Lawson Places Second in American Prize Competition

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (April 12, 2017) – Dr. Darren Lawson was named as the national second place winner for The American Prize in Directing for 2016-2017. In consideration for the award, Lawson submitted Bob Jones University’s production of Verdi’s Aida, which he directed in 2014.

A resident of Greenville, Lawson serves as dean of the School of Fine Arts and Communication at BJU. He holds a BA in rhetoric and public address and an MA in platform arts from BJU as well as a PhD in communication studies from the University of Kansas.

Lawson is a member of the University Classic Players and has portrayed such roles as Cyrano in Cyrano de Bergerac, Leontes in The Winter’s Tale, Henry in King Henry IV, Duke of Buckingham in Richard III: The Terrible Reign, Bottom the Weaver in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macduff in Macbeth, Jaques in As You Like It, Feste in Twelfth Night, and many others.  He also serves as one of the stage directors for the BJU Opera Association with productions including Aida, Samson et Dalila, Andrea Chenier, Mefistofele, L’Elisir d’Amore, Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, and Simeon. 

BJU’s production of Aida, conducted by Maestro Steven White, included a cast of more than 200 in addition to more than 150 musicians and stage crew. Guest artists Kevin Thompson (Ramphis), Clay Hilley (Radames), Mary Phillips (Amneris), Indra Thomas (Aida) and Grant Youngblood (Amonasro) joined the BJU cast. Aida also received a finalist citation from The American Prize competition in Opera Performance, 2016-17, for “Exceptional Production Values.”

The American Prize is a series of non-profit national competitions in the performing arts providing cash awards, professional adjudication and regional, national and international recognition for the best recorded performances by ensembles and individuals each year in the United States at the professional, college/university, church, community and secondary school levels. Administered by Hat City Music Theater, Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Danbury, Connecticut, The American Prize was founded in 2009 and is awarded annually.