Jefferson Performing Arts Society Announces 2014-15 Ce'le'brite' Etoile Honorees; Gala Set for 10/24

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Jefferson Performing Arts Society Announces 2014-15 Ce'le'brite' Etoile Honorees; Gala Set for 10/24

Jefferson Performing Arts Society, a 37 year-old organization, is preparing for its 19th Annual Pasta & Puccini fundraising Gala.

Five Ce'le'brite' Etoile's were chosen from forty-one individuals who were nominated for the award. The celebrities chosen are extremely talented young people who have demonstrated their dedication to the performing arts. They are the future leaders of the arts who are interested in the cultural climate of our community. These outstanding performers will serve as ambassadors for JPAS during the upcoming season. The Celebrity Committee, chaired by Lynn Skidmore, worked diligently and with great difficulty in selecting these five artists.

Four of the vocalists will be performing with the JPAS Symphony Orchestra the night of Pasta & Puccini. Ce'le'brite' Etoile' Bruce Landry is unable to attend due to his lead role in the national touring production of Cinderella.

JPAS is honored to announce the following JPAS Ce'le'brite' Etoile' for 2014-2015:

Jennifer DeLatte - Jennifer DeLatte began performing with JPAS 20 years ago in the children's chorus and summer youth musicals. She is an accomplished theatrical veteran and owes much of her success to those formative years under the guidance and nurturing environment of JPAS. Jennifer obtained her vocal performance degree from North Carolina School of the Arts conservatory and has performed all over the country in theatrical productions. Some of her favorite roles have been with JPAS, including the US premiere of Scandalous!, The Life of D.H. Lawrence as Jessie Chambers, two productions of Disney's Beauty and the Beast as Madame de la Grande Bouche, Miracle on 34th Street as Doris Walker, and The Secret Garden as Lily Craven the summer youth musical that began her journey towards the goal of becoming a professional actor. Other favorite roles include: Ulla (The Producers), Lina Lamont (Singing in the Rain) for which she won the 2010 Ambie Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Christine Colgate (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), Emma Carew (Jekyll & Hyde), Maria (The Sound of Music), and Marian Paroo (The Music Man). Having sung with Broadway veterans Bart Shatto and Brad Little, she is a seasoned performer thanks in large part to the many opportunities provided to her by Dennis and JPAS. Jennifer is honored and thrilled to have been named to the inaugural group of "JPAS Star Celebrities".

Micah Richerand Desonier - Micah Richerand Desonier is truly honored to represent JPAS' 2014-2015 Ce'le'brite' Etoile's. Micah was born and raised in Folsom, La. where she grew up with her five wonderful siblings and two very special parents. She still resides there with her amazing husband of 7 marvelous years. Micah enjoys spending her free time with her very large family plus 2 nephews, 7 nieces, and lots of pets. She grew up dancing at Javier's dance studio where she learned many different styles of dance including Mexican folklore, salsa, swing, ballet, jazz, hip hop, American tap, and contemporary. Micah has danced with Javier's Dance Company, B.C. Fields Dance Company, Cangelosi Dance Project, Izzy Moving, and Leggworks. She is now studying voice under the talented Nancy Assaf. Some of Micah's favorite roles have been Maria in The Sound of Music, Belle's understudy in Beauty and the Beast, Missy in The Marvelous Wonderettes, Kathy in Singin' in the Rain, and as herself in A Night of Opera and Broadway. Through the years Micah has had the privilege to perform for the Young Audiences program in the public school system, at Southeastern, Tulane and Loyola Universities, Jazz Fest, plus many more. Micah received the award for Outstanding Actor from JPAS for her role as Maria. Micah hopes to continue to do what she loves for very long time and would like to thank everyone at the Jefferson Performing Arts Society for all the opportunities and all they do for the arts.

Kate Abreo Mendelson - Kate Abreo Mendelson is both honored and humbled to be performing for the Jefferson Performing Arts Society's Pasta and Puccini Gala. Involved in JPAS shows and ensembles since middle school, she truly feels like a part of the JPAS family - especially after working alongside the talented Assaf family in the Big Easy award-winning production of "The Light in the Piazza." Currently she is the female vocalist for the popular, local New Orleans cover band, Troy Marks and No Idea. Kate earned her B.A. from the University of New Orleans and her M.M. at Loyola, where she studied voice with well-known classical vocalist, Ellen Frohnmayer and New Orleans jazz proficient, Leah Chase-Kamata. In addition to performing in various musicals in the New Orleans area, Kate has appeared in several shows, parades, and promotional videos for both the Disney Cruise Line and the Disney World Resort. Some of her favorite past projects include her work on the Magic Kingdom stage show, "Storytime With Belle," her endeavors as a backup vocalist for local, Catholic recording artist, Lorraine Hess, and her participation in New Orleans guitarist/ singer/ songwriter Paul Sanchez's original work, "Nine Lives" at Tulane's Dixon Hall. Kate is furthermore privileged to have been a member of the Actor's Equity Association.

