One act, 42 dancers: Shining Starz bring shimmery dance card to Morristown Onstage, Feb. 26

Shining Starz, finalists at Morristown Onstage 2020. Photo by Jeff Sovelove


By Marion Filler

Movement! Cartwheels! Glittering costumes!

Stephanie Gonzalez’ troupe of 42 dancers will be a dazzling sight at Morristown Onstage.

Shining Starz, finalists, Morristown Onstage 2020. Photo by Katelyn Nagy.

Gonzalez and her sister, Mary Ellen Sendrowski, own the Shining Starz Dance Academy in Cedar Knolls.  Responding to a flyer sent to their studio, they began choreographing a routine in October and the dancers have been practicing it ever since.

“Our number is called Dancing on the Ceiling,” an homage to the sisters’ adolescence in the ’80s.

Shining Starz, finalists, Morristown Onstage 2020. Photo by Katelyn Nagy.

The Shining Starz are among 15 amateur acts from Greater Morristown who will compete for cash and glory at the Mayo Performing Arts Center on Feb. 26, 2020, in a benefit for programs in the Morris School District.

There are 42 dancers in the group, ranging in age from 6 to 17.

According to Gonzalez, “This particular group only practices this routine together a handful of times throughout the season.  We are also very proud to say that we have five dancers in our group that have been with us since the doors opened.”

Shining Starz, finalists, at Media Day, Morristown Onstage 2020. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Gonzalez said her dancers love sharing their passion for dance with the community.

“In the past 11 years, we have performed at nursing homes, woman’s shelters, children’s hospitals and charity fundraisers. In addition, we have had the opportunity to showcase our dance teams at Madison Square Garden, the Barclay Center, Great Adventure, and MetLife Stadium, to name a few.”

These Shining Starz are excited by their selection as finalists.

“If we win this competition, I don’t think it will mean as much to me as it will to them,” she said.

Splitting a $1,000 prize 42 ways, now that will take real choreography.

Produced by the nonprofit Morris Educational FoundationMorristown Onstage is open to amateurs who live, work or study in Morristown, Morris Township or Morris Plains, and to alumni of Morristown High School. From more than 60 acts that auditioned, 15 were chosen to compete on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. Show business pros will award $1,000 to the top youth and adult performers, and the audience favorite will take home $500. Tickets: $29-$79. Proceeds benefit Morris School District programs.


Shining Starz, Media Day, Morristown Onstage 2020. Photo by Jeff Sovelove

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