Scene Stealers/Showstoppers of the Week-Part 2: December 2, 2015

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Here’s Part Two of this week’s Scene Stealers/Showstoppers honorees, from productions that played during this Fall season. Read Part One Here.

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Shayna Blass, as Piggie, Joe Mallon, as Gerald the  Elephant, and The Squirrelles Played by Jamie Eacker, Ashleigh King, and Allie Parris Lead the Audience in “We’re in a Play’ in Elephant & Piggies We Are in A Play! at The Kennedy Center

Joe Mallon (Gerald the Elephant), Shayna Blass (Piggie), and company. Photo by Teresa Wood.
Joe Mallon (Gerald the Elephant), Shayna Blass (Piggie), and company. Photo by Teresa Wood.

“The definite crowd favorite and showstopper was “We’re in a Play,”which got the whole audience involved with ‘call and response,’ including the adults. The audience participation was fun for the kids and, while the adults might have been slower to join in, everyone’s hands were waving in the air by the end of the number. My son loved it!”-Kendall Mostafavi

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Ari Goldbloom-Helzner Singing ‘Confrontation’ at Jekyll & Hyde in Concert at Young Artists of America 

Ari Goldbloom-Helzner (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde). Photo by Carmelita Watkinson.
Ari Goldbloom-Helzner (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde). Photo by Carmelita Watkinson.

“Ari Goldbloom-Helzner playing the title roles of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was simply put: incredible. I have never heard such maturity from someone so young before. From his precise diction to wonderfully supported tone, he tackled each of Jekyll and Hyde’s momentous showstoppers with professional levels of poise. While, Dr. Jekyll might be best known for “This is the Moment”—which was wonderfully executed—it was “Confrontation” at the end of the evening’s selections that really drove home the marvelous talent that this young man possesses. He deftly popped between both tormented men and, with the help of clever sound engineering and reverb for Mr. Hyde, gave both the pain and concentrated devotion needed: Jekyll protecting society, hating himself; and Hyde protecting himself, hating society.”-Em Skow

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Jeremiah Hasty, as Freddie, Reacting in The Final Scene of Act 1 in Uprising at MetroStage

Jeremiah Hasty (Little Freddie) at the end of Act 1 of 'Uprising.' Photo by Chris Banks.
Jeremiah Hasty (Little Freddie) at the end of Act 1 of ‘Uprising.’ Photo by Chris Banks.

“Jeremiah Hasty as Freddie, the child who knows little of life outside his small group, is a great surprise. Uprising is the fourth grader’s first professional production but he has an unassuming confidence that doesn’t seek to grab the spotlight as some child actors can do. He is always focused on the action on stage, reacting as if this is the first time he has ever heard the words. He more than holds his own as he tries to be his mother’s protector when encountering Ossie for the first time, and is devastatingly convincing in the final scene of Act 1.”-Kim Moeller 

“In an interview with Jeremiah, I asked him about this emotional scene:

Joel: You have an end-of-act 1 scene which is so powerful. In fact I was so moved that I couldn’t leave my seat during intermission. What were you told about that scene and how do you feel playing that scene every performance? 

Jeremiah: That part for me is exhausting. Being dragged around by Whistle and a scared face is hard work. I’m always out of breath after that scene. I wasn’t told about that scene until it was time to practice. Sometimes I feel sad when I think about the kids that it really happened to.”-Joel Markowitz

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Daren Jackson, as Leporello, Singing “Madamina, il catalogo è questo,” in Don Giovanni at University of Maryland’s Maryland Opera Studio

Daren Jacksen.
Daren Jacksen (Leporello). Photo by Teresa Castracane.

“Another particularly effective dramatic performance is that of Daren Jackson as Leporello, Don Giovanni’s long-suffering and none too amused valet. If Giovanni is a kind of anti-Quijote, Leporello is his Sancho Panza. There is a lot of good humor in the role as written, which Jackson taps into. What I particularly appreciated about his performance, however, was its basic straight-up seriousness. His Leporello is not a dupe or a clown; he is a serious man with an unfortunate job. His rendering of “Madamina, il catalogo è questo,” in which he explains to Donna Elvira that she is only one of his master’s 1,800 conquests (this piece is also known as the “catalogue aria”) – the valet’s been counting, writing down each name in a book, one book per country – is superb. He nails the mixture of cynicism and sly bemusement, the combined reproach and admiration.”-Sam Hall

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Mackenzie Newbury, as Cleo, and Harrison Smith, as Herman, Singing “The Big D’ at The Most Happy Fella at Catholic University

Harrison Smith (Herman) and Mackenzie Newbury (Cleo). Photo by Daniel Weaver.
Harrison Smith (Herman) and Mackenzie Newbury (Cleo). Photo by Daniel Weaver.

