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Two Students Nominated for Acting Awards

Two students from the Henry Ford College’s Theatre Arts production of The Diviners, directed By Mary Bremer-Beer, have been named as nominees for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions. Based on their performances, the students learned of their nomination after meeting with a respondent from the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF).

The Irene Ryan Scholarships provide recognition, honor and financial assistance to outstanding student-performers wishing to pursue further education. On Friday, April 15, a KCACTF respondent from Region III, traveled to HFC to judge the production. The students chosen were Zach Ross and Josh Neilson.

The two students nominated will now go on to compete at the regional level in January 2017. Winners of the regional showcase their talents in Washington, D.C. at the national festival.

For Zach Ross who portrayed the character C.C. Showers in the show, this nomination is reinforcement for the effort he put into creating this role.

“I am so honored to be recognized for the hard work I have put into bringing life to this character,” Ross said. “It’s one thing to hear you’ve done well from your friends and family, but it’s much more gratifying to hear it from your peers and professionals in your field.”

Ross has been accepted into Oakland’s University’s highly competitive BFA acting program this fall and will be portraying the leading character of Peter Evans in HFC’s upcoming production of Pulitzer-Prize winning Tracy Letts’ Bug in June, directed by Dr. George Popovich.

Neilson received the Irene Ryan nomination for his portrayal of the character Buddy Layman. He said the most important thing for him was to connect with his audience.

“If I affected the audience in some way, if I made them laugh or made them think, then I have done my job.”
“At the end of the production, I realized I had gown with my character. I realized that Buddy and I have more in common than I thought.”

Dr. George Popovich. Director of Theatre, said that The Diviners is one of three HFC shows that will be entered in the KCACTF this year.

“We have an extremely high talent level at HFC presently, “ Popovich said.

“Besides the Irene Ryan competitions, the entire production of The Diviners is entered in the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival. HFC will be notified in December whether or not The Diviners is a regional winner. The Festival is the Academy Awards of College Theatre. The Festival has all levels of colleges competing against each other. We are in Region III of the Festival which includes all colleges and universities in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.”

“So we are competing against Northwestern, The University of Michigan and many famous and prestigious schools. These schools take the Festival seriously and devote thousands of dollars to winning. Ball State, for example has 450 theatre students and 70 faculty members.”

“HFC has been honored by the festival before. Our 2004 production of The Tempest was a regional winner and travelled to the University of Illinois. Our productions of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Ruined, Macbeth, and The Skriker have been honored by the Festival. We do not enter shows very often because of the tremendous expense involved if we do win. The entire set has to be transported as well as the entire cast and crew.”

Tickets for The Diviners are on sale for the coming weekend, which is the closing of the show. The Diviners plays Thursday (21), Friday (22) and Saturday (23) at 8 pm and Sunday (24) at 2pm. All seats are 15.00 and may be purchased online at:

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