FutureStars 2016 perform to packed house

Story and photos by Jo Mathis/AAPS District News

“What just happened?”

FutureStars winner Kaleb Doughten-Priska kept repeating those words Saturday night as he was congratulated by his talented competitors in the annual talent show presented by Pioneer Theatre Guild.

A panel of judges selected the top acts, and the sold-out audience then chose the finalist by a round of applause. Doughten-Priska had wowed the crowd while dancing to the Beyonce song, “Crazy in Love.”

Theatre Guild Producer Susan Hurwitz started FutureStars as a small talent show some months after American Idol premiered in June 2002.

The popularity of the shows quickly grew. Since 2009, kids from all of the AAPS high schools have been allowed to participate.

“We have a great mix of kids from all of the AAPS high schools and they get along wonderfully and are so supportive of each other,” said Hurwitz. “All individual school territoriality disappears.”

This year the total cast was about 60, and they were supported by a crew of about 30.

At the end of Saturday’s show, Michigan football player Jehu Chesson—who served as a judge—said that all the finalists have the talent to be in a professional production.

“The talent here is unbelievable,” he said.

Past winners were Micah Miller, Huron, 2015; Robbie Stephens/Sophie Kromis, Community, 2014; Eliza Stein, Community, 2013; Tionna Griffin, Skyline, 2012; and Lauren Victor, Pioneer, 2011.

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