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FutureStars 2014

 
FutureStars 2014 | For the first time in FutureStars’ 12-year history, a dancing pair (Robbie Stephens and Sophie Kromis) took home the title!
For the first time in FutureStars’ 12-year history, a dancing pair (Robbie Stephens and Sophie Kromis) took home the title!

Main text and captions by Ciara Stella Linden

Pioneer Theatre Guild has done it again: FutureStars 2014 was a roaring success! The Ann Arbor talent pool seems to be bottomless. This year some brilliant students returned even more polished, and new students with incredible musical and dance gifts emerged. The evening was full of jaw-dropping acts, performed for a sold-out house of over 1500 people!

Although FutureStars is billed as a competition (there is a winner, after all), it’s really a showcase. For the students and audiences alike, the competition is overshadowed by pure entertainment. It may be cliché to say that “everyone is a winner”, but, well, at FutureStars Finals, it’s true. With performances like these, even the audience members are winners (and not just because they nabbed tickets before it sold out).

While we’re on the subject of the winners, though, we may as well take a quick second to congratulate the official ones: Community High School’s pair of Robbie Stephens and Sophie Kromis won after a heartfelt, emotional, and beautifully executed dance to A Great Big World’s “Say Something.” It should be noted, too, that they choreographed the number themselves. These two are likely to have bright futures ahead of them. Congratulations!

The future of AAPS theater is unknown due to the possibility of yearly budget cuts, but everyone on stage, behind the scenes, and in the audience was fully engaged in enhancing and enjoying the theatrical experience on Finals night. Thank you to all of the Pioneer Theater Guild members, staff, fans, and patrons, and we hope we will have the opportunity to see you again at FutureStars 2015!

