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Vote Now: SHU Thespians Vying For Pro Regional Theater Awards

Patrick Robinson and Jordan Norkus, pictured in Sacred Heart University's production of "Macbeth," are up for regional acting awards from
Patrick Robinson and Jordan Norkus, pictured in Sacred Heart University's production of "Macbeth," are up for regional acting awards from Photo Credit: Mark F. Conrad

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — The play’s the thing at Sacred Heart University, where students have received a whopping 17 nominations for online theater guide’s 2017 Connecticut regional awards.

And they were all nominated in the professional categories, not the ones reserved for high school and college productions.

That means Sacred Heart students will be vying for votes up against respected regional theaters such as Westport Country Playhouse, Long Wharf Theater and Hartford Stage. In addition, they’re competing against renowned graduate programs including Yale Rep and Connecticut Repertory Theatre at UConn.

In fact, Sacred Heart is the only Connecticut undergraduate program nominated in professional categories.

Perhaps it’s not such a surprise, though: The Princeton Review ranks SHU in its list of only 20 Best College Theaters in the U.S.

And the SHU program is only seven years old.

Jerry Goehring, SHU’s director of performing arts, said he believes the powerhouse faculty is the reason for SHU’s success.

“Other places have so much in the way of facilities,” he said, “but we have the people.”

Goehring is the Tony- and Grammy-nominated producer of the Broadway musical adaptation of “A Christmas Story,” which Time Magazine listed as one of the top 10 shows of 2012. He’s also the lead producer of an upcoming revival of “The Secret Garden.”

His faculty and staff include veterans of Broadway, off-Broadway and regional theater.

“It’s nice to see people paying attention to what we’re doing here,” he says. “I think we’ve taken a lot of people by surprise.”

But what of the students?

2017 grad Dan Murphy of Norwalk is up for Best Connecticut Playwright for his “Fault Lines.” He joins Gwen Mileti ’17 of Torrington, who wrote “Seven Deadly Skeins,” in that category.

Senior Patrick Robinson of Wrentham, Mass., is nominated six times in the Best Actor in a Play and Best Younger Actor categories for his work in five different productions.

Senior Jordan Norkus of Waterbury is nominated three times for Best Actress in a Play. She’s up against fellow senior Katherine Horne of Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Seniors Zach Lane of Stony Brook, N.Y., and Devin Towne of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., are vying for Best Actor in a Musical along with junior Henry Solomon, Jr. of Hartford.

Senior Julia Vezza of Glen Cove, N.Y., is up for Best Actress in a Musical and senior Nicole Jablonski of Montville, N.J., is vying for Best Costume Design.

Voting is taking place now for's annual awards. Click here to vote.

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