Alumni Awards: Christopher Kendall Award

2023 Recipient

Janeece Freeman Clark (BM ’99, voice)

A 2022 Tony nominee for excellence in arts education, Janeece Freeman Clark serves on the musical theatre faculty at Manhattan School of Music and is a professor of theatre at Seton Hall University. She is the founding, producing, artistic director of Vanguard Theater Company in Montclair, New Jersey, with the mission of challenging social and cultural narratives through theatre dedicated to DREAM: Diversity, Reciprocity, Education, Activism, and Mentorship.

Freeman Clark’s NYC productions of Everything Is Fine Until It’s Not and A Portrait of Ray have won numerous awards and critical acclaim. Under her direction, Vanguard Theater has presented NYC productions of Runaways, Spring Awakening, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Children’s Letters to God, and A Little Princess, and NJ productions of Memphis, Hairspray, Heathers, Carrie, The Music Man, Songs for a New World (film), Next to Normal, Walk in My Gravity, Into the Woods, Chorus Line, Spitfire Grill, Rent, Bring It On, Passing Strange, and A Portrait of Ray.

Freeman Clark’s signature educational initiatives, Broadway Buddy (a three-month mentorship program with Broadway Artists) and VTC Next, cultivate a training ground for a diverse group of performing and behind-the-scenes artists with the goal of creating a more equitable pipeline. She has produced video media on the origins of blackface minstrelsy; presented TEDx talks centered on social justice, diversity, and inclusion; and created theatrical curriculum for institutions such as New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Young Audiences Arts for Learning.

Freeman Clark directed both the first and second national tours of Showtime with Shakespeare in collaboration with George Street Playhouse. She serves on the executive board for the New Jersey Theatre Alliance and is a special advisor to Seton Hall University’s Arts Council. As an actor, she has appeared in Broadway, Off Broadway, and national tour productions, as well as in television, film, commercials, and voiceovers.

Past Recipients


Gabriela Lena Frank


Damien Crutcher


Ryan Hourigan


Vulfpeck (Jack Stratton, Theo Katzman, Woody Goss, and Joe Dart)


Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago (Shannon McGinnis, Nicholas Hutchinson, and Nicholas Phan)


Christopher Koelsch


PRISM Quartet