Three members of the Community College of Rhode Island’s student-run theater group, the CCRI Players, earned high honors at last week’s 2021 Region 1 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, held virtually this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Among a field of 173 nominees for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship, Dan Garcia of Warwick and Jerry Middlemiss of East Providence finished as finalists, ranking them among the top 16. Ryk McIntyre of Providence advanced to the semifinals, earning a spot among the top 32 in the field. A total of eight CCRI Players competed in this year’s regionals.

“This was a great showing by our students,” said Adjunct Theater Professor Anthony Goes, who served as the lead coach for the Irene Ryan scholarship nominees. “Our Theater department represented itself well on this stage and we’re proud of everyone’s accomplishments.”

The KCACTF honors excellence of overall production and offers student artists individual recognition through awards and scholarships in playwriting, acting, criticism, directing, and design. Students are selected to compete in the KCACTF based on nominations stemming for their performances during the calendar year.

Garcia earned a nomination this year for his lead role as Eddie in the Players’ season-opening adaptation of Fool For Love, a play originally scheduled as their 2019-20 season finale. Middlemiss played the role of Cliff Bradshaw while McIntyre starred as Herr Schultz in the Players’ February adaptation of Cabaret.

The scholarship is named after the late American actress and comedienne Irene Ryan, who is mostly known for her portrayal of Daisy May “Granny” Moses, the mother-in-law of Jed Clampett, on the long-running TV series The Beverly Hillbillies. The Irene Ryan Foundation, which began awarding scholarships in 1972, awards sixteen regional and two national scholarships annually. One nominee and partner from every region is invited to the national festival and the nominee receives a $500 scholarship. The national winner earns $5,000. This year’s National Festival will be held remotely in April.

CCRI is at the forefront of improving the ways community college students are prepared to advance their education and career prospects. Named America’s 2019 2-Year College of the Year by Education Dive, CCRI expects to have the highest three-year graduation rate of any community college in New England by 2021.

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