National Career Awards

National Career Competitions

The National Career Awards competition rotates yearly among the six artistic disciplines NSAL supports: music (instrumental and vocal), art, dance, literature, drama and musical theater.

Each year the Washington, D.C., chapter and the other NSAL local chapters are invited to conduct competitions in the designated discipline. The winners of those local chapter contests are then eligible to compete at the national level. The local chapters assume travel and lodging expenses for their winner(s) to attend the national competition, which is held in conjunction with the NSAL annual convention.

In 2018, the competition will be for Woodwinds (Flute, Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon). It will be held February 3, 2018 in Washington, D.C.  The national finals will be held in Chataqua, NY, in late May, during the NSAL national meeting.  More information about the competition can be found below.

National Career Award Competition Schedule

Rules and regulations for the chapter’s 2018 Woodwinds competition can be found here.  A printable poster for the competition can be found here.  A repertoire list can be found here.  An application can be found here.  The finals will be held in May, in Chataqua, NY, during the NSAL annual meeting. Questions about the local competition should be addressed to:

The 2019 competition discipline will be Drama. The local competition will be held in Washington, D.C. The finals also will be held in Washington, in conjunction with NSAL’s 75th anniversary festivities and annual meeting.  [Venue TBD]


In 2017, the competition was in Classical Ballet. The results of the local competition are below.

In 2016, the competition discipline was Musical Theater. In 2015 the competition discipline was Drama. Details about winners of those national and local competitions are below.

The competitions have age limits and other requirements, which are explained in the rules and regulations.

Local and national professionals adjudicate the local and national competitions.  In addition, renowned judges conduct master classes during the national competition.

Along with providing young artists opportunities to earn monetary awards, the competitions allow professional critics, managers, producers, teachers, the media, and patrons of the arts a chance to see and hear emerging talent.

NSAL DC recognizes recipients of the local awards during its annual May chapter meeting.

National and Local Results 

2017 NSAL DC Ballet Competition

A total of 6 area ballet dancers (5 women, 1 man, all aged 16) competed for the right to represent NSAL DC in Boca Raton in May on February 25, 2017. The competition was held at the studios of the Maryland Youth Ballet in Silver Spring, Maryland.

balletslippershalfinfromnat27lThe competition consisted of a rigorous class and a solo opportunity. The class was under the direction of Bonnie Pickard, former principal with The Susan Farrell Ballet, who also served as an alternate judge. In addition to the fabulous dancing, a particular highlight of the class was the piano artistry of Levon Mikaelian, music director of The Maryland Youth Ballet.

After a lengthy deliberation, the judges picked Rolando Jones as the winner.  Jones received a $4,000 prize as well as a trip to Boca Raton in late May to compete against winners of competitions from the other 17 NSAL chapters countrywide. Gabrielle Simone Cramer took second place, receiving a $1,000 prize. Profiles of the judges are below.

The chapter owes a large thank-you to Janice Nevin for organizing the competition. Another member, Michelle Lees Larson, principal and artistic director, Maryland Youth Ballet, also deserves tremendous thanks for hosting the competition at its wonderful facilities. Kudos, too, to NSAL members Katherine Kyle and Alicia Klaffky for their work on the competition. NSAL members Cici Hughes, Bianca Warner and Seth Arenstein helped with registration at the competition.

2017 NSAL DC first place winner (ballet) Rolando Jones is joined by Gabrielle Simone Cramer, the second place winner.

The Judges

Victor Barbee: A former principal dancer with American Ballet Theater, Mr. Barbee is Associate Artistic Director of The Washington Ballet.

Dana Tai Soon Burgess: Mr. Burgess runs Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance in Washington, D.C.  He was named the Smithsonian’s first choreographer in residence and is department chair of dance at The George Washington University.

Susan Shields:  Ms. Shields danced with Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance, as well as with the companies of Mark Morris and Lar Lubovitch. She heads the department of dance at George Mason University.

Bonnie Pickard: A former principal with The Susan Farrell Ballet, Ms. Pickard is rehearsal assistant for Ms. Farrell.  She led the class during the 2017 NSAL DC competition and was an alternate judge.

Bonnie Pickard (center) instructs the class during the 2017 NSAL DC ballet competition at the Maryland Youth Ballet in Silver Spring, MD. The eventual winner, Rolando Jones, is far right, back; the second place winner Gabrielle Simone Cramer is second from left. (photo: Katherine Kyle)



Musical Theatre National Competition (2016)
Phoenix, Arizona
Hyatt Regency Hotel
May 17-22, 2016  

1st Place: John Clay III, $12,000, (Pittsburgh Chapter) Hailing from Chicago, Clay is a rising senior at Carnegie Mellon University. He loves the storytelling aspect of theater and how it draws people together.

