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News Release

Date: April 18, 2006
Media Contact: Steve Simon, 301-251-7952; Elizabeth Homan, 301-251-7970

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Montgomery College Professor Wins Helen Hayes Award for Musical Direction
Dr. Jay Crowder Honored for His Work on the Show, ‘Urinetown,’ at Signature Theatre

PHOTO EDITORS: For a high-resolution image to accompany this release, click on this link: Crowder.jpg.

Dr. Jay Crowder, professor and chair of the Montgomery College-Rockville Music Department, won the 2006 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Musical Direction in Signature Theatre’s production of “Urinetown.” The Helen Hayes Awards, which were held last night, honor the best of Washington’s theatre productions from the past year.

“I feel so honored to receive this award,” said Crowder. “It was a great night and so exciting for all of us who had the opportunity to be involved in this show. It was just a really special experience.”

For seven years, Crowder has worked full-time at Montgomery College’s Rockville Campus, the largest of the community college’s three campuses in Montgomery County. He teaches piano, musical performance, and ear-training, plus music directs student productions at the College. His most recent production at Montgomery College was “Showtune: The Words and Music of Jerry Herman.” Other music direction credits at MC include “Oliver,” “Footloose,” “The Fantasticks,” “Guys and Dolls,” and "Into the Woods.” In January, Crowder was named the chair of the Rockville Campus Music Department.

Crowder is an accomplished music director in the Washington metropolitan area with a number of credits at Signature Theatre, including “Side Show,” a 2001 Helen Hayes nominee for Outstanding Musical Direction. Crowder also music directed “A New Brain” at Studio Theatre and “Starting Here, Starting Now” at Metro Stage, and “A Year with Frog and Toad” at Round House Theatre.

At the Kennedy Center, Crowder serves as the music director of the Overtures program, a summer training program for young music theater students, and he served as associate conductor for “Company” and “Passion,” two productions staged as part of the 2002 Kennedy Center’s Sondheim Celebration. He will also be the associate conductor for the Kennedy Center’s upcoming production of “Mame.”

The winner of many piano competitions such as the Music Teachers National Association Piano Compeition, Crowder holds a doctorate in piano performance from the University of Maryland, College Park, a master of music from Northwestern University, and a bachelor of music from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas. As a keyboardist, he has played in the Kennedy Center’s national touring productions of “Martin Guerre,” “Bounce,” and “The Producers.” He also recently played for the Broadway show, “Mamma Mia,” during its run at the National Theatre.

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves more than 55,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.

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