The New York Senior Showcase is a culminating experience for senior musical theatre and acting majors at USD. At the showcase, students perform before industry professionals during an exciting and intense week of auditions and workshops. Through the connections we've made over the years, we've been able to bring several top New York artists to campus for workshops with our students.

Many of our graduates have used the showcase as a springboard to jumpstart their careers, including:

  • Cody Strand (B.F.A. Acting, '12), who secured an agent at the showcase, and within 18 months was playing Elder Cunningham in The Book of Mormon on Broadway
  • Kendra Bolan (B.F.A. Musical Theatre, '13), who received multiple offers for representation after her showcase performance and recently toured nationally with Theatreworks USA's Freedom Train
  • Liz Wright (B.F.A. Musical Theatre '11), who is working successfully in New York City, with national commercial credits and an appearance on HBO's Boardwalk Empire

NYC Showcase 2017 Participants

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Lauren Stacks (Bachelor of Fine Arts, Acting)

Lauren Stacks is an honors scholar and accomplished dancer and choreographer whose special skills include swing dancing, American Sign Language, improv, walking on stilts, boxing, and knife throwing. While studying at USD, she has appeared on stage in Jesus Christ Superstar, Poof, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Green Violin, the Dance Showcase, and Little Women. In the spring, Stacks will be directing a student production of Hush Little Celia, Don't Say a Word for her honors thesis

View Lauren Stacks' website


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Tabitha Bass

Tabitha Bass is a Senior BFA Musical Theatre Major originally from Mebane, NC. Over the summer Tabitha attended the International Performing Arts Institute in Germany, and will be returning after graduation as a fellow. She also attended the Open Jar Institute in NYC. Recently was recently seen playing the Housewife in USD’s Rhinoceros and is currently cast as Aunt March/Mrs. Kirk in USD’s musical adaption of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.

Visit Tabitha Bass' website


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Nick Akins

Nick Akins is a senior in the musical theatre major at the University of South Dakota. He is minoring in dance and is expected to graduate in May of 2018. You may have previously seen him on the USD stage as Gabe in Next to Normal, Romeo in Romeo & Juliet, or Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. After graduation Nick plans on moving to New York City to pursue a career in acting and musical theatre. In his free time Nick enjoys going downtown with friends and playing Dungeons and Dragons

Visit Nick Akins' website


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Austin Vetter

Austin Vetter is a senior musical theatre major that will be graduating with his BFA in May. You have seen him onstage at USD as Dudard in Rhinoceros, The Monster in Young Frankenstein, Zuskin in The Green Violin, and Horton the Elephant in Seussical! When he is not working onstage, Austin likes to write short plays, and watch movies and TV. He also enjoys working on his skills on the ukulele and cello, and spending time with his friends!

Visit Austin Vetter's website


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Becca Schuster

Becca Schuster's special skills include a dance minor (jazz, choreography, ballet, modern and tap), the ability to do the splits on the right and left side, stage combat (unarmed, quarter-staff, rapier, rapier and dagger, broadsword), as well as 10 years of playing the clarinet. Becca has performed in a number of productions, including 'dentity Crisis, Lives of the Great Waitresses, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Marvelous Wonderettes, Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Baltimore Waltz, Young Frankenstein and Seussical.

Visit Becca Schuster's website


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Lydia Kanz

Lydia Kanz is a musical theatre artist who specializes in working in varying accents and dialects for her characters. She is passionate about stage combat and arts & crafts. You may have seen her in the USD productions Seussical, Assassins, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and 'dentity Crisis.

Visit Lydia Kanz's website