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Oct. 6, 2010

Baylor Bears with theater careers grab the spotlight in New York City


A Baylor University theatre graduate and a member of Baylor Communication in New York were nominated in July for 2010 New York Innovative Theatre awards for their performances in leading roles in New York City.

Vying for outstanding actress in a lead role was Elizabeth Davis, BFA '03, who portrayed poet Emily Dickinson in the play "Emily, An Amethyst Remembrance" off-Broadway at the Kirk Theatre at Theatre Row in New York City.

Nominated for outstanding actor in a lead role is Christopher Domig. In "A Mysterious Way," he performed on various subway platforms around New York City. For two years, Domig has been resident assistant for Baylor Communication in New York, the internship program of the film and digital media division of Baylor's Department of Communication Studies.

But that barely covers how well the Bears are doing in the Big Apple.

• Both plays were presented by New York's Firebone Theatre, co-founded by Baylor graduates Steven Day, MFA '05, and his wife, Chris Cragin, MFA '05. Day directed "Emily;" Cragin wrote it. In 2008, Cragin was chosen as one of 12 emerging playwrights for the Emerging Writers Group in The Public Theater. More than 700 playwrights applied for the program. Day was chosen for the Lincoln Center Directors Lab in 2007.

• "A Mysterious Way" was written by another Bear, Steven Michael Walters, BFA '03. Walters is a Dallas Theatre Critic Award winner and was named Best Local Playwright by the Dallas Observer in 2006.

• Both Cragin's play and Walters' play were written and workshopped during their time as students at Baylor.

• Thomas Ward, assistant professor of theatre arts at Baylor, wrote a play called "Binge," which opened recently off-off-Broadway at the Drilling Company in New York. It was praised in a review as "darkly comic" with skillful character development.

• Alumnus Robert Askins' play "Princes of Waco" was recently produced off-Broadway by Ensemble Studio Theatre to rave reviews. Askins, BFA '04, was a nominee for the 2010 PONY (Playwrights of New York) prize.

"There are a lot of Baylor people doing good work on both coasts and in Dallas," Davis said.

She said her career is "a lifetime commitment. It's nice to be recognized for the hard work, but I do what I love, and I certainly didn't anticipate this."

Dr. DeAnna Toten Beard, associate professor of theatre history at Baylor and graduate program director in Baylor's Department of Theatre Arts, taught Davis, Cragin and Day.

"Elizabeth Davis is an amazing actor," she said. "She is a godly woman and has always been a servant to the least fortunate."

Toten Beard said that Day is "high energy, enthusiastic and really gifted. Like his wife, Chris, Steven has not seen his life as a choice between being an artist and being a follower of Christ.

"Steven and Chris are outstanding examples of what the creators of Baylor's MFA in directing had in mind when they formed the program," Toten Beard said.

Winners of the New York Innovative Theatre awards were to be announced Sept. 20.

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