Washburn alumnus turned Broadway star comes back home for the holidays


Kris Rogers

Jeff Kready is pictured with his wife, Nikki Renée Daniels, and their daughters. The Kready Holiday Spectacular will be held at TPAC Dec. 23.

Washburn alumnus Jeff Kready is bringing his family home for the holidays to spread joy to the community.

Kready, along with his wife Nikki Renee Daniels and their two daughters Lena and Louise, will be performing in “The Kready Holiday Spectacular.” This multidimensional show will be for individuals of all ages to enjoy. It will be held at the Topeka Performing Arts Center Dec. 23 at 6:30 p.m.

The Kready Holiday Spectacular is the result of the Kready’s efforts to create their own show after their many years of Broadway experience. With their daughters and other family members joining them in the performance, the show will be a family concert not just for the Kreadys, but for the whole community.

“There is no place like home to perform,” Kready said. “Because Topeka gave me so much. It really did. It was such a supportive, nurturing place for me growing up in the arts that I’ve always wanted to give something back to that community.”

Kready graduated from Washburn University in 2004 with degrees in voice performance and music education. He remembers his time fondly at Washburn, with most of those memories occurring with the music department.

“We had choir parties in New York while we were here, and they were very memorable,” Kready said.

During his time at Washburn, Kready had the opportunity to travel to New York to sing in Carnegie Hall. Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in New York City that has made history as one of the most prestigious venues for classical and popular music.

“That was an unforgettable experience being on that stage, and getting to sing with other musicians from across the country. It was magical,” Kready said.

With his degree in music education, he taught elementary music at Randolph and Whitson elementary schools in Topeka. Upon graduation, he wanted to become a high school choir teacher but there were no position openings in the entire state of Kansas. After some time as an elementary music teacher, he quit his job to pursue his passion of acting.

“I really loved my time at Randolph and Whitson, but faced with doing not exactly what I wanted to do or trying to audition and be an actor, I decided to quit my teaching job and just see what happens.”

Kready moved to New York and had his Broadway debut in the 2006 revival of “Les Misérables” as an understudy for the character Jean Valjean. During the show run, he met his future wife Nikki, who was also in the show. More recently, Kready, along with his wife, starred in a production of “Company,” a show written by the late famous composer Stephen Sondheim. Their roles in the show were, in fact, husband and wife.

“Which was really meta to, like, be on stage with your spouse. There were multiple times when I would just think, are you acting right now? Or is it real?” said Kready.

According to Kready, it was an interesting and fun experience getting to play opposite of his wife in a show, and that it was partly what led them to create “The Kready Holiday Spectacular.”

“We did so many concerts that we’ve often talked about what we would do if it was our own concert, you know, ideas that we would steal, and/or borrow, and things that we wouldn’t do that we think that audiences don’t like,” Kready said, “For years, we’ve talked about what we would do, and now it’s all coming together.”

With performances by local performers – including students – this show is Kready’s way to give back to the community that helped him foster his abilities.

“We’ve got musicians from the Topeka symphony, we’ve got singers from the Shawnee Choral Society and local high schools, we’re gonna have handbells, we’re going to have puppets, we are going to have – rumor has it – we’re going to have Santa Claus,” Kready said.

The “Kready Holiday Spectacular” is looking to be a festive community experience. For those interested in purchasing tickets, head to TPAC’s website.

Edited by Glorianna Noland, Justin Shepard