Shirley & 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. Dr. 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 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 complete an Award Application by April 1 for consideration. The award is presented by vote of the faculty and staff of the department.

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

Past Recipients

2023Bella Lind
2022Ella Galbraith
2021Gabrielle Smith
2020Matthew O'Brien
2019Tinashe Mukoyi
2018Abbey Lynn Smith
2017Cale Morrow
2016Lily Lancaster
2015Baker Purdon
2014Elaina Smith
2013Shannon Buhler
2012Maggie Parker
2011Mary McNulty
2010Christopher McGillivary, Tosin Morohunfola
2009Spencer Hess Holdren
2008Jonathan Matteson
2007Lawrence Henderson
2006Dylan Hilpman
2005Elisabeth Ahrens
2004Matt Simon
2003Kelly Mengelkoch
2002Megan Schemmel
2001Kristen Bush
2000Kate Turnbull
1999Kari Wahlgren
1998Steve Willingham
1997Laura Zabel
1996Kasi Anne Brown
1995Amy Steinhaus
1994Piaf Latham-Winter-Green
1993Jennifer Pascoe Iuen
1992Diana Lee Dresser
1991Wendy Ann Kennedy
1990Brenda Yungeberg
1989Jan Chapman
1988Darrell Everson
1987Amy Wheeler
1986Susan Murphy
1985Becky Barta