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Home » News » College of Fine Arts Alumni Win Big at New York Musical Festival

College of Fine Arts Alumni Win Big at New York Musical Festival

Published September 4, 2019
Kathleen Wessel

Kathleen Wessel and Donald Rupe at the premiere of Flying Lessons.

Florida State School of Dance alumna Kathleen Wessel (MFA ’07) received the “Outstanding Choreography” award at the New York Musical Festival on Aug. 4, 2019. The award comes for her work on the new musical, Flying Lessons, which was written and directed by Florida State School of Theatre alumnus, Donald Rupe.

Rupe (BA ’06) was a former student of Wessel’s at Florida State before he wrote the musical. Flying Lessons was one of only 10 productions selected from 300 submissions from across the nation. The musical premiered at the Signature Theater in New York on July 22, and has since been reviewed by The New York Times and Theater Mania.

The New York Musical Festival (NYMF) announced the winners of the 2019 NYMF Awards for Excellence on Aug. 6, two days after the honors were awarded at Sony Hall in New York. Flying Lessons took home three awards. Wessel was awarded “Outstanding Choreography”, the Flying Lessons cast tied with the cast of Buried for “Outstanding Ensemble”, and Michelle Coban won “Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role”.

After receiving this honor, Wessel is now working on a new immersive theater production in Atlanta with Kelly Bartnik, a Brooklyn-based choreographer and director who was an original cast member of Sleep No More.

Performance of Flying Lessons. Photos taken by Hector Sanchez.