ELAC Theater Arts Students Shine at Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

February 23, 2024

By Kevin Jimenez


February 23, 2024

News Media Contact:

Kevin Jimenez, College Public Relations Manager

(323) 265-8807 | @email


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ELAC Theater Arts students pose with their awards and certificates from KCACTF Region 8

GLENDALE, CA East Los Angeles College (ELAC) Theater Arts students showcased their talent and dedication at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) for Region 8, garnering numerous awards and accolades. The festival was hosted at Glendale Community College and community colleges and universities from Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah participated.

25 total ELAC students participated in the festival with many of them winning awards. Among the standout winners, Krystyna Colocho emerged victorious, clinching the prestigious National KCACTF Award for Theatrical Design Excellence in Scenic Design. Krystyna will be representing Region 8 at the Kennedy Center in the Spring, a testament to their outstanding creativity and skill.

In addition to Krystyna's triumph, ELAC students claimed several other notable awards:

  • Cindy Campos received the Heart of the Art Award for Theatrical Design Excellence in Props, showcasing her creative problem solving in property design.
  • Maribel Chavez earned the Randy Lutz Allied Design and Technology Award Regional Honorable Mention in Makeup Design, demonstrating her innovative approach and successful makeup design process.
  • Miriam Cervantes was honored with the LMDA Early Career Dramaturgy Award, recognizing their insightful contributions to dramatic analysis.
  • Giovanny Benavente was recognized with the Next Steps Rising Star Award in Acting, highlighting his promising talent and dedication to the craft.
  • Alexis Castro received the Aspire Arts Leadership Alternate Award for Region 8, acknowledging his exemplary leadership qualities and commitment to the arts.

The achievements of these students underscore the outstanding quality of ELAC's Theater Arts program and the dedication of its faculty and staff, led by the department’s festival mentors Vanessa Mizzone Pellegrini and Jessica Champagne Hansen. Moreover, ELAC Theater Arts students excelled in various competitions and initiatives throughout the festival:

  • Fourteen Irene Ryan nominees, alongside two scene partners, showcased their acting prowess in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition, with Jezmarie Viramontes, Abigail Valdez, David Rangel, and Julia Chavez advancing to the Semi-Finals.
  • ELAC students participated in the Musical Theater Initiative (MTI), demonstrating their versatility and passion for musical theater.
  • Directing student Paul Galaviz competed in the SDC Directing competition with three talented theater department performers, showcasing his directorial skills and vision.
  • Seven design students showcased their creativity in the Design, Technology, and Management competition, with four advancing as Finalists, including Alexa Mora, Maribel Chavez, Cindy Campos, and Krystyna Colocho.
  • Three stage management students vied for the National Stage Management Fellowship, demonstrating their organizational skills and leadership abilities.
  • Six students were cast in the Devised Performance projects, showcasing their collaborative spirit and creative ingenuity.
  • Additionally, ELAC students participated in Next Step Auditions and Interviews, seizing professional and transfer opportunities to further their careers in the performing arts.

Faculty members Rodney Scott and Cristina Frias played pivotal roles in the festival, offering workshops and guidance to students:

  • Rodney Scott served as Co-Coordinator for the festival's Devised Performances and conducted the workshop "How to Improve Your Craft," providing invaluable insights and mentorship to aspiring theater artists.
  • Cristina Frias facilitated the workshop "Where do we go from here?: A Conversation about Latine/x Representation & Resources," fostering dialogue and promoting diversity and inclusion within the theater community.

"In the theater, excellence is not just about the spotlight; it's about the dedication, creativity, and passion that our students bring to every aspect of their craft. Congratulations to all our ELAC Theater Arts students who participated in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival for Region 8. Your achievements reflect not only your talent but also your hard work and commitment. You are the embodiment of the vibrant spirit of our theater program, and I couldn't be prouder to see you shine on both regional and national stages,” said ELAC President Alberto J. Román.

About ELAC Theater Arts Department

The ELAC Theater Arts Department is a two-year program and offers an Associate of Arts Degree and an Associate of Arts Transfer degree along with Skills Certificates and Certificates of Achievement. Students are encouraged to attend classes while participating in productions to better understand all aspects the craft. To learn more about the department visit their website at

About East Los Angeles College  

ELAC is the largest of nine two-year community colleges within the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD), More information about ELAC is available online at Follow ELAC on social media, Instagram @ELACHuskies, X @EastLACollege, and Facebook @Eastlacollege.