Splitting a cash prize with the competitors you defeated can be inconceivable for some, but musical theater major senior Elyssa Ramirez made this decision after winning Geneseo's Got Talent in July. Ramirez sang a booming rendition of Whitney Houston's “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” and watched as Abigail Campbell, a 15-year-old Irish folk singer and a student at Geneseo Central High School, was originally announced as the winner.
But when one of the judges announced their mistake and chose Ramirez as the true winner, Campbell began to cry.
“I didn't know what to do … finally I [said] you know what, let's just split the money three ways between the top three finalists,” Ramirez said.
Aside from her gestures of generosity, Ramirez is also a prolific figure in the Geneseo theater department, appearing in five shows in spring 2013 alone. She will return to the Geneseo stage forAnything Goes in November and recently appeared in the lyrical piece “Starting Here, Starting Now” as part of the Rochester Fringe Festival that concluded Saturday Sept. 28. Ramirez won best up-and-coming performer at the festival.
“I'm one of five in the cast [of “Starting Here, Starting Now”], so that's pretty cool, since it's the smallest cast I've ever been a part of,” Ramirez said. “And it's a musical cycle, so there's no plot or anything, it's just a bunch of songs about love. It's really silly and fun.”
Ramirez also performed with the Geneseo Community Players in their production of the musical “State Fair” in Geneseo this summer.
Of her many theatrical roles, Ramirez regards Dorine, from the French play “Tartuffe,” as the most fun.
“She's so sassy and such a know-it-all, and she pretty much got to bitch out everyone the whole time,” she said. “That really spoke to me as an actress.”
Ramirez said she hopes to move to New York City after graduating to immerse herself in one of the most prominent theater scenes in the world. Ramirez added that she wants to pursue theater because she's discovered that it is her true passion.
“If you can picture yourself doing anything else, then do it, because this is … a really scary thing to embark on,” she said. “If you're really that passionate about it, go for it 100 percent. Eat, live and breathe this stuff if you want to be successful.”