Wayne Central High School senior Shauni Ruetz, who performed in her high school’s production of “Into the Woods”, has gone on to win several awards for her performance and singing.
The local and regional wins led her to compete on Monday in a national competition that culminated with her winning the title of “Best Actress” at the National School Musical Theater Awards. Ryan McCartan of Minneapolis was named best actor. This is the third year for the awards competion.
Ruetz was awarded a $10,000 scholarship. Fifty finalists from over 1,000 high schools competed in the Nation contest, which have participants their first Broadway experience, at th Minskoff Theatre.
Shauni has been dancing since she was 2 years old, and has performed in over a dozen local shows during her 12 years in school, including: Into the Woods (the Witch), Seussical (Sour Kangaroo), Brigadoon (townsperson/dance ensemple), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Ruth/speed tapper), The Wiz (Tingirl) and various musical revues. She has also been involved in a traveling musical theatre group called “Act 1”, and has taken voice lessons and various styles of danvce. Shauni was a member of Select Chorus and Concert Chorus at Wayne Central high school. Her music teacher is Mrs. Kathy Perconti.
To reach the NYC competition, Shauni was selected as “Best Leading Actress” at the Rochester Broadway Theatre League’s “Stars of Tomorrow” show and competition.
Her coaching and competition stint over the five day stay in New York City, meant that Shauni missed her high school graduation ceremony. She felt it was worth the price for the experience she received on a broadway stage, and meeting and interacting with some incredible talent – both amateur and professional.
During the trip, the 50 finalists, 25 girls and 25 boys were coached by New York University faculty, had lunch with several Broadway stars, talked backstage with cast members of a Broadway show and were treated to a show.
The finalists were asked to perform solos on Sunday and then participate in a medley with other competitors on Monday. A five-judge panel that included Tony Award nominee Montego Glover chose the winners.
For her solo, Shauni sang “Breathe” from the musical In the Heights and performed Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” as The Witch in the medley section of the competition.