A Shawnee Mission Northwest graduate who hopes to make musical theater her career is the 2016 KC SuperStar and winner of a $10,000 scholarship.
Elise Dorsey, who graduated this spring, was voted KC SuperStar by the audience at the “American Idol/The Voice” style competition held Sunday at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
“I’m so excited. It’s awesome,” Dorsey said. “ I could feel the pressure and I was a little nervous at first. But I calmed down when I got on stage. I told myself ‘it’s time to do it.’ I sang the very best I could at the right time. I left it all on the stage.”
She sang “Fools Fall in Love,” a song suggested by her vocal teacher Kristi Tucker. “I like the passion the song has,” she added.
Elise has been active in several organizations, including International Thespian Society and Cougars Caring Community. She has performed in school productions and area community theaters, including The Theatre in the Park, the Barn Players and Musical Theatre of Kansas City.
She is using the scholarship to attend Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pa., where she is majoring in musical theater. Dorsey lives in Lenexa.
Ansonia Serrano, a spring graduate of Grain Valley High School, placed second and won a $5,000 scholarship.
“I can’t believe it happened...I’m thrilled and honored,” Serrano said. “Usually I’m pretty relaxed but I had butterflies waiting to go on stage. When I got on I was okay. I feed off audiences. I see them smiling and that encourages me.”
Serrano said she’s been singing and writing songs sinceshe was three years old. “At least that’s what my parents say,” she said. “ I sang ‘Stained’ because it felt like a song I would write.”
Serrano, who lives in Grain Valley, has had a busy school career as a three-year Drama Club executive and participating in musicals and plays. She also competed in forensics, and was named district champion of storytelling in 2016. She won two honorary ratings at the state solo and ensemble competition this year and was awarded the National School Choral Award for 2015.
She’s attending the University of Central Missouri where she will major in musical theater or business. “
Third place and a $2,500 scholarship went to Valiante Waltz, a senior this fall at Raymore-Peculiar high school. “I’ve always loved to sing and I discovered a love of theater when I was in ‘Ragtime’ and ‘The Wiz’ at The Theatre in the Park,” he said. “I was in ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ there this summer.”
Waltz also has performed at the Music Hall in Kansas City. “I’m extremely excited and honored to be a finalist for KC SuperStar in my first year of auditioning,” he said. “It was so much fun I may try out again next year.”
He sang “A Song for You.” “It’s one of my favorites. I like the message it brings. It’s beautiful,” said Waltz, who lives in Raymore.
Haley Shatto, a senior at Blue Valley West this fall, placed fourth and won a $1,000 scholarship. “I was ecstatic just to be in the KC SuperStar finals. I auditioned when I was a sophomore but didn’t make it,” she said. “I sang ‘I Told You So.’ I thought it was a good song for my voice.”
Shatto played volleyball at Blue Valley West until her sophomore year when she decided to focus on singing. “I like country music. I’m looking forward to visiting Nashville this fall and singing and writing songs with songwriters there,” said Shatto, of Overland Park.
“I love music but I plan to study dentistry in college,” she said. “I worked in a dentist’s office this summer and decided that’s what I wanted to do. Singing will be my hobby.”
The four scholarship winners were selected from 10 finalists by a panel of judges. The audience then decided by electronic vote who was 2016 KC SuperStar.
The judges were Michelle Bacon, a musician; Jorge Luis Cacheiro, executive director of the Pace School of Performing Arts in New York City; Jessica Paige, singer and songwriter, and Kelly Urich, local radio host.
The other six finalists each received $500 scholarships.
They are: Sebastian McCarty, Blue Valley North, a finalist last year; Maggie Manning, Blue Valley Northwest; Sam Aubuchon, Blue Springs; AnnaMarie Hurst, Center; Madi Toman, Paola, and Lauren Taylor, Olathe East.
The contestants were introduced by celebrity emcee Rob Riggle, star of television and film, who, as he did last year, praised their talent. Riggle is a graduate of Shawnee Mission South and the University of Kansas.
Will Shields, former Kansas City Chief offensive lineman and NFL Hall of Famer, was honored as the 2016 Community SuperStar for his work in the area through his Will to Succeed Foundation. The Jewish Commentary Center made a $10,000 donation to Shields’ Foundation.
“SuperStar had some of the best talent I’ve ever seen,” Shields said. “The opportunity to hear them sing was an honor itself.”
KC SuperStar is sponsored by the Jewish Community Center and produced and directed by Tammy Ruder. Felice Azorsky is the program coordinator.