Sunday, January 3, 2010

January 3, 2010-WINNER of LA's Next Great Stage Star!!!!

Janet Krupin is LA's Next Great Stage Star 2010. The top five finalists include (left to right): Raquel Sandler (4th place), Taylor Tracey (3rd place), winner Janet Krupin, Derek Klena (tied for 4th place) and Domonique Paton (2nd place).
It was a very exciting Finale for LA's Next Great Stage Star 2010 competition on Sunday, January 3 at Sterling's Upstairs @ Vitello's.

18 participants, competing 6 weeks since November 22, performed round one for the 10 judges present. Highlights included: Derek Klena, "Movin' Too Fast", Elizabeth O'Malley, "I'm Not Afraid of Anything", Nicole Ligerman with an off-the-wall "Screw Loose" from Cry Baby, Matthew Claiborne with a lovely "Music of the Night" from Phantom, Janet Krupin, with a soaring "Out of the Blue" from Lippa's The Wild Party, Aletta Mannix, "Maybe I Like It This Way", Raquel Sandler repeting her outstanding interpretation of "I Won't Mind" from The Other Franklin, Domonique Paton, with a heartfelt "Home" from The Wiz, Taylor Tracey, with another heart-tugging number "It Hurts To be Strong" from the Broadway musical Carrie, Luke Yellin "Epiphany" from Altar Boyz, Bobby Bennett rendering a vocally strong "Being Alive" from Company and Kristen Heitman with a great "Alto's Lament".

Some tough decision making! The audience voted and 13 participants were eliminated. The top five finalists announced were: Derek Klena, Taylor Tracey, Raquel Sandler, Domonique Paton, and Janet Krupin. After a brief interlude, the five finalists performed a second round. The five performances were all astounding! Klena with "Farewell to the Hills of Home" from Parade, Paton with her wonderful "Disneyland" from Smile, Tracey "I'm Not Alone" also from Carrie, Sandler, succeeding big time 360 degrees away from the serious "I Won't Mind" with the perky, sexy, funny "Taylor the Latte Boy" and Janet Krupin, a tour-de-force with "How Lucky Can You Get" from Funny Lady.

Another interlude with audience voting... and... Janet Krupin was named winner of LA's Next Great Stage Star 2010, with Klena and Sandler sharing fourth place, Tracey in third and Paton in second. You had to be there, but Krupin's reaction was priceless. She uttered onstage "I have to call my mom!" Pulling out her cell phone, she called her mom in Oregon and when she told her "Mom, I won!", the response came back "Oh my God... I'll call you back!" Funny, funny... what priority hold fame and glory in our ultra-fast technological world! As I said before, you had to be there to hear it firsthand.

Intermission entertainment during the two voting sessions was incredible. Musical director James Lent, virtuoso pianist, saluted guest celebrity judge Bill Hutton with an instrumental medley from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Hutton originated the title role on Broadway and was Tony nominated for it) and to honor second guest celebrity judge Alexis Gershwin, Lent played a wonderful "Rhapsody in Blue" (Gershwin, being the niece of the composers George and Ira Gershwin). Janene Lovullo, making a stunning return to the musical stage with this performance after a self-imposed 10 year absence to bring up her children, essayed a beautiful "Golden Rainbow" and next a Rodgers and Hammerstein medley culminating with "I Have Dreamed", accompanied on the piano by its arranger Christopher Marlowe. Also, Paul Stroili performed an hysterical 10-minute standup in which he roasted Michael Sterling, as "he with the cashmere vocal chords", calling him the "white... no, olive-skinned James Earl Jones". Funny stuff!

This was a long but exhilarating and very entertaining afternoon. We can look forward to all five finalists when they each headline Sterling's Upstairs @ Vitello's sometime between now and late May. All five also get top auditions with local casting directors and musical theaters such as Cabrillo Music Theatre and Musical Theatre West. Krupin, as the winner, gets all of the above and $1000 cash.

I eagerly await La's Next Great Stage Star 2011!


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