“Most of the less operatic comic numbers, which are priceless, go to Cleo (Mackenzie Newbury) who is Rosabella’s best friend from her past waitressing life, and Herman (Harrison Smith),  who works for Tony. Newbury is great in “Ooh, my Feet” and “I Don’t Like This Dame,” while Smith’s “I Like Everybody” and “I Made a Fist” showed his comic chops. But it’s their toe-tapping duet, “The Big D” is a show-stopping number and Newbury and Smith both bring compelling acting to their songs.”-Chuck Leonard.

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Eva Schulman and Joey Schulman Singing “Good Morning Starshine” in Hair at Woodrow Wilson High School”

The cast of 'Hair.' Photo by Jill Roos.
The cast of ‘Hair.’ Photo by Jill Roos.

The real treat of the night was the singing of The Schulman sisters. Joey delivered a passionate “I Believe in Love, and Eva Schulman delivered a great rendition of “Air” in the first act. Then, with her sister Joey, she sang a rousing “Good Morning Starshine” in the Second Act. The blending of their voices rocked the house.”-Bev Fleisher

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Tobias Young, as Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Singing “Sit Down Your Rocking The Boat” at Guys and Dolls at Olney Theatre Center

Nicely-Nicely Johnson (Tobias Young) and the cast of ‘Guys and Dolls.’ Photo by Stan Barouh.
Nicely-Nicely Johnson (Tobias Young) and the cast of ‘Guys and Dolls.’ Photo by Stan Barouh.

“Directed by Jerry Whiddon with incredible finesse, the cast of 20 breathes life into this over 60 year-old work. Each performer has great standout moments, including Tobias Young’s show-stopping and roof-raising “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat. It was incredible!”-Katie BogdanDCM-SCENE-STEALER-LOGO-250x2501

Special Kudos:

The Designers of Big Love at Catholic University: Paige Hathaway, Julie Cray, Robb Hunter, Brian S. Allard, and Thomas Sowers

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“What stands out the most in this university production is the technical elements. In addition to the beautiful set by Paige Hathaway and drool-worthy dresses and tuxes by Julie Cray, special effects are the scene-stealer of this play. The climatic fight between the newlyweds staged by Robb Hunter left many gasping in amazement as blood almost magically appeared on the walls from thin air as the chorus murdered their unseen husbands. With the aid of lighting by Brian S. Allard and sound by Thomas Sowers, this brawl is definitely on par with some of the professional productions I have seen.”-Katie Bogdan

LINKS:
Meet the Cast of ‘The Most Happy Fella’ at The Catholic University of America: Part 1: Mackenzie Newbury.

Meet the Cast of ‘The Most Happy Fella’ at The Catholic University of America: Part 2: Emma Nadine Onasch.

Read our other Scene Stealers of 2015 HERE.

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Joel Markowitz
Joel Markowitz is the Publisher and Editor of DCMetroTheaterArts. He founded the site with his brother Bruce to help promote the vast riches of theatre and the arts in the DC Metro area that includes Maryland, Virginia, and DC theater and music venues, universities, schools, Children's theaters, professional, and community theatres. Joel is an advocate for promoting the 'stars of the future' in his popular 'Scene Stealers' articles. He wrote a column for 5 years called ‘Theatre Schmooze’ and recorded podcast interviews for DC Theatre Scene. His work can also be seen and read on BroadwayStars. Joel also wrote a monthly preview of what was about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. He is an avid film and theater goer, and a suffering Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Joel was a regular guest on 'The Lunch and Judy Show' radio program starring Judy Stadt in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, which had a 25-year run when it took its final curtain call last year. Joel is a proud member of The American Critics Association.