January 24, 2012
The audience went absolutely wild for FutureStars 2012 winner Tionna Griffin.
FutureStars 2012 celebrated its Tenth Anniversary in a big way. There was just an incredible level of energy — the kids performed their hearts out! I mean, it was a take-no-prisoners kinda deal. You dig?
And on top of all the enormous talent (which inexplicably seems to multiply exponentially from one year to the next), Michigan Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson was on the judges’ panel! Joining him was teammate Kelvin Grady. I was delighted that the über-enthusiastic Lucy Ann Lance was returning for her 3rd tour of jury duty (if jury duty were anything like FutureStars, no one would try to get out of it). UM Musical Theater professor Cynthia Kortman Westphal — what a get! — and Steve DeBruyne lent a measure of theater gravitas to the event. Well, the judges couldn’t contain their enthusiasm — check out Denard’s tweet and Lucy Ann’s blog post!
Hannah Hesseltine, Carly Paull-Baird, and Adriana Ellis got the event off to a rousing start with a harmoniously tight Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. | Hank Miller (vocals) and Morgan Barroso (dance) sauntered into the top-6 with Feeling Good.
Maddie Polovick performs Tears Dry on Their Own (with Aiden Geronimus). | Clare Lauer hit every silky note in A Case of You, accompanied by Gabe Novak.
Quinton Howard gets a unique view of the FutureStars crowd in Universal Mind Control. | Andrew Nazarro surprised several of his classmates (who had no idea he could even sing) with his soulful performance of Ain’t No Sunshine.
Rising Stars in Here I Go Again. I look forward to seeing much more of these young faces.
Top-6 finishers Jassadi Moore and Eliza Stein were sassy and pink in Fly.
Sena Adjei and Claire Crause gave us all goosebumps with I Had the Time of My Life. They nailed the lift, and so many other beautiful moves.
Adriana Ellis with Natalie White and Tionna Griffin in the Dixie Chicks’ heartbreaking ballad Travelin’ Soldier.
Joey Hathaway performed the first non-vocal, non-dance number in the 10-year history of FutureStars. His unbelievable, bang-up performance of Stomp propelled him to a Top-6 finish.
Julia Franceschi in a beautiful, acoustic version of What’s Love Got to Do With It (accompanied by Gabe Novak on guitar). | Karina Stribley (with Rising Stars Alona Henig and Ivy Gleason) having too much fun in What the Hell.
Top-6 finishers Jonathan Jue-Wong and Madi Chadwick in a stirring rendition of Need You Now. Jonathan sang and played violin (I can barely walk and chew gum at the same time).
Miriam Alexander belts out Come on Over Baby with Emma Whitaker and Tasha Major.
Ari Axelrod and Hank Miller on the catwalk: What You Own.
It didn’t take an applause meter to tell us that Tionna Griffin was going to win FutureStars. Her performance of California King Bed was that good.
Molly Cocco, Nick Washington, Darius Sanderford, Sena Adjei, and Duane Redmond defy gravity in their dance to Take Care.
Carly Paull-Baird’s soulful rendition of One and Only “proves that she is the one who can” be a Top-6 finisher.
What’s FutureStars without a boy band? Jonathan Jue-Wong, Jack Pilutti, Gabe Novak, Levi Brown, and Andrew Siddall delivered with I Want it That Way.
While the judges deliberated, we got to see past FutureStars in action. 2009 winner Amelia Franceschi
performed Heart of Gold, and 2007 winner Rohan Kymal
performed Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.
Rohan was accompanied by FutureStars directors Sadie Yarrington, Ashley Park, Mary Little, and Dorothy Yarrington. Dorothy won FutureStars in 2008.
The Pioneer Theatre Guild family comes together to celebrate the successful culmination of this 10th Annual FutureStars extravaganza with the closing medley (We Are Family, Celebration, and We Are A Family).