Free State High School thespian earns rising star award

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In recognition of her impact on her theatre troupe, a Lawrence high schooler has earned a rising star award.

Free State High School Theatre’s Ebi Hegeman is the recipient of the 2024 Blue Star Sophomore Rising Star Scholarship, according to a news release from theatre director Bryce Jones. 

The Blue Star Awards, in conjunction with Kansas City’s Starlight Theatre, annually recognize musical theatre excellence among Kansas City-area high school students.

“Ebi’s willingness to dedicate her time and efforts to the troupe proves she is not only a talented thespian but a dedicated one,” Jones said in the release. “Her honor and distinction of being named a Blue Star Rising Star is well deserved.”

Free State Theatre members, and the entire ensemble of the past production of “Bright Star,” were also nominated for several other Blue Star Awards.

Nathan Kramer/Contributed photo Free State High School theatre students at the Blue Star Awards ceremony, May 16, 2024

According to Jones, Ebi’s repertoire of work, volunteerism and theatrical activities — outlined in a personal essay and letter of recommendation about her contributions to musical theatre at her school — began upon her arrival at Free State.

She performs roles on stage as well as works as a production team member, and in support of her peers’ endeavors, she’s acted in multiple short films they’ve authored and directed.

Ebi accepted her award during the Blue Star Awards Ceremony on Thursday, hosted at Starlight Theater. Joining her were her fellow Free State thespians and those from other area high schools.

“Free State Theatre Troupe 5773 is incredibly proud of Ebi Hegeman and her astounding accomplishment,” Jones said in the release.

Ebi Hegeman makes her way to the stage to accept her award. (Nathan Kramer/Contributed photo)
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