Tuesday, December 22, 2009

LA's Next Great Stage STAR!

Sterling's Upstairs at Vitello's is presenting its annual LA's Next Great Stage STAR! What a terrific event! Not unlike TV's American Idol, talented artists compete before judges and a live audience. At Sterling's they go head to head for 6 Sundays: the first was November 29 with the finale to take place on January 3, 2010 at 12pm. At that time 13/18 contestants will be eliminated and the 5 remaining contestants will go on to compete once more. From these 5 the winner will be announced. The winner will receive $1000 in cash as well as a paid headlining engagement at Sterling's, and a variety of auditions for local musical theatres such as the outstanding Musical Theatre West and Cabrillo Music Theatre. The 4 runners up will also get headlining engagements at Sterling's and various private auditions as well.
One feature that makes the competitive show pleasurable is producer Michael Sterling himself presenting each of the contestants onstage. He is such a charming gentleman! Four judges (there are 12 in total) voice their comments after each performance, giving the contestants fine constructive criticisms. Judges on Sunday, December 20 were: Rey O'Day, producing artistic director of Performance Riverside, Steven Dry, West Coast Senior Theatre Agent at Schiowitz Connor Ankrum Wolf, Daniel Solis, Disney casting director and Eric Stevens, owner of Rainbow High Entertainment Talent Agency. They were all encouraging, but I particularly liked O'Day, as she critiqued every aspect of appearance including choice of clothes and jewelry, attitude and posture, as well as vocal ability.
Of the 18 contestants who performed, several blew me away with their talent, raw guts and nerve. My favorites were: the so well-acted "I Won't Mind" from Raquel Sandler, the very smooth Barry Manilow-sounding Bobby Bennett singing "Somewhere Down the Road", Janet Krupin with a stunning rendition of "If I Loved You" (photo top left), Matthew Claiborne with a dynamic "This Is the Moment", Luke Yellin utilizing great body language in Jason Robert Brown's "Shiksa Godess", Sam Ayoub opening big with "Giants in the Sky", Domonique Paton pouring every ounce of herself into a splendiferous "Disneyland", Nicole Ligerman with "I Have Everything I Want" and Taylor Tracey with an affecting "Get Out and Stay Out" from 9 to 5: The Musical.
Producers Michael Sterling and Tony Monsour may be exceedingly proud of the event which has been SRO for all 6 weeks. Vitello's serves a delicious luncheon and there is continuous beverage service throughout the 3 hour contest. The winner will be announced January 3, 2010 - I can't wait! - but, win or lose, all of these immensely talented ladies and gentlemen are truly winning performers.


Post a Comment

<< Home