Springfield, Ohio - On Sunday, Feb. 25, Wittenberg University senior Dan Stroeh received a life-changing call. It was from a representative of the Kennedy Center/American College Theater Festival's national committee informing him that he had won the National Student Playwriting Award, the most prestigious playwriting honor for an undergraduate or graduate student in the United States.
Stroeh (pronounced STRAY) wrote a play titled "it is no desert" documenting his life story and personal reflections of an ongoing battle with neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder of the nervous system. Stroeh was selected for the national honor after appearing at the KC/ACTF Region III competition Jan. 10-14 in Milwaukee, one of eight such events staged in recent months that showcased the work of thousands of artists nationwide.
The award, created in 1974, has never before gone to a student from Wittenberg University or any other academic institution in the state of Ohio. The honor will launch his professional career as Stroeh will be offered a contact for publication by Samuel French, will receive $2,500 from the William Morris Agency, will become a member of the Dramatists Guild, and will be given a fellowship to the Sundance Theater Lab.
Stroeh, who was diagnosed with the disease after he arrived on Wittenberg's campus in 1996, will perform "it is no desert" at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 23 and 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 24 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. He will fly to nation's capital with a production team from Wittenberg that includes senior students Josh Keiter of Lansford, Pa. and Karl Miller of Silver Spring, Md., associate professor Jimmy Humphries, and professor and chair of the theatre and dance department Steve Reynolds.