Saturday, February 22, 2014

LA’s Next Great Stage Star® 2014 is Jennifer Kranz

L-R: Jennifer Kranz (winner); Travis Leland (2nd place); Adrienne Visnic (third place);
Daniella Painton (4th place); Jade Johnson (5th place); Kimberly Hessler (6thplace).
Photo Credit:  Peter Welkin.

Congratulations to USC student Jennifer Kranz, who was named the winner of LA’s Next Great Stage Star® 2014 competition last weekend at Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal. Kranz is a senior at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles majoring in Theatre and minoring in Musical Theatre. The blonde, blue-eyed Jennifer Kranz began performing when she was 8 years old and has since studied with John Rubenstein, Gerogia Stitt and others at USC. Her win follows six weeks of intense competition conducted before live audiences who were also part of the voting process.
As part of her winnings, Kranz was awarded a cash prize of $1000; an upcoming paid headlining concert engagement at Sterling’s Upstairs; a vocal demo recording session from Tom Griep’s Audition Trax; a photo session with Isaac James Creative; and is already in the process of scheduling meetings to be signed and represented by one of the competition’s Equity Agent/Judges as the first step toward a professional career in musical theatre, television and film. 

Additionally, the young Ms. Kranz will receive audition opportunities from such major, regional producing entities as Cabrillo Music Theatre which presents at the Fred Kavli Theatre in the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks, CA; Julia Flores Casting, which represents the Pasadena Playhouse, Boston Court Theatre and McCoy/Rigby Entertainment at the La Mirada Performing Arts Center; and other similar regional auditions. 

Upon her return to Sterling’s later this year with her own concert, she will also receive an overnight stay in a Luxury VIP Suite and dining for two at the iconic Sheraton Universal Hotel. Known as the “Hotel of the Stars” for 45 years, the Sheraton is nestled between the Hollywood Hills and the San Fernando Valley and overlooks the world renowned Universal Studios. Ms. Kranz has also been invited by Stage Star judge Bruce Kimmel to be featured in an upcoming Kritzerland Records live stage event during 2014 at Sterling’s Upstairs at The Federal.

Now in its 8th consecutive year as the only musical theatre competition of its kind, LA’s Next Great Stage Star® 2014 also shined its spotlight on Travis Leland who placed 2nd and was the first  ever “saved” contestant by the Finale’s judging panel of eighteen theatre professionals. A former student at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy/Los Angeles; and UCLA’s Theatre, Film, and Television Class of 2012, Leland was joined by top ranking finalists Adrienne Visnic (3rd Place), Daniella Painton (4th Place), Jade Johnson (5th) and Kimberly Hessler (6th). All twenty contestants ranged in age between 18 and 28.

The only competition of its kind, 8 former competitors have since made their Broadway debuts; one of whichis Derek Klena (top finalist/LA’s Next Great Stage Star 2011) who recently co-starred on Broadway as Fiyero in the 10th anniversary production of Wicked; and is currently co-starring in The Bridges of Madison  County. Additionally, over 80 out of 160 former competitors are now working professionally in either U.S. National Tours, sit down productions in Las Vegas Hotels, major regional theatres productions, and television.

LA’s Next Great Stage Star® 2014 has been executive produced by Michael Sterling of Michael Sterling & Associates in Los Angeles since 2007 and was created by Michael Sterling and Tony Monsour. Preceded by serving as producer of LA’s Next Great Stage Star® since 2012, author, speaker, performer, business woman and arts philanthropist, Barbara Van Orden, joined Sterling this year as co-executive producer Writer/Performer Peter Welkin was assigned duties as associate producer for his second year; with James Lent returning as musical director for his fifth consecutive year. Bryan Blaskie assumed responsibilities as associate musical director for his first year; and Jackie Evans rounded out the creative as choreographer for her second year.

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