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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 7, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 01
New Voices all grown up
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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New Voices all grown up

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

New Voices 10: BEST OF
January 3
ACT Theatre


New Voices is a victim of its own success! Its once-a-winter, once-a-summer singer 'talent show' is a huge draw for musical lovers around the region, and filled ACT Theatre to overflowing on January 3.

New Voices started five years ago. It began partly as a way of showcasing the talents of a group of college-age musical theater singers, as well as showcasing new songs that they found in developing musicals around the country. Boy, has it grown up!

Including some of the most well-known musical performers in the region - Anne Allgood, Nick Garrison, Nick DeSantis, Beth DeVries, and Jennifer Paz - the evening is no longer a showcase of the up-and-coming performer set. As Contemporary Classics artistic director Brandon Ivie has grown, the evening has become much more about the new songs than the new singers.

However, many of the wonderful performers are still working on making their mark on the local and regional/national scene. Ryah Nixon, a regular NV performer in the past, has begun making a national impression by performing in the national touring show of 9 to 5, coming to Seattle in spring, 2011.

Sarah Davis, having completed a degree from Boston Conservatory doing musical theater, has returned to Seattle and played at the 5th Avenue Theatre in the recently concluded A Christmas Story: The Musical! and will reappear in Oklahoma later this year. Sarah performed a quietly sad song, 'Lying There' by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (also writers of A Christmas Story), about someone trying and unfortunately failing to love a sleeping lover.

There are way too many similar stories to write them all. Many of the 30 performers could be described in like fashion. But the fantastic performances were what it was all about.

It's probably time for NV to find a larger venue than ACT - and maybe past time for them to sell tickets with actual seats attached to them. Waiting in the lobby for the doors to open and trying to shove in to get a decent seat in the 'general admission' free-for-all is wearing thin. These are the current sacrifices one makes to attend. This has become almost a 'must-attend' event, so you do what you must.

There was not a bad performance in the entire evening. Almost every one was a standout! The evening was a 'best of' covering some of the favorites from past NVs, partly because they wanted to have a few of the older song performances that never got onto YouTube filmed for internet.

FUNNY SONGS
Don Darryl Rivera invariably does a hysterical song, very often of a mild-mannered guy who turns out to be incredibly creepy! This time, he performed 'In Short' by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, about a guy breaking up who wants, in short, for his ex-love to die. Kate Jaeger performed 'I'm Not Pregnant' by Katie Thompson, about someone who isn't pregnant, she's 'just fat. No bun in the oven, just rolls of fat around my waist.'

Ashley Fitzsimmons sang 'Accident Prone' by Laurence O'Keefe and Kirsten Guenther, about having unfortunately hurt men accidentally that then broke up with her. Nick DeSantis sang about not being like the other cave men in 'Way Ahead of My Time' by Peter Mills. And the Fierce Backup Singers (Lindsey Hedberg, Erin Sprow, Ryan McCabe, and Connor Russell) started off the evening with a great song about Facebook by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

BLEW 'EM AWAY
A few of the power songs included an amazing rendition of 'Random Black Girl' (Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond) by Antonia Darlene, energizing 'Reach the Sky' (Bobby Cronin) sung by Brandon O'Neill and backup singers, heart-pounding 'Odyssey' (Ryan Scott Oliver) sung by Aaron Finley, Iris M. Elton and backup singers, and the concluding song of the evening, Nick Garrison's killer performance of 'The Goodbye Song' (Joe Iconis) with backup singers.

With indisputably professional support from R.J. Tancioco and musicians (there is now a string section!) adding to the polish, it's as satisfying a cabaret as one can imagine. Justin Huertas, another NV regular, took time out from his national tour, playing cello for Spring Awakening, to play for New Voices again. He's another young talented performer compounding his Seattle training with the drive to succeed in this tough business.

Look for New Voices 11 in summer 2011 and for other productions that Contemporary Classics will be mounting by going to http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=96893384600 their Facebook page.

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