The Kelsey Theatre in West Windsor, New Jersey is a breeding ground for amazing young artists. Back in 2004, I got my community theater start there when I was ensemble member in How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying. From there, I have gone on to do a countless amount of shows at Kelsey, shows that helped me build my resume.
Fortunately, Kelsey Theatre continues to help build up young artists, most of whom I have had the opportunity to work with. Because of Kelsey Theatre, these young artists have trained themselves so well in their craft that their future shines extremely bright if they decide to continue their artistic education.
With that said, I have compiled a list of 10 young artists who are currently involved at Kelsey, or have recently contributed their expertise to Kelsey Theatre. These 10 young artists are either going into college within the next couple years, or are currently in their first couple years of college.
These 10 young artists are people that I personally feel have a really bright future in the artistic field. These 10 young artists are people that I have personally worked with and have seen their work and have consistently been completely WOW’ed by their hard work, dedication, and natural talent.
PLEASE NOTE: Let me reiterate, this list are just for 10 young artists that I have personally worked with. THIS DOES NOT embody the views of the Kelsey Theatre community or the Kelsey Theatre. This list is an ALPHABETICAL ORDER, not in rank order.
Okay, let’s get started…
Many of you may not know this young woman, as she is someone who has worked behind the scenes at Kelsey Theatre. A recent graduate of Hightstown High School, and a current student at Johnson and Wales University, Caila silently became an unsung hero of The Kelsey Theatre Awards. In 2012, she was my Assistant Stage Manager, and in 2013 she was my Assistant Director. She is smart, funny, witty, and dedicated. What more could you ask for in an Assistant? I consider her my Protégé to be honest, she has a very bright future in this business.
I had the opportunity to work with Wesley on A Chorus Line at Kelsey Theatre a couple years ago, and I remember saying to myself, “We gotta make sure we keep this kid around … he’s a guy who can dance … a rare find in the Kelsey community.” And on top of being a really good, young dancer, his singing voice is continuing to improve every time I hear him. A guy in the community theatre world who can sing, act, AND dance?! He’s definitely someone that needs to be kept around. And on top of being talented, he’s a really good person and a really good friend. Of course, I am little biased with this choice because he currently attends Nottingham High School, which is my alumnus. This Nottingham Northstar is definitely a future star if he continues in this field.
Two words for you: Disney Imagineer. C’mon, this choice is quite obvious. Caitlin will run circles around people’s brains with her wit and smarts. Plus, she’s a television star. (Tune in to TBS and watch her on King of the Nerds!) A graduate of Pennsbury Senior High School and a current student of Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center, she is the ONLY person I know that I can talk about roller coasters with on a technical basis. Don’t be surprised if you see Caitlin hosting her on show on the Discovery Channel one day or if you find out that she cured cancer or something. She’s a marvel.
Ahhhhh, what a voice! Since I met Melissa many years ago, her skill set has improved so much. I mean, when I met her, she was already good, and now she blows a lot of her female competition out of the water. A recent graduate of Nottingham High School (Go Stars!) and current student at Muhlenburg College, Melissa is quickly solidifying her leading lady status. If I had to pick a handful of people that I knew could make it on Broadway, Melissa would be one of the first people I’d choose.
Taylor is the youngest of the artists on this list, but she is slowly but surely gaining traction in the Kelsey community as a future star. A current student at Steinert High School, I met Taylor late last year when we did A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum together at Kelsey. Taylor is a fully committed performer, a great dancer, and she is very, very funny. If you’ve never seen her before, don’t worry, as you will be able to see how talented she is for yourself this March when she stars in Yardley Players’ production of Peter Pan at Kelsey Theatre. Don’t miss it!
This little thing can pack a BIG PUNCH. I have never seen someone so young be so engulfed in a character. She recognizes, at an early age, that giving 110% of your energy and talent during a performance will get you far. Holy cow, when I directed Salena in Urinetown, I watched in amazement every single night as she consistently gave memorable performances. Even during rehearsals, she would continue to raise the bar, and as a result, her cast mates would raise the bar too. When she asked me to write her recommendation letters for college, I could not have been more honored. She’s really good and I cannot wait to work with her again in some fashion.
If there was any obvious choice for this list, it’s definitely Dominick Sannelli. I have had the pleasure of seeing Dominick perform many times, and I have had the honor to perform alongside him as well. He was Pippin when I was the Leading Player in Pippin, and in 2012, he was my co-host for The 2012 Kelsey Theatre Awards. You see, Dominick, a graduate of Pennsbury Senior High School and a current student at Point Park University, is coveted in this theatre world because he is great singer, a great actor, and a really great dancer. He’s definitely going to go far, especially if he stays as dedicated as he is now. I cannot wait to see his name in the Broadway lights … it’s inevitable.
I met Jenna a couple years ago when we did A Chorus Line together, and I had the pleasure of seeing her as the lead in both Gypsy and in the recent production of Carrie the Musical. In all three of those productions, Jenna had the audiences in the palm of her hands with her beautiful singing voice. I’ll never forget listening to her nail her “At The Ballet” high note every night and being jealous of the fact that someone could hit that note consistently every night. Jenna is definitely another person whom we will inevitably see on Broadway soon.
If I could give an award for Most Improved Young Artist, it’d definitely go to J Scott. The dedication and hard work within this kid is unrivaled by most people his age. I mean, he has come SO FAR in his dancing and singing and I have NO DOUBT that if he continues to improve, he’ll be an unforgettable standout. As a young, minority performer, this kid has a lot ahead of him. I can’t wait to see where he goes from here. He graduates from Allenton High School this year, and he’ll definitely be off to bigger and greater things, as he has already accomplished so much.
On top of being one of the most talented young performers at Kelsey right now, she is also one of the nicest. As for her talent, well, let’s just say this: she won the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical TWO YEARS IN A ROW at The Kelsey Theatre Awards! If you could have seen her competition these past two years, you’d know how difficult of an accomplishment that is. I’ll never forget seeing her as Penny in Hairspray at Kelsey, she was one of the best I’ve seen.
Okay, so that is my list. Do you know any young artists that have a bright future?! Post them here!