CNM’s Fall Theater Production “Family Tree and Me” Wins Six Prestigious Awards

The director and the cast won awards for stage management, acting, and more as part of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival
January 09, 2023

CNM’s fall term theater production of “Family Tree and Me” was already a big deal because it was the college’s first live theater show since the pandemic. But the spotlight has now refocused on the production after it pulled down six regional awards that could lead to national recognition.

The regional awards come from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), which is a program that provides feedback and recognition for college theater students across the country. After registering the production with the KCACTF, respondents came and watched “Family Tree and Me” to evaluate the actors, the production elements, and the overall content. 

The awards received include: Excellence in Outstanding Ensemble, Excellence in Supporting New Work, Excellence in Ensemble Mentorship, Excellence in Stage Management, and nominations for cast members Austin Ruth and Bev Cromwell to audition for the highly competitive Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship during the upcoming regional KCACTF festival in Abilene, Texas.

Director and CNM adjunct faculty member Dodie Montgomery knew she wanted to enter the KCACTF competition because of the opportunities it presented to the cast and crew. 

“I participated in KCACTF when I was an undergrad and it helped me create life-long relationships and helped me get my audition to grad school,” 

Dodie says. “I wanted to provide those same opportunities to my students, and I received a lot of support from CNM along the way.” 

For Dodie and the cast and crew, winning six awards has created important validation. 

“It’s overwhelming,” says Dom Redmond, stage manager for “Family Tree and Me” and a film student at CNM. “I came into this with very few expectations and to hear that someone really liked our work is amazing.” 

Cast member Austin Ruth says he is also delighted and surprised. AustinRuth.jpg

“I was an athlete in high school, so I didn’t know what to expect,” Austin says. “I fell in love with acting though, and Dodie is a phenomenal teacher. I’m very honored to receive this award.”

Next up is the regional KCACTF festival in February. Both Austin and Bev will participate in the Irene Ryan Acting audition at the festival, where they will perform a monologue and scene of their choice. Dom will also submit his production book for “Family Tree and Me” in the festival’s stage management category. From there, Austin, Bev, and Dom all have the chance to be selected to participate in the national KCACTF festival, where the actors would audition for the national Irene Ryan Acting  Scholarship and Dom would complete a stage management fellowship. 

Dodie says she and the students are excited to not only compete, but to also participate in various workshops and watch other student performances. 

Overall, Dodie says the awards and upcoming competition are the icing on the cake of an already rewarding production. 

“I knew that people were going to enjoy the play and I knew the actors were enjoying the process of diving deep into their family histories,” Dodie says. “We already made something so lovely, and then to be acknowledged like this is really special.”