Press Information

For press information, please contact:

• Elizabeth Streich | office: (718) 482-6131; cell (347) 229-8674; estreich@lagcc.cuny.edu 
• Manuel (Manny) L. Romero, Ed.D. | office: (718) 482-5061; cell: (480) 235-3366; mlromero@lagcc.cuny.edu 


LaGuardia Theater Students Prepare for Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival


LaGuardia Community Invited to Attend Showcase on Monday, January 30

Theater Festival Press Release Image

LaGuardia students Raven Furs (left) and Bambo Coulibaly (right) performing Spring Awakening, the LaGuardia Community College Theater Program's fall 2022 production.


LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (January 24, 2023)LaGuardia Community College/CUNY Theater students are gearing up for the 2023 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), the preeminent theater festival for U.S. two- and four-year theatre programs.

LaGuardia faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend a showcase of students’ material on Monday, January 30, from 6–7 p.m., in the Black Box Theater (M-122). Seating will be provided on a first-serve basis. Running time is approximately one hour.

“The showcase is an annual tradition. It gives students the opportunity to perform before a live audience, and to demonstrate their work to the college community,” said Stefanie Sertich, professor and director of LaGuardia’s Theater Program since 2011.

Each year, KCACTF invites almost 18,000 students from education institutions across the country to showcase their theatrical performances, share original work or adaptations of other theatrical performances, and compete for scholarship awards. The first phase of KCACTF is eight regional festivals. LaGuardia competes as part of Region 1—Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York, and Vermont. The 2023 KCACTF Region 1 festival will be held from January 31 to February 4 in Hyannis, Mass.

At the conclusion of the festivals, approximately 125 regional winners will be invited to the 2023 KCACTF National Festival, scheduled to take place the week of April 17 at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

“This year is especially meaningful because KCACTF is back after three years on pause—because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we stopped midway through 2020 before the national festival. We’re excited to get back to performing and competing,” said Professor Sertich.

LaGuardia students have a strong track record at both Region 1 and the national KCACTF festivals, going up against students from two- and four-year colleges nationwide. For a complete list of LaGuardia awards at KCACTF regional and national festivals, check out the KCACTF section on the Theater Program webpage.

LaGuardia Students at 2023 KCACTF Region 1

Five LaGuardia students, Raven Furs, Ed Cardenas, Rafael De La Cruz, Analia Heredia, and Nicole Pascaretta have been nominated for KCACTF Region 1 awards. They were nominated by regional representative Mauricio Salgado, a professor at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, who attended a fall 2022 LaGuardia performance of “Spring Awakening.”

Students may also self-nominate themselves for awards and enter in acting and scholarship competitions at the festivals.

Raven Furs, age 28, plans to perform “The Piano Lesson” with scene partner Bambo Coulibaly. Both Raven and Bambo finished their LaGuardia degrees in December 2022 and are currently applying for bachelor’s programs at four-year colleges including Brooklyn College, Lehman College, City College, and NYU.

Raven is a 28-year-old native New Yorker, who is working towards her goal of starting a performing arts program for kids.

“I want to give kids a space to fall in love with themselves through acting—to learn how to connect and empathize with other people through storytelling,” said Raven, who had prior experience working with children as a camp counselor, a lead site coordinator for an after-school program, and as a babysitter. “With public schools eliminating or shrinking arts programs, I worry that kids won’t have this opportunity. I want to fill this gap.”

Bambo, 20, was born in New York City and raised in the West African country of Mali, and said he is excited about acting. “I’m passionate about anything that has to do with storytelling and being different characters,” said Bambo. “Originally, I’d planned to go to Queens College, however, I heard from my high school teachers that LaGuardia has the best theater program—in addition to being affordable, it’s a two-year program instead of four years. I enjoyed being a LaGuardia student so much. Now I realize that before LaGuardia I didn’t really know what it meant to be an actor—the preparation, techniques, and how to work with fellow performers. Thanks to the LaGuardia theater program, now I know.”

In addition to Professor Sertich, LaGuardia theater students are supported by James Ryan “J.R.” Caldwell, theater lecturer, Amanda Santiago, adjunct college lab technician; Lee Monahan, stage manager; Mike Alifanz, technical director and college lab technician; and Gio Morello and Ed Cardenas, college assistants.

