Kay Cummings, talented actress, mentor

Kay Cummings, of Lewes and formerly of New York City, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 with her beloved wife Ellen McKeon by her side in Lewes. She was born on December 15, 1940 in New York City.

Kay attended the Juilliard School’s preparatory department, graduated summa cum laude from Elmira College in Phi Beta Kappa, and received a master’s degree in performance from New York University. She has starred in off-Broadway, national touring, stock, theatre, television series and commercials and has appeared in major motion pictures and has written and performed in a number of critically acclaimed one-woman cabaret shows.

Kay was a National Endowment for the Arts grantee, Fulbright panelist, and dance curator for Symphony Space. For all her success in theater, Kay has made her greatest impact as a teacher and mentor. Kay was the chair of the dance department at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts from 1992 to 2002 and continued to teach choreography and acting until her retirement in 2016.

In 1992, Kay founded the Tisch Dance Summer Residency Festival. In 1996 Kay was awarded the NYU Distinguished Teaching Medal and in 2016 she received the David Payne Carter Teaching Award. Since moving to Delaware, she has enjoyed returning to theater, directing Three Tall Women and appearing in Stop Kiss as Dr. Kitty Cochran in Last Summer at Bluefish Cove and as Rosie in The Wedding Singer. Her recent collaborations include a two-woman show, The Other Shoe with Beth Corning, performed in Pittsburgh, Pa. and The Home Project with Tiffany Mills in NYC.

Kay nurtured her students and changed the course of their entire lives for the better. She will be missed by many, but her bright spirit and legacy of brilliance will live on.

In addition to her devoted wife, Ellen McKeon, Kay is survived by her cherished family: her sister Janie Messina; her nephew Vicente; her brother and sister-in-law William and Jennifer Feinberg; her niece Meira; her nephew Noah; and her brother Jeffrey Feinberg.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 11:00 am on Monday 27 June at the Parsell Funeral Homes & Crematorium Atkins-Lodge Chapel, 16961 Kings Hwy., Lewes where friends can visit from 10:30 am

Those unable to attend in person are invited to join the services via live streaming by visiting the following link: parsellfuneralhomes.com/obituaries/permalink/10550102/LTWebcast.

Visit Kay’s Life Memorial webpage and sign her virtual guest book at parsellfuneralhomes.com.

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