Westmont Professors Win Indy Awards

Miller James, Mitchell Thomas and John Blondell

The Santa Barbara Independent honored Westmont Theater Arts Professors Mitchell Thomas, John Blondell and Miller James with Indy Awards at the Lobero Theatre May 24. The annual theater awards recognize excellent work done in the local region.

Thomas won an Indy for his work directing last October’s Westmont production of “The Bald Soprano.” Blondell accepted an Indy for his work directing “Our Town,” performed by Santa Barbara Theatre. James, Westmont instructor of theatre arts, earned a costume design Indy for “Our Town,” presented by Santa Barbara Theatre, and Westmont’s performance of “The Bald Soprano.”

Indy Awards are nothing new to Blondell and Thomas. Blondell received an Indy award in 2008 for his direction of Lit Moon’s “Queen C.” They both won Indy Awards in 2006 for “King Richard II,” Blondell for directing and Thomas for performing.

Thomas, who earned a master’s of fine arts degree from the University of Washington Professional Actor Training Program in Seattle, appeared in the roles of Othello and Isabel in a fusion of Othello/Measure for Measure in 2008. His recent directing projects have focused on generating new plays by working directly with playwrights. His 2009 production of “Muéveme, Muévete” was an original bilingual, site-specific piece written by a playwriting student.

Blondell, who earned a doctorate from UC Santa Barbara, is founder and director of Lit Moon Theatre Company, an award-winning international theatre ensemble. He also founded the Lit Moon World Theater Festival, an international event produced yearly in Santa Barbara. In 2006, he founded the Lit Moon World Shakespeare Festival, the first of its kind in the United States and one of only five in the world.