The Starlight STARS celebrated the end of another successful season in late October, wrapping up with a final master class and pizza party with program donors Howard and Ro Jacobson in attendance. The members of this high school performance troupe were eager to share highlights of their involvement in the program. Many mentioned how the Starlight STARS helped them not only in growing their performance skills, but generally helped them to become more confident and outgoing in their everyday lives.
“I owe everything to this program,” Gabrielle said of the Starlight STARS. “I’ve made so many friends here and I’ve learned so much that I can apply to be a performer. This program is absolutely amazing.”
After auditioning for the Starlight STARS earlier this year, 14 Kansas City area students in grades 9 through 12 were cast and came together for the first time in early June to learn a medley of songs from Starlight’s 2018 Broadway musicals. They then performed the medley, complete with choreography and a story arc, on Starlight’s Spotlight Stage throughout the summer, as well as at community events. The STARS also participated in a series of master classes, learning about important topics such as vocal auditions, choreography, stage makeup, wigging and more.
At the wrap party, Starlight’s education team also presented numerous awards to the students, as well as two $500 college scholarships to outstanding members of the troupe. Danielle Woods, a junior at Olathe East High School, and Gabrielle Petentler, a sophomore at Truman High School, were this year’s recipients.
This was Danielle’s second year participating in the Starlight STARS program, which she joined after attending Starlight’s Camp Take-A-Bow in 2016. She trains in singing, dance and acting, is a black belt in Taekwondo, and has appeared in productions of A Princess Knight, Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, among others.
This was also Gabrielle’s second year participating in the Starlight STARS. She trains in singing, dance and acting, is a member of Trutones, Truman High School’s Chamber Choir, and has appeared in The Little Mermaid, Grease and Mother Hicks, among others.
“Both students were willing to jump in whenever needed, had the most positive attitudes, and overall brought the entire group together with their leadership and drive for success,” Andy Pierce, Starlight Theatre education and outreach manager, said.
Funds for the scholarships are provided by longtime Starlight education supporters Howard and Rosalyn Jacobson. Congratulations to Danielle and Gabrielle on their scholarships and to all of our 2018 Starlight STARS on a successful season!
Auditions for the 2019 Starlight STARS program will be held next spring. Watch our website at kcstarlight.com/education for details after the first of the year.