FutureStars 2014 | What would a competition be without a fine group of judges? No Simon Cowells here, just some of Ann Arbor’s finest talent spotters. (clockwise from top left) Matthew Altruda, host of Ann Arbor’s 107.1’s Tree Town Sound | Erin Zindle, singer & instrumentalist in Ann Arbor’s folk-rock band The Ragbirds | Dymonte Thomas, freshman Defensive Back for the U of M football team | Dee Tomasetta, So You Think You Can Dance S9 contestant & U of M Dance student
What would a competition be without a fine group of judges? No Simon Cowells here, just some of Ann Arbor’s finest talent spotters. (clockwise from top left) Matthew Altruda, host of Ann Arbor’s 107.1’s Tree Town Sound | Erin Zindle, singer & instrumentalist in Ann Arbor’s folk-rock band The Ragbirds | Dymonte Thomas, freshman Defensive Back for the U of M football team | Dee Tomasetta, So You Think You Can Dance S9 contestant & U of M Dance student
FutureStars 2014 | Oren Levin, Isaac Scobey-Thal, & Austin Hadwick started off the show with Hanson’s “MmmBop.” The audience, of course, couldn’t help but sing along.
Oren Levin, Isaac Scobey-Thal, & Austin Hadwick started off the show with Hanson’s “MmmBop.” The audience, of course, couldn’t help but sing along.
FutureStars 2014 | Possibly the first sets crew member to ever make it to the FS Finals, Luke Lee delighted the audience with Air Supply’s “All Out of Love.” | Robbie Stevens’s athleticism shines while dancing to Prince’s “When Doves Cry.”
Possibly the first sets crew member to ever make it to the FS Finals, Luke Lee delighted the audience with Air Supply’s “All Out of Love.” | Robbie Stevens’s athleticism shines while dancing to Prince’s “When Doves Cry.”
FutureStars 2014 | Gabbi Keen holds the audience in the palm of her hand with Sting’s “Fields Of Gold.” | Huron’s Lexxus Glaze (with Tia Khainninissa and Sofie Jahren) brought the motown sound to Ann Arbor with The Supreme’s “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.
Gabbi Keen holds the audience in the palm of her hand with Sting’s “Fields Of Gold.” | Huron’s Lexxus Glaze (with Tia Khainninissa and Sofie Jahren) brought the motown sound to Ann Arbor with The Supreme’s “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.
FutureStars 2014 | Michael Shapiro (with Tia Khainninissa and Rose Meehan) sang The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” to a girl he pulled on stage from the audience. The crowd went wild!
Michael Shapiro (with Tia Khainninissa and Rose Meehan) sang The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” to a girl he pulled on stage from the audience. The crowd went wild!
FutureStars 2014 | The highly anticipated break-dancers Sena Adjei (center), Darius Sanderford, Nick Washington, and Deandre Jones were full of surprises with their “Heartbreak Remix.”
The highly anticipated break-dancers Sena Adjei (center), Darius Sanderford, Nick Washington, and Deandre Jones were full of surprises with their “Heartbreak Remix.”
FutureStars 2014 | Dancers Julien Heidt and Sherry Li gave the illusion that they were floating on air during Payton Lao and Mira Heaney’s emotional rendition of Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel.”
Dancers Julien Heidt and Sherry Li gave the illusion that they were floating on air during Payton Lao and Mira Heaney’s emotional rendition of Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel.”
FutureStars 2014 | Mira Heaney, Payton Lao, Sherry Li, and Julien Heidt (with host Aaliyah Jihad) enjoy the judges' repartee after their performance.
Mira Heaney, Payton Lao, Sherry Li, and Julien Heidt (with host Aaliyah Jihad) enjoy the judges' repartee after their performance.
FutureStars 2014 | Soulful singers Alexa Zielinski and Olivia Roumel rocked Alannah Myles’ “Black Velvet.”
Soulful singers Alexa Zielinski and Olivia Roumel rocked Alannah Myles’ “Black Velvet.”
FutureStars 2014 | (Top-6 finisher) Pioneer’s Andrew Kauffmann and Samantha Torres showed their vocal power with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Same Love.”
(Top-6 finisher) Pioneer’s Andrew Kauffmann and Samantha Torres showed their vocal power with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Same Love.”
FutureStars 2014 | Payton Lao captivated with Alicia Keys’s “If I Ain’t Got You.” | Tommy Kim charmed with his acoustic arrangement of The Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way.”
Payton Lao captivated with Alicia Keys’s “If I Ain’t Got You.” | Tommy Kim charmed with his acoustic arrangement of The Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way.”
FutureStars 2014 | Alexandra Howell (with Rachel Kindred, Gabbi Keen, & Alexa Zielinski) gave Grammy-winning artist Lorde a run for her money performing “Royals.”
Alexandra Howell (with Rachel Kindred, Gabbi Keen, & Alexa Zielinski) gave Grammy-winning artist Lorde a run for her money performing “Royals.”
FutureStars 2014 | The hosts kept things moving in style all evening! From left: Tim Mpanje, Mackenzie O’Connor, Ryan Michaels, Aaliyah Jihad, & Reyaan Ali. (Not pictured: their Teletubby alter egos.)
The hosts kept things moving in style all evening! From left: Tim Mpanje, Mackenzie O’Connor, Ryan Michaels, Aaliyah Jihad, & Reyaan Ali. (Not pictured: their Teletubby alter egos.)
