Monday, July 22, 2019

Stars of Tomorrow—Portland Musical Theater Company—N. Portland

   Artists are a Many-Splendid Persona

    This Showcase for young talent, ages 10-13, just concluded their revue last night to a full house.  Next Showcases, ages 14-18, will be on Saturday, August 17th at 7:30 and Sunday, August 18th at 2 pm.  These are directed by Deanna Maio, Founder of PMTC and Master Teacher of Confident Voice Studio:  
    These cabarets are held at the Peninsula Odd Fellows Lodge, 4834 N. Lombard St. (upstairs).  For more information, go to their site at

    “We are such things as dreams are made on…” and it often begins that way, as a dream, to be a star.  But that, in some ways, is demeaning to the nature of an emerging artist.  An artist, I believe, is born, not made.  They have a uniqueness, and drive and obsession to expand, expose and explore that Muse that demands so much from them and, no matter what, that inner voice will never be quelled, regardless of practical circumstances.  My best advice to an emerging, artistic soul, is to always look for Your Truth in this quest, never give up, and do the best with what you’ve got:  And “…Art, if it finds you worthy, will guide your course!”

    This Showcase, and these young artists, have one outstanding thing going for them…Maio!  She is a Trouper…a Pro…and stands for everything I’ve just espoused.  These Youth are lucky that she has taken them under her wing.  She also hosted the evening and brought down the house with a few songs herself.  I’ve had the pleasure to have watched her grow, in a very short time, from doing musical revues in Newberg, to having her own theater company.  “May she live long and prosper!”  And, perhaps, this note for her charges, when you walk with Giants, you can’t help but grow a little yourself.

    I have worked, as a director/teacher, with young folk myself in, To Kill a Mockingbird, the musical, Oliver and Anne of Green Gables, et. al. and I loved every minute of working with them, as they have a naturalness and honesty as artists that often slips from our grasp as Time marches on.  These few, these chosen few, do, indeed, have the solid inklings of future, professional performers:  Abigail Dixon, Addyson Finley, Braylin Soon, Ellen Horton, Fiona Garrett, Mira Herman and Henry Findtner.  Coming Soon, watch for their names in lights!

    They all had similar attributes in common.  They had stage presence, showed confidence in themselves and their material, very animated, put their “best foot forward,” and all, with these audition-like pieces, could have gotten cast in a show based on what they produced in this cabaret.  I would have to say that two artists/numbers stood out, among an already outstanding array of talents.  They were Horton, with her uke, and her sad rendition of “Over the Rainbow,” which was a tear-jerker.  Also, Finley’s honky-tonk, jazz song (unidentified), out of a bygone era of bands, which proved her a belter.  Kudos to both of them and the rest of the ensemble.  The Arts are in good hands if this is an example of our future Artists!

    I recommend their next show, which will be just as exciting and entertaining, I believe, as this one.  If you do go, please tell them Dennis sent you.

The following is by Martha Harris, a reviewer I’m mentoring:

            Director Deanna Maio, of the “Stars of Tomorrow” youth cabaret, put it perfectly while introducing the next performer, “don’t you just feel hopeful for the future?”
            It feels like a daily battle to remain optimistic in the face of uncertainty, change, regrets, and a world we can’t seem to make sense of with our limited perspectives. But it is opportunities like this one, seeing such talent in the rising generation and getting to watch the joy on someone’s face as they take their first steps into the theater world, that help to tip the balance.
            “Stars of Tomorrow” youth cabaret is put on by Portland Musical Theater Company, showcasing some of the best middle school-aged performers in the Portland, OR. In a makeshift cabaret cafe setting, each performer sang one to two songs, displaying their musicality, dancing, and acting abilities. On a whole, I was blown away with the poise, talent, and depth that all of the performers showed at such a young age.
            Addyson Finley brought the house down with her mature voice. Adding her own style to classic songs. Fiona Garrett shared with the audience a great level of emotional vulnerability, bringing to life the character she was portraying with just one song. Mira Herman’s style of acting is very imaginative and charismatic, painting a clear picture for the audience and taking them along for the ride. Abigail Dixon has a dynamic presence that takes charge of the stage with a dance-like, fluid physicality. Braylin Soon has confidence and maturity, that adds a layer of depth to her pieces. Ellen Horton dazzles with her cheeky wit and a powerful, rooted voice. Henry Findtner has a beautiful, clear voice and range that I’d expect from a high schooler. He also has a subtle emotional intensity that is reminiscent of Ben Platt in Dear Evan Hansen.
            Overall, all of the performers did an outstanding job. All they need to do is trust their instincts, keep making bold choices, and they are on the right path.

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