TTU actors win acclaim from Tennessee Theatre Association

A group of Tennessee Tech University actors have discovered why there’s just no business like show business.

Their recent Cookeville Drama Center and Wesley Arena Theater production of John Steinbeck’s "Of Mice and Men" won three awards — including one for best production — at this year’s conference of the Tennessee Theatre Association.

And that means the group will go on to represent Tennessee at the South Eastern Theatre Conference in Arlington, Va., in March.

"To use Steinbeck’s actual words and to get to act out all those emotions with them makes the play something magical. Two of the judges told us they cried," said instructor Charles Long, who played the slow-witted but loveable character of Lennie Small.

He also teamed with university forensics coach Steve Gwilt to direct the play, and the pair won an award for best directors. An award for technical excellence rounded out the production’s state honors.

"I knew we had a good, solid show, but with the competition we had there, I didn’t think we’d get as many awards as we did, so needless to say, I was very pleased," said Gwilt, who also portrayed itinerant ranch hand George Milton.

Other cast members included university students Brad Brown, who played rough and confrontational Curley, and Dawn Luegge, who played Curley’s wife.

The group is accepting donations for travel expenses and competition fees for the coming trip to Arlington. For more information, call Long at 372-6269 or e-mail him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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