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PRESS RELEASE JUNE 2017
BELOW IS A RECENT PRESS RELEASE online at NJ.COM and printed in the HUNTERDON DEMOCRAT announcing recent college bound seniors and their successes for 2017-2018.
The Star Maker School of Clinton recently re-booted as LBC Talent is announcing their outstanding students for this season. The school, known for turning out professional children and teens for Broadway, Film, TV, Commercial and Print, celebrated its thirtieth year in Hunterdon County with their 2017 showcase this past Saturday, June 24 at Hunterdon Central High School.
Director, Leesa Csolak of Raritan Township stated, 'our presentation featured all of our dance, acting and voice students, age three through eighteen and starred our graduating seniors. The accomplishments of this years seniors are unprecedented.'
This season Csolak had a 100% success rate with her senior students reaching for goals beyond the average. Lauren Medina, of Lebanon was accepted into Carnegie Mellon for Musical Theatre. She was one of only four females chosen nationwide to attend this program. Lauren joined SMS taking all programs and within one year was connected to management and a talent agent in NYC. She also was introduced to The Paper Mill Conservatory New Voices program where she immediately was given the top featured performer spot there. Lauren has won numerous awards statewide for performance and has sang at The Pilot and with the Pro Kids and Teens On Tour Vocal Troupe at SMS. She has been in numerous commercials and industrials for various outlets. Through her affiliation with Star Maker and Leesa Csolak she was signed to professional representation a year ago and has found great success.
The field of candidates for these programs numbers over 3000 for most of the top most prestigious schools in the United States. The high school seniors go through a rigorous audition process that starts in the early Fall of their Senior year and ends months later in April. The most competitive schools include Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, PACE University in NYC, University of Michigan and Julliard followed by Boston Conservatory, New York University and others. These schools continue to launch Broadway, TV and Film stars.
Andrew Plinio, of Lebanon was accepted to PACE University as well as University of Michigan for Musical Theatre. The nine year SMS vet will be traveling to Michigan in the Fall. A North Hunterdon graduate and president of the class, Andrew got signed with the help of Ms. Csolak five years ago and has had great success. He starred in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular Shine in 2014. He had numerous lead roles in local community theatre and in Star Maker’s Musical Theatrical performances as well as being a featured performer at The Paper Mill Playhouse’s New Voices concerts. He has performed at many NYC venues including 72 West and the West End Lounge. He was a featured soloist in The Pilot for SMS. Plinio also had a pivotal role in The HBO series, The Young Pope this past season. Andrew was Csolak's Assistant Director for SMS’s Saturday performance titled, Brand New Day.
Hannah Krivulka Bonnett, of Stewartsville, who will be heading to NYC to study Musical Theatre at PACE University is a graduate of Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts said, ‘The Star Maker School gave me the confidence and resources to accomplish so many dreams I had set out for myself in the professional world. I couldn’t be more grateful for Leesa and her team.’ Hannah has been repped professional in NYC for a year having booked numerous projects. She studied acting, voice and dance at SMS and was a member of the resident dance company as well having won numerous top awards for solo and duet performances at major state wide competitions. She has performed at SMS’s The Pilot and in NYC at 72 West, The West End Lounge, The Bitter End and The Laurie Beachman Theatre and recently shot an industrial broadway project.
Samantha Brynildsen, of High Bridge, who is heading off to Boston Conservatory to study Musical Theatre has been with SMS for three years. She participated in Acting, Voice and Dance at SMS, taking private instruction to prep for her pre-screen videos taken there as well. Samantha has starred in the Musical Theatre Presentations there, at her high school and in community theatre.
Madeline Coronato, of Clinton will be attending PACE University and studying in their Acting program. Madeline came to SMS just two years ago and took Acting Class and private lessons in Acting to prep her for her college auditions. SMS filmed her pre-screen videos and submissions as well.
Amy Allen, of Flemington has been with SMS for sixteen years and is an accomplished dancer and performer having been on the Dance Company for eleven years. She recently had roles in Cinderella and The Nutcracker with New Jersey School of Ballet. Amy is a black belt in karate and has been a member of Hunterdon Central’s Varsity Dance Team. Amy will be heading to Rider University to study Dance and Marine Biology. She received the Star Maker School's prestigious Distinguished Female Performer Award for 2017.
Kirsten Maiwaldt, of Annandale is a North Hunterdon graduate who has been with SMS for four years stated, ‘My high school years at Star Maker have helped me grow creatively and exposed me to professional artists which will be beneficial to me at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University! Kirsten will be majoring in graphic design there in the Fall. She was the captain of the North Hunterdon Varsity Dance Team and a member for four years. Kirsten, a member of the SMS Dance Company and Pro Kids Vocal Troupe, carried lead roles in their Musical Theatre shows and in many community theatre shows.
