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Bethel College Young Alumnus Award recipient to be honored March 14

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. - The Awards Committee of the Bethel College Alumni Association has selected Rachel Kasper deBenedet, Eldorado Springs, Colo., as the recipient of the Young Alumnus Award for 2005. Kasper deBenedet will be honored at 11 a.m., Monday, March 14 in Krehbiel Auditorium in the Fine Arts Center during Bethel College convocation. She will perform following the award presentation.

In honor of her father Arlo Kasper’s 70th birthday in February, Kasper deBenedet will perform again in Krehbiel Auditorium that evening at 7:30. The program will be similar, though with some variety from the morning. There will be a free-will offering taken to benefit theater at Bethel College.

Both events are free and open to the public.

Kasper deBenedet’s Broadway credits include "Nine," in which she played the role of Diana and understudied and performed as Luisa alongside actor Antonio Banderas.

She also appeared on Broadway in "The Sound of Music" as an understudy and performer in the role of Elsa Schraeder. She took the same role with a national tour of "The Sound of Music" that starred Richard Chamberlain.

Kasper deBenedet is currently playing Renee and other roles in the original Broadway cast of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."

Kasper deBenedet’s regional theater credits span from Boston to San Diego to Seattle to Atlanta. She has played leading roles in such shows as "Brigadoon," "Chess," "Singin’ in the Rain," "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," "Baby," "As Bees in Honey Drown," "The Dinner Party" and "Lend Me a Tenor."

"As an actor, my job is to become someone else. I need to have a grasp on the career, lifestyle, time in history, location and psychological identity of the characters I play," said Kasper deBenedet. "I have often felt that my liberal arts education gave me exposure to more aspects of the world than I would have gotten in a conservatory or more specialized acting program."

A North Newton native and Newton High School graduate, Kasper deBenedet graduated from Bethel College in 1988 with a degree in fine arts. She is married to David M. deBenedet and is the daughter of associate professor of music Kathryn Kasper and professor emeritus of communication arts Arlo Kasper of North Newton.

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