NOVA Professor’s Western Web Series Nominated for Award

photo“Thurston,” the online Western drama series written and co-produced by Kathryn O’Sullivan, has been nominated for three Indie Soap Awards. O’Sullivan is head of the Theatre Program at the Manassas Campus of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA).

“Thurston” is nominated for Best Web Series (Drama). In addition, Catherine Frels is contending for Best Actress (Drama) and Paul Awad for Best Director (Drama). A large “Thurston” entourage will attend the red carpet ceremony on Feb. 21 in New York City where Frels will be an awards presenter.

“Thurston” tells the story of residents of a remote mining town in the Kansas Ozarks and their struggle for survival. Frels portrays Maggie Callaway, a pioneering and emotionally complex character seeking a new chance at life in the untamed West.

The husband-and-wife team of Awad and O’Sullivan filmed the first three episodes of “Thurston” at the Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre in Bristow, Va., and Virginia City near Wytheville, Va.

“During the first weekend in February, we will be filming new episodes in Bristow and Spotsylvania in Virginia, as well as Piscataway in Maryland. We plan another trip to Wytheville in the spring or summer,” O’Sullivan said.

Several people with NOVA connections are involved in the production. NOVA adjunct professors Lisa Nanni-Messegee and Todd Messegee serve as production manager and assistant director/set photographer, respectively. One of O’Sullivan’s current students, Nicholas Barry of Fairfax, is a production assistant and two former students, Bob Martin of Sterling and Garry Westcott of Alexandria, have roles in the series.

The drama has attracted a substantial following and is currently the top new show on VBCtv, an online entertainment network ( New episodes will air in February.

Learn more about the Indie Soap Awards at For more information about “Thurston,” go to


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Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.