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FCLO Seeks Stars of Tomorrow

Socal_stages_blogFCLO Music Theatre in  Fullerton (formerly called Fullerton Civic Light Opera) is stepping up to the plate to help young aspiring musical theatre performers move closer to their goals.

A new program, sponsored by the prestigious Nederlander organization, will bring students selected by regional theatre companies nationwide, to New York to compete for the national titles of best high school actor and actress in a musical.

Each participating regional theatre, including FCLO (with its annual John Raitt Awards for Youth honors) will hold its local competition, to pick two winners, who will go on to the national competition. Patterned after the Tony Awards, the event will be called the Jimmys, named after Jimmy Nederlander, the Nederlander Organization’s 86-year-old chairman. The awards will take place June 1, 2009, with plans being made for a national TV broadcast.

Local nationwide winners will go to the Palace Theatre on Broadway, where they will spend several days auditioning, interviewing, and performing. Tangible awards, still to be announced, might include college and conservatory scholarships. Said Griff Duncan, FCLO’s co-founder and producing director, “There is excellent work being done locally in these schools. Hopefully, this will make the public aware of their efforts and encourage school districts to invest more in the arts.

FCLO's competition will be held in Plummer Auditorium in  Fullerton on May 18, 2009. The late legendary Broadway and film star John Raitt made his first stage appearance in Plummer Auditorium during his high-school years. Many established performers got their start with FCLO when they were in their teens, including Mara Davi (The Drowsy Chaperone). Eric Kunhus (Aida), Richard Kinsey (Les Miserables) and Erin Mackey (Wicked). Other notable talents, such as David Burnham (The Light in the Piazza) appeared at FCLO early in their careers.

FCLO’s upcoming production is Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved classic Oklahoma !, running Oct. 17 to Nov. 2. Recently announced fare for the 2009 season, beginning in February includes Evita, The King and I, The Andrews Brothers, and White Christmas.

--Les Spindle

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