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Annual high school talent show in Ann Arbor goes virtual

FutureStars 2021 will livestream on March 13

Pioneer High School Senior, Jasmine Williams, sings “Reflection” (Mulan) at FutureStars 2020.
Pioneer High School Senior, Jasmine Williams, sings “Reflection” (Mulan) at FutureStars 2020. (Pioneer Theatre Guild)

ANN ARBORPioneer Theatre Guild’s 19th annual FutureStars talent show will still take place this year, but with a twist.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, all performances from the citywide talent search featuring students from Ann Arbor’s public high schools will be going virtual.

But to keep the show true to form, all 19 solo performances will be pre-recorded onstage in Pioneer High School’s Schreiber Auditorium -- the event’s venue in years past. According to event organizers, “all recording is being done with strict social distancing guidelines and safety protocols.”

How it will work:

The songs will be presented virtually to a panel of judges, who will decide on the Top 5 performances.

This year’s judges include:

  • Matthew Altruda: Host of Tree Town Sound on ann arbor’s 107one
  • Camila Ballario: Singer-songwriter and comedian
  • Jonathan Christopher: Opera singer and cast member of HAMILTON’s National Tour
  • Christopher Taylor: Ann Arbor Mayor
  • Thomas Laub: Broadway producer and University of Michigan musical theatre alum
  • Ashley Park: TV and Broadway actress

Presented by four student hosts, the pre-recorded event will stream on Saturday, March 13 at 7 p.m. Virtual audience members will be able to vote for their favorite act after a Top 5 has been chosen.

In addition to the FutureStars numbers, songs by PTG’s underclassmen, The RisingStars, will be performed throughout the evening.

During the process, the contestants are guided by professional coaches. This year, all rehearsals and coaching sessions have been virtual.

Skyline High School senior and second year FutureStars participant Nate Frison said that the transition to virtual practice sessions was very smooth.

Skyline High School Senior, Nate Frison, sings “It’s My Life” (Bon Jovi) at FutureStars 2020. (Pioneer Theatre Guild)

“The band has been super helpful in making tracks that are easy to follow, and the coaches have been very helpful,” Frison said in a news release. “We were able to adapt and get great feedback, despite only being able to use Zoom as a communication tool.”

Pioneer High School senior and third year FutureStars participant Jasmine Williams said she is thankful for the way the PTG adapted during the pandemic.

“The community PTG has created makes this production so memorable and when our circumstances changed and we had to move online, the only thing that was truly altered was our environment,” she said in a news release.

“I think there is something to be said about the power of finding a community through art because it stays with you and helps you through the most bizarre of situations.”

Tickets will go on sale on Feb. 22.

Pricing:

  • Students, 65+ Seniors and Pioneer Staff: $8
  • Adults: $12
  • Family: $20

To purchase tickets, click here.

The streaming link and more information will be provided upon purchase.

For more information about PTG, visit www.a2ptguild.org.


About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.