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SUNY Potsdam Production to be Presented at Kennedy Center American College Theater Regional Festival

December 29, 2023

SUNY Potsdam Production of ‘You & Me & the Space Between’ Chosen for Region 1 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival 

The SUNY Potsdam Department of Theatre and Dance production of “You and Me and the Space Between” has been selected to be presented at the 2024 Region 1 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

A SUNY Potsdam Department of Theatre and Dance production has been selected for presentation during the Kennedy Center American College Theater Regional Festival, to be held Jan. 30 to Feb. 3, 2024.   

SUNY Potsdam’s Spring 2023 mainstage production of Finegan Kruckemeyer’s powerful play, “You and Me and the Space Between” was one of only four plays from across the Northeast invited to present at the 2024 Region 1 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF). Students and faculty will travel to Central Connecticut State University at the end of January for the performances. Region 1 consists of colleges from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Northeast New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

“Stepping back into the artistic world of this show and having the opportunity to share our craft with more audiences is a huge honor for us all."

Assistant Professor Rivka Eckert Director of “You and Me and the Space Between”

“Once again, our creative team gets the chance to practice one of the central messages of the play: We are stronger together. When we celebrate our differences, listen to youth, and center those most impacted by climate crises, we find creative solutions,” said  Eckert.

Local audiences have an opportunity to see the show again at a fundraising event to help cover the costs of the trip, to be held Sunday, Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. in the Black Box Theater, located in the Performing Arts Center on the SUNY Potsdam campus. Tickets will be available at the door beginning at 1:30 p.m., for whatever you care to donate.  

This invitation is made even more impressive, as the department’s Fall 2021 production of David Jacobi’s satirical comedy, “Ready Steady Yeti Go” was honored last year with an excellence in ensemble performance award from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, after having also made it to the Region 1 festival. 

“Each year, the KCACTF Region 1 respondents see over 100 shows from New England and part of New York State,” said department Chair Dr. Jay Pecora.  “For a college to have a show invited to the annual festival is a very rare occurrence. It is like one of our sports teams winning a regional tournament against hundreds of teams from six neighboring states. To be invited two years out of three is unprecedented. This is a testament to the very high caliber of work we have been producing since COVID restrictions ended.”   

cast on stage

The all-student cast and crew includes:  


  • Denaisha Clarke ’25 of Brooklyn, N.Y. 
  • Jemdryl “Queen” De La Cruz Bueno ’23 of New York, N.Y. 
  • Alisha Felder ’25 of New York, N.Y. 
  • Sophie Leuzzi ’24 of Dansville, N.Y. 
  • Frankie Maguire ’26 of Huntington Station, N.Y. 
  • Gabby Maresco ’25 
  • Jonah Miller ’25 
  • Tony Rossi-Denton ’26 


  • Lily LaBounty ’25 
  • Reilly Russell ’24 


  • Stage Manager: Alexis Jerome ’24 of Rexford, N.Y. 
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Carter Shults ’24 of Rochester, N.Y. 
  • Heads of Costumes: Kay Athanasidy ’23 of Cortlandt Manor, N.Y., and Sophie John Leuzzi ’24 of Dansville, N.Y. 
  • Scenic Artist: Jemdryl “Queen” De La Cruz Bueno ’23 of New York, N.Y. 
  • Dramaturg: Kay Athanasidy ’23 of Cortlandt Manor, N.Y. 
  • Production Teaching Artist: Emily Gilligan ’25 of Washington, N.J. 


About Finegan Kruckemeyer’s “You and Me and the Space Between”: 
Directed by Assistant Professor Rivka Eckert and movement coach Kerri Canedy, the production explores the plight of climate refugees through the eyes of a child and is appropriate for audiences aged six and up. The play follows Eve and the people of Proud Circle as they try to figure out solutions for their sinking island.  Australia’s most accomplished children’s playwright, Finegan Kruckemeyer, delivers a tale of courage and invention that is brought to life with creative storytelling, scenic design by Todd P. Canedy, lighting by Tom Grabowski, and original music composition by Professor Gregory Wanamaker. The show features projected live-drawing by illustrators Lily LaBounty ’25 and Reilly Russell ’24, and dramaturgy by Kit Athanasidy ’24. 

The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival 
Started in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center’s founding chairman, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide which has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States. KCACTF honors excellence of overall production and offers student artists individual recognition through awards and scholarships in playwriting, acting, criticism, directing and design. 

About SUNY Potsdam:
Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit 

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