By Jeff Sovelove
If it’s December then it must be time for Morristown Onstage auditions.
Dozens of amateur acts auditioned Saturday at Morristown High School in hopes of landing one of 16 coveted slots to compete for prize money and glory at the Mayo Performing Arts Center on Feb. 27, 2019.
Presented by the Morris Educational Foundation, the show raised more than $143,000 last winter for programs in the Morris School District. The competition is open to people who live, work or attend school in Morristown, Morris Township or Morris Plains, and to alumni of Morristown High School.
Saturday’s hopefuls included singers, bands, dancers, poets and more.
Slideshow photos by Jeff Sovelove. Hover / Click images for captions:
Jag Sace, an MHS junior, performed an original song to a video of him drawing a self portrait. Lexi (Alexandra Lefkovits), who played Annie on stage, was a finalist in the first Morristown Onstage at the age of 13. She’s 26 now.
“We saw an abundance of talent for auditions which made our selection very difficult, but as always, we have put together a great show with a lot of new faces and energy,” said Molly Servais, Morristown Onstage chairperson.
“We are very excited for 2019’s Morristown ONSTAGE, History Happens Here!”
Some of the day’s highlights included:
- Kiley Baxter, 14, from Bridgewater, performing Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You. Kiley is studying at South Street Dance Studio in Morristown.
- Dylan Sarah Kluge, 7, performing Lady Gaga’s A Million Reasons. She’s a 2nd grader at Assumption School in Morristown.
- Rich and Erin Smith, cousins who have played together for many years, performing Landslide. Rich is a founding member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and a past Grand Marshal of the Morristown St. Patrick’s Parade.
- Mars Dens, a husband-and-wife duo who performed Johnny Cash’s version of You Are My Sunshine. They work at Morristown Medical Center and The Game Vault in town.
- Lauren Onufryk, 17, from Mount Olive High School and the Mayo Performing Arts Center school, performed a soulful cover of Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
- Orion’s Belt, so-named because the trio is “a constellation of three rising stars,” stunned everyone with Rise Up. As one spectator put it, “That was like a moment!” The group consists of 7th graders Charlotte Cama, Anna Grace Yureck, and Julia Cama.
- Diana McNiff, a Morristown singer-songwriter who performed Ray Charles’ I Got a Woman.
- Frank Saia, a veteran of previous years who performed a solo version of Blue Sky, since the other members of his group all managed to injure themselves just before the audition.
- Steven Marco, 10, who goes to school in Morristown, performed I Wonder Who’s Loving You. His mother, who didn’t know he could sing until a couple of months ago, is in the process of finding him a voice coach for formal training.
- Breyton Croom, who was diagnosed with autism at age 2 and never was expected to walk or speak normally, wowed everyone on his soprano sax on the Jackson Five’s Who’s Loving You. He earned a Master’s Degree in 2018.
- Kelly Miller, a waitress at Arthur’s Tavern who stunned everyone with a magnificent opera aria.
- Purple Hayes, a group that knocked it out of the park with Besame Mucho.
Finalists will be announced shortly. One thing is for sure — Morristown is bursting with talent.
Members of Orion’s Belt are excited after their audition for Morristown Onstage 2019. Video by Jeff Sovelove for MorristownGreen.com: