Photo Flash: 2014 LA's Next Great Stage Star in Rehearsal
The only musical theatre competition of its kind on the west coast, now in its eighth anniversary, shines the spotlight on twenty undiscovered performers ranging in age between 18 and 28. Subsequent Sunday competition dates will be held January 12, 19, 26; and February 9, with its Grand Finale on Sunday, February 16. The 2014 edition of LA's Next Great Stage Star continues to be Executive Produced by Michael Sterling of Michael Sterling & Associates. Los Angeles Arts philanthropist and performer Barbara Van Orden, associated with the event since 2012, serves as Co-Executive Producer. Writer/Performer Peter Welkin returns as Associate Producer along with James Lent who returns as Musical Director, and Bryan Blaskie as Alternate Musical Director. Jackie Evans rounds out the creative as Choreographer for her second year.
The contestants are selected through an audition process held in mid-December 2013. This years Stage Star 2014 competitors include: Jessica Apperson, Alexandra Arthur, Michael Byrne, Matthew Campanella, Cy Creamer, Sevan Dekmezian, Jordan Michelle DeLeon, Katrice Gavino, Kimberly Hessler, Brandon Hynum, Jade Johnson, Amanda Knight, Jennifer Kranz, Travis Leland, Daniella Painton, Kathleen Porter, Cameron Sczempka, Katherine Tracy, Adrienne Visnic, and Jared Andrew Warren. The remaining top 4 contestants are also placed with professional agents; as are (on average) another half dozen contestants who received high scores with both audiences and judges throughout the competition process. To date, a combination of 8 Stage Star winners and contestants have since made their off-Broadway and/or Broadway debuts, with 2010 winner Janet Krupin having made her Broadway debut in the hit musical "Bring it On" and 2010 fourth runner up Derek Klena starring on Broadway as Fiyero in the mega hit musical "Wicked."
Contestants will compete at each competition with no eliminations until the Finale. The Finale will determine the selection of one winner and four finalists. The winner will receive a $1000 cash prize and a lucrative, paid headlining engagement at Sterling's Upstairs at Vitello's
The 2014 Stage Star Judges include: Musical Theatre & Theatrical Casting Directors: Michael Donovan, Peter Matyas, Jami Rudofsky , Michael Serna - Walt Disney Parks & Resorts; and Mark Simon of the Center Theatre Group at the Los Angeles Music Center.
Sunday matinee competition times and dates are 11:15 am - 12:00 pm Brunch Seating's; followed by 12:00 - 2:30 pm Competitions January 5, 12, 19, 26 and February 9; with the Grand Finale taking place on February 16, 2014.
Attendance at LA's Next Great Stage Star is by reservation only. For reservations, call the Sterling's Upstairs at The Federal 24 hour reservation line at (818) 754-8700. A $15 entertainment cover charge and a $10 drink and/or food minimum apply for attendance at the first five competitions. A $20 entertainment cover and a $10 drink and/or food minimum apply to the February 16 Finale. Audience members are entitled to vote for their favorite performers at the first five competitions with their votes added to the overall scoring system by the judges.
LAs Next Great Stage Star was created by Michael Sterling and Tony Monsour and produced by Sterling as well as former fashion model, fashion designer, actress, singer, film and television producer, personal manager, motivational speaker, business woman, author, and live arts enthusiast and philanthropist Barbara Van Orden, whose highly publicized return to the stage after the devastating accident that resulted in 18 surgeries and years of rehabilitation has been well received by audiences and critics alike. Before the accident she was a leading cover model and represented products such as Leggs, Ford, American Express, Clairol, Breck, Ivory Snow, London Fog,m Donna Karan, Maybelline, Maidenform, Calvin Klein, Wells fargo, Chistian Dior, Neutrogena and much more. A career at the top came, literally, to a crash, while opening for many of the greats, such as Milton Berle, Don Rickles and Red Buttons, to name a few. She went on to do all of the Playboy Clubs working with talents such as Buddy Hackett, Morey Amsterdam, Soupy Sales, Shecky Green, and Frank Sinatra to name a few. She still reamins the only woman to appear at all of the Playboy Clubs during their heyday.
Rehearsal Photo Credits: Amir Kojoory
Barbara Van Orden with 2014 LAs Next Great Stage StarÂ® Contestants
Michael Byrne, Barbara Van Orden and Adrienne Visnic
Travis Leland, Barbara Van Orden and Matthew Campanella
Barbara Van Orden with the show tech crew, Josh & Nat
Musical Director, James Lent, and Barbara Van Orden