Kean Student Wins Musical Theatre Competition
UNION, N.J. –Kean University senior Kristen Bussiere won the coveted first-place award in the New Jersey Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters (NSAL) 2004 Musical Theatre Competition on Sunday, March 21. Held at the Alan P. Kirby Arts Center in the Lawrenceville (N.J.) School, the contest was judged by a panel of highly successful members of the theatre community. In addition to receiving a check for $600, Bussiere will travel to Champaign-Urbana, Ill., to attend NSAL’s annual convention from May 20 to 23, where she will participate in master classes and in the national competition for a first-place award of $10,000.
NSAL is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to creating opportunities for young artists and has encouraged, sponsored, assisted and showcased artists at the beginnings of their careers in the visual, literary and performing arts. Each year, the organization holds competitions in varying categories of the arts on a rotating basis. This year, NSAL introduced its first contest in the category of Musical Theatre in celebration of its 60th anniversary. “I’ve been a member since 1964 and have had much opportunity to see what amazing talents emerge from these stringent competitions,” said Mary Elizabeth Young, chair of the New Jersey Chapter of NSAL. “Over the years, we’ve had many New Jersey winners place very highly nationally. The young lady who took first place in ballet in 2000 won second place in the national competition. She is now performing with the Joffrey Ballet.” Young went on to describe the challenging audition process. “Participants had to select two contrasting songs and one monologue that, put together, created a complete and seamless performance with a beginning, middle and end,” she said. “And, it all had to be done in five minutes or less.” Focusing on the theme of love, Bussiere’s winning selections were a monologue titled Fear of Dating from A Girl’s Guide to Chaos and the songs But Not for Me from Crazy for You and Gimmie, Gimmie from Thoroughly Modern Millie.
A gifted singer, dancer and actor, Bussiere is graduating from Kean this
May with a bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing. She is also
a theatre minor who has performed in nearly every student production since
her freshman year and recorded a CD, titled Fly, which consists
of pop-music cover tunes to help promote the University’s Department
of Theatre. Behind the scenes, she has served as president of the Theatre
Council of the Student Organization of Kean University, Inc. and secretary
and treasurer for the Theatre Honor Society. Bussiere had her stage debut
in the title role in a local production of Annie at the age of
5, and received most of her acting and vocal training by participating
in numerous productions such as Sweet Charity, Guys & Dolls and
Anything Goes with the performing-arts organization Kids on Stage.
She received her vocal training as a member of the award-winning Edison
(N.J.) High School Choir. More recently, Bussiere has lent her many talents
to the lead roles in The Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan for
Plays-in-the-Park in Edison.