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Loyola-produced HIV/AIDS docudrama nominated for theater award

February 21, 2014

Joining the best of New Orleans theater, Loyola University New Orleans’ production of the HIV/AIDS docudrama “Patient A” secured a nomination in the Best University Production category of the 2013 Big Easy Theater Awards. The Foundation for Entertainment, Development and Education presents the awards each year to recognize outstanding performances in musicals, dramas and comedies. The awards show, produced by Gambit, is set for Monday, March 24 at Harrah’s New Orleans.

Directed by Loyola theatre arts professor C. Patrick Gendusa, Loyola’s production of Lee Blessing’s “Patient A” explores the first-known case of clinical transmission of HIV. In the late 1980s, Kimberly Ann Bergalis was one of six patients infected with HIV after visiting David J. Acer, a dentist who had AIDS. Commissioned by her family to tell her story, the play examines issues of testing, discrimination and personal responsibility against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic in America.

“Gendusa and his talented cast of student actors are to be congratulated. While they may not have been born at the time of Bergalis’ death, they still are able to bring a measure of deep meaning and humanity to this play so that it still has much to resonate to today's audiences,” according to a review featured in the Examiner.

“This production was very personal for me and the cast. I was so proud of these young actors for reaching the levels they did and dealing with such an important topic,” Gendusa said. “The students deserve the award for their love, hard work, and amazingly moving performances.”

This is Gendusa’s fifth nomination for a Big Easy Theater Award at Loyola. The university’s production of “Godspell,” which he directed, won the Best University Production of 2011 in the Big Easy Theater Awards.

Loyola professor John Biguenet also secured a nomination for his new play, “Mold,” which premiered last year at Southern Rep Theatre in New Orleans. Loyola students and alumni are also nominated for many other Big Easy Theater Awards, including:

Nominated in the Best Musical category:
Loyola Theatre Arts and Dance seniors Charlotte Voelkel and Kali Russell starred in “Evil Dead: The Musical” by See ‘Em on Stage: A Production Company.

Nominated in the Best Drama category:
“33 Variations,” by Southern Rep Theatre and MESA Production Company, was produced by Loyola English alumna Aimee Hayes ‘91. Loyola Theatre Arts and Dance graduates Iam Hoch ‘06 and Monica Harris ‘07 starred in “Clybourne Park,” produced by the Cripple Creek Theatre Co.

Nominated in the Best Comedy category:
Loyola Theatre Arts and Dance alumna Britney Chandler ‘12 starred in “Noises Off,” produced by Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts. “Venus in Fur,” produced by Southern Rep Theatre was also directed by Hayes.

Nominated in the Best Director of a Comedy category:
Hayes also secured another nomination for directing “Venus in Fur.”

Nominated in the Best Musical Director category:
College of Music and Fine arts graduate Jefferson Turner ‘99 was nominated for “Next To Normal,” produced by Southern Rep Theatre.

Nominated in the Best Actress in a Drama category:
Loyola Theatre Arts and Dance alumna Kerry Cahill ‘05 was nominated for her performance in Biguenet’s “Mold,” produced by Southern Rep Theatre. Harris secured another nomination for “The Mountaintop,” produced by Anthony Bean Community Theater.

The award show in March is hosted by Leslie Castay, a Broadway veteran nominated for her performance in Southern Rep Theatre’s “Next To Normal,” and Loyola alumnus Hoch, who won the Big Easy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama for the 2012 production of “Balm in Gilead.” Ticket information is available online.

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