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BWW Reviews: LA's Next Great Stage Star 2012 Presents a Dazzling Array of Talent


On Sunday January 15  producers Michael Sterling and Tony Monsour presented the second week of the annual six-week competition LA's Next Great Stage Star 2012, now in its sixth knockout year. Twenty very talented contestants are competing for the title which will be announced at the end of the finale on Sunday February 12.

Four men from the world of show business in LA - record producer Bruce Kimmel, MTW's director Steven Glaudini, Candlelight Dinner Theatre's artistic director John Lalonde and theatrical agent Steven Dry served as judges on the 15th. Michael Sterling was the sterling host introducing and speaking with each contestant and Tanya Possick choreographed a delightful opening number "Together" from Gypsy featuring all twenty contestants. Musical director James Lent  accompanied brilliantly at the piano throughout the two and a half hour set.

Highlights of the afternoon - all songs from 1940s - 70s Broadway - from the ladies: Lauren Leigh Barker's intriguing "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" from Pal Joey, a sweet "Where Is Love?" from Oliver by Demaree Hill, Josie Yount's unusual "You're Not Alone",  Justine Huxley's "What More Do I Need?" from Sondheim's Saturday Night and Katrina Lauren McGraw's amazing  rendition of the showstopper "Can't Help Lovin' That Man" from Showboat. From the men: a great "Luck Be a Lady" by David Michael Laffey, Scott Reardon's terrific "Everybody Says Don't" from Anyone Can Whistle, Harrison Meloeny's beautiful "Never Never Land" from Peter Pan, Brett McMahon's exquisite tenor with "On the Street Where You Live" from My Fair Lady and Tyson Pyles' delightful "She Loves Me".

The other ten contestants, with equally wonderful singing voices include: James Blashaw, Taylor Courtney, Chelsea Emma Franko, Melody Goodell, Tyler Hodges, Monica Quinn, Tyler Shceef, Carrie St. Louis, Adrienne Storrs and Jessica Withers. There's tremendous talent here, and it is difficult to judge at the moment just who will win, but it would not surprise me in the slightest if Katrina Lauren McGraw and Tyson Pyles make it into the top five. Only time will tell, as the saying goes. I look forward to returning for the finale on February 12 when the 20 contestants will be reduced to a group of five, from which the winner will be chosen.
Stay tuned for the exciting results!

(photo by Tony Monsour: from left to right: Katrina Lauren McGraw, Lauren Leigh Barker, Jessica Withers)

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From This Author Don Grigware