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UCO professor Billie Thrash's theater career ‘reconnects’

BY RICK ROGERS Published: March 1, 2009
A theatrical career is not something one can plan for or predict. It happens over decades as acting roles and production credits slowly accrue. The end result is often an impressive resume that offers a complete picture of an artist’s devotion to her craft.

Billie Thrash has such a resume, one that includes acting roles in everything from community theater to a highly acclaimed production of "Follies” at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse. She also has earned praise for her talents as director and choreographer.

Thrash’s interest in theater occurred early. At age five, she sang and danced in a Kansas talent competition that earned her 15 silver dollars. Sadly, she didn’t get to spend her winnings; they were immediately deposited in her college fund. But Thrash already was hooked on performing.

"Because of my family, I was exposed to professional theater as an audience member,” Thrash said. "At some point I knew I was going to become involved in that. It became a part of my life, part of what I do.”

Thrash taught English and theater for one year in Kansas City before moving to Oklahoma City. She took a job in the news department at KOCO, studied tap dancing with Bill Graham and began looking for acting gigs.

"My first musical here was ‘Once Upon a Mattress’ when the Jewel Box Theatre was still doing outdoor shows,” Thrash said. "I played Lady Larkin, the one and only ingenue role I ever got to play.”

One show that has figured prominently in Thrash’s career is the Burt Bacharach/Hal David musical "Promises, Promises.

Billie Thrash
Title: actor/director; adjunct professor of music theater, University of Central Oklahoma.

Hometown: Ellis, Kan.

Education: Bachelor

of Arts in speech and drama, Fort Hays State University; Master of Arts in creative studies, University of Central Oklahoma.

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