Tradition with a twist: Pioneer Theatre Guild to present FutureStars 2021 March 13

The celebrated talent show will go on—virtually

Pioneer graduate Bridget Roberts performs the winning act from FutureStars 2020.

Pioneer Theatre Guild’s FutureStars 2021 returns for its 19th year—with a twist. This year will be the competition’s first-ever virtual production. A citywide talent search for Ann Arbor’s next star, FutureStars features students from Ann Arbor’s public high schools as they perform popular songs by various artists. 

“While there are many challenges with singing live over Zoom, our coaches and students did an awesome job navigating the process,” said Jayme Kelmigian, the show’s producer/director. “While this year will certainly be very different from years past, we are excited to share the new—and temporary—format with audiences soon.”

About the virtual format: 

● Nineteen students will pre-record solos onstage in Schreiber Auditorium at Pioneer High School. All recording is being done with strict social distancing guidelines and safety protocols

● The songs will be presented to a panel of judges virtually. The judges will decide on the Top 5 performances. 

● Virtual audience members can tune into the pre-recorded event Saturday, March 13th at 7:00pm where they will be led through the event by 4 fantastic student hosts.

● Virtual audience members will participate in voting for their favorite act of the Top 5 and will be joined by the cast of the show LIVE immediately following the pre-recorded content.

● Musical numbers by our group of underclassmen, The RisingStars, will be presented throughout the evening. 

Students are guided by professional coaches that assist them in learning their songs. This year’s coachings and rehearsals have been entirely virtual.

Tickets go on sale February 22 at

Prices are $8 for students; those 65 and older; and Pioneer staff. The cost is $12 for adults and $20 per family. The event will be available by live-stream at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 13.

The streaming link and info provided after purchasing a ticket. Click here for more information about PTG.

Second-year FutureStars participant Nate Frison, a Skyline High School senior, says the transition to virtual coachings “was very smooth and is almost second nature now.”

“The band has been super helpful in making tracks that are easy to follow, and the coaches have been very helpful,” says Nate. “We were able to adapt and get great feedback, despite only being able to use Zoom as a communication tool.” 

Three-year FutureStars participant and Pioneer High School senior Jasmine Williams says what she enjoys most about the show is being surrounded by a supportive group of likeminded people.

“The community PTG has created makes this production so memorable and when our circumstances changed and we had to move online, the only thing that was truly altered was our environment,” she says. “I think there is something to be said about the power of finding a community through art because it stays with you and helps you through the most bizarre of situations. I am so thankful for my PTG family and the relationships and memories I can take with me into my adult life and career because of  FutureStars. “

The panelist of judges for FutureStars 2021 includes

Tree Town Sound radio host Matthew Altruda

Singer-songwriter and comedian, Camila Ballario 

Opera singer and cast member of Hamilton’s national tour Jonathan Christopher

Broadway producer and University of Michigan musical theater alum Thomas Laub

Emily in Paris (Netflix) and Broadway performer (“The King and I,” “Mean Girls”) Ashley Park

Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor 

Pioneer High School Senior, Jasmine Williams, sings “Reflection” (Mulan) at FutureStars 2020.

Director/Producer: Jayme Kelmigian 

Music Director: Billy Harrington 

Vocal Coaches: Ryan Lewis, Adam Plomaritas 

Rising Stars Music Director: John Bogdan 

Host Coach: Julie Strassel 

Performance Coaches: Andrew Plinio and Thani Brant 

Technical Director: Mysti Plummer 

PTG Sponsors: Jayme Kelmigian, Alex Leydenfrost, Mysti Plummer 

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