Bruce Landry - "The JPAS team is comprised of the kindest, hardest working people; all of whom are dedicated to high quality craftsmanship, artistry, and professionalism. The foundation of everything I do today is deeply rooted in the early training that the Jefferson Performing Arts Society provided me. I am forever grateful for the encouragement I received to pursue my dreams, and for the fierce knowledge and passion of the arts that was passed along to me," says Bruce.

From the 'Big Easy' to the 'Big Apple', Bruce was born and raised in Metairie, Louisiana, and began his JPAS career at a relatively young age! With encouragement from his mother (and future board member), Freddie Landry, Bruce auditioned for and performed in his first JPAS production, Peter Pan! There was no turning back. Bruce went onto perform in many other JPAS shows, during both the summer and mainstage seasons, i.e.- Oliver, Children of Eden, Wizard of Oz, Will Rogers Follies, Anything Goes, and Zombie Prom (his first leading role in a musical)!
His training at the Jefferson Performing Arts Society helped Bruce secure a coveted spot in the musical theatre program at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA)! Though Hurricane Katrina forced him to continue his sophomore and junior year at the Harrison Arts Center in Lakeland, Florida, Bruce finished out his senior year of high school back in New Orleans and at NOCCA|Riverfront. Then in the fall of 2008, Bruce packed up his one winter coat and moved to upstate New York. It was there he spent the next four years earning his B.F.A. in Musical Theatre from Ithaca College. Some favorite credits from his time at school and professional summer work include: Hairspray (Link Larkin), Light in the Piazza (Fabrizzio), Pirates of Penzance (Frederic), and Floyd Collins (Homer Collins). Since Bruce has moved to New York, he has joined with a top New York agency and has become a proud member of Actor's Equity. He has been seen playing Marius in LES MISERABLES at various theaters around the country, and most recently as Prince Eric in North Shore Music Theatre's record-breaking production of, The Little Mermaid. Currently Bruce is out on the 1st National Tour of Cinderella, playing in the ensemble and understudying Prince Topher. Be sure to check his website for updates on where the tour is playing, and for what's coming up next for Bruce! www.brucelandry.com

Nancy Gros - New Orleans' own Nancy "Li"l Red" Gros has been singing the blues with her band, "Li"l Red" and Big Bad" since 2005. In 2010, she received the winning title, "Best Blues Band" in the Voodoo Blues Krewe New Orleans Blues Society's annual competition sending her to Memphis to represent New Orleans in the "International Blues Challenge". She was a featured performer at "Lady Fest 2011" and the "Blue Star Blues Festival" in Boulder, Colorado. Nancy also opened for the "Royal Southern Brotherhood" Band with Tab Benoit at the legendary "Rock n' Bowl and was the opening act at the 2012 French Quarter Festival. You can also hear her vocals on the "Blues Planet" 2013 CD featuring artists like Taj Mahal, Jon Cleary, and Dr. Michael White. Nancy performs with her band every Monday night at the "Balcony Music Club" in the French Quarter as well as other local music venues. "JPAS gives people like my daughter the opportunity to express their creativity and follow their dreams. I am so thankful for that and I plan to be a lifelong supporter of the arts. I am very honored to be selected as a Ce'lebrite'Etoile and very proud to be an ambassador for JPAS. A special thank you to all my listeners for supporting my music and a very special thank you to my daughter Renee for giving me so much inspiration, says Nancy.

About JPAS - The Jefferson performing Arts Society's mission is to enrich the lives of community through the magic of the arts. With the opening of the Performing Arts Center on Airline Highway, scheduled for the latter part of 2014, JPAS looks forward to expanding their productions as well as expanding their youth programs.

The Summer Youth Musical Theatre Camp is one of excellent quality geared toward the development of talent and ability. In continuing with JPAS's dedication toward children an additional program, the Arts Adventure Series allows school children to attend main stage productions in conjunction with the Louisiana Curriculum Standards.

The 19th Annual Pasta and Puccini Fundraising Gala will be held Friday October 24, 2014 at the Marriott New Orleans. Individual tickets start at $165 and $1,350 for a table of ten. For ticket information, contact Valerie Hart at 504-885-2000, Ext. 212.

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