Andrew Albanese, of Lebanon is a graduate of North Hunterdon High School and has been dancing with SMS for six years. After only a few months he was invited to dance and help lead the Kickin’ It Wit Kevv non-profit program to support healthy habits in children. Recognized by the American Diabetes Association, the program traveled to various schools and offered a fun interactive experience for children ages 6-12. Andrew has been an assistant teacher at SMS and has won numerous top awards in Hip Hop statewide. Andrew will be attending Raritan Valley Community College in the fall.
Csolak was in the middle of setting up lighting and cameras for a ‘self tape’ audition for one of her 10 –year old clients, ‘this is being sent to LA by tomorrow morning, to Disney Casting for a new pilot,’ she stated, ‘I enjoy helping people get trained at a high level so they are able to compete at the top of the industry. If I can connect them to the right people, I will. I love sharing our network and giving talented kids and teens these opportunities.’
As finale rehearsals began, assistant director, Andrew Plinio walked in and shared, ‘Star Maker has made me the performer I am today. Leesa has opened so many doors for me including getting signed and working professionally. I could not be doing any of this without her.’
Through a concierge program for high school students, Csolak provides guidance and the production necessary for collegiate Musical Theatre, Acting, Vocal and Commercial Dance auditions.
Other top Star Maker School award winners were; dancer, Kyleen Constant of Somerville who was presented with the Crystal Star Award and to dancer/actor/vocalist, Cameron Clifford or Flemington was awarded the Distinguished Male Performer Award. Cameron has been with Star Maker for thirteen years. Having been signed to professional representation at a young age, he performed on TV, in Commercials, Print and Film as well as on Broadway in Waiting For Godot and as Michael in Billy Elliot, The Musical.
The Most Improved Awards went to dancer, Samantha Griffin of Flemington and dancer/singer/actress, Samantha Brynildsen of high Bridge. The Rising Star Awards were received by dancer, Carolyn Chester of Stewartsville and by vocalist/actress, Jessica Schuchardt of Readington.
Csolak has helped numerous alumni kick off their careers in show business. Her own boys, graduates of Hunterdon Central High School have had much success.
‘Look for Kurt Csolak on NBC’s World of Dance with Jennifer Lopez on Tuesdays this Summer,' she mentioned. He attended NYU and traveled the world dancing with TAP DOGS, has done numerous film and stage roles, teaches at Broadway Dance Center and STEPS in NYC and recently launched his own film production company in NY.
Kevin Csolak attended PACE University as a musical theatre major and left for Los Angeles after one year. He teaches at Millennium Dance Complex and The Playground in Hollywood. He presently is 'bi-coastal' doing film, TV and Broadway projects. He most recently can be seen on The Mick for FOX and is filming in NYC this month for Netflix. He will also begin rehearsals this Fall for a new show heading to Broadway next year.
Kurt and Kevin both teach workshops, classes and private lessons at the school in Clinton.
The entire Star Maker staff are NYC and LA professionals who teach beginners through adults at the small rural school location.
Audition information for upcoming shows, The Wizard of Oz set for October performance and 13, The Musical, set for a January curtain and Showcase 2018 as well as their Pro-Kids Vocal Troupes can be found on their website. Visit www.starmakerschool.com to connect, register for Summer classes that begin Monday, July 10th and Fall Classes that begin Monday, September 11th.
PRESS RELEASE JUNE 2015
The Star Maker School and LBC Talent in Clinton announces their standout students and graduates for the 2014-15 season.
Rachel Allen, 18, of Stockton and a 2015 Hunterdon Central graduate will be headed to Rutgers University to major in Dance and Chemistry this Fall. Rachel has been an award winning, Star Maker featured performer for over fifteen years. She has danced professionally for Microsoft, Kinect and for recording artists, Neo and Lady Sovereign.
Andrew Plinio, 16, of Clinton Township recently booked and is presently shooting the new HBO series, The Young Pope starring Diane Keaton and Jude Law. Academy Award-winning director, Paolo Sorrentino created the series and will direct. He describes the story as; "The clear signs of God's existence. The clear signs of God's absence. How faith can be searched for and lost...The inner struggle between the huge responsibility of the Head of the Catholic Church and the miseries of the simple man that fate (or the Holy Spirit) chose as Pontiff."
Plinio began shooting in July. The North Hunterdon High School Junior also starred as Patrick in the Radio City's Christmas Spectacular Touring Company this past holiday season. He head lined as Lonny in LBC Talent's Production of Rock of Ages in June. And was a featured soloist in the Papermill Playhouse Conservatory's New Voices concert last month.
