Starlight Awards Announce 2018 Starlight STARS Scholarships

Starlight Awards Announce 2018 Starlight STARS ScholarshipsThe Starlight STARS, an auditioned musical theatre performance troupe of high school students, wrapped another successful season last night with a final master class and a reception with program donors, Howard and Ro Jacobson, in attendance. The students enjoyed dinner with the Jacobsons while reflecting on their successes and challenges in the Starlight STARS program during the past year. Many mentioned how the program helped them not only grow their performance skills, but also helped them to become more confident and outgoing in their everyday lives.

The evening culminated in Starlight Theatre's education and outreach team presenting two $500 scholarships to students who exemplified outstanding participation and leadership in the 2018 troupe. Danielle Woods, a junior at Olathe East High School, and Gabrielle Petentler, a sophomore at Truman High School, were this year's scholarship recipients.

"Both students were willing to jump in whenever needed, had the most positive attitudes, and overall brought the entire group together with their leadership and drive for success," Andy Pierce, Starlight Theatre education and outreach manager, said.

This was Danielle's second year participating in the Starlight STARS program, which she joined after attending Starlight's Camp Take-A-Bow in 2016. She trains in singing, dance and acting, is a black belt in Taekwondo, and has appeared in productions of A Princess Knight, Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, among others.

This was also Gabrielle's second year participating in the Starlight STARS. She trains in singing, dance and acting, is a member of Trutones, Truman High School's Chamber Choir, and has appeared in The Little Mermaid, Grease and Mother Hicks, among numerous other productions.

"I owe everything to this program," Gabrielle said of the Starlight STARS. "I've made so many friends here and I've learned so much that I can apply to be a performer. This program is absolutely amazing."

After auditioning for the Starlight STARS earlier this year, Danielle and Gabrielle joined 12 other Kansas City area students in grades 9 through 12 in the 2018 performance troupe. The group came together for the first time in early June to learn a medley of songs from Starlight's 2018 Broadway musicals that they then performed on Starlight's Spotlight Stage throughout the summer, as well as at community events. The STARS also participated in a series of master classes, learning about important topics such as vocal auditions, choreography, stage makeup, wigging and more.

Auditions for the 2019 Starlight STARS program will be held next spring. Watch our website at for details after the first of the year.

About Starlight Theatre Starlight Theatre is the largest and oldest performing arts organization in Kansas City and the second-largest outdoor producing theatre in the country. Opened as a theater in 1950 and as a not-for-profit organization in 1951, Starlight presents and produces Broadway musicals and concerts. It also offers extensive community outreach and educational programming, including classes, scholarships and Starlight's Blue Star Awards, one of the largest high school musical theatre award programs in the nation.

Located on 16 acres in Swope Park, Starlight's venue includes rehearsal halls, gift store, club area for dining, concessions, gardens, fountains and a 10-story, climate-controlled stage. For more information, visit

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