Bambo credits his LaGuardia theater professors for teaching him how to connect with characters. He selected a monologue from The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney for KCACTF Region 1 because of his experience as an older brother; Bambo has eight siblings, six of whom are younger than him. “In the play, the character gets blamed when his younger brother does something naughty,” he said. “As I’m an older brother, this resonated deeply with me. LaGuardia taught me to use my life experiences to make connections to material.”

LaGuardia students who will compete at 2023 KCACTF include:

Student: Raven Furs
Scholarship:
Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Nominee, Nominated for her work as Frau Bergman and others in Spring Awakening
Monologue/Song Entries:
Monologue #1 BLKS by Aziza Barnes; Monologue #2 Measure for Measure by Shakespeare
Scene and Scene Partner:
The Piano Lesson by August Wilson with scene partner Bambo Coulibaly

Student: Bambo Coulibaly
Scholarship:
Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Self- Nominee
Monologue/Song Entries:
Monologue #1 The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney; Monologue #2 Disgraced by Ayad Ahktar
Scene and Scene Partner:
The Importance Of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde with scene partner Michael Hernandez

Student: Ed Cardenas
Scholarship:
Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Nominee, nominated for his work as Melchior in Spring Awakening
Monologue/Song Entries:
Monologue #1 Prodigal Son by John Patrick Shanley; Monologue #2 Old-Fashioned Cold Fusion by Adam Szymkowicz
Scene and Scene Partner:
Marriage Duet with scene partner Anabelle Paez

Student: Rafael De La Cruz
Scholarship:
Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Nominee, Nominated for his work as Otto in Spring Awakening
Monologue/Song Entries:
Monologue #1 Topdog/Underdogby Suzan Lori Parks; Monologue #2 Gloria by Brendan Jacobs Jenkins 
Scene and Scene Partner:
Tartuffe by Moliére with scene partner Raven Furs

Student: Analia Heredia 
Scholarship:
Musical Theatre Nominee, Nominated from her work as Wendla in Spring Awakening
Monologue/Song Entries:
Song selection #1 Summertime from Porgy & Bess; Song selection #2 Waiting For Life from Once On This Island

Student: Nicole Pascaretta
Scholarship:
Musical Theatre Nominee, Nominated from her work as Ilse in Spring Awakening
Monologue/Song Entries:
Song selection #1 I Know Things Now from Into The Woods; Song selection #2 Time Heals Everything from Mack & Mabel

Student: Christian Torres
Scholarship:
Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Self- Nominee
Monologue/Song Entries:
Monologue #1 Elliot -Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegria Hudes; Monologue #2 A Singular Kinda Guy, All in the Timing, by David Ives 
Scene and Scene Partner:
(Kyle) The Dream of the Burning Boy by David West Read with scene partner Zoey Mercado

Student: Anabelle Paez
Scholarship:
Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Self- Nominee
Monologue/Song Entries:
Monologue #1 Pipeline by Dominique Morriseau; Monologue #2 God’s Ear by Jenny Schwartz
Scene and ScenePartner:
Becky Shaw by Gina Gionfriddo with scene partner Ed Cardenas

Student: Zoey Mercado
Scholarship:
Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Self- Nominee
Monologue/Song Entries:
Monologue #1(Lysistrata) Lysistrata by Aristophanes; Monologue #2 (Cousin Julio) Motherfucker with the Hat by Stephen Aldy Guirguis
Scene and Scene Partner:
(Evie and Raul) In Love and Warcraft by Madhuri Shekar with scene partner Christian Torres

Student: Michael Hernandez
Scholarship:
Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Self- Nominee
Monologue/Song Entries:
Monologue #1- (Sam) The Flick by Annie Baker; Monologue #2 - Don


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LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC), located in Long Island City, Queens, educates thousands of New Yorkers annually through degree, certificate, and continuing education programs. LaGuardia is a national voice on behalf of community colleges, where half of all U.S. college students study. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), the College reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor beloved for his championing the underserved. Since our doors opened in 1971, our programs regularly become national models for pushing boundaries to give people of all backgrounds access to a high quality, affordable college education.


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