Showcase spotlights local talent

Friday, July 13, 2007
Students rehearsed "Summer Nights" from the musical "Grease" including, from left, Brodrick Twiggs, Scott Dunaway, Carson Kelley, Lauren Dumey, Allie Wolz and Katherine Rollins, for the upcoming show "Sing, America, Sing!" (Fred Lynch)

Mike Dumey's position as a music director and producer of musicals at Central Junior High School puts him much closer to young singing and acting talent than just about anyone in Cape Girardeau.

But Dumey's more than an educator: He's also a singer known for his professional gigs in the area. Those performances usually tap adult talent, but next weekend Dumey will employ the talents of eight current and former students to create a showcase of popular American music called "Sing, America, Sing!" at Fruitland's Bavarian Halle.

The students range from soon-to-be high school freshman to soon-to-be second-year college students, all from Cape Gir-ardeau: Becca Rollins and Katherine Rollins, Suzanne Burke, Brodrick Twiggs, Scott Dunaway, Allie Wolz, Scott Dunaway and Carson Kelley. They will perform one weekend only -- July 20 and 21.

Dumey said he's produced these student-talent showcases before, but not since 2004.

"The time seemed right to start a new round of this and showcase some fresh talent," Dumey said.

The song-and-dance production will include music from the big-band era, classic rock 'n' roll and Broadway show tunes, something Dumey said teaches them versatility of style. Most of the numbers employ the talents of multiple students singing and dancing in ensemble fashion during the two-hour-plus performance. The students will also act as servers and hosts during the pre-performance meal.

While these sorts of showcases are common for Dumey, this one is different in that it gives student performers a taste of being part of a professional production, Dumey said. For some of them this may be their first paid singing gig.

"I feel like I'm getting more experience, and different experience," said Burke, a high school senior in the fall who's a veteran of Central High School stage productions.

The students have been rehearsing three days a week, three hours each session for weeks. Dumey said they already have to ability to put on a show-stopping performance, one they could even take out on a cruise ship.

"They are that talented, they are that solid," Dumey said.

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