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Shirley and Tom P. Rea Memorial Award

Shirley Rea created the Tom P. Rea Memorial Award to honor her husband, Dr. Tom P. Rea, after his death in 1984. Mr. Rea was a theatre faculty member at KU for more than 20 years specializing in directing musical theatre. Tom and Shirley were consummate actors and met while performing in The Fantasticks. They performed several times together over the years and were passionate about assisting young actors to achieve their dream of performing on Broadway. Upon Shirley’s death in 2006, the Department changed the name of the memorial award to pay tribute to both Shirley and Tom.

This fund is used to support an award for an undergraduate student graduating from the Department who wants to move to New York and become a professional actor/actress. Preference is given to a student with an emphasis in musical theatre.

Eligible students must apply by March 1 for award consideration. The award is presented by vote of the faculty of the Department.

Contributions to the Shirley & Tom P. Rea Memorial Award Fund may be made via KUEA.

Past Recipients 
Year     Recipients
2021 Gabrielle Smith
2020 Matthew O'Brien
2019 Tinashe Mukoyi
2018 Abbey Lynn Smith
2017 Cale Morrow
2016 Lily Lancaster
2015 Baker Purdon
2014 Elaina Smith
2013 Shannon Buhler
2012 Maggie Parker
2011 Mary McNulty
2010 Christopher McGillivary, Tosin Morohunfola
2009 Spencer Hess Holdren
2008 Jonathan Matteson
2007 Lawrence Henderson
2006 Dylan Hilpman
2005 Elisabeth Ahrens
2004 Matt Simon
2003 Kelly Mengelkoch
2002 Megan Schemmel
2001 Kristen Bush
2000 Kate Turnbull
1999 Kari Wahlgren
1998 Steve Willingham
1997 Laura Zabel
1996 Kasi Anne Brown
1995 Amy Steinhaus
1994 Piaf Latham-Winter-Green
1993 Jennifer Pascoe Iuen
1992 Diana Lee Dresser
1991 Wendy Ann Kennedy
1990 Brenda Yungeberg
1989 Jan Chapman
1988 Darrell Everson
1987 Amy Wheeler
1986 Susan Murphy
1985 Becky Barta

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