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Best Newcomer to the Stage 

Patrick Du Laney

Long a boon to local audiences, UMKC's graduate theater department is perhaps even more beloved by local theaters, which find in its annual yield of new students just the sort of hungry, talented, non-Equity artists who, between semesters, can achieve great things without getting all fussy about money or health insurance. Even among that crowd, Patrick Du Laney stands out. In his first year with the program, the strapping young man dug hard truths out of the boredom and heartache defining the life of a small-town cop in The Secret Lives of Losers, and he showboated devilishly as Present Laughter's Gary Essendine, expertly modulating farce and feeling as the gayest heterosexual in theater history. Even more impressive was his extracurricular work: He made an art of sexual frustration, expressing volumes even when shut down, first wooing Blanche DuBois to no avail in the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre's A Streetcar Named Desire and then offering such champion brooding that his Poor Jud in the New Theatre's Oklahoma! not only chilled — the big lug moved us.

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