FutureStars 2014 | Drew Polovick (with Max Houser, Will Brinkerhoff, & Johnny Kroll) reminded us why we love punk with Blink 182’s “All The Small Things.”
Drew Polovick (with Max Houser, Will Brinkerhoff, & Johnny Kroll) reminded us why we love punk with Blink 182’s “All The Small Things.”
FutureStars 2014 | (Top-6 finisher) Pioneer senior and FutureStars newcomer Thad Stalmack II gave more than 100% with Prince’s “Kiss.” | (Top-6 finisher) Community’s Hannah Hesseltine enchanted the audience with Ariana Grande’s “Tattooed Heart.”
(Top-6 finisher) Pioneer senior and FutureStars newcomer Thad Stalmack II gave more than 100% with Prince’s “Kiss.” | (Top-6 finisher) Community’s Hannah Hesseltine enchanted the audience with Ariana Grande’s “Tattooed Heart.”
FutureStars 2014 | (Top-6 finisher) The audience’s faces say it all: Community’s Oren Levin lights up the stage with Jason Isbell’s country hit “Cover Me Up.”
(Top-6 finisher) The audience’s faces say it all: Community’s Oren Levin lights up the stage with Jason Isbell’s country hit “Cover Me Up.”
FutureStars 2014 | Micah Miller and Tommy Kim perform a moving rendition of Rihanna’s “Stay.”
Micah Miller and Tommy Kim perform a moving rendition of Rihanna’s “Stay.”
FutureStars 2014 | Emmalee Mills (with backup singers Hannah Cesnik & Alexa Zielinski) knocked it out of the park with Mariah Carey’s “Vision of Love.” | (Top-6 finisher) Pioneer’s Olivia Roumel’s jazzy smooth voice fit perfectly with Sara Bareilles’ “Manhattan.”
Emmalee Mills (with backup singers Hannah Cesnik & Alexa Zielinski) knocked it out of the park with Mariah Carey’s “Vision of Love.” | (Top-6 finisher) Pioneer’s Olivia Roumel’s jazzy smooth voice fit perfectly with Sara Bareilles’ “Manhattan.”
FutureStars 2014 | Ivy Gleason, Emma McGlashen, & Alexa Zielinski’s harmonies were spot-on in Pistol Annies’ “I Feel A Sin Coming On.”
Ivy Gleason, Emma McGlashen, & Alexa Zielinski’s harmonies were spot-on in Pistol Annies’ “I Feel A Sin Coming On.”
FutureStars 2014 | The underclassmen Rising Stars finished out the high school acts with Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” (soloists Max Housner & Britta Carlson).
The underclassmen Rising Stars finished out the high school acts with Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” (soloists Max Housner & Britta Carlson).
FutureStars 2014 | While the judges were deliberating on the Top-6 finishers, the FutureStars directors gave a special performance: Tim Van Riper (Singing Coach) on the keys, Claire Crause (Dance Coach) dancing, & Robert Ariza (Director) singing Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
While the judges were deliberating on the Top-6 finishers, the FutureStars directors gave a special performance: Tim Van Riper (Singing Coach) on the keys, Claire Crause (Dance Coach) dancing, & Robert Ariza (Director) singing Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
FutureStars 2014 | Drumroll…
Drumroll…
FutureStars 2014 | The Directors & Mentors (l-r): Storm Lever, Claire Crause (PTG ’13), Kyle Timson, Billy Harrington (PTG ’06), Robert Ariza, Tim Van Riper (PTG ’10), Ellie Fishman, Alex Prakken, Schuyler Robinson (PTG ’11), Sabra Satz-Kojis (PTG Senior, ’14)
The Directors & Mentors (l-r): Storm Lever, Claire Crause (PTG ’13), Kyle Timson, Billy Harrington (PTG ’06), Robert Ariza, Tim Van Riper (PTG ’10), Ellie Fishman, Alex Prakken, Schuyler Robinson (PTG ’11), Sabra Satz-Kojis (PTG Senior, ’14)
FutureStars 2014 | The Band (l-r): Robert Wolfe (keys), Billy Harrington (drums), Tim Van Riper (keys), Mike Harrington (guitar), Sam Collins (bass), & Adam Plomaritas (guitar)
The Band (l-r): Robert Wolfe (keys), Billy Harrington (drums), Tim Van Riper (keys), Mike Harrington (guitar), Sam Collins (bass), & Adam Plomaritas (guitar)
FutureStars 2014 | The Tech Staff (l-r): Mysti Plummer (Technical Director), Kris Park, Amira Belwafa (Sets Supervisor, PTG ’08), & Patrick Schrock (Sound Designer). Not pictured: Kasia Mrozewska-Fenz (Set & Paint Designer) & Molly Leonard (Student Lights Designer).
The Tech Staff (l-r): Mysti Plummer (Technical Director), Kris Park, Amira Belwafa (Sets Supervisor, PTG ’08), & Patrick Schrock (Sound Designer). Not pictured: Kasia Mrozewska-Fenz (Set & Paint Designer) & Molly Leonard (Student Lights Designer).
FutureStars 2014 | Congratulations to everyone for an outstanding show!
Congratulations to everyone for an outstanding show!

About Ciara Stella Linden: After completing her Bachelors of Engineering from U of M, Ciara worked with the Pioneer Theatre Guild for ten years as the Sets Shop Supervisor, Technical Director, and Web/Communications Manager. Ciara recently relocated to downtown Detroit with her husband, and she now manages the PTG website remotely. Ciara hopes to enjoy the PTG shows from the audience for years to come! (Thank you, Ciara!!! — Myra)

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About Myra Klarman

I’m a professional photographer specializing in studio and lifestyle portraits of children, families, high school seniors, and performing artists. I live in Ann Arbor with my husband, Rich, and our 14-year-old son, Max. Learn more about my portrait and headshot services at Myra Klarman Photography.

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