tiry said. “It is all about you up there. They are simply another competitor.”