Westmont, Alums Earn 6 Theater Awards

Mitchell Thomas, Casey Caldwell, Marie Ponce, John Blondell and Miller James

Mitchell Thomas, Casey Caldwell, Marie Ponce, John Blondell and Miller James

The Santa Barbara Independent honored six people associated with Westmont at its annual theater awards May 19 at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. The 2014 Indy Theater Awards, celebrating the work of the entire Santa Barbara theater community, gave two awards to Westmont’s production of “Pirates of Penzance,” which has won three national awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

Professor John Blondell earned awards for directing “Pirates of Penzance” and “Hamlet” for the Lit Moon Theatre Company. Adjunct professor Victoria Finlayson won for her choreography in “The Pirates of Penzance” and for her performances in Lit Moon’s “Hamlet” and “Untitled IV” for UCSB’s Launch Pad.

“This was a terrific night for Westmont-associated theater artists,” Blondell says “These six awards represent nearly a quarter of the total awards given at the ceremony. It speaks to the high regard that the greater Santa Barbara community has for the theatre arts program at Westmont, and for the artists that work in it and emerge from it. We are all honored and grateful to be recognized in this way.”

Mitchell Thomas, associate professor of theater, earned an award for directing Westmont’s “Electra.”

Miller James, adjunct professor and resident costume designer, was honored for his direction and costume design of “The Importance of Being Earnest” for the Circle Bar B Theatre.

Casey Caldwell, who graduated from Westmont in 2008, earned an Indy for his producing, directing, interviewing and writing of “Happy Few” for the Ratatat Theatre Company, where he is artistic director.

Marie Ponce, who graduated from Westmont in 2010, won for her performance in Boxtales Theatre Company’s “The Hero Twins — A Mayan Story.”