Two outstanding young people associated with Starlight Theatre’s education programs were publicly recognized as “Our Town Heroes” during the Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s recent production of Our Town. Ve’Shawn Dixon, a 2008 recipient of Starlight’s Vincent Legacy Scholarship, and Joann Armstrong, a four-year member of the Starlight STARS of Tomorrow, received recognition from the KC Rep stage for their accomplishments.
Both were honored by the Rep in the category of “Young Wonders,” which recognized achievements by a person under the age of 25.
The classic play Our Town, written by Thornton Wilder, explores the lives of people living in a small American town in the early 20th century. It was first produced in 1938 and received the Pulitzer Prize for Literature. To personalize the show for Kansas City audiences, the KC Rep reached out for nominations of heroes from the metropolitan area. “We wanted to reflect what’s great about our own community,” said Brendan Martin, the Rep’s director of marketing and communications. “‘Our Town Heroes’ were identified as members of our community who inspire, impact and influence.”
Ve’Shawn and Joann were selected from among nine nominations that Starlight submitted:
- Ve’Shawn Dixon. Since receiving his Vincent Legacy Scholarship in 2008 as an aspiring improv actor and eighth-grade student at Rosedale Middle School in Kansas City, Kan., Ve’Shawn has grown into an involved young adult. Now a college junior majoring in political science and criminal justice at Northwest Missouri State University, he is a member of the Speaking Bearcats forensics team, serves as a Student Regent for the university and is president of a multicultural organization on campus. Ve’Shawn intends to apply both his performance training and academic education to represent and speak for the less fortunate when he begins his professional career.
- Joann Armstrong. A junior at Blue Valley Southwest High School, Joann is active in her schools choir, chorale and repertory theatre programs. She has performed in several musicals at her school, at Shawnee Mission Theatre in the Park, and in four Starlight Theatre musicals, including The Sound of Music in 2014. As a tenured member of the Starlight STARS of Tomorrow performance troupe, she performs with other teens as pre-show entertainment at Starlight and at various community events throughout the fall and holiday season.
Ve’Shawn and Joann’s honors included complimentary VIP seating to a performance of Our Town in September, recognition from the stage, a boutonniere from Crestwood Flowers and a KC Rep 50th anniversary lapel pin.
“The KC Rep was thrilled with the outpouring of support and the dozens of nominations of so many exceptional individuals and groups,” Martin said. “What better way to help tell the story of Our Town during our theatre’s 50th Anniversary than to honor those everyday heroes who make Kansas City a better place?”