The Ohio River Valley Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters (NSAL) is seeking qualified individuals to enter a national musical theatre competition in March. NSAL is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the arts and to support beginning actors, musicians, artists, writers, and dancers. The organization sponsors one competition each year either in musical theatre, drama, dance, music, art, or literature. The winner of this year's national competition will receive $10,000.
The Ohio River Valley Chapter includes Ohio and West Virginia, and participants this year will be expected to perform a musical theatre competition on March 24, at the Smoot Theater in Parkersburg. Contestants must be citizens of the United States, 18 to 29 years old, required to sing two songs of contrasting style plus deliver a monologue, all within a five-minute period. Participants cannot be under exclusive management or representation and must compete in the area closest to their home or school. The local winner will receive $1000 and all expenses to compete against other chapter winners on May 17 to 19, traveling to El Paso, Texas, for the national competition.
Information about the March competition was sent to all music and theatre departments in Ohio and West Virginia in November. Participants can also obtain specific rules and guidelines about the musical theatre competition by accessing www.arts-nsal.org/competition - the NSAL website - or by e-mailing co-chairs Cathy Martin or Nora Corra. Cathy Martin can be contacted at email@example.com and Nora Corra at firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested individuals are asked to mail their completed applications and required materials to Cathy Martin, 914 51st Street, Vienna, W.Va. 26105. All applications and materials must be postmarked by Friday, Feb. 24.
Judges for this year's competition are Franc D'Ambrosio, Mark Lanyon, Dr. Geoffrey Coward, and Jane Irvine.
D'Ambrosio earned the title of "The Iron Man of the Mask" for his decade of performing the lead role in the Phantom of the Opera more than 3,000 times in New York City. D'Ambrosio's career also includes an Academy Award nominated film, an Emmy Award nominated television show, and four Tony nominations for Broadway shows. His Academy Award nomination was for his performance of Anthony Corleone in the Francis Ford Coppola-directed cast of Godfather III, which included his singing of the Academy Award winning theme song of "Speak Softly Love." His judging of the musical theatre competition on March 24 is part of a collaborative effort with West Virginia University Parkersburg, and D'Ambrosio will present a concert on Friday, March 23, at WVUP that will be open to the public.
Mark Lanyon is a native of Parkersburg and was graduated from Parkersburg High School in 1986. Lanyon attended the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and later performed in the Broadway shows of Grease and Babes in Arms in New York City. In addition, he has starred in regional performances of Big River and Into the Woods and performed in the 1997 Tony Awards. In 2001 Lanyon established the non-profit organization, Broadway Bootcamp, classes that teach skills for auditions, singing, dancing, and acting. Lanyon tours with Broadway Bootcamp several times a year throughout the United States. On March 23, Lanyon will work with Brian Turrill's participants at the Performing Arts Connection and Education (PACE) on 24th Street.
Dr. Geoffrey Coward has directed 16 community theater productions in the United States, more than 20 youth theater productions in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, acted in numerous plays, and has 17 years of teaching in higher education. Coward earned his B.A. in sociology and history from Middlesex University in England, a master's degree in sociology and education plus certification in theatre education from the University of London, and a Ph.D. in curriculum and supervision from Ohio University. His direction of Underneath the Lintel won "Best Play" at the West Virginia Theatre Conference for the South East Theatre Conference for the 2009/2010 season. In 2010 he directed The Food Chain sponsored by the Colony Theatre in Marietta. Last year Coward directed a condensed version of Shakespeare's Othello, in Marietta. Coward also serves on the boards of the Charleston Stage Company, the Colony/Hippodrome Theatre, and Artsbridge.
Jane Quick Irvine retired from Warren Local Schools where she taught elementary and middle school music for 30 years. Irvine earned her B.A. in music education from West Virginia University and an M.A. in music education from Ohio University. Currently, she is the organist at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Marietta, has served as music director for MOVP and the Parkersburg Actors Guild performances, and teaches part-time at West Virginia University Parkersburg, Marietta College, and Ohio University. She served on the Board of Directors for Artsbridge, is a former member of the National Society of Arts and Letters, and currently participates in the Mid Ohio Valley Ringers.
Marsha Parsons will accompany the contestants, who will be including the selections that she'll be playing when they mail their applications.