BWW TV: Exclusive Look at the Winner and Contestants of LA'S NEXT GREAT STAGE STAR 2013 at Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal
BWW TV's Michael Sterling and Jerry Evans of the JLE Media Group were on hand to produce exclusive television coverage for Broadway World at the Finale of LA's Next Great Stage Star 2013 which broke all previous years attendance records during its six week run at Sterling's Upstairs at The Federal in the NoHo Arts district of North Hollywood, CA January 6 through February 10. Check out the video below!
Sterling's Upstairs at The Federal is the most critically acclaimed, award-winning supper club of its kind in the greater Los Angeles area and is produced by Michael Sterling of Michael Sterling & Associates in Los Angeles, CA. www.msapr.net. For the second consecutive year - author, actress, concert headliner, business woman and arts philanthropist Barbara Van Orden joined Sterling as Associate Producer by creating The Barbara Van Orden Grant which provides invaluable financial assistance to the production of the annual competition, now in its 7th consecutive year. Musical theatre performer Peter Welkin also served as an Associate Producer with James Lent as Musical Director and Michael Alfera as Associate Musical Director.
Primary Gold Sponsors for the event included the world renowned Sheraton Universal Hotel adjacent to Universal Studios in Universal City, Broadway LA at the Pantages Theatre, The Federal Restaurant, Jerry Evans of the JLE Media Group, Inc., Eric Schneider Photography of Los Angeles and the State of the Arts Radio Series on the LA Talk Radio.com Network.
Immediately following the competition, the top 5 contestants (out of 20 total between the ages of 18 and 28) began a whirlwind schedule of meetings with 6 of the Stage Star/Equity Agent judges who extended offers for professional representation.
University of Southern California (USC) Senior Charlotte Mary Wen was voted LA's Next Great Stage Star 2013 and signed by Jodie Bowman of Brady, Brannon & Rich/Los Angeles. Ms. Wen was called to New York City to audition for a tour of Miss Saigon produced by Kansas City Starlight Theatre. The audition was her first ever trip to New York. She also hired to appear in the Festival of New American Musical's Show Search cast by Michael Donovan (Stage Star judge) and directed by noted Los Angeles director and Stage Star judge Richard Israel. While continuing her studies at USC, she will also be performing in USC's Senior Acting Showcase April 30-May 1 at the Odyssey Theatre and is currently choreographing USC Musical Theatre Repertory's production of tick, tick...BOOM.
Placing 2nd was Jonathan Arana, an elementary teacher of music and voice in Upland and Rialto, California was signed by Stage Star judge/Equity agent Dave Secor of the Daniel Hoff Agency Los Angeles. Arana is getting ready to open in a three month run of a new musical revue titled Blue Eyes and His Buddies which stpes back to the days of the rat pack in Las Vegas.
Secor also secured the talents of Kelsey Hainlen who placed 5th, and contestants Ben Gibson of USC and singer/dancer Nick Adorno who was immediately hired as "Hanschen" in Spring Awakening by Stage Star supporter Julia Flores, Casting Director for McCoy Rigby Entertainment at the La Mirada Center for the Performing Arts.
4th place contestant Katherine Washington was immediately cast in a six week run of Stay on the Line, a rock musical in workshop that centers around the lifeline of a crisis hotline center. It documents the journey of a handful of young volunteers and their callers as they face life and death in the course of 24 hours. Originally titled 24 Hours the critically acclaimed, Los Angeles Ovation Award Nominee for Best Musical was completely revised with new songs and an entirely new book. It will continue to workshop in New York City during 2014. Washington was then cast in the Inland Valley Repertory Theatre production of Cabaret directed and choreographed by Stage Star judge Cate Caplin getting ready to open at the Candlelight Pavilion in Claremont. Stage Star judge and Equity Agent Sasha Passero of Kazarian Spencer Ruskin & Associates signed Ms. Washington. Ms. Passero also signed contestants Deyana Castellanos and Lexi Lowell.
Singer/Dancer Clinton James Sherwood whoplaced 3rd , was cast as swing in the U.S. National Tour of West Side Story. Having just returned to Los Angeles this week, coinciding with the show's week long engagement at Hollywood's Pantages Theatre, Sherwood was finally able to begin his meetings regarding representation offers from several of the Stage Star Equity Agent/ judges before leaving to fulfill his newest contract for Tuacahn... Utah's spectacular outdoor Amphitheatre located in the city of Ivins. Sherwood has been cast in Tuacahn's productions of Mary Poppins, Starlight Express and Thoroughly Modern Millie.
LA's Next Great Stage Star is geared to discovering new talent for the musical theatre stage. As has become the standard, 20 contestants are selected from auditions to compete for the title, a $1000 cash award, a headlining engagement at Sterling's Upstairs during the New Year, and other valuable prizes.
This year's competition was once again judged by a live audience and an overall panel of 18 of LA musical theatre's most influential and creative forces. Judges will give a live critique to each contestant at every competition. Audience members and Judges will also vote on vocal and acting ability, stage presence and personality.
