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Scene from Anne Frank

Kennedy Center honors Cedarville theatre production

by Natalia Kirychuk, Public Relations Writer

The Kennedy Center American Theater Festival recognized Cedarville University’s fall production, “The Diary of Anne Frank,” with five certificates of merit and two Irene Ryan Acting Award nominations.

T.L. Denen, junior theatre major from Xenia, Ohio, received a certificate of merit for her sound design; Remy Patterson, senior theatre major from St. Johns, Michigan, for his dramaturgy work; Samantha E. G. Partridge, sophomore theatre major from Lansing, Michigan, for stage management; Dr. Diane Conrad Merchant, professor of theatre, for directing; and the entire cast for ensemble acting.

“All of the participants in the production of this show are incredibly honored to be recognized by such a prestigious organization and grateful for the opportunity to represent Cedarville University,” said Merchant. “All involved gladly welcomed the chance to use their gifts in service to the kingdom, and praise God for the honor of serving him with our talents.”

Awards were given on the recommendation of Professor Kimberly Borst of Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, who attended the performance as a respondent representing the Kennedy Center and the American College Theater Festival.

“Getting a certificate of merit resulted in me simultaneously feeling satisfied, accomplished and ridiculously excited,” said Denen. “I’ve been working really hard to get involved in theatrical productions, and for my first major involvement to be so well received is incredibly meaningful to me.”

“Being the dramaturg for this production was such an interesting experience,” said Patterson. “It was very important for the cast to understand the events that led to the families going into hiding. It was also key to know who the characters were historically, along with Anne’s perception of them. I was very honored to be recognized for all of the research I compiled.”

“I was very excited to find out that I received a certificate of merit for stage management,” said Partridge. “The show was very demanding, with around 160 cues to call each night, so I was honored to be recognized as having done my job with excellence.”

Gabrielle Bauman, senior theatre major from Springfield, Ohio, and Stephen De Jong, senior theatre major from Alma, Michigan, received Irene Ryan Acting Award nominations with Heather Lange, senior theatre major from St. Cloud, Florida, as an alternate.

“Nomination for the Irene Ryan is an honor,” said Bauman, who played the title role. “Working on such a serious show, I am so happy to know Anne's joy and courageous spirit came across in an enjoyable and memorable way.”

“The Diary of Anne Frank” sold 2,441 tickets, becoming one of the best-selling Cedarville fall theatre productions in recent years.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,963 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit

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