Cameron Clifford, 15, of Raritan Township just stepped off the boards at the newly renovated Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, having starred as Billy Ray, Jr. in On Golden Pond. The dramatic play, directed by Jonathan Silverstein, starred husband and wife team, Mia Dillon and Keir Dullea, of 2001 Space Odyssey fame. Nicky Singer reviewed the play with this to say about Cameron, "Although all of the supporting characters in this production are fully realized, it is the combination of Dullea as Norman and Cameron as the young Billy Ray, Jr. that dominate this production. Both actors have impeccable comedic timing and use their physical gestures and innate understanding of their characters to create a beautiful blooming partnership."
Clifford is no stranger to accolades from the critics as he boasts stage awards including the 2013 Broadway World Austin (Texas) Award - Best Featured Actor in a Musical Touring Production for his role as Michael in Billy Elliot, the 2013 Nominated Independent Reviewers of New England Award -Best Promising Performance by a Child Actor for Billy Elliot as well as the 2012 Broadway World Los Angeles, CA Award -Best Featured Actor in a Musical Touring Production also for Billy Elliot. Clifford starred as Michael on Broadway in the famed Musical before joining the international tour of the show. Cameron, a Hunterdon Central Sophomore this Fall, made his Broadway debut in Waiting For Godot with Broadway legends, Nathan Lane, Bill Irwin, John Goodman and John Glover. He recently returned from Chicago where he performed in the new Broadway musical, First Wives Club, directed by Simon Phillips and starring Faith Prince, Christine Sherrill and Carmen Cusack.
Savanna Fleisher, 9, of Raritan Township debuted this past Tuesday night as Young Nala in the touring company of The Lion King in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Fleisher, a student at Desmares School in Flemington, left for Canada for rehearsals in mid July. Fleisher has film, print and commercial credits to her name. This is her first stage role.
Gianna Porfano, 16, of Lebanon, starred as Yonah and understudied Eve in the newly created, Children of Eden, Jr. in Summit this summer.
Arielle Handler, 11, of Hillsborough landed the role of The Snake in this world premiere performance. The adaptation was developed and directed by Lindsay Moran with permission of Stephen Schwartz and Music Theatre International.
This summer's Paper Mill Playhouse Conservatory Concert, New Voices of 2015, Hooray for Hollywood featured five Star Maker standouts. Along with Andrew Plinio were Hannah Krivulka, 16, of Bloomsbury; Emily Decker, 15, of Annandale; Amalia Crevani, 16, of Holland Township; and Lauren Medina, 16, of Lebanon who each were featured with solo performances throughout the program. Medina opened the show of over 150 select, gifted and talented performers ages 10-18 from throughout the region and beyond.
Jake Urban, 14, of Raritan Township made his mark in the starring role of Billy in Billy Elliot at Frenchwoods in upstate New York this summer. The musical theatre camp created the first ever off-broadway performance of the 10-time Tony award winning musical since the show closed in New York in January of 2012. The first production of Billy Elliot opened in May 2005 in London.
Star Maker graduates continue to headline in the professional performance world; Hannah Brady of Ringoes starred as The Diva in Evolution, an interactive live stage experience in Shenzhen, China produced by International Theatre Works.
Kevin Csolak, now of Los Angeles, California just finished a lab of the new, untitled musical for Broadway with Tony-winning and multiple Tony nominee, director and choreographer, Casey Nicholaw. Csolak was also featured on Inside Amy Schumer in the viral video now nominated for an Emmy, Girl You Don't Need Make Up as well as he co-starred on NBC's Mysteries of Laura this past Spring.
Kurt Csolak of Manhattan currently is on tour in Germany with Dein Perry's Tap Dogs. The show is set on a construction site in the steel work's town of Newcastle, Sydney, Australia. Six incredible tap dancers and two musicians perform against all challenges - whether in water, upside-down or jumping through scaffolding. The show heads to China this fall and then back to Broadway in 2016. Kurt, also an NYU graduate, now film producer and director has been turning out award-winning independent films as well as creating music videos for Nickelodeon and pop recording artists in the NYC and LA markets.
Teal DePaola of Manhattan is featured in Amy Schumer's new movie, Train Wreck in theaters now, with the Knicks City Dancers. DePaola is a third year member of the famed professional dance team representing the Knicks at the World's Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden. She was one of the youngest members hired by the team right out of High School at the young age of 18. Teal is a graduate of Hunterdon Central high School.
A recent graduate of Monclair State University, SMS trained and promoted, Megan Gecik of Somerset claimed her spot as a Radio City Rockette this past holiday season, dancing in the tour of the famed show in both Houston and Omaha.