Our congratulations to Weston G. Wetzel, a second-year graduate student at CCM, who has earned his first Acclaim Award nomination. Wetzel has been singled out for his lighting design of CCM’s production of the groundbreaking rock musical Rent.

Jonathan Larson’s Rent earned four Tony Awards, including best musical, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama when it debuted on Broadway in 1996. Inspired by Puccini’s opera La Bohème, the show explores a group of friends in New York City’s Lower East Side artist community and the relationships they forge while living under the shadow of AIDS and the end of the millennium.

Wetzel opened the season as lighting designer for CCM’s main stage production of Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker. His other CCM credits include The Human Comedy, CCM Dance Division’s Winter Dance Showcase 2010 and its Fall Dance Concert 2009. Locally, he also designed lighting for The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center’s production of Big River. A native of central Texas, he earned his undergraduate degree at Stephen F. Austin State University.

Directed by CCM Drama Chair Richard E. Hess, Rent continues through March 6. Only a limited number of tickets remain for the largely sold-out run. Details about the production are available at ccm.uc.edu.

The Acclaim Awards have celebrated excellence in Greater Cincinnati theatre since 2006. More than 30 local theatre experts — critics, practitioners, producers and educators — participate on Acclaim panels, reviewing area productions and awarding outstanding work. The program also funds initiatives to support area theatre artists and educators, including local Guest Equity Artist contracts, Theatre Educator Awards, Rising Stars scholarships and the Theatre Forward showcase. Find 2010-11 Acclaim nominations, recommended productions and an explanation of voting procedures at http://www.CinStages.com.

The sixth annual Acclaim Awards ceremony will be held Monday, May 23, at the Aronoff Center’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater. This year, for the first time, the Acclaims will include the Cincinnati Theater Awards (CTAs), which invite the public to vote for favorite performers and productions by community theatres, as well as university theatre programs.

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