And the winner of the 8th annual LA'S NEXT GREAT STAGE STAR talent competition is Jennifer Kranz
, a senior at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles majoring in Theatre and minoring in Musical Theatre. On Sunday, Feb 16th, Ms. Kranz and 19 other talented young professionals sang their hearts out for the coveted prize. As winner, Ms. Kranz awarded a cash prize of $1000; an upcoming paid headlining concert engagement at Sterling's Upstairs; a vocal demo recording session from Tom Griep
's Audition Trax; a photo session with Isaac James
Creative; and is already in the process of scheduling meetings to be signed and represented by one of the lucrative competition's Equity Agent/Judges as the first step toward a professional career in musical theatre, television and film. Scroll down for photos from the competition!
The 2014 competition was was successfully produced by Writer/Performer Peter Welkin as Associate Producer, with James Lent
as Musical Director and Bryan Blaskie as Associate Musical Director. Jackie Evans rounded out the creative team as Choreographer and all of this under the creative direction of Co-Executive Produced, Michael Sterling
, of Michael Sterling
& Associates and author, speaker, performer, business woman and arts philanthropist, Barbara Van Orden
"I am so very proud of the 2014 contestants on LA'S NEXT GREAT STAGE STAR. What a wonderful group of aspiring young performers," says Barbara Van Orden
. "I felt privileged to watch them hone their craft during the six week competition. I know that the judges, consisting of agents, casting directors, producers and musical theatre directors, were equally impressed. I expect to be hearing a lot more about these young men and ladies as they pursue their dreams, whether on TV, the silver screen or stage. After all, eight past contestants have gone on to Broadway since they're competition appearance."
Included among the celebrated panel of Stage Star Judges were: Musical Theatre & Theatrical Casting Directors: Artios Award Winner Michael Donovan
; Artios Award Winner, Peter Matyas, Jami Rudofsky, Michael Serna and Mark Simon
. In addition were Musical Theatre Producers, Writers, Directors & Choreographers: Cate Caplin
, T.J. Dawson
, Daniel Dawson
, Joshua Finkel
, David Galligan
, Bruce Kimmel
, Robert Marra, Lee Martin
o, Michael Matthews
, Dan Mojica
, Calvin Remsberg
, David F.M. Vaughn
. And finally, Equity Theatre Agents: Anthony Boyer, Jodie Bowman, Alisa Taylor, Steven Dry, Sasha Passero and Dave Secor.
Historically, more than 80 of the annual competition's overall 140 contestants (to date) have been cast in top regional theatre shows, Broadway national tours, Las Vegas productions, and network television shows; while 8 have already made their Broadway and Off-Broadway debuts. An average of 50% of all contestants in each year's edition of Stage Star are signed by the competition's musical theatre Equity Agent/Judges.
Making the evening extra special was a tribute to the late great Marvin Hamlisch
- The perfect selection considering Mr. Hamlisch's talents were recognized at such a ridiculously young age that he was accepted into the Juilliard School as a child. As composer, Hamlisch won virtually every major award that exists: three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony and three Golden Globe awards. A trailer from the award winning documentary about the 'Musical Genius', entitled Marvin Hamlisch
: What He Did for Love by multi TONY winner, Dori Berinstein
, was used to to open and introduce the competitors.Photo Credit: Bill Dow
LA''S NEXT GREAT STAGE STAR Awards
Musical Director James Lent and Co-Executive Producer Michael Sterling
Contestant and finalist, Danielle Painton, sings Get Out And Stay Out
Contestant and finalist, Jade Johnson, sings I Am Changing
Contestant and Winner, Jennifer Kranz, sings Disneyland
Contestant and finalist, Travis Leland, sings Sunset Boulevard
Contestant and finalist, Kimberly Hessler, sings He Touched Me
Contestant and finalist, Adrienne Visnic, sings There Won''t Be Trumpets
Contestant gather to await judges decisions
Jessica Apperson and Jordan Michelle DeLeon congratulate Daniella Painton as they announce her name as runner up.
Co-Executive Producers, Michael Sterling and Barbara Van Orden invite 2012 finalist Chelsea Emma Franko up to pull the winner of the audience raffle
Winner, Jennifer Kranz, accepts her award
Winner, Jennifer Kranz, with Co-Executive Producers, Michael Sterling and Barbara Van Orden
Jade Johnson (5th Place), Jennifer Kranz (1st Place) and Adrienne Visnic (3rd Place)
Jennifer Kranz (1st Place), Travis Leland (2nd Place), Adrienne Visnic (3rd Place), Barbara Van Orden (Co-Executive producer), Danielle Painton (4th Place), Jade Johnson (5th Place) and Kimberly Hessler (6th Place)
Co-Executive producer, Barbara Van Orden with all the contestants as the competition began.