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Theatre & Dance

The Mary Martin Program in the Performing Arts

Established in 1992 (and re-dedicated in 2012) by Matthew T. Weir ’90 in honor of his grandmother Mary Martin, The Mary Martin Program in the Performing Arts establishes a student award, research funds for faculty and students as well as an artist’s residency and lecture series.

The Mary Martin Program in the Performing Arts is made up of the following:

The Mary Martin Prize

Awarded by the Department of Theatre and Dance faculty to a student majoring in Theatre who demonstrates great dedication in any area of the theater arts.

Lecture/Performance Series

This lecture or performance series hosts exemplary scholars, artists, and performers of national and international stature. Such a series not only benefits students in the theatre and dance department, but the campus community as a whole, as it permits exposure to a depth and breadth of performance styles, expertise, and passions.

Long/Short-term Residential Fellowship

Through a fellowship program, visits by eminent scholars and performers for a period of time ranging from one-week to an entire year are supported. While they work on a project of their own, the scholars will be stimulated by interactions with members of the campus community and often offer workshops, deliver public lectures, visit classes, and meet informally with students.

For information about the Mary Martin Program in the Performing Arts, please contact Michele Volansky, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Drama:


Actress Mary Martin had that special ability to take a part and make it her own. The mention of her name brings to mind a particularly vivid set of images: Ensign Nellie Forbush washing that man right out-a her hair, Dolly Winslow—whose heart belongs to Daddy—shedding her furs, and Peter Pan teaching the Darling children to fly and to crow: er-er-er-errrh!

Since her debut singing “When Apples Grow on the Lilac Trees” at a fireman’s ball in Weatherford, Texas, at age 5, Martin brought to life—on stage, screen, television, and radio—a formidable range of characters including Maria in The Sound of Music, for which she won the Tony Award in 1960. Martin also garnered Tony Awards for her work as Peter Pan (1955) and as Annie Oakley in the touring company of Annie Get Your Gun (1948).

The televised version of Peter Pan, only recently re-broadcast to a new generation of fans, also won her the Emmy. Who has not been touched by the captivating Peter? In Martin’s own words, “Never Land is the way I would like real life to be: timeless, free, mischievous, filled with gaiety, tenderness, and magic.”

Among the songs which will forever be associated with Mary Martin is “My Heart Belongs to Daddy,” from the 1938 production of Cole Porter’s Leave It to Me, which launched her Broadway career. Later, adding another Dolly to her repertoire in 1965, Martin toured the United States and the world as Dolly Levi in the international touring company of Hello, Dolly!, which included engagements in Okinawa, Korea, Japan, South Vietnam, and London.

Biography from Kennedy Center Honoree site.


Past recipients of Mary Martin Scholarship:

1997 Mary Hoffman

1998 Elizabeth Garrott

1999 Paula Knowles

1999 Lindsay Krieg

2000 Mindy A. Beers

2001 A.J. Rendo

2002  Allison Heishman

2003 Andrew Cowles

2004 Matthew Biringer

2005 Heather Holiday

2006 Greg Schaefer

2007 Marielle Latrick

2008 Aileen Brenner

2008 Mary Lide

2009 Kelsy Long

2010 Margaret Farrell

2010 Jessica Blanch

2011 Michael Zurawksi

2011 Maggie Matthews

2012 Nina Sharp

2013 Samantha Bitzelberger

2014 Rachel Dilliplane, Val Dunn, Tamayo Kamimura

2015 Amanda Klute

2016 Kaitlyn Fowler

2017 Rosie Alger and Mark Christie