Greg Shaw's family would like to remember him in this special way via donations in his memory to Be Head Strong. Be Head Strong supports brain tumor patients and their caregivers in the Kansas City metro area. Thank you in advance for helping remember Greg in this meaningful way. If you would prefer to donate by check, you may mail those to: Be Head Strong, 3200 McCormick Rd, Kansas City, KS 66115 (Tax ID: 71-0899918).
"If it falls, pick it up. If someone falls, help them up." This quote exemplifies the life that Greg Shaw lived and the way he directed his shows and taught his classes. Greg died December 12, 2020 after a battle with glioblastoma multiforme.
After his death, Greg's wife, Angie and his daughters, McKenna and Marley had been hoping to give back in Greg's memory. Angie joined the board of Be Head Strong in the summer of 2022. As an all volunteer, nonprofit organization, everything Be Head Strong (BHS) does is in the interest of helping the individuals and families they support. For those grappling with a brain tumor diagnosis, BHS serves as a helping hand during uncertain times. The organization's soul mission is to support, assist and provide to patients with brain tumors and their caregivers in the greater Kansas City community. BHS concentrates on the needs of patients and caregivers, so they can focus on what is important - their fight.
The mission of Be Head Strong epitomizes Greg's aspiration, "If someone falls, help them up". Please donate in celebration and memory of Greg Shaw.
Greg Shaw, 51, of Pittsburg, died at home surrounded by his family on Dec. 12, 2020,
after a year-long fight against Glioblastoma — an aggressive, malignant form of brain
He was born on Feb. 17, 1969, to Janet and Dean Shaw in Springfield, Missouri. He
attended Gardner-Edgerton High School in Gardner, Kansas, and began his lifelong love of
theater. Competitive by nature, he also was active in sports during high school and his
early adult years as an athlete and a coach, and was an avid Kansas Jayhawk fan.
He married Angela Casey Shaw on Oct. 11, 1997, in Hutchinson, Kansas; they met in
Lawrence at KU while performing in Rock Chalk Revue in 1989. He was the director, Angie
was cast as the leading female. The ultimate theater relationship, it was the beginning of
a life-long love.
Anyone who knew Shaw knows that he “grew up in the restaurant business.” His parents
owned and ran Blazers Restaurant, home of the infamous Blazer Burger, in Gardner.
While Angie was in residency in Chicago, he was general manager of Govnor’s Pub. They
moved back to Gardner while Angie finished her residency at KU Med and Greg took over
running the family business. Though he attended the University of Kansas and was a
lifelong Jayhawk supporter, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Management and Human
Relations from MidAmerica Nazarene University in 1999 and a master’s degree in
education/communications/theater from Pittsburg State University in 2006.
Shaw and his family are true Jayhawk Basketball fans, and he traveled across the U.S. to
watch his beloved Jayhawks. He also was an avid KC Royals and Chiefs fan.
In 2007, he was hired as the theater director/teacher at Pittsburg High School and during
his 13-year career there would produce an astounding 65 shows with his students and
colleagues, Susan Laushman, Cooper Neil, Chuck Boyles and Denise Williams, including 25
shows in which he directed his daughter, McKenna. This team also founded the Musical
and Repertory Theatre classes at PHS.
PHS Theatre earned invitations to perform on the main stage at the Kansas State
Thespian Festival and the International Thespian Festival a combined five times (“Crimes
of the Heart,” “Band Geeks,” “Urinetown,” “Dog Sees God,” “Pippin”) and Shaw was part
of the directing team for the Kansas State Thespian production of “Bring It On” that
performed at state and Internationals. Since 2016, PHS Theatre earned more than 40
Jester Awards from Music Theatre Wichita, including Best Direction of Show for “Shrek,”
“Seussical,” and “Little Mermaid.”
Shaw created a social issue plays program at PHS with themes that youth face every day,
including teen suicide, school violence, eating disorders, and more, helping PHS to earn
both state and national recognition as the Kansas NEA Human and Civil Rights Award and
as a Promising Practices by the Character Education Partnership. He also was named
educator of the year on several occasions.
He collaborated with Mt. Carmel Foundation to create the “Breakfast With Santa”
program as a free gift to local families each December, featuring freshmen and
sophomore cast and crew as a way to help them gain experience.
Shaw also founded the Just Off Broadway summer theatre workshop program at
Memorial Auditorium, in which he directed a cast and crew of middle school-aged youth
from schools throughout the area in the junior version of musicals such as “High School
Musical,” “All Shook Up,” “Legally Blonde,” and “Lion King.”
Many graduates of his program have gone on to higher education in the performing arts
and careers in related fields, of which he was very proud.
He served on the Kansas Thespians Board of Directors, and each January since 2015 took
one of the largest groups of student thespians from across the state to the state festival.
He also directed numerous shows in the Kansas City area, including Shawnee Mission
Theatre in the Park and Faust Theatre, and for Pittsburg Community Theatre at Memorial
Auditorium. While at TTIP, he helped to found the TTIP Troupe, a group of high school-
aged performers and technical staff which helped to launch the careers of numerous
Kansas City based performers. He went on to direct more than 15 productions and was
nominated for and won several Demi Awards.
In 2017, he was named a finalist for the Tony Awards Excellence in Theatre Education
Award and was nominated again in 2020 prior to the shutdown of Broadway and
postponement of the Tony Awards.
In December 2019, just a few weeks after he produced “Pippin” in Pittsburg, he
underwent brain surgery and was diagnosed with Glioblastoma. In January 2020, he still
made the trip to the Thespian Festival in Wichita to direct “Pippin” on the main stage to
an audience of 2,000.
He continued to teach and direct as long as he was able, including co-directing the all-
school musical “Freaky Friday” in February 2020 with Jason Huffman while undergoing
radiation and chemotherapy.
In June 2020, he earned the International Thespian Society’s “Spirit of Thespis Award”
and this fall was named a 2021 inductee to the Kansas Thespians Hall of Fame — an
honor given to individuals who strive for excellence in theatre education, who go above
and beyond expectations in developing a theatre program of excellence, and who have
impacted Kansas Thespians in significant ways.
He is survived by his wife, Dr. Angela Shaw, and two daughters, McKenna and Marley, of
Pittsburg; his parents, Janet and Dean of Peoria, Arizona; his brother, Christopher
(Kendra) of Ponte Vedra, Florida; his sister, Jana Shaw Fevurly (John) of Scottsdale,
Arizona; 11 nieces and nephews; and hundreds of former students.
Applause, applause, applause, applause. Blackout..
Please leave a comment or memory below, and be sure to check out the photos of Greg that the family has shared here.