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Kennedy Center Theatre Fest Honors UTEP’s 'Lydia'

Last Updated on April 16, 2018 at 2:00 PM

Originally published April 16, 2018

By Daniel Perez

UTEP Communications

Members of The University of Texas at El Paso’s cast and crew of “Lydia” were recognized in multiple categories by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, April 14, 2018.

Seven people stand on stairs and hold plaques.
Several UTEP students, faculty and an alumna who participated in the production of "Lydia" accepted top honors at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival awards ceremony April 14, 2018, in Washington, D.C. They are, from left, Ross Fleming, Rebecca Rivas, Gabriella Torres, Cristina Goletti, Antonio Romero Jr., Kim McKean, and Ana K. Miramontes.

Kim McKean, assistant professor of theatre, was named Outstanding Director of a Play. Cast members Ana K. Miramontes and Gabriela Torres each received Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Play, and Antonio Romero, Jr., won for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Play. The production also earned awards for Outstanding Production of a Play, and Outstanding Performance and Production Ensemble.

Festival organizers announced the recipients of these national awards on March 14, 2018. The selections were based on regional performances conducted at the Region 6 competition that ended March 3, at San Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas.

McKean, a UTEP faculty member since 2016, said these honors are a sign that UTEP’s Department of Theatre and Dance is a top-tier training program, and that UTEP students are competitive at a national level.

“This is a huge accomplishment,” McKean said. “The KCACTF is a fantastic organization and I am truly humbled by their response to our show.”

Set in 1970s El Paso, Texas, “Lydia” is an intense, lyrical and magical play. A U.S. family hires the title character as an undocumented maid to care for their daughter, now 17, who was disabled after a tragic accident on the eve of her quinceñera. Lydia’s immediate and seemingly miraculous bond with the girl sets the entire family on a mysterious and shocking journey of secrets and discovery.

Miramontes, a senior double major in theatre-performance and media advertising, played Lydia. Romero, a junior theatre-performance major, portrayed Misha in the play written by El Paso native Octavio Solis. Torres, a 2017 UTEP alumna, played Ceci. She is a graduate student at the Juilliard School in New York.

A native of Chihuahua, Mexico, Miramontes said the individual honor surprised her because she considered the production an ensemble piece. Still, she said the recognition was significant to her personally and for her family.

“This award means a lot to me,” said Miramontes, who expects to graduate in May 2019. “It makes me see that all the hard work and effort that I and my parents have made to receive my education has been worth it. It also made me believe in the power of my dreams.”

The production also earned a KCACTF Citizen Artist Award for insisting that theatrical productions are central to the urgent community, national and international conversations on higher education campuses throughout the country.

UTEP’s “Lydia” competed against seven other productions from institutions from Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Louisiana during the regional contest. It earned the region’s Director’s Choice Award, the highest recognition possible, and several other individual honors.

 The last time a UTEP production earned this much national recognition was in 2004 when “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea” was invited to perform at the national festival, said Adriana Dominguez, Ph.D., clinical professor and director of audience development.   

UTEP’s Department of Theatre and Dance also acknowledges the $2,500 gift from El Paso Electric that helped fund the show’s participation at the regional festival.