August 13, 2006 11:01 PM by Joe Blackmon
With the regional auditions complete, “Looking for Stars” heads to Los Angeles where the eight finalists will compete for a speaking role* in Revolution Studios’ action-adventure film Next starring Nicolas Cage and Julianne Moore. The first round of the final competition premieres on Starz Monday, Aug. 14 at 8:50 p.m. (ET/PT).
“Looking for Stars,” a Starz original micro-series, spent eight weeks auditioning aspiring actors in New York City, Las Vegas, Orlando and Kansas City. Two finalists were selected at each regional audition. Actor/director Melanie Mayron (“thirtysomething” and The Babysitters Club) will join host Alan Hunter (former MTV VJ) on the judging panel in Los Angeles.
“They found a diverse group of eight with the drive and talent it takes to be a regional finalist,” stated Hunter. “Now it’s time to put them to the test and see who has the goods to be a star.”
The eight regional finalists competing in the Los Angeles are (alphabetical by last name):
Savanna D’Amico – Born in Manchester, N.H., 20 year-old Savanna D’Amico relocated to Summerville, S.C. before her junior year in high school and was crowned Miss Summerville High School in 2004. She began performing on-stage in high school and continues to do community theater in her spare time. D’Amico strives to make acting a full-time career and plans to move to Boston to pursue additional opportunities.
Greg Kata – Born in Mentor, Ohio, 26 year-old Greg Kata currently resides in Las Vegas, Nev. He moved there to pursue his career when he was cast in the Las Vegas Company production “MAMMA MIA!” Kata came to “MAMMA MIA!” after playing Boots the monkey in the national tour of “Dora the Explorer Live.” His favorite credits include Billy in “Carousel,” Richard in “A New Brain,” and Bobby in “Crazy for You.” An accomplished director/choreographer, Kata teaches voice and acting lessons at a studio in Las Vegas and is an active member of the organization Broadway Cares: Equity Fights AIDS.
Jason Nivens – Kansas City, Mo. resident Jason Nivens, 29, is known throughout the region as the nighttime jock for KQRC-FM, 98.9 The Rock. Nivens, who was born and raised just outside of the city in Prairie Village, Kan., is a screenwriter, actor and graduate of the American Academy of Arts Indie Filmmakers Bootcamp.
Sean Pritchard – A native of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, 40 year-old Sean Pritchard began studying acting in the early ’90s at HB Studio in New York, where he is still a member. Pritchard regularly performs in local theater and has had numerous extra roles and bit parts in television programs and films, most notably co-starring in an episode of “Breaking Vegas.”
Russell Rabb – A native of Ypsilanti, Mich., Russell Rabb, 28, spent eight years traveling the world in the U.S. Marine Corps before returning to his hometown to pursue his dream. A natural comedian, he wants to pursue a career in comedy and acting. He started out with bit parts in community theater and saw “Looking for Stars” as his chance to realize his dreams. He now works full-time as a stand-up comedian and performs in clubs throughout the metro Detroit area.
Stephanie Warren – Born in Warren, Mich., 24 year-old Stephanie Warren left her hometown and moved to New York City four years ago to pursue a career in acting. She has studied at the HB Studio in New York and has landed several modeling and acting jobs, most notably appearing in the show “Film Fakers.” Warren recently relocated to Los Angeles to pursue her acting career.
Marcus Welch – A native of Grand Rapids, Mich., 34 year-old Marcus Welch has been splitting his time between home and Los Angeles for the past few years to pursue a career in acting. Welch, a devoted father of five, has worked in film, television and on stage, most notably appearing in Coach Carter, Half Past Dead, and Before We Ruled Earth. In addition to acting, Welch is an accomplished musician and has been working on his debut album.
Kirk White – Born in Waycross, Ga., 34 year-old Kirk White has been living in Jacksonville, Fla. for the past year. He received his MFA in acting from the University of North Carolina and has acted throughout the region and in New York for the last 15 years. White is also an accomplished screenwriter and producer, and is the lead guitarist of DANG!, a southern rock band based in Florida.
“Looking for Stars” is SEG’s first foray into original serialized short-form programming and is sponsored by SEG in association with Revolution Studios. The 14-episode micro-series airs on Starz every Monday at 8:50 p.m. (ET/PT) and continues through September 18. Encore episodes will air on Starz on the Sunday following each original episode and on Starz Edge on the Saturday following each original episode at 8:50 p.m. (ET/PT), plus it will be available to view on Starz On Demand and for download on the new Vongo service. The “Looking for Stars” website, www.starz.com/lookingforstars, provides weekly updates with exclusive pictures, outtakes, a behind-the-scenes blog by host Alan Hunter and more.