Top Billing Entertainment Academy

Where Every Performer Gets Top Billing

Archive for the month “June, 2015”

Meet the Dorothys in Top Billing Entertainment’s 2015 Production of “The Wizard of OZ”

Lorraine Despojado (1 of 1)

Lorraine Despojado (Gold Cast Dorothy) is 18 and just graduated from West Covina High School. She was the WCHS CG Colorguard Captain from 2013-2015. She started singing and dancing when she was three and has loved doing it ever since. This is her sixth production at Top Billing Entertainment Performance Academy, but Dorothy is her first lead role. She was the Sugar Plum Fairy, Dragon, and Gingy in WCHS’s 2015 production of Shrek the Musical. She would like to thank Elder Timbol and Jamie McMahon for inspiring her to take dancing to the next level. Hillary Chavez for being her guide and stage mommy, and of course Ms. Keener and Heather for working so hard to make the shows as amazing as they are.

Videos of Lorraine’s Winter Colorguard Performances:

Micaela Martinez

Micaela Martinez (Ruby Cast Dorothy) is a graduating senior from Bishop Amat Memorial High School and has been performing for as long as she can remember. After catching the acting bug in the elementary school choir and plays, Micaela went on to perform in her first real musical: Star Entertainment’s production of The Wizard of Oz as one of Glinda’s fairies. Now, she feels so thankful for the chance to play Dorothy. Micaela has been in shows such as Bye Bye Birdie (Ursula), Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Violet), Grease (Frenchy), and is currently in production with the movie musical Hubba Hubba. She has had the privilege of working with Tom Pardoe and April Shawhan and will be a theatre major at the University of California, San Diego in the fall.

Micaela would like to thank Ms. K and the entire Top Billing Entertainment staff for this awesome opportunity. The cast, for being so amazingly welcoming to her in her first show. And her family and friends, especially her parents, for their endless support and patience as she pursues her dreams.

Clarisse Torres (6 of 6)
Clarisse Torres (Emerald Cast Dorothy) has been a student of Kristina Keener Ivy’s since she was 12 and has been a part of Top Billing Entertainment’s productions for five years. She recently graduated from St. Lucy’s Priory High School. During her time at St. Lucy’s, she was a member of the Spring Musical for three years, a Regent Ambassador for two years, and a part of Chamber Singers in her senior year. She will be attending Azusa Pacific University as a Biology major in the fall.
 
Before she met Kristina Keener Ivy, Clarisse had previously been a part of the Pueri Cantores of San Gabriel Valley Choir. She has participated in various choir festivals around the world. She has sung in Poland, Washington D.C., and even Italy, where she sang at the Vatican for Pope Benedict XVI. She has been playing the piano for thirteen years, and also enjoys playing the ukulele. At 11, she participated in her first musical, The Wizard of Oz, in which she played a munchkin and flying monkey. She met Ms. K when she was in the 7th grade during Sacred Heart School’s production of Seussical. It was during this show that Clarisse fell in love with musical theatre. She continued to participate in various productions, including Rodger’s & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat, The Music Man, and Beauty and the Beast Jr. She began to broaden her talents by taking voice lessons with Ms. K when she was 13, and has performed at various recitals, Top Billing showcases, and local events.
 
Clarisse feels special to be cast as Dorothy, as her first role in a musical was a munchkin/flying monkey in The Wizard of Oz seven years ago. She would like to thank her parents, family, and friends for their undying love and support in her present and future endeavors, all of the kids in Top Billing for being people she can call family, the Top Billing staff for all the hard work they put into each and every production, and for Kristina Keener Ivy for being her mentor, teacher, and friend.
See her sing as her favorite character Mulan: Reflection – Clarisse Torres

Friday Feature – Jamie McMahon: Dance & Acting Master Instructor

Jamie McMahonJamie Collage

Jamie McMahon, the Summer Musical Choreographer, Dance Teacher & Acting Master Instructor

Jamie was born in Chicago and sang and danced her way to Sunny L.A.  She began performing professionally at the age of 11 with a world premiere musical by Charles Strouse (Annie/Bye Bye Birdie) and went on to receive her B.F.A in Musical Theatre from Millikin University. Since then she has appeared in the National Tours of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” as Reuben’s Wife, “Red, Hot, and Blue!”, and for four years performed across the country as Mrs. Claus with “The Radio City Xmas Spectacular” starring the world famous Rockettes. She has also had the pleasure of working as a guest entertainer with Holland America Cruise Line and for the past four years has played Busybee Who at Universal Studios for their Grinchmas special event. Because she has a desire to share her passion and excitement for the arts with todays youth, Jamie makes time to choreograph and teach both in high school and professional venues. She is thrilled to work with the incredible talent in Southern California!

Jamie McMahon comes from a strong theatre background and has studied improv at The Groundlings in LA and Second City in Chicago.

Some of her FILM/TV highlights:
  • Currently has a Matilda the Broadway Musical commercial running
  • Booked with Reader’s Digest, Chevron, Robbins Brothers, Starbucks, Ivory Soap, and Eharmony 
  • Called in by Allen Hooper, Erica Silverman, and Engine Casting from attending workshops
  • Starred in Absolution The Series by John Gardiner
THEATRE highlights:
  • European Tour of Grease as Frenchy
  • Starred as Mrs. Claus and a singer/dancer for four years with the Radio City Rockettes Xmas Spectacular
  • National Tour of Joseph and the Amazing Dreamcoat as Reuben’s Wife
  • B.F.A. in Musical Theatre from Millikin University
Pictures above are from : European Tour of Grease, Knottsberry Farm, Starbucks Commercial, Robbins Brothers Commercial, Chevron Commercial, Music Video for Taboo (black eyed peas), Sex Sent Me to the ER Television Show on TLC, Film Festival Hosting Gigs, Universal Studios Hollywood Lucille Ball.

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