CUAA theaterCUAA student Abigail Penhallegon played the part of Hermia in the fall 2020 virtual production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo by Allie Milot ('21)

And the 2020-21 Gerard Dzuiblinski Excellence In Theater Award goes to...


Abigail Penhallegon!

“Abby was instrumental to our year both on and off stage. She was involved in every theater production, and was a member of our new group CUAA Theater Ambassadors,” said Amanda Williams, director of theater. “She showed immense growth as an actor and professional. I was impressed by her desire to learn and reach her full potential. We are thankful to have students like Abby who work above and beyond their call.”

Abby Penhallegon was selected by her peers, a student vote, with the Director of Theater Amanda Williams’ final approval.

This award was established in 2020 and created to continue the legacy of Concordia University Ann Arbor’s late theater director, Gerard (Gerry) Dzuiblinski, who lost his battle to cancer in 2019. Dzuiblinski directed numerous productions in CUAA’s theater department between 2013-2019.

Related: Concordia theater presents slew of creative activities for students this spring

The Gerard Dzuiblinski Excellence in Theater Award will be earned by a student who has contributed above and beyond to CUAA’s theater program. The recipient of the award will be announced each spring.

More on Gerry Dzuiblinski’s legacy

Written by Karl Schmidt, CUAA Theater Music Director:

Gerry Dzuiblinski was Director of Theater at Concordia University Ann Arbor from 2013-2019. During those few short years, Gerry was instrumental in building the Theater Dept. at CUAA into a thriving program which included two full productions each year (in addition to the Boar’s Head Festival), a series of Theater classes, and minors in Theater and Musical Theater. However, what most of us who knew him recall most about Gerry was his love for the Theater and for all those who wished to be part of it. Along with his vast knowledge of every facet of the Theater, Gerry was first and foremost a teacher and mentor who was committed to helping each student learn and grow, not only into well-trained practitioners of the Theater arts, but also into well-rounded and more fulfilled human beings through their participation in Theater and all the Arts here at Concordia University. We’ll miss you, Gerry.

Gerry Dzuiblinski directed the following CUAA Theater Productions:
  • The Miracle Worker by William Gibson, 2013
  • Scapino translated and adapted by Gerard Dzuiblinski, 2014
  • Little Woman (the play) adapted by Marisha Chamberlain, 2014
  • Godspell by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak, 2015
  • A Christmas Carol adapted by Gerard Dzuiblinski, 2015
  • The Diary of Anne Frank by Albert Hackett, 2016
  • The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni, 2016
  • You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown by John Gordon and Clark Gesner, 2017
  • Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, 2017
  • Into the Woods by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim, 2018
  • Fools by Neil Simon, 2018
  • Hamlet, 2019 (Sponsored by Kreft Arts Program and supported by grants from the Buhr
    and Jensen Foundations with additional funds from the Experimental Performing Arts Association)
  • Little Women: The Broadway Musical, 2019

Want in on our theater program? Learn more about CUAA theater.

— Rachel Thoms served on Concordia University's Strategic Communications team from 2015-2022. Any inquiries about this story can be sent to

If this story has inspired you, why not explore how you can help further Concordia's mission through giving.