The Roger Sturtevant Award
Wright State University Produces Two Equity Award Winners
Actors’ Equity is pleased to announce that Meegan Midkiff and Nick Verina are the winners of the first annual Roger Sturtevant Awards, named for the beloved casting director who passed away in 2003. The award is given to Equity Membership Candidates (EMC) who have demonstrated outstanding abilities in the field of musical theatre. The newly created award is given under the auspices of the Actors’ Equity Foundation after a specially created panel reviewed taped submissions and letters of recommendation written on the applicants’ behalf. The award consists of a certificate accompanied by a $1,000 check.
A Montgomery, Alabama native who graduated from Carver Creative Performing Arts Center, a satellite performing arts school connected to Booker T. Washington High School, Meegan Midkiff seemed destined for the stage from an early age. She was famous within her own family from the start, always providing the entertainment at family events with older sister Erin, who is now married and living in North Carolina. Her father Richard, who is retired from the Air Force and working in Human Resources for the state, and her mother Cheryl, a nurse, still live in the Montgomery area. With the support of her high school teachers Randy Foster and Angela Dickson, it was a short hop from Alabama to Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio where she earned her BFA in Musical Theatre in 2001 after performing regionally in shows that ran the gamut from CHICAGO to THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Ms. Midkiff has also performed in the national tours of THE MUSIC MAN and KISS ME, KATE and in the New York reading of M. CLAUDEL, which featured Eartha Kitt and Broadway veterans Janine LaManna and Michael Berry. Ms. Midkiff earned her coveted Equity Card recently through the New York production of ON THE TOWN. Ms. Midkiff was elated to receive a phone call from Equity President Patrick Quinn informing her she had won the award. “I am surprised and honored to win,” Meegan said.
Originally from Niles, Ohio Nick Verina graduated from Niles McKinley High School in 2001. There, he was a star member of the Speech Team throughout his four years, ranking 11th nationally during his freshman year and working his way up to 8th by the time he was a senior. Additionally, he won two district and two state championships. He was also a four-year member of the Drama Club. He credits his Speech teacher John Ravezzo and Drama teachers Chad Ries and Lynn Gettman for their tremendously supportive influence. His proud family still lives in Niles where his father Nick Sr. is a graphic artist, his mother Helen works for ITI Internal and sister Allyson is in education. Mr. Verina will graduate from Wright State University in June of this year with his BFA in Musical Theatre and plans to move permanently to New York in August. He is currently in rehearsals for GREEN GABLES with The Human Race Theatre Company at the Victoria Theatre in downtown Dayton, earning him his coveted Equity Card. He has appeared in the world premiere of WAS also with The Human Race Theatre Company and in the concert version of HAROLD AND MAUDE at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in New York. Additionally, he has worked at the Youngstown Playhouse, Trumbull New Theatre, and Easy Street Productions. Upon receiving the congratulatory phone call from Equity President Patrick Quinn Nick said, “I was very excited. It gave me confidence in the choices that I am making.”
Located just outside Dayton, Ohio, Wright State University's Musical Theatre training program was launched just seven years ago. The program is part of the larger Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures, headed by W. Stuart McDowell, former Artistic Director of NYC's Riverside Shakespeare Company. Ms. Midkiff was part of the first graduating class and, in June, Mr. Verino will be part of the fourth. While there, Ms. Midkiff performed in several shows including BRIGADOON, PHANTOM as well as the role of Katharine Wright in a musical, 1903, about the Wright brothers, broadcast on PBS. Mr. Verina played the leads in NINE, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST and most recently TARTUFFE among others. Both Ms. Midkiff and Mr. Verina were Augsburger/Estevez Scholars, named after the fathers of Samantha Langevin and Dayton native, Martin Sheen.
Patrick Quinn and Meegan Midkiff
The panel of judges consisted of Equity President Patrick Quinn, Equity First Vice President Mark S. Zimmerman, and Equity Councillor Judy Rice and Pat McCorkle and Arnold Mungioli, both from the Casting Society of America. A Sturtevant family
member also sat on the panel. The awards were announced on Thursday, April 14, 2005.
Arizona Theatre Service
Roger Sturtevant began a show business career as box office treasurer (and sometimes as casting director) for summer theaters in the northeast, including the New London Barn Playhouse in New Hampshire and the Pocono Playhouse in Mountainhome, PA. On Broadway he served as assistant treasurer in several theater box offices, including the Winter Garden during the original run of Follies, his favorite musical. After his passing, Roger’s family contacted Equity’s Foundation to set up the award. Jane Sturtevant Johnson notes, “Inspired by the many expressions of gratitude and heartfelt appreciation, we are proud and happy to announce the establishment of an award in Roger’s name to be given to talented new actors and actresses in the musical theatre.”
The award was established in 2005.