Next On Stage

Franco Tomaino Applied for Next on Stage to 'Get Out Of My Comfort Zone' - Next on Stage

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The Next on Stage competition is narrowing down and we got the chance to chat with the contestants still in the race to win the grand prize!

Franco Tomaino, a 2021 graduate of Wethersfield High School, wowed the judges last week with his amazing performance of Last Midnight from Into the Woods in drag!

Why did you apply for Next on Stage?

I applied for Next on Stage because I was trying to do something out of my comfort zone and was bored during quarantine. No matter where I am, I am always singing and for the longest time, my friends and peers have told me to try out for something like this but I just never have had the courage to and I decided that I might as well take a chance and submit a video, so I did. When I submitted it I didn't even think I'd make it past round one, so when I made the top 25 I was really shocked but I was even more excited to show the judges even more of what I have to offer.

Share a memory from seeing a show.

I saw the national tour of Wicked when I was in 6th grade at the Bushnell in Hartford, CT and when I did, I will always refer to it as the moment I realized that I wanted to pursue musical theatre for the rest of my life. There were a few moments where I kinda teared up because I felt a deep connection to Elphaba. One of the more notable times was during "One Short Day" where Elphaba stops Glinda and says she wants to take in the moment because she finally feels that she's found somewhere she belongs and I really related to it because I was that weird kid who didn't fit in and theatre was the place where I finally felt I was accepted.

What does musical theatre mean to you?

Musical Theatre is pretty much everything to me. As a kid, my parents tried to enroll me in every single sport possible, but I was never interested in any of them. It wasn't until a little later that I discovered that I had a huge love for music and performing. I started performing at school talent shows singing Lady Gaga songs and my love for music progressed into a love for musical theatre when I started to take theatre classes, see shows, and participate in school musicals as well. Now, if I'm not performing, I'm just not happy. The theatre is a place where I can express myself freely with no fear of being judged. I've also made so many friends just from theatre alone and it feels like a whole big family.

Want to see Franco in the top 5? Vote for him HERE!

Inspired by your favorite network TV singing contests, the site invited high school and college aged students to submit videos of themselves performing a song from the musical theatre canon to enter the competition.

Voting for the top 5 is now open! The nominees have submitted all new songs for you to listen to before casting your vote!

Voting for High School will close at 11:59 PM ET on Wednesday, June 17th. Voting for College will close on 11:59 PM ET on Thursday June 18th.

Then tune in for the results LIVE as the judges watch the performances and pick someone from the bottom three to be saved to compete for the top 10! Live shows will air Thursday at 8 PM (high school) and Friday at 8PM (college.)

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