2016 Press Release



May 25, 2016

2016 Competition Winners


The National Society of Arts and Letters awarded over $50,000 for Musical Theater, Drama, Art, Voice, and Literature to outstanding young performers in the National Musical Theater Competition, the Winston Visual Art and Voice Competitions, the CalArts Award, and the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio. Awards were made at the Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, May 17-22, 2016.


Five outstanding young winners in the National Musical Theater Competition are:


John Clay III, 1st Place – $12,000, representing the Pittsburgh Chapter, hails from Chicago and is a rising senior at Carnegie Mellon University. What he loves about theater is the storytelling aspect and how it draws people together under one roof. To be in theater and to change the political climate is an incredible endeavor. He is grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and continues to thank his mother for her patience in raising a stubborn lost boy.


Jeffrey Kringer, 2nd place – $7,000, representing the Chautauqua Chapter, will be a junior at Fredonia State University of New York, continuing to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. Born and raised in the Central New York area, he is happy to be surrounded with such great respect for this craft by talent from around the country. He is most appreciative of the deserving people he will remember and the experiences he will share with them. Thank you to his friends and family, his mentor, Ted, and the chair of the Chautauqua Chapter, Margaret, along with all others who helped get him where he is today.


Cameron Mullin, 3rd place – $5,000, representing the Bloomington Chapter, is honored to be competing with some extraordinary talent this year in Phoenix!  He is a recent graduate of Indiana University with a BFA in Musical Theatre.  Some of his favorite credits at IU were Daddy Brubeck in Sweet Charity, the Egungun in In the Red and Brown Water, and Mary Sunshine in Chicago.  This year he will be performing at Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts in Warsaw, Indiana, for its summer season.  He plans to move to NYC in August!


Austen Danielle Bohmer, 4th place – $3,000, representing the Saint Louis Chapter,  is approaching her final year in the BFA Acting program at the Webster Conservatory of Theater Arts.  Her regional theater credits include: Ariel in The Little Mermaid, Christine Patterson in One Man, Two Guvnors, Laurey in Oklahoma, and Echor in Eleemosynary.  Austen also trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, where she played Emilia in The Two Noble Kinsmen.  This summer, Austen is thrilled to be heading to Connecticut, where she will be working at the Goodspeed Opera House in a production of Bye Bye Birdie.


Anson Woodin, honorable mention – $1,000, representing the Central Illinois Chapter, is pursuing a master’s in voice performance and literature at the University of Illinois. He is from Ames, Iowa, and graduated with a degree in music and finance from Iowa State University. While at Iowa State, he was involved with productions of Candide as Maximilian and The Mikado as the Mikado, Rent as Benny and Fiddler on the Roof as Tevye. At the University of Illinois he has performed the role of Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Danilo in The Merry Widow and Cinderella’s Prince/The Wolf in Into the Woods. Anson was the 2015 baritone soloist for the Simon Estes Young Artist Program and was a finalist in the 2014 NATS National Musical Theatre Competition.


Judges for the competition were:


Judy Kaye, winner of Tony Awards and several nominations for Broadway performances, is presently starring on Broadway as Madame Morrible in Wicked. Judy Kaye was presented with the NSAL Gold Medallion of Merit, NSAL’s highest honor for lifetime achievement.  Will Trice has served as associate lead producer on 17 Broadway productions, two West End productions, and three national tours, having received several Tony Awards; he is currently represented on Broadway by Fiddler on the Roof and American Psycho, as well as the national tour of The Bridges of Madison County. Lauren Chapman is the Resident Teaching Artist and Manager of Teaching and Learning for Disney Theatrical Group in New York City.  In 2004 she was the 1st place winner in Greater AZ and took 4th place nationally in the Musical Theater competition.  Jeffery Kennedy is assistant professor in the Division of Humanities, Art and Cultural Studies at Arizona State University. Michael Barnard, in his 17th season as Phoenix Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director, is adjunct professor at Arizona State University’s School of Music.


The National Society of Arts and Letters also provides scholarships to talented students to attend the California Institute of the Arts. Dana Ljubicic, a fourth year winner, received the NSAL Scholarship of $5,800.  Dana, an undergraduate student, presented her solo show, Displacement, in November 2014. This scholarship enables talented young artists to study at CalArts and reduces their burden of educational debt.


Michael Pandolfo,, representing the Kentucky Chapter, who received the first place Shirley Rabb Winston Scholarship in Classical Voice, performed for the organization’s Annual Meeting.  He has performed at Fort Worth Opera, Sarasota Opera and the Kennedy Center. Michael was a winner in National Winner for YoungArts and 1st place in the Schmidt Youth Vocal Competition.  He will attend Seagle Music Colony this summer before returning to start his junior year at Kentucky.


Alena Titova, representing the Washington D.C. Chapter, an 18-year-old artist from Sterling, VA, is one of eight finalists of the 2016 Naomi Winston Scholarship in Two-Dimensional Art.  She was selected as the featured artist to show her work at the annual meeting in Phoenix.  She will be attending the University of Virginia this fall.  She plans to use her $2,000 scholarship for intensive studies in “Drawing the Figure” at the Parsons School of Design in New York City.


Michelle Chen, winner of the Iowa Writers’ Studio scholarship, is a junior at Hunter College High School in Whitestone, New York. She is a sixteen-year old poet, writer, and artist who takes inspiration for her writing from the events that occur in and around her home, New York City, though she was born in Singapore and hopes to return and visit someday.  She is the first-prize winner of the 2015 Knopf Poetry prize and the Norm Strung Youth Writing Competition, the recipient of the Critical Junior Poet’s Award, was commended as a Foyle Young Poet of the Year, and has performed at Lincoln Cnter.  Her work has been honored both regionally and nationally in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and has appeared or will appear in Prairie Schooner, the Sharkpack Poetry Review, The Critical Pass Review, Across the Margin, Transcendence, Alexandria Quarterly, Ember, On Spec, Polyphony HSPif Magazine, and elsewhere.


The next NSAL Annual Meeting and Dance Competition will be held in Boca Raton, Florida, May 29-June 3, 2017.  For more information about the organization, see the National Society of Arts and Letters national website: www.arts-nsal.org.


Dorothy Lincoln-Smith

NSAL National President, 2014-2016