Student Awards

In recognition of exceptional achievement in musical theater, this award is given annually to a Duke student or group of students, with preference given to graduating seniors. It recognizes accomplishments in musical theater by students in the Department of Theater Studies, the Department of Music, and the student-run musical theater group Hoof 'n' Horn. The award was established by an alumnus with a deep affection for and appreciation of the art of musical theater.

  • 2021 Multy Oliver
  • 2020: Adam Beskind
  • 2019: Rebekah Wellons

This award is named for the distinguished founder of the Duke University Program in Drama, now the Department of Theater Studies. It recognizes a graduating senior who has made extraordinary contributions to the life of the department and who has exhibited outstanding personal and professional qualities. Faculty select the recipient.

  • 2021: María Zurita Ontiveros
  • 2020: Megison Hancock
  • 2019: Alexus Wells

These awards, funded by the Alex Cohen Endowment and the Department of Theater Studies, support students' individual or group projects that have both educational value and artistic merit. Applications should include (1) an application form, (2) a project description and statement of goals, and (3) one reference from a Theater Studies faculty.

  • 2021: María Zurita Ontiveros
  • 2020: No recipient awarded due to COVID-19 travel restrictions
  • 2019: Casey Pettiford 
  • 2019: Samantha Steger

Undergraduate recipients of this award will have demonstrated outstanding commitment and leadership in playwriting; directing; scene, lighting, or costume design; choreography; or dramaturgy as well as demonstrating excellence in leveraging the power of theater as a collaborative art. Winners may use the award to attend high-level theater training, support summer theater projects, take an internship, or participate in other immersive theater experiences. Applications should include (1) an application form including a proposed budget, (2) project description and statement of goals, and (3) one reference from a Theater Studies faculty. This award is funded by a gift from Steve and Kathy Feldman in honor of Kenneth J. Reardon, former professor of English (1947–1980) and Director of Duke Players (1947–1967).

  • 2021: Ash Jeffers
  • 2020: No recipient awarded due to COVID-19 travel restrictions
  • 2019: María Zurita Ontiveros

The Forlines Family Theater Studies fund supports internships for undergraduates in professional theater settings and other co-curricular experiences for theater students. The combination of academic coursework and hands-on learning is a hallmark of Duke’s approach to theater studies. Submit (1) an application form, (2) a project description and statement of goals, and (3) one reference from a Theater Studies faculty.

  • 2021: Daniel Kim and María Zurita Ontiveros
  • 2020: No recipient awarded due to COVID-19 travel restrictions
  • 2019: Nancy Merlin
  • 2019: Morgan Fears
  • 2019: Sam Elliott

This award provides support for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors to attend nationally and/or internationally recognized summer musical theater programs which provide high-level training in musical theater. The award celebrates and honors the memory of Kevin Gray (T'80) and his spirit of generosity. Applications should include (1) an application form including a proposed budget, (2) a project description and statement of goals, and (3) one reference from a Theater Studies faculty. 

  • 2021: No recipient awarded due to COVID-19 travel restrictions
  • 2020: No recipient awarded due to COVID-19 travel restrictions
  • 2019: Adam Beskind
  • 2019: Sharon Kinsella

This award is presented annually to a Duke undergraduate for the best original script for stage, screen, or television. Submit a finished full-length script to theater@duke.edu.

  • 2021: Daniel Kim
  • 2020: Valerie Muensterman
  • 2019: Morgan Fears and Valerie Muensterman

This award recognizes outstanding achievement in the study of dramatic literature and is presented annually to the undergraduate student writing the best essay in a course in dramatic literature. Student essays are nominated by Theater Studies faculty teaching undergraduate dramatic literature courses. 

  • 2021: Alex Clifford 

This award is presented annually to an undergraduate at Duke University for sustained excellence in directing for the stage.

  • 2021: María Zurita Ontiveros
  • 2020: María Zurita Ontiveros
  • 2019: María Zurita Ontiveros

This award recognizes a graduating senior who has distinguished him or herself in acting.

  • 2021: CJ Cruz
  • 2020: Samantha Steger
  • 2019: Nancy Merlin