April 13, 2018 – On stage at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., Graceland University theatre major Haley Johnson `19 competed in the Irene Ryan Scholarship competition, awarded annually.
With her partner, Andrew Dipoto `19, also a theatre major, Haley perfectly executed a six-minute competition slate, which included a scene from Nick Payne’s “Constellations,” a scene from “Beyond Therapy" by Christopher Durang and a monologue from Katori Hall’s “Hurt Village.”
Haley beat out over 2,000 performers from more than 700 colleges and universities across the nation to win top honors at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), founded in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens who also founded and chairs the Kennedy Center.
The prized Irene Ryan Acting Fellowship is considered the most prestigious theatre scholarship awarded at the collegiate level, recognizing outstanding artistry in young thespians. The scholarship was started by the Irene Ryan Foundation and is named for the famous vaudeville, radio and movie/television actress Irene Ryan (1902-1973), better known to millions as Granny Daisy Moses on the comedic sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies (1962-1971).
Haley was also a co-winner of the Mark Twain Scholarship for Comic Performance, and she was awarded a week-long internship with the National New Play Network’s MFA Playwriting Workshop at the Kennedy Center.
Tracy Salter, Associate Professor of Theatre at Graceland, said, “The Theatre Department is overflowing with joy and pride in celebrating Haley’s amazing achievement. Her incredible journey is now part of Graceland’s story.”
Gary Heisserer, Professor of Theatre, who was able to attend the festival said, “It was an absolutely magical night in the theatre, and Haley and Andrew made us very proud.”
What incredible honors bestowed on a highly talented and hard-working young woman and her gifted assistant honing their craft. Graceland congratulates Haley and her partner Andrew on their accomplished win!