The Catholic University of America

April 15, 2010

Composer Stephen Sondheim Presents Award to CUA Senior

  Stephen Sondheim presents Patrick Thomas Cragin with the Young Artist Citation. (Photos by Russell Hirshon)


Senior musical theater major Patrick Thomas Cragin was honored this week by Signature Theatre with the 2010 Sondheim Award Gala Young Artist Citation at a black-tie gala event at the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C.

Legendary composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim presented Cragin with the award, which recognizes young people in musical theater, on April 12.

Sondheim “is considered to be possibly the most influential man in music theater history,” Cragin says. “The award is the biggest honor I've ever received,” he adds.

As part of the award, Signature Theatre, of Arlington, Va., presented Cragin with a round-trip train ticket to New York City for his next audition.

However, Cragin, of New Orleans, La., might not need that train ticket for some time. The day after he met Stephen Sondheim at the awards ceremony, he was offered the role of Kinecki in an upcoming national tour of “Grease.”

Since coming to Washington, D.C., to attend CUA, Cragin has been an understudy for two shows at Signature, “Giant” and “Show Boat.” He had the opportunity to perform in “Show Boat” when one of the actors became ill.

“Working at Signature has been such an incredible experience,” Cragin says. “I’ve learned so much there that you can't really get in a classroom. Learning to work in the professional world of theatre is what my studies are all about.

“However,” he joked, “it was sometimes difficult to get my religion homework done.”

Angela Lansbury, famous star of the stage, film and television, was also honored at the awards ceremony, receiving the Sondheim Award.

Signature Theatre was the 2009 Tony Award winner for regional theater and is well known for its production of Sondheim’s works, having produced 18 of them, more than any other theater in the United States.