2013 Festival Details

CNY Arts brought together more than 150 students and adults from four Central New York high schools and two community theater groups at Cayuga Community College in Auburn, NY for the 2013 Michael Harms Theater Festival on Saturday, April 13. This annual celebration of youths in theater is a combination of musical and dramatic theater performances, feedback, and professionally-led workshops for both young performers and behind the scenes artists and crew.

Auburn High School, Jamesville-DeWitt High School, The Media Unit, Nottingham High School, Oswego Children's Theater, and Skaneateles High School Drama participated in this year’s Festival.

CNY Arts presented awards and scholarship for notable performances and technical work. Those were:

Festival Awards:

  • The Award of Excellence-High School was presented to Jamesville-DeWitt High School for their production of The Trial, written and directed by Joe Goldberg (click here to read an article about The Trial in the Syracuse New Times)
  • The Award of Excellence-Community Theater was presented to The Media Unit for their production of Lost Parade, directed by Walt Shepperd
  • The Technical Achievement Award was presented to Auburn High School for their production of The Suessification of A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, directed by Allison Fennessy


  • Michael Harms Memorial Scholarship: Brittany Fayle – Jamesville-DeWitt High School
  • Redhouse Summer Intensive Scholarship: Lucano Petrocci - Skaneateles High School

Certificates of Achievement:

  • Fierce Guitar Award: Chrissy Gerace (The Media Unit)
  • Honorable Mention for Best Stage Kiss: Brittany Fayle & Patrick LaRussa (Jamesville-DeWitt High School)
  • Honorable Mention for Best Stage Kiss: Josh Gutmaker & Owen Williams (Jamesville-DeWitt High School)
  • Honorable Mention for Individual Performance as a Non-Human Character: Hailey Thompson (Oswego Children’s Theater)
  • Honorable Mention for Individual Female Performance in a Comedy: Molly Burdick (Nottingham High School)
  • Honorable Mention for Individual Male Performance in a Comedy: Robert Edwards (Nottingham High School)
  • Excellence in Costumes & Makeup: Winnie the Pooh (Oswego Children’s Theater)
  • Technical Excellence in Lighting & Sound: George Stroman III (The Media Unit)
  • Technical Excellence in Stage Managing: Jake Reagan & Julianna Augustine (Skaneateles High School Drama)
  • Best Stage Kiss: Alexandra Hagen & Matt Payne (Skaneateles High School Drama)
  • Triple Threat Award: Patrick LaRussa (Jamesville-DeWitt High School)
  • Best Individual Performance as a Non-Human Character: Ryan Smith (Oswego Children’s Theater)
  • Best Individual Female Dramatic Performance: Ana-rachel Richardson (The Media Unit)
  • Best Individual Male Dramatic Performance: Nicholas Cocks (The Media Unit)
  • Best Individual Female Comedic Performance: Chelsea Colton (Jamesville-DeWitt High School)
  • Best Individual Male Comedic Performance: Zane Carnes (Auburn High School)
  • Best Individual Female Performance in a Comedy: Meghan McConnell (Nottingham High School)
  • Best Individual Male Performance in a Comedy: Marquan Shaw (Jamesville-DeWitt High School)
  • Excellence in Musical Performance: Alexandra Hagen (Skaneateles High School Drama)
  • Excellence in Ensemble Performance: The Cast of Beauty and the Beast (Skaneateles High School Drama)

 Congratulations to all of the winners!

Below are respondent and workshop leaders bios, along with descriptions of each workshops.


The 2013 Festival respondents (those critiquing the performances) were professors from college and university drama departments. They were:

Rose Burnett Bonczek is a professor of theater at Brooklyn College (specializing in directing, improvisation, ensemble work, and theater pedagogy), and is the head of their BFA Acting program. She is the co-author (with David Storck of Savannah College of Art and Design) of Ensemble Theater Making: A Practical Guide, published by Routledge Press, and was recently nominated for the Association of Theater in Higher Education's Outstanding Theater Book of the Year Award. A director for over 35 years, recent credits include Sisters by Tim Duncheon for Boomerang Theatre in NYC, The Rimers of Eldritch at Brooklyn College, and the world premiere of Lily Rose at the Viaduct Theatre in the UK. For nine years she has been the United States festival director and producer for Gi60: (Gone in 60 Seconds) The International One Minute Play Festival in association with Screaming Media Productions of the UK (www.gi60.blogspot.com – or see Gi60 Channel on YouTube for past productions). Ms. Bonczek is also on the board of directors for Barefoot Theatre Company of NYC, and will be directing their upcoming workshop of The Ballad of Alejandro Lopez by Dwayne Yancey.

