Acclaim Hall of Fame

Rising Stars for 06-07 Theatre Season
Anthony Darnell

Anthony Darnell

Darnell "definitely has a big career in front of him," says Know Theatre artistic director Jason Bruffy. "It's fun to work with him before he takes off."

The 2007 CCM drama grad has been a standout on campus and off.

Local theater audiences first saw him in 2005 doing compelling supporting work for New Stage Collective in "Kimberly Akimbo." He was a core company member last summer with New Stage and returns this summer in "Hello, Again." Darnell will be assistant director "Radiant Baby." Artistic director Alan Patrick Kenny calls Darnell "a true theater artist ... who wants to grow and learn with every project."

This season Darnell has been a key onstage player with Know Theatre, in "Gompers," "Hamlet" and "After Ashley," opening April 19.

"He has natural talent and he puts all his energy into it," Bruffy observes.

Roderick Justice

Roderick Justice

Every fan of NKU theater knows Roderick Justice has been a key player since his freshman year. NKU theater-dance department chair Ken Jones says Justice has "it." If "it" means Justice is committed and watchable in every role, from the largest (the title role in "The Elephant Man") to the smallest (a hot dog vendor in "On the Town"), then he is an "it" guy.

Jones says Justice has been "the heart and soul of so many productions." Those include an hilarious turn as a fussy robot in "Wild Women of Planet Wongo" and Judas in "Jesus Christ Superstar."

Justice created the role of the hamburger flipping hero of the original musical "Burgertown" and capped his NKU career in a stand up-and-cheer performance in "Urinetown" earlier this year. He starred in "Aladdin" for Children's Theatre of Cincinnati earlier this season.

Sean Montgomery

Sean Montgomery

Montgomery "has a remarkable theatrical imagination," says Terrell Finney, head of CCM's Division of Opera, Musical Theatre, Drama, Arts-Administration, Theatre Design and Production. It's Montgomery's ability to "bring a remarkably grounded presence to every character he plays, even the ones that are larger than life," that has charmed audiences, most recently lighting up his scenes as an efficiency expert in "The Pajama Game" and an accountant in "The Full Monty."

"Everything he does is believable," Finney adds.Off campus, La Comedia Dinner Theatre audiences delighted in Montgomery as the prince (charming again) in "Sleeping Beauty."

CCM musical theater department head Aubrey Berg calls Montgomery "a leader in his class."

After "working tirelessly" on the senior showcase, Montgomery is packing for New York and a reprise of the showcase in mid-April.

All three Rising Stars, eligible Cincinnati theater artists under 25, receive a $1,000 cash award.

Rising Star Awards will be presented at the annual Enquirer Acclaim Awards at the Carnegie Center for Visual and Performing Arts on May 21. The Acclaims celebrate excellence in the Cincinnati area theater season.


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