After being able to breathe from her senior recital, The Touchstone was finally able to sit down and speak with senior Kristina Horan. Originally from Rhode Island, Horan came to Manhattanville after staring as Madame Thenardier, in her high school production of “Les Miserables,” which helped her discover her love for musical theater. Her recital was the exploration of the “slightly off” characters in musical theater.
Horan in heavily influenced by Meryl Streep. “Aside from her theatrical career she is an activist for women`s rights, fighting for equal pay and proper treatment in the workplace. She is admirable to so many because she is so human. Her work is brilliant because it is the epitome of truth. I hope that I can be as successful as a person as she is and bring my truth to the stage in everything I do,” stated Horan.
Horan is the woman she is today due to a high school class. Horan had to script a play for a class about a close friend with Stage 4 cancer, called the “Girl Who Danced the Tarantella [With Death].” The play resonated with Horan personally because her mother had battled breast cancer two years prior. Horan explain that “for me, I was young, naive, and my mother underplayed the severity of her diagnosis keeping me sheltered from most of what she experienced until I was old enough to understand.”
While going through her own grief, she realized how others also experience the grief that she felt as well. Horan played a cancer patient in the play she scripted that went through all the physical, emotional, and psychological exhaustion one faces when having the disease. From this show, she discovered the key to acting by putting herself in other people’s shoes, “From that point forward, each role I played be it comedic or dramatic, fostered in me an urgency and energy to explore every nuance of that character. That was the driving factor to which I committed myself in pursuing acting as a career choice.”
Horan’s interpretation of “slightly off” women in theater stemmed from the characters that do not fit the ingénue, but do not stray far either. She explains that they are “unique, ditsy but not deranged, inquisitive yet still naive.” She explained that her goal was to portray these women to bring humble truth to their eccentricity, and understanding to their fantastic, yet real circumstances. Her song choices were based off of her performances at Manhattanville, and she based her recital ideas off of “Screwloose,” from “Cry Baby.”
In her final performance, Horan dedicated her final song “I’ll Be Seeing You,” from “Right This Way” to everyone that has supported her over the last four years. She thanks her parents, her backbone that constantly encourage her and have attended every single show. She explains that they have helped her through so many milestones and never stopped believing in her. Horan also thanks her school drama teacher, Christine Kavanaugh, for introducing her into this beautiful world of musical theater, inspiring her to pursue this profession, and being a constant supporter and advisor.
She wanted to thank Diana, for eliciting a voice in her that she never knew she had, and pushing and challenging her every step of the way.
Horan also gives credits and thanks to: Professor Cherry and Ms. Meyer, for “being nurturing parental figures to all of us.” They have helped her to overcome so many obstacles as a singer and performer, Clista Townsend for humanizing what it means to be an actor and helping her for months on graduate school audition material, the Manhattanville Colleges Music Department for making this place her home for the past four years, John Cuk, Professor Yom, Ron Cappon, Diane Guernsey, Professor Fluchiere, Dr. Kerlin, Valerie Pye, Dr. Kidde, Kathy DeBernado, Michael Bartolli, Bonnie Walker, and Ken Rothchild for being amazing educators.
Other than theater, Horan directed Manhattanville College`s 2017 production of “The Vagina Monologues.” She also placed 1st Runner Up in the “2016 Miss Rhode Island Pageant” and won the Marilyn Cocozza Trillo Talent Scholarship Award.
During her time at Manhattanville College, Horan reflected on the wonderful memories that she has created such as working for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, in the theater with the awesome Greg and Lance, performing in two cabarets, directing “The Vagina Monologues,” and performing in 3 musicals. She describes the most memorable performance being “The Pajama Game,” where she played “Gladys” also serving as Dance Captain to the irreplaceable Bonnie Walker.
“The one thing that has impacted me the most was my recital. I am so proud of everything that it turned out to be and everything I learned about myself in the process. I look around at my class of seniors with amazement and pride in how much we have grown and can’t be more grateful for this opportunity the Manhattanville College Music Department gave us,” said Horan.
Horan is forever grateful for the opportunities Manhattanville has given her, and the memories that she has made on and off the stage.
The lights open on Shannon Kelly, a senior about to take her final bow at Manhattanville College on Saturday, March 25. Her senior recital, themed “The Ingénue Versus the Leading Lady,” focused on the unsophisticated young ladies and leading ladies in theater. Kelly portrayed this theme through songs about love, how women talk about love, who the young women fall in love with, and how young women express their love.
Kelly is a Musical Theater major at Manhattanville College. She credits in many roles including “The Roar of the Greasepaint,” “The Smell of the Crowd (Ensemble),” “Shout! The Mod Musical (Orange Girl),” “Twelfth Night (Feste/Assistant Director),” and “Side by Side by Sondheim (Principle Soloist).” Kelly has been a member of the Manhattanville Quintessentials and the Manhattanville Vocal Chamber for the past
Kelly’s love for musical theater began when her grandfather brought her to see “The Radio City Rockettes,” her very first musical. Ever since then, she developed a passion and a love for the art. Inspiration came in all forms for Kelly; she was encouraged to join the musical theater path when she was in the 7th grade after watching Kristen Chenoweth’s performance in “Wicked.” Her recital was influenced by Laura Benati as Amalia in “She Loves Me,” “It was just revived on Broadway last season as I started planning my recital. The music just resonated with me and everything I wanted to say,” Kelly explained.
Kelly opened up her two-part recital up with three classical pieces. She then began her musical theater portion with “(I’m in Love with A) Wonderful Guy,” from South Pacific, which set the tone for the theme of her recital. She closed her recital with “Vanilla Ice Cream,” from She Loves Me solidifying her beautiful performance. Kelly spoke about how she wanted to sing on the subject of the ingénue, and chose songs like “Much More,” from The Fantasticks and “The Light in the Piazza,” from The Light in the Piazza. Kelly met with The Touchstone and explained the reasoning behind her recital choices, “Professor Cherry suggested I also look at the ‘Leading Lady’ which led me to new songs. I was able to sing a wider variety of songs this way like ‘If I Loved You’ from Carousel and ‘Always Better’ from The Bridges of Madison County” said Kelly.
What’s next for Kelly? The Big Apple is the only thing that Kelly has in mind. She will be moving to New York City after graduation to pursue her passion in theatre and performing. In the meantime, Kelly nannies and works with children while she is home from college and during the summers. She loves spending time with children explaining that “each of the kids I’ve had the opportunity to be with has taught me more about myself, and about love and kindness than I could have ever imagined.”
During her time at Manhattanville, the biggest impact on her was becoming a Resident Assistant. “The position truly helped me grow as a person and gave me tools that I’ve been able to use towards pursuing this incredible career,” said Kelly. It taught her responsibility, accountability, communicating, and organization while still allowing her to pursue her dream on top of it all.
Kelly was thankful and grateful for Professor Cherry and Mr. Meyer, each being such a large part of the development of her recital. They gave Kelly guidance on creating the vision for her recital. She also is ecstatic about thanking her voice coach, Ron Coppon for helping her go over each song repeatedly until perfection.
“Enjoy the journey. You have so little time to spend with the Music and Dance and Theatre Departments to work on your craft, to explore and discover. Allow yourself to stop and take it all in and allow yourself to grow. The person and performer you start off
as freshman year is not who you will be standing singing your senior recital,” Kelly closed with.