Judges for LA's Next Great Stage Star 2013 included: Mark Simon - Center Theatre Group/Los Angeles Music Center; Michael Donovan - Michael Donovan Casting - Theatre, Film, Television, Commercials; David Elzer - Producer - The Marvelous Wonderettes, Life Could be a Dream, Having it All, Justin Love; Robert Marra - Director - And the World Goes 'Round, A Chorus Line, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers - San Diego Music Theatre; Dan Mojica - Associate Director/Choreographer - Disney's Beauty and The Beast - National and International Tours; Artistic Director Matt Neves for Performance Riverside; Creator/Writer/Director Roger Bean - The Marvelous Wonderettes, Life Could be a Dream; Director/Choreographer Cate Caplin (Cabaret, The Beat Goes On); Los Angeles Ovation Lifetime Achievement Award winning Director David Galligan; Executive Producer T.J. Dawson - 3-D Theatricals/Fullerton, CA; Director Richard Israel - Avenue Q, The Full Monty, Once Upon a Mattress, Gypsy, Having it All; Calvin Remsberg - Vocal Coach and Director - Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd; Director Michael Matthews - 2012 Los Angeles Ovation Award and LA Weekly Award winner for The Color Purple; Producer/Director/Composer/Author Bruce Kimmel founder and Executive Producer of Kritzerland Records; Equity Department Theatre Agents: Jodie Bowman - Brady, Brannon & Rich, Sasha Passero - Kazarian, Spencer & Associates, Dave Secor - Daniel Hoff Agency; Steven Dry - Connor Ankrum & Associates; Mark W. Smith - The Savage Agency; and Carol Weiss - Stage 9 Talent.
Contestants in LA's Next Great Stage Star 2013 included Nick Adorno, Jonathan A. Arana, Chelsea Rae Bernier, Matthew Bohrer, Deyanna Castellano, Kim Dalton, Allen Darby, Ben Gibson, Kelsey Hainlen, Connor Howe, Alxander Jon (signed by Stage Star judge and Equity Agent Steven Dry), Laleh Khorsandi, Lexie Lowell, Catie Maron, Jonah Platt, Clinton James Sherwood, Katy Tang, Rachae Thomas, Katherine Washington and Charlotte Mary Wen.
Contestants competed at each competition with no eliminations until the Finale on February 10, 2013. The Finale (with votes cast only by all returning judges) determined the selection of one winner and four finalists. Additionally, the winner of LA's Next Great Stage Star 2013 and its four runners-up were invited to private auditions with LA based producers/directors/casting directors unable to personally participate in the competition due to scheduling conflicts. In that capacity, Lewis Wilkenfeld of Cabrillo Music Theatre; Julia Flores casting for McCoy/Rigby of La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts; Glenn Casale - Artistic Director of the Sacramento Music Circus; and Steven Glaudini - Artistic Producer/Director - Moonlight Amphitheatre, Vista, CA were once again on board with the competition for their third consecutive year.
As a direct result of LA's Next Great Stage Star, more than 50 of the annual competition's overall 132 contestants have been cast in top regional theatre shows, Broadway national tours, Las Vegas productions, and network television shows; while 7 have made their Broadway and Off-Broadway debuts. Nearly a quarter of "all" contestants have been signed by the competition's top musical theatre agent/judges.
Sterling's Upstairs at The Federal and LA's Next Great Stage Star is produced by Michael Sterling of Michael Sterling & Associates (MSA), the Studio City-based entertainment public relations and Production Company.
Since 1980, Sterling has represented such stellar clients as Elizabeth Taylor, Lance Armstrong, Scott Hamilton, Dorothy Hamill, David Copperfield, Joan Collins, Alan Thicke, Carol Lawrence, David Brenner, Andy Gibb, and Robert Goulet. Aside from his celebrity clientele, Mr. Sterling has represented various National Theatre and arena tours, Los Angeles theatre productions, Emmy Award-winning television specials, celebrity books, albums and CD's. Sterling is also a critically- acclaimed director of musical theatre in Los Angeles, and has produced various theatrical events and productions throughout southern California.
In September, 2009, Sterling joined the BWW family as a producing partner and host for video coverage of select Los Angeles theatre. In 2011, Jerry Evans of the JLE Media Group in Los Angeles joined Sterling and BroadwayWorld.com as Co-producer for BWW TV Los Angeles.
Sterling and actor/director Paul Stroili teamed up to co-host and co-produce the highly successful, weekly radio series State of the Arts presented by Breakdown Services and Performing Arts Live on the LATalkRadio.com Network each Thursday between 1:00 - 1:50 pm PST. Since its May 31, 2010 debut, State of the Arts has reviewed Los Angeles theatre and interviewed innumerable Tony, Oscar, Emmy and Grammy Award winners and nominees and performers. www.latalkradio.com/sota.php.