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Pepperdine University Theatre Arts Graduate Madison Sprague Wins Prestigious John Raitt Award



May 23, 2023 – Malibu, CA – Pepperdine University’s Center for the Arts Guild has proudly named Madison Sprague the recipient of the 2023 John Raitt Award. The Lisa Smith Wengler Center for the Arts selectively offers this award to a Pepperdine student who has excelled in musical theatre and embodies the standards of excellence that John Raitt was known for—leadership, a perseverant attitude, and a tireless work ethic.

"It is my great pleasure to present Madison with the 2023 Raitt Award for her talent, skill, dedication, and leadership during her time at Pepperdine," said Rebecca Carson, Lisa Smith Wengler Center for the Arts managing director.

Madison Sprague is a Theatre Arts graduate with an emphasis in musical theatre from Reston, VA. Sprague's Pepperdine credit highlights include Into the Woods (Witch), Mamma Mia! (Donna Sheridan), and The Winter's Tale (Ensemble, Autolycus U/S), in addition to opera scene performances from L'etoile (Aloès), Der Freischütz (Ännchen), and Poppea (Fortuna) in the Heidelberg Summer Music Program in Germany. Sprague placed first in her category in the 2022 NATS Cal-Western Regional Auditions for Musical Theatre. She was a Mary Pickford Theatre Scholarship recipient, a Pepperdine Music Scholarship recipient, a four-year member of the Pepperdine Concert Choir, and a two-year member of the Jazz Ensemble.

"Madison is an incredibly hard worker and a very sensitive actor," said Hollace Starr, assistant professor of theatre. "She is alive to the moment, living in the not-knowing."

"She is admired and respected by the younger students for her talent, kindness, and incredible work ethic, yet she remains humble and continues to seek ways to improve," said Kelly Todd, instructor of theatre and director of the 2022 Forge Fall Musical Mamma Mia.

Named in honor of Pepperdine University friend and star of stage and screen, the John Raitt Award remembers Raitt's gifts and honors his memory by awarding students who exemplify his spirit of excellence. His legacy lives on at Pepperdine as he and his wife, Rosemary, co-founded the Center for the Arts Guild and donated the Raitt Recital Hall, providing space and support for students to grow in the arts.

About Pepperdine University

Founded in 1937, Pepperdine University is an independent, Christian university located 30 miles west of Downtown Los Angeles in scenic Malibu, California. The University enrolls approximately 10,300 students across its flagship liberal arts school, Seaver College; the Caruso School of Law; the Graziadio Business School; the Graduate School of Education and Psychology; and the School of Public Policy. Pepperdine is committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values, where students are strengthened for lives of purpose, service, and leadership. Follow Pepperdine on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.


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