Helen J. Kryszak Memorial Scholarship Recipients
Congratulations to the
2011 Winner - Eric Van Pryz
Article from the Metro Community News - August 2011
The Lancaster Regional Players honored their first recipient of the Helen J. Kryszak Memorial Scholarship Tuesday July 26, at the Richard E. Pascucci Memorial Band Shell. The regional players presented the scholarship award to graduating Lancaster High School senior Eric Van Pryz.
"Eric has worked in many capacities backstage, for productions with Lancaster High School, the Lancaster Youth Bureau, and the Lancaster Opera House. He has received rave reviews and high recommendations from those he has worked with, who have said he is a hard worker who focuses on the task at hand, and is highly competent and dependable. We are pleased to offer this scholarship to Eric, who so strongly exemplifies the spirit of teamwork in the theater that was demonstrated by our friend Helen Kryszak," remarked President of the Lancaster Regional Players Eileen Stevic.
Van Pryz will be attending the University at Buffalo this fall to obtain a bachelor's of fine arts degree in technical theater. His future goal is to either work with a touring company or to become a lighting designer in New York City or Los Angeles, one of the big cities.
It is nice [to receive this scholarship]. I am honored that they picked me," commented Van Pryz.
The scholarship is named in the memory of Helen Kryszak, who was a longtime resident of Lancaster. She joined the regional players in 1972, when the group was known as the Lancaster-Depew Community Theater. From 1972 to 2010, Kryszak worked in some capacity, mostly in a backstage role, in almost 70 productions. She served as stage manager, stage crew member, and house manager, but it is her role as "property mistress" in dozens of productions that quickly earned her the nickname "Helen of Props."
"The members of Lancaster Regional Players recognize the importance of those who serve outside of the spotlight in numerous roles behind the scenes of a production, and no one symbolizes this commitment more than our own Helen Kryszak. Hardworking and always eager to help, Helen also was friendly and made a point to help newcomers feel welcome. Anyone who has been involved with a show with Lancaster Regional Players over the past 38 years has gotten to know and work with Helen," said Stevic.
"Despite the dozens of directors who have helmed our shows and the hundreds of actors who have performed with us since 1972, the one constant has been Helen, sitting backstage during each performance, following along with the script, and ready to spring up and help out with the next scene change or special effect," added Stevic.
In February 2011, Kryszak's life was cut short by cancer, and for the members of the Lancaster Regional Players who knew and worked with her, productions would never be the same again.
"We will never forget her commitment and dedication to our group and our productions, specifically her drive to help others look good onstage and do what was needed for each performance to run smoothly and efficiently," commented Stevic.
The Lancaster Regional Players aspire to honor the memory of Kryszak by offering a $500 scholarship in her name to a student who shows similar dedication to the backstage aspects of the theatre.
"Backstage personnel are the backbone of any production and Lancaster Regional Players would like to recognize students who exemplify Helen's spirit and commitment and fellowship of the theatre," said Stevic.
For more information about our scholarship, please e-mail us at email@example.com.
Lancaster Regional Players, PO Box 51, Lancaster, NY 14086