School of Theatre, Film & Television senior Lillie Langston (BFA, Musical Theatre ’23) has been awarded the 2023 Start Up to Stardom award. Langston received the award at a surprise ceremony in the Tornabene Theatre earlier this week, where benefactor Barbara Molotsky presented her with a certificate and check for $10,000. Molotsky, a long-time arts patron, founded the award to recognize and support outstanding Acting and Musical Theatre students graduating from TFTV.
“I think Lillie has real potential for stardom, which is what the award is all about,” said Molotsky. “When she’s on stage, where I’ve seen her several times in various performances, she absolutely sparkles. You can’t take your eyes off her. I have a lot of faith in her and her success.”
Molotsky started the Start Up to Stardom Award knowing that many graduates have the goal of moving to New York or Los Angeles. “Unfortunately, these cities are hugely expensive, which adds to the stress of finding an apartment, roommates, going to auditions, etc. They all get day jobs, but those salaries can be a drop in the bucket. This Award aims to ease that stress so they can continue to follow their dreams and reach their goals.”
“I am so incredibly thankful to Barbara Molotsky for this generous donation and her constant investment in the lives of young artists at the U of A,” said Langston. “This award was a complete surprise and such a blessing. It is truly a game changer for me, as I plan on moving to New York on the first of the year and have been extremely stressed about being able to afford the move at all. This funding will allow me to sign for an apartment, purchase airfare, and overall allow me the ability to pursue this move with more confidence and financial stability. Grateful doesn’t even begin to cover it.”
Langston, who graduates this month, is currently performing in the Arizona Theatre Company’s production of Scrooge as part of TFTV’s professional internship program with the theatre company. Earlier this year, she led a cast of 32 in the Arizona Repertory Theatre production of Legally Blonde, which opened the school’s 2022/23 theatre season. “This is the sort of vehicle that calls for star material,” wrote Broadway World critic Robert Encila-Celdran. “Arizona Repertory Theatre has a gold mine in Lillie Langston as Elle Woods, a triple-threat talent with an absorbing charm to boot.”
In addition to this award, Langston is a 2023 Medici Scholar. The Medici program provides students with a $1,000 award to pursue educational summer projects and creates opportunities for interaction between students and the arts patron community. Her patron, Pat Engels, attended the surprise award ceremony, along with all of her student peers and faculty mentors.
The School of Theatre, Film & Television is immensely grateful for our community of donors who rally around students and provide additional support in preparation for successful careers. The generosity of these donors contributes to the growth and development of the school, allowing it to offer valuable resources, opportunities, and support that can make a significant difference in the lives of aspiring artists. Whether through funding for special projects, scholarships, or other initiatives, the impact of this support, at any level, can be profound. The bond between the school, its students, and the donors creates a dynamic and nurturing environment that fosters creativity, learning, and success.