Starting Arts is known for producing high-quality shows using a cast of relative unknowns. Not that the actors aren’t known to their peers, but since they’re enrolled in local elementary schools through high schools, they generally aren’t known beyond their circle of influence – mainly their families and friends. Which is a shame, because the productions Starting Arts puts on deserve far bigger audiences than they traditionally reach. That was the case over the weekend of June 10 – 12 with Starting Arts’ Dream Team production of, Off Off Off (Way Off) Broadway Showcase, at the Historic Hoover Theatre in San Jose. A showcase is typically thought to mean a chance to show off one’s talents. That’s definitely the case here as the Dream Team has presented quite a variety of acts that contained no Broadway content whatsoever.
Way Off featured two acts with a total of 24 numbers and included singing, dancing, and acting. It’s difficult to lump varied acts from Way Off into one particular category as many musical numbers involved dancing as well as acting. Given that, the show started off with Rhythm Nation, by Janet Jackson. Other musical numbers included Please Mr. Postman, In the Still of the Night, Sisters, Never Neverland, The Coolest Girl, Beautiful, Say Something, Beautiful, Lifeboat, Valerie, another rendition of Sisters, Mean, Ironic, Rise Up, and Zoot Suit Riot.
For as good as the musical routines were, the acting numbers were not to be ignored. The acts included Sure Thing, Mothers and Daughters, DMV, Best Kept Secret, Stage Kiss, and Courtroom.
Obviously some numbers are more memorable and among them, the rendition of the Alanis Morissette song, Ironic, was one of them. Anyone in the audience that closed their eyes during the performance would have easily thought Morissette had snuck onto the stage. DMV, an act that involved an interaction with the DMV was far too real and made one wonder if the actors hadn’t gone to a DMV to get good material. The two renditions of Sisters surprised the audience as the first was genuinely good and the second had an interesting twist to it.
The Dream Teams (Dream Team and Dream Team II) are both composed of young artists. Dream Team II has artists in grades eight through 12, while the Dream Team features young artists ranging from fifth through eighth grade.
Starting Arts next performance will be Damn Yankees, running from July 8 – 10 at Santa Clara High School. Although registration for this production is closed, if you’re interested in participating, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Started in 2000, at one elementary school in Santa Clara, Starting Arts now provides arts education to over 28,000 K-12 students in 104 schools. For more information on the Dream Teams, or Starting Arts, please visit their webpage, www.StartingArts.com.
Since the end of the school year is upon us, many of the Dream Team performers are graduating high school and leaving the Starting Arts programs, so a slideshow was presented to them.