Upper Arlington News

Bright lights, Broadway beckon fifth-grader


Upper Arlington resident and Wellington School fifth-grader Claire O'Shaughnessy is hoping a recent contest win might bring her closer to her heart's desire: a singing career in Broadway musicals.

Claire, the daughter of Sarah Artman and Richard O'Shaughnessy, competed in the annual Central Ohio Singing Competition sponsored by the Columbus International Children's Choir earlier this month and won first place in the elementary division.

She performed her winning solo March 3 in Huntington Hall at Capital University.

She also was named a finalist in the Voice of the City contest sponsored by Columbus Children's Choir, competing with other finalists March 16 at Otterbein.

Claire didn't win the Voice of the City competition, but she is too busy to worry about it, as she practices singing phrases like, "Conjunction Junction, what's your function?"

She will be singing a solo part in CATCO's School House Rock Live, which runs April 5-14 at the Shedd Theatre at the Columbus Performing Arts Center, 549 Franklin Ave.

Ticket information is available online at catco.org.

"I'm a soloist in the production and will be singing songs from School House Rock," Claire said. "I like to sing Broadway kind of stuff usually, because I really want to be on Broadway when I grow up."

Claire has been in two other CATCO productions, The Neverending Story and The Wind in the Willows.

She said two of her favorite songs outside of the productions are Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid and Go the Distance, from Hercules.

O'Shaughnessy said his daughter won honorable mention in the Columbus International Children's Choir contest last year, but this year took first place. She has been a member of the choir for the past two years.

"She takes singing lessons with Liz Wheeler, who works at CATCO," he said. "Claire has always liked to sing.

"I think it is wonderful and exciting to see Claire develop her artistic talent and wonderful that there are opportunities in Columbus that help young people develop their artistic sides," he said.

Claire said she was 5 or 6 years old when she first took singing lessons, but she still gets a little nervous before a production.

"I just take a deep breath and try to relax," she said. "Before a performance, I like to take some time to relax and read, so that I can go right from that relaxed feeling to the singing."

Learning to shine at auditions is important, she said. Her advice to other young singers and actors is to "have confidence."

"They need to remember that the directors want you to be amazing and the perfect person for the part," she said. "And if you don't get the role, it doesn't mean you did a bad job, but that maybe you didn't look quite right for the part. You should just keep going back and doing more auditions."

School House Rock Live is based on the Emmy Award-winning 1970's Saturday morning cartoon series, which taught grammar, math and science through catchy songs that kids could remember.