Mark Cole received his BA in Theatre from SUNY Oswego and his MFA from New York University’s School of the Arts. He is a professor in the SUNY Oswego Theatre Department (since 1979) where he teaches courses in acting, directing, theatre history, and oral interpretation. His directing credits at Oswego include Twelfth Night, The Torch Bearers, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Antigone, Peer Gynt, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure. Other directing credits include productions for Contemporary Theatre of Syracuse, the Sterling Renaissance Festival, the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire and Cayuga Community College. He is the author of several plays including Pining and Needles and The Photographer’s Nightmare (both produced by Contemporary Theatre of Syracuse), The Glass Coffin: a ghost story (produced at SUNY Oswego), and On the Terrace of the Pontiac Hotel (read in a new play festival at the Kitchen Theatre, Ithaca). His one person play about Edgar Allan Poe, Poe/Play, has been performed at the Home for Contemporary Theatre and Art, Theatre Ten Ten in New York City, and in Theatres and High Schools in Syracuse, Binghamton, Baltimore (East Central Theatre Conference), New Jersey and Oswego. A revised version of Poe/Play was produced at the Etcetera Theatre in London as part of a one-person play festival in 1996. He appeared as “Lawrence” in his play An Evening with Alan and Lawrence and as “Will” in his adaptation of 28 sonnets of Shakespeare titled Take All My Loves (developed in collaboration with Dr. Patrick Murphy), both produced by Studio 24 in Syracuse. Recently he played “Rev. Scholder” in the independent film Impossible Choice, produced by Media Artists.

Maria E. Marrero is a Professor of Theatre Design and Technology in the Syracuse University Department of Drama, where she served a three-year term as chair. She has designed costumes for 36 productions at Syracuse Stage, most recently: Putting It Together and The Fantasticks. She has guest designed at numerous theaters including: Actor’s Theater of Louisville, the Berkshire Theater Festival, GEVA in Rochester, Studio Arena in Buffalo, Playmakers Repertory in NC, Indiana Repertory, and several other regional theaters; the Vineyard Theater in NYC and the Apollo Theater in Chicago; and Miami’s Coconut Grove Playhouse (five years as resident designer); and has designed regional and national tours, (Handy Dandy, Of Mice and Men, and others). Ms. Marrero was Resident Costumer/Designer for Syracuse Stage (12 years) and Costumer at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. She recently designed costumes for the Syracuse University Drama Department’s production of As You Like It, and scenery for The Resignos, at the American Theater of Actors, NYC.


Students participate in skill-building workshops, during the Festival, led by professionals making a living in the arts with extensive experience regionally, in New York City, and beyond:

Bradley Benjamin (Dance Auditioning for Actors/Singers) began her professional performing career at the age of 18 when she was hand-picked by Tony Award winning choreographer Susan Stroman to play a featured dance role in the Broadway Revival of Oklahoma!. Since then, Bradley has had the unique opportunity to work with many prominent Broadway choreographers on productions such as the 1st National Tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie, Las Vegas and Hollywood Bowl productions of Hairspray, Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the world-premier of Leap of Faith starring Brooke Shields, the pre-Broadway workshop of Brigadoon, and multiple productions for Sacramento Music Circus, LA Opera, and the Reprise Theatre Company. On TV, Bradley has appeared on The Today Show, Late Show with David Letterman, The Tony Awards, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and The Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. Bradley received her dance training at the Center of Ballet & Dance Arts under the direction of Deborah Boughton and she attended prestigious summer programs at The Juilliard School, NYSSSA, Hartford Ballet, and The American Theatre Dance Workshop. Bradley holds a BA in Performing Arts from the Saint Mary’s College LEAP program and she is a member of Actors' Equity Association and The American Guild of Variety Artists.

Michael Broughton (Lighting) came to the area in 2006 to work as the master electrician at Merry-Go-Round Playhouse. After working extensively in and around NYC during MGR's off season, he now resides in Auburn as the Facilities and Technical Manager for the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival. NYC Lighting Design: Journey Dancers (Brooklyn Music School), Dwarf Trees and Damned Thing (BMS), A Brooklyn Nutcracker (BMS), Getting Tom (Cherry Lane Theatre), Janusphere Dance Company, Dumbo Dance Festival. NYC Master Electrician: Abron’s Arts Center, Lincoln Center, Cherry Lane Theatre, Mannes Opera. He also toured nationally with Moscow Ballet's Nutcracker

Meggan Camp (Special Effects Stage Makeup) is in her thirteenth season serving as the Syracuse University Drama Department’s costumer and as adjunct faculty at SU. She freelance designs in Syracuse, NY and surrounding areas. Her most recent credits include: “Upstate” pilot (TV: Upstate TV Partners), The Cradle Will Rock, Rhinoceros, These Shining Lives, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Weston Playhouse Other Stages), Lysistrata, As You Like It, Into the Verge, Steel Pier, Translations, My One and Only, She Stoops to Conquer, Real Love, Chicago, Sweet Charity, A Funny Thing…Forum, and Taming of the Shrew. She has done work with Syracuse Stage’s Educational Outreach program, designing costumes for Backstory projects and sets for an original piece titled Annabel Drudge and the Second Day of School. North Carolina School of the Arts, MFA.