2nd Place: Jeffrey Kringer, $7000, (Chautauqua Chapter)  Entering his junior year at Fredonia State University of New York,  Kringer is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. Born and raised in the Central New York area, Kringer enjoys being surrounded by people who have great respect for the craft of theater.

3rd Place: Cameron Mullin, $5000, (Bloomington Chapter) 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 TheRed and Brown Water, and Mary Sunshine in Chicago.

4th Place: Austen Danielle Bohmer, $3000, (St. Louis Chapter) Approaching her final year in the BFA program at the Webster Conservatory of Theater Arts, Bohmer’s regional theatre credits include Ariel in The Little Mermaid, Christine Patterson in One Man, Two Guvnors, Laurey in Oklahoma! and Echor in Eleemosynary.

Honorable Mention: Anson Woodin, $1000, (Central Illinois Chapter) Pursuing a master’s in voice performance and literature at the University of Illinois, Woodin is a native of Ames, Iowa. He received a degree in music and finance from Iowa State University. His credits there include Maximilian in Candide, the Midado in The Mikado, Benny in Rent as Benny and Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof.  He was baritone soloist in the Simon Estes Young Artist Program (2015) and a finalist in the NATS National Musical Theatre Competition (2014).

Washington, DC Presence: Katherine Riddle, a graduate of American University and winner of the NSAL DC competition, represented the chapter with style and grace at the 2016 national competition.

Her credits include: Fiona in Brigadoon (DC Metro Theater Arts, Best Actress in a Musical, 2015); Laurey in Oklahoma!; Mary Ingalls in Laura Ingalls Wilder (National Tour); Cosette in Les Misérables; and Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls.  She earned 2nd place in the Hal Leonard Competition and was a finalist in the Lotte Lenya Competition. A student of Harolyn Blackwell, during the summer of 2016 she performed at the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, NY.

The Judges

Judy Kaye, Tony Award winner, is appearing on Broadway as Madame Morrible in Wicked.

Will Trice, associate lead producer for 17 Broadway productions, two West End productions, and three national tours.

Lauren Chapman is resident teaching artist and manager of teaching and learning for Disney Theatrical Group. She’s a former NSAL National Musical Theatre competition finalist.

Jeffery Kennedy is assistant professor in the division of humanities, art and cultural studies, Arizona State University.

Michael Barnard is in his 17th season as Phoenix Theatre’s producing artistic director. He is adjunct professor at Arizona State University’s School of Music.

The National Society of Arts and Letters awarded more than $50,000  to young artists in the National Musical Theatre Competition; the Winston Visual Art and Voice Competitions; the CalArts Award prize; and the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio. Awards were made during the NSAL Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, May 17-22, 2016.

The Dorothy Nicholson Stabell Competition in Drama, 2015

Named in honor of our chapter’s founder, this local competition was held March 21, 2015, at the Brian K. Devine Performing Arts Center of St. Anselm’s Abbey School.


Monique Ingram (left)
$4,000 Scholarship for First Place Chapter Winner
Honorable Mention at National Competition
Baltimore School for the Arts and A.A. from Baltimore City Community College

Emma Norville
$1,000 Scholarship for Second Place Chapter Winner
West Potomac High School


The Judges
Michael J. Bobbitt, Producing Artistic Director of Adventure Theatre MTC, Glen Echo MD
Hanna Bondarewska, Artistic Director and Founder of the Ambassador Theater, Washington DC
Nathan Brewer, Director, Teacher, Musician, New York City NY
Carolyn Griffin, Producing Artistic Director of MetroStage, Alexandria VA


Our sincerest appreciation to:
The staff of St. Anselm’s Abbey School Fine Arts Department
Michael Lodico, Phil Dickerson and student Harry Daley-Young, who provided technical support during the competition.

Guest Speaker Jimmy Mavrikes, winner of the 2012 NSAL Career Competition in Musical Theatre.

NSAL Washington DC Chapter Drama Competition Chair
Deidre Casey

Competition Committee
Celia Josephs, Katherine Kyle

Competition Volunteers
Carla Jones-Batka, Cici Hughes, Cynthia McDowell, Janice Nevin,
Mary Radnofsky, Marilee Sanders, Evelyn Sweet, Sherry Watkins

Copyright © 2016 by NSAL Washington Chapter.