Local youth performing ensemble to headline show in New York City
Every performer dreams of seeing their name in lights in New York City.
In July, a group of young singers from Schuylkill County will see that dream become a reality.
The Spotlight Kidz, under the direction of Sandy Kost-Sterner, will be the headlining performer at A Time To Shine Youth Cabaret's "In the Spotlight" at Stage 72, 158 W. 72nd St. The show will be held at 3 p.m. July 20.
Kost-Sterner said the opportunity to perform in the Big Apple came about in May after a conversation with the show's producer while her niece, Reiley Lonergan, was performing in a show with the Time to Show Youth Cabaret.
"While at Reiley's recent show in New York City, I had told the producer, Leorah Haberfield, who Reiley has worked with several times in the past, what a wonderful show it was and said that I would love for our Spotlight Kidz to have an opportunity like that 'someday,' " Kost-Sterner said. "That is how this show, 'In the Spotlight,' all originated. It's a lot sooner than I would of ever anticipated but it is so exciting for all the youngsters involved and such a wonderful opportunity for them to perform on a stage in New York City."
Part of the Pottsville Gymnastic & Theatrical Center Inc., the Spotlight Kidz is a performance squad that sings mostly Broadway show tunes. The squad is invitation or audition only and currently has 28 members from age 5 to high school. There are three divisions in the squad - children, junior and senior.
Kost-Sterner said all three divisions will be represented in New York City. The members making the trip in July are: Cadence Artz, Ella Frantz, Emily Hart, Caroline Hobbs, Elena Holden, Bo McDonald, Michael Spotts and Hallie Yordy, children squad; Madison Eroh, Ava Frantz, Riley McDonald, Nevaeh Mitchell, Maddie Swick and Elizabeth Stehr, junior squad ; Kylee Clark, Morgan Flick, Celena Granito, Rachel Laughlin, Sara Leibel, Lonergan, Jade McDonough, Gillian Revenis and Lauren Tidmore, senior squad.
Kost-Sterner said four college students who have been involved with PGTC for several years will also be performing with the group. They are Kayla Sabol, Cassidy Conroy, Jeffrey Lazarchick and Jacob Tarconish. Kost-Sterner said they will sing one solo each.
Pianist Bruce Marianelli, West West Terrance, will also be joining the group in New York City.
Kost-Sterner said the group will have practiced for two months by the time of the performance in July. She said the group will be performing songs from various Broadway shows, including "Consider Yourself" from "Oliver!," "The Glory of Love" from "Beaches," "All Good Gifts" from "Godspell" and "Seasons of Love" from "Rent."
There will also be several solo performances, including Lonergan singing the cabaret-style song "Taylor, the Latte Boy."
For the finale, the Spotlight Kidz will be joined by Broadway star Marissa Perry for the song "Thank You for the Music" from "Mamma Mia." Perry is known for playing Tracy Turnblad in the Broadway production of "Hairspray" and is currently part of the Tony-nominated Broadway production of "Sister Act."
"We are extremely honored to have Broadway's Marissa Perry be a special guest performer at the show. She is a fantastic singer and actress and is such a positive, upbeat individual who is a great role model," Kost-Sterner said. "Marissa did a workshop for Pottsville GTC last summer and the participants loved her."
Jessica Swick, mother of junior squad member Maddie Swick, said the performance is a great opportunity and experience for the performers.
"It's a neat thing for a group from Schuylkill County to perform in New York City," Swick said.
She said Maddie only joined the Spotlight Kidz recently, but has been involved with the PGTC for about a year and a half.
While she said Maddie is excited to perform in NYC, she thinks the big stage will bring a different emotion as the event approaches.
"The day of the performance she will have a few butterflies in the stomach," Swick said.
Kost-Sterner said not only will the young singers get the opportunity to sing in New York City but there also is a possibility that casting agents or managers could be attending the show. She said it's also a chance for those in the business to see the talent from Schuylkill County.
"The opportunity to perform on a stage in New York City is one that is very unique and special and to have a Broadway star on stage with them is incredible. These youngsters are going to gain so much experience, have so much fun and will have memories to last a lifetime," she said.
Before the group heads up to the big city, the PGTC will host its sixth annual "Lil' Bits of Broadway" on July 13 at the Majestic Theater, 209 N. Centre St., Pottsville.
For more information about the Spotlight Kidz, email schmusicevent@ comcast.net.