Carey Eidel (Acting) is the managing director and founding member of Auburn Public Theater. He came to APT from NY/Los Angeles following a 25-year professional career as an actor, teacher, writer, and director. In LA, he was one of the busiest acting coaches/teachers whose students included Haley Berry, Pam Stone (Coach) & Diane Farr (Rescue Me). Carey studied acting at The Neighborhood Playhouse with Sanford Meisner and then with Wynn Handman. Off-Broadway: Wild Oats (premiere), Home Movies, and Twelfth Night. National Tour: The Wizard of Oz. Carey played “Sir Edward Ramsey” in The King and I at The Merry-Go-Round Playhouse. A veteran of over 50 television shows and films, Carey has worked with many of the top professionals in the entertainment industry. Television credits include Everybody Loves Raymond, The Amanda Show, 7th Heaven, General Hospital, Diagnosis Murder, 3rd Rock From The Sun, Yes Dear, Strong Medicine, Melrose Place, LA Law, and Fox’s Daddy Dearest. Film credits include: Lost World: Jurassic Park, Evolution, For The Boys, The Marrying Man, And The Band Played On, and C.H.U.D. In addition to working with APT, Carey currently teaches acting, screenwriting, film production, and acting for film at Cayuga Community.

Tiffany Goarcke (Scenic Painting) is spending her summer at Merry-Go-Round Playhouse as Paint Charge. This is her third summer working as a painter at MGR. Though scenic painting is her first and true passion, most recently Tiffany has been working as a fabric artist knitting large scale items, creating rental goods, and sewing for the current Bon Jovi Tour, painting for Pink's The Truth About Love Tour, and applying graphics for Democracy Plaza.

Ken Keech (Improv: Being More Awesome) has been studying, performing, and teaching improvisation for the last fifteen years. Ken is a founding member of Improv Everywhere, a global prank conglomerate. In New York City, Ken studied and performed in various shows at the Upright Citizen's Brigade Theater. He was also one of the first regular performers at the People's Improv Theater. Ken moved to Syracuse in 2006, where he started teaching math and holding improv workshops at Fayetteville-Manlius High School. Ken has organized two Mp3 Experiments in Syracuse, as well as a mass April Fool's prank at Destiny, USA. He was a featured performer at a TEDx Buffalo, utilizing text messages to create a group mind. Ken is an active member of the Syracuse Improv Collective, with both he and his wife helping to organize the Thumbs UPstate Improv Festival. He frequently performs improv with Satan's Closet and also fronts an all-ukulele Fugazi tribute band, Fugulele. Ken has led many improv workshops throughout the area, focusing on helping his long-form students get out of their comfort zones, challenge the fourth wall, expose truth, and, in general, "be more awesome." Ken has three children and currently teaches at the LaFayette Big Picture School, specializing in Mathematics and Performance Art. He can regularly be seen in a lobster costume.

Terry LaCasse (Combat and Comedy) is the Artistic Director of The Central New York Shakespeare Festival. He received a BFA in Theatre Arts from Le Moyne College. He has studied stage combat with Alec Barbour, Mark Hutchinson, and Steve Braddock. Terry has over 70 acting credits to his name that span theatre, voice, and film. Directing credits include One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, King Lear, and Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). He will be continuing his studies at The University of Alabama, where he will be seeking an MFA in Directing.

Kevin Shumway (Improvisation) is an actor, director, drama coach, and teacher. His professional credits include appearances on stage in both CNY and NYC; work on feature films and TV shows; voice-overs for business, entertainment, and education; numerous commercials and corporate promotional and training videos, as well as print advertisements. Kevin has directed 17 high school plays and musicals, and teaches acting and play analysis as an adjunct instructor in the Syracuse University Drama Department. A graduate of SU Drama, he served on the boards of the Syracuse Shakespeare Festival and the Skaneateles Area Arts Council. Kevin has held membership in both Actors Equity Association and Screen Actors Guild.

Maria Wechsler (Creative Play) has been working in environmental theater for 25 years. She has taught workshops on creative play and improvisation for many years. She currently works on the teaching staff and in the performance company of the Sterling Renaissance Festival. She also serves as the artistic director for the Skaneateles Dickens Festival.

Kathy Zamniak (Dance Auditioning for Dancers) is a choreographer and director in the Auburn area, and has been dancing for over thirty years. Kathy owns and operates her own dance studio in Auburn, Rhythm in Motion Studio, since 1980. She is the Master choreographer for Seneca Cayuga ARC’s Fame program and has lead dance workshops at Wells College, Le Moyne College, and summer theater at The Morgan Opera House in Aurora. Kathy has produced and directed over 20 theater productions for Rhythm in Motion Studio, and choreographed for Auburn High School's and Union Springs High School'smusicals. She is certified with The Dance Education of America, NYC. Kathy is currently instructing “Introduction to Dance” at Cayuga County Community College.