‘Spotlight 2013’ at Adventure Theatre MTC by Joel Markowitz


I had such a good time today watching 37 of the most talented local young singers and dancers perform at Adventure Theatre MTC’s Spotlight 2013, which featured 22 songs from Broadway shows of the past and present, and some jaw-dropping choreography.

Not only did these young performers have to learn dozens of difficult lyrics and melodies by the likes of Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz, and Rodgers and Hammerstein, they also had to learn some difficult dance moves as they tapped away, high-kicked, did some splits, whirled around the stage, smiled, and performed some difficult harmonies – all with great ease and self-confidence. I, along with the thrilled audience filled with families and supportive siblings, couldn’t stop cheering and applauding.

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Everyone was in the spotlight, and everyone was a star!

Today’s ‘cast’ consisted of members from Adventure Theatre MTC’s three ensembles: Opening Act (Grades 3-6), Upbeat Unlimited (Grades 6-9), and Singular Sensations (Grades 9-12), and even though they are different ages they all became one fantastic, high-energy, singing, and dancing ensemble team.

With 22 fabulous production ‘numbers,’ it’s hard to choose my favorites (and they were all wonderful), so here goes:

(1) The wonderful dancing and singing of the cast of 13 of “Ease on Down” from The Wiz. I’m still smiling 7 hours later!

(2) The gorgeous harmonies during “Closer than Ever.’

(3) Jackie Rogers’ fabulous display of tap dancing in “Sing Hallelujah!” which ended the first act with a bang, or should I say a hard tap!

(4) The opening of Act 2: The glorious harmonies and dancing in “Who Will Buy?” from Oliver!

(5) Carlos Castillo and Lenora Goldbloom-Helzner’s angelic singing and harmonizing on Sondheim’s “Not a Day Goes By” (my favorite Sondheim song!) and “Not While I’m Around.” Pure Sondheim heaven!

(6) The ‘In Memoriam” which acknowledged the passing of volunteers and instructors and Composer Marvin Hamlisch during the past year.

(7) “Carrying the Banner” from Newsies with 17 of the most enthusiastic singers and dancers I have ever seen – having such a great time.

(8) Three Seniors – Lenora Goldbloom-Helzner, Jackie Rogers, and Eitan Snyder singing “Don’t Forget Me,” while pictures of them in their ‘younger days’ rotated around them. I will never forget these three talented performers and I have a feeling they will be appearing in many of their universities’ productions.

Kudos to Directors/Chroreographers Lisa Carrier Baker, Diane Hamilton, and Susan Alexander Thompson, and to Michael J. Bobbitt, Bobby Smith, Erica Hillburger, and Wendy Wagner, who also contributed to the wonderfully spirited choreography.

And a round of applause to the amazing band lead by Musical Directors and keyboardists Barry Hamilton, Darius Smith, and Michael Axler, and Brian Butler (reeds), and Nathan Hilburger (Drums). They never drowned out one note, one lyric, or one performer in the entire 105 minutes of the show – and that’s simply amazing!

And a special pat on the back to Set Designer Steven Royal, Lighting Designer Brittany Diliberto, and Costume Designer Kathie Rogers for adding so much sparkle to the show. I made a special visit to Sound Designer Kenny Neal after the show. There was not one crackle or sound mishap during the whole performance. Kenny told me that he owed some of my kudos to a parent – Bill Rogers – who assisted him backstage, so thank you Bill! And congrats to Stage Manager Hannah Fogler for her fine work directing traffic!

And now, here’s to all the performers:

You’re now in the spotlight again!

Take another bow!

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2012-2013 Ensembles Members

OPENING ACT
Arya Balian
Alexis Bentz
Isabella Brody
Cole Edelstein
Ava Erlich
Rachael Fisher
Payton Gasson
Maya Gensler
Avery Jones
Grace Miller
Eli Schulman
Trinity Tilden
Summer Wells

UPBEAT UNLIMITED
Trevor Band
Annie Coulson
Sophie Ehrlich
Mikaela Floyd
Sara Heckelman
Rachel Herman
Blake Hopkins
Daria Kerschenbaum
Sarah  MacPhee
Caitlin McDermott
Camille McDermott
Ethan Miller
Ethan Millstone
Shira Minsk
Sam Nasar
Jenna Prosen
Ashley Webb

SINGULAR SENSATIONS
Carlos Castillo
Ari Goldbloom-Helzner
Leora Goldbloom-Helzner
Kaycie Goral
Emily Lankler
Jackie Rogers
Kathie Rogers
Eitan Snyder

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Running Time: One hour and 45 minutes, plus one intermission.

Spotlight 2013 played on March 21-23, 2013 at Adventure Theatre MTC at The Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington – 6125 Montrose Road, in Rockville, MD. Check Adventure Theatre MTC’s website for more information of their Ensembles and shows.

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