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Tori Lee chosen for premier scholarship competition

Features Editor

A Brundidge native is one of six Troy State University students selected for the prestigious 2002 Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition.

Tori Lee, who graduated from TSU in December, will

participate in the regional level of the competition, scheduled for February at Converse College in Spartanburg, S.C. as part of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

Lee said being selected for the competition is a great honor and also a wonderful opportunity that could open doors for her.

"The competition is for aspiring student actors who are serious enough about their craft to attend a graduate program," Lee said. "I’m not a theater major, but I am serious about acting."

Lee said the Irene Ryan Scholarship is a national scholarship competition that begins on university and college campuses.

"When I first heard of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship, I imagined a sophisticated, aristocratic actress; then I learned that Irene Ryan is Granny Clampett on the Beverly Hillbillies," Lee said, laughing. "But she is an accomplished actress who supports young actors through this scholarship competition."

Lee said a "respondent" visits college campuses and watches performances. He or she can select up to two students to compete in the regional competition phase of the Irene Ryan Scholarship competition. The director of the play may also select a student/actor.

Lee, a music education major, was nominated for her role as Snoopy in "You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown."

She has performed in several other TSU productions including "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," A Clown’s Play" and "The Robber Bridegroom."

Nominees are eligible for a $500 regional scholarship and can advance to the national Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition set for the spring at the Kennedy Center American College Theater National Festival in Washington, D.C.

Even though this is Lee’s first nomination for the scholarship competition, it will not be her first appearance before the panel of judges at the regional level.

"Each nominee has to have a scene partner – and one who is not involved in the competition," she said. "This is my third time going to the regional competition, but my first time as a candidate. I partnered for three people my first time going and two people the second time. That could help me in my own presentation because I am familiar with the environment of the room. And, I know some of the do’s and don’ts. How much it helps – I’ll have to wait and see."

Lee said Adena Moree, director of theater at TSU, will schedule a mock performance for all six TSU nominees for the Irene Ryan competition including, Georgia Mallory, Prattville; Sarah Looney, Marion; Amy Oakes, Dothan; Amy Phillips-Redclife, San Antonio; and David Sewell, Ozark.

"That will give us an opportunity to perform before those who make up our support system," Lee said. "They can listen to our material and give us suggestions for improvement."

Lee is still working on her presentation and has not made a final decision, but she’s sure that the speaking part will comedic and the singing part, serious.

"They like something humorous and something serious, so that’s what I’m going to do," she said. "I’m going to give it my best."

Lee is looking forward to being a competitor in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition and to all of the "perks" of being there.

In addition to the actors’ competition there will be six shows competing for the chance to advance to the Kennedy Center.

"And, they’ll have workshops that will be very beneficial and I plan to take advantage of them," Lee said. "Scholarships will also be given for the technical aspects of performing and it will all be interesting to see that. It’s just a real honor for me to be a competitor."