There was excitement in the air as a crowd of community members and families of participants filed into the school auditorium last Friday night to watch the Shelter Island PTSA’s first “Shelter Island’s Got Talent” show.
Tuxedo-clad emcees Nicholas Morehead and Cat Brigham danced their way on stage and pumped up the crowd with witty banter that carried on throughout the night. They introduced panelists Lady YaYa (Kathy Lynch), Vanilla Ice (Pete Miedema) and The Most Enthusiastic Man Alive (Dan Martin), all in full character and each of whom put on quite the show in their own right as they made their way to their places at the judge’s panel on the left of the stage.
Wearing orange fox masks, orange fox shirts, orange capes and ready to rock their orange blow-up guitars, Michael Matz, Dachi Davlianidze and Gabriel Torrealba proved Ms. Lynch’s point as to why orange is her “favorite color” when they kicked off the show in a fun lip-sync routine to the song “What Does the Fox Say?” They warmed up the crowd with their enthusiastic moves in an act deemed “marvelous” and “brave” as the first act of the night.
Proving she means business, School District Business Leader Linda Haas took the stage next in a fierce black rocker dress and dangerous boots and belted out a version of “Shadows of the Night” that would make even Pat Benatar herself stand up and cheer. Complete with a rocking air guitar solo by Nicholas Morehead, Ms. Haas took the crowd back in time with a reminder that rock and roll is here to stay.
With an outfit as shiny and bright as her routine, complete with light-up shoes, Mia Davlianidze lip-synced with sass and pizzazz to her favorite song. “The only thing more fabulous than your shoes is YOU,” cheered Ms. Lynch.
Bringing a tear to the eyes of each panel member, Mandy Marcello showed she won’t fall, she’s “Titanium,” in her brave and strong solo of the song. She came on stage with a shy stage demeanor, but Ms. Marcello’s sweet voice engaged the crowd and demonstrated her passion.
“There’s nothing Bitsy about that routine, Elizabeth,” Ms. Lynch commented after watching Elizabeth “Bitzy” Weslek’s crowd-pleasing hula hooping routine to The Struts’ song “Body Talks.” “It was amazing, entertaining and a good workout,” Mr. Miedema added, with Mr. Martin wrapping up the panel comments with a tongue-in-cheek “you’re in better shape than the whole varsity team and Mr. Miedema combined.”
With the confidence of a girl who truly knows how to dance a gig, Lily Potter took to the stage in her Irish dance garb and danced her way into the heart of the crowd and emcees alike. Ms. Brigham described the performance as “So gifted I wanted to high-kick my way out of here just thinking about it!”
The midway point of the show boasted a surprise act by Shelter Island Faculty members who, complete with hilarious oversized photo masks, choreographed a fun routine to a medley of popular dance songs. “I am rarely without words, but we may need to add dance to the curriculum,” Ms. Lynch excitedly exclaimed after the performance.
The faculty act was a tough act to follow, but a dapper, fedora-wearing Wilson Lones rose to the challenge as he lip-synced and danced to “Everything” by TobyMac. “You remind me of a younger version of myself and I like myself a lot. You’re 10 out of 10,” Mr. Martin stated. “I want to call Mr. Kaasik and tell him to get ready to cast you in the future Shelter Island Theater department…the dancing, expressiveness and looking to the stars — because you are one,” added Ms. Lynch.
Are waffles better than toast or is toast better than waffles? Vivian Denny and Lily Brigham attempt to answer a question for the ages in their creative and hilarious sock puppet dance off to “Eye of the Tiger.” Ms. Lynch said their routine was “why we’re here” and it “made her laugh longer than she has laughed in a long time.”
A “major lift” in the show was when Jade Samuelson took to the stage with her angelic voice and shared her vocal performance of the song “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. “If the whole world could hear you sing that song, we would all be in a much better place,” said Ms. Lynch.
Double cartwheels wowed the crowd at the beginning of Maeve Kyne-Purcell and Michelle Martinez’s dance routine to the song “Timber” by Ke$ha. Sustaining an upbeat pace and energetic choreography throughout their routine, the panelists were “knocked down and can’t get up – that was spectacular!” Mr. Martin added, “In the words of the late, great Fergie, that was G-L-A-M-O-U-R-O-U-S.”
The dancing fun continued when Alice Potter and Brooke Kestler combined gymnastics and dance moves to express themselves to the song “Shut Up and Dance With Me” by Walk the Moon. “Shut up and show me how to do those dance moves! Fabulous!” expressed Ms. Lynch, with Mr. Martin adding “You should give the older kids dancing lessons.”
Elsie Mae Brigham and Lauren Gibbs performed an intelligent, Abbott and Costello-worthy comedy “schtick” they called the “Human Dummy.” Ms. Brigham the smart ventriloquist and Ms. Gibbs her sassy dummy, this old-timey routine of perfectly memorized and well-timed jokes proved something old can be new again.
Almost the whole family got in on “The James Gang” routine, as mom Kathryn, daughter Charlotte and son Tennessee James played a rousing game of “Telephone” but with a French translation twist. “Good is good in any language and that was good!” Mr. Miedema said.
Complete with hippy outfit, aviator shades, and bare feet, Sara Mundy showed that alumni still have talent when she channeled the spirit of Janis Joplin for her version of “Piece of my Heart.” Ms. Mundy got the crowd into the act and had a couple of the panelists reflecting, “I’ll take it! This is a song I sing in the car and in the shower, performing both badly, but you nailed it!”
Do you believe in magic? Well the crowd sure did after watching Eliza McCarthy and William Marshall, “The Magic Hatters,” perform their spell-bounding tricks including pulling a scarf out of an empty tube and a disappearing ball. They mesmerized the audience with their disappearing crayons and the panelists expressed “it’s not a talent show until someone does magic, and this duo was magic!”
For the grand finale, Mr. Morehead and Ms. Brigham invited the panelists, all performers, committee members and crew to join them for a fun, free-for-all “Last Dance” by Donna Summer. The stage was showered with colorful confetti bombs and many thanks were expressed to wrap up the night.
When asked about the show, Talent Show committee member Paige Morehead said, “We had a blast putting this show together. The performers exceeded our expectations in every way. The students were so prepared and fun to watch, the faculty has some very solid dance moves, and it turns out Shelter Island actually does have talent! This is the beginning of many shows to come, so stay tuned.”
The Shelter Island PTSA thanks the Talent Show committee: Vicki Weslek, Kate Davidson, Carissa Katz, Paige Morehead, Stephanie Loizance, and Barbara Marshall. They also want to thank emcees extraordinaire Cat Brigham, Nicholas Morehead and the phenomenal panelists Kathy Lynch, Pete Mediema, and Dan Martin. And big, special thanks to Deanna Locascio, Keith Brace, Mike Dunning, Nery Perez, Nichole Hand from SITV, Amanda Bartilucci, Lexi Bartilucci, Cayman Morehead, Jasper Samuelson, Dr. Finn, Julia Brennan, Jacki Dunning, Cliff Clark Julie Weisenberg, Keturah Green, Ebeth Lones, Laurene Meehan, the Shelter Island Reporter, all performers, their parents, and to everyone who came to watch and support the show.