PITTSBURG — Pittsburg High School Theatre has become familiar with awards and recognition both locally and statewide, and Monday, PHS Theatre Teacher Greg Shaw was selected as an honorable mention for the Tony Awards — yes, those Tony Awards.
Shaw was one of 20 finalists selected for the Excellence in Theatre Education Award, which recognizes a K-12 theatre educator in the U.S. who has demonstrated monumental impact on the lives of students and who embodies the highest standards of the profession. The Tony Awards announced the news Monday with award presenter Carnegie Mellon University. Shaw and the other finalists were selected from hundreds of nominations across the nation. Shaw received an honorable mention.
“It’s really nice to have the nomination,” Shaw said. “But to be a part of that group of 20 is humbling and a little daunting. I’m very proud of our inclusion in that, and I think it is a testament to Pittsburg, the students and what we’ve built here.”
Shaw has taught theatre at PHS for 10 years. Since his beginning, he has helped expand the program by putting on a social issues play each year, collaborating on productions with Vocal Music Teacher Susan Laushman and Band Teacher Cooper Neil and partnering with the Mt. Carmel Foundation to present “Breakfast with Santa” for the community each December.
The past few years, the PHS theatre program has received multiple nominations for the Jester Awards from Music Theatre Wichita, bringing home 11 awards in 2017 for productions like “Seussical” and “The Addams Family.”
“We’ve had a few strong years strung together here,” Shaw said. “We want to continue that growth and improvement. I’m proud of the mark we’re making here with the program.”
Shaw also serves on the board of directors at Pittsburg Community Theatre, where he has directed several productions, such as “Annie,” “Junie B. Jones” and “13.”
Shaw was nominated for the award by the Friends of PHS Performing Arts. The group wrote letters of recommendation and created a 3-minute video with the help of parents, former students and current students. Shaw’s name will appear on the playbill for the 71st Annual Tony Awards and Gala on June 11, along with the names of the other finalists.
A panel of judges comprised of the American Theatre Wing, The Broadway League, Carnegie Mellon University and other leaders from the theatre industry selected Rachel Harry as the recipient of the Excellence in Theatre Education Award. Harry is a 30-year veteran of theatre education from Hood River, Oregon.
— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.