Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike cast

COLUMBUS, Miss. — Kris Lee, visiting assistant professor in English and creative writing at Mississippi University for Women, along with cast and crew, won the Warren McDaniel Award for Best Production at the 2017 Mississippi Theatre Association Festival held at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.

The crew won for the Starkville Community Theatre production of Christopher’s Durang’s Tony-winning comedy, “Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike,” a play they premiered in Mississippi last year, and will advance to the Southeastern Theatre Conference regional competition March 1-5 in Lexington, Ky.

The Mississippi Theatre Association Festival is a statewide event held every year around the month of January. This competition is held in different areas across the state. Starkville Community Theatre has participated in this festival each year, and has won at state, regional and national levels in the past.

“Learning to be a jack of all trades from Indiana to New York, I consider my time with Starkville Community Theatre to be one of the most formative highlights of my production career,” Lee said.

He explained the submission process for the festival, noting that any community theatre in the state had a choice of submitting one play from either a current or past season, though they may also submit an original play, as long as the play runs under an hour.

Lee added that there are strict guidelines to follow at the state, regional and national levels as part of the competition.

Regional winners will move on to the nationals at the American Association of Community Theatres Festival in Rochester, Minn., in June.

Lee obtained his masters of fine arts in creative writing at Spalding University. Prior to his MFA, he earned his master’s degree in secondary education and bachelor of arts in communication and theatre at Mississippi State University.

His most recent work includes the commissioned pieces “The Breeze Bends the Grass” and “A Thousand Words,” as well as “Dipping Birds” and “About the Baby.” Other award-winning plays include “Loose Hog” and “On How to Accommodate Marlo’s Frying Pan.”