Today@Sam Article

Musical Theatre Student Wins National Award

May 22, 2017
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May

Musical theatre major Dominic Pecikonis (third from right) competed in Washington, D.C., with other musical theatre students from across the country and won an elite National Kennedy Center American College Theatre Musical Festival Award.

Story by Dawine Bergeron

Dominic Pecikonis, a student in Sam Houston State University’s musical theatre program, recently won a National Kennedy Center American College Theatre Musical Festival Award, which has given him a full ride scholarship to a prestigious summer institute in New York City.

Pecikonis represented Region VI and competed in Washington, D.C., last month, with other outstanding musical theatre representatives from nine regions across the country.

Dominic Pecikonis

Along with a $600 scholarship for being selected as the regional representative, Pecikonis’s national award earned him a full tuition scholarship to the Open Jar Summer Institute, which includes all classes, meals, tickets to four Broadway shows, air fare and hotel.

The summer institute gives students the opportunity to connect with the Broadway community. Students spend one week working one-on-one with Broadway directors, casting directors, choreographers, actors, and agents.

Each night, students go to a Broadway show, participate in talkbacks with the cast, and have backstage experiences.

Pecikonis first competed with students from other universities in the region at a dance event hosted by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region VI Musical Theatre Initiative at Angelo State University.

After winning the regional award, he then traveled to Washington, D.C. to compete with students from the other nine regions at the KCACTF National Festival at the Kennedy Center.

 “This is a special accomplishment because only nine students are accepted from across the country, one from each region, to participate in the national festival. The winner must be exceptional in the criteria for the initiative,” said Penelope Hasekoester, chair of the Department of Theatre and Musical Theatre.

Student nominees and award recipients were chosen based on their ability to play urgent, strong and clear acting objectives throughout the song, sing with vocal excellence, connect to the song physically, and demonstrate range as an actor and singer.

“I started performing from a very young age and knew in eighth grade that I wanted to obtain a degree in musical theatre, because it encompassed everything I loved—acting, singing and dancing,” Peciknois said.

Peciknois will be living in Oregon this summer to perform and work in professional theatre while saving up money to move to New York. 

“I’m excited to see what the future holds,” Peciknois said.

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