Top Billing Entertainment Academy

Where Every Performer Gets Top Billing

Archive for the month “July, 2015”

Meet the Wizards in Top Billing Entertainment’s “The Wizard of OZ”

Paul Coon (5 of 6)

Paul Coon (Gold Cast Wizard) is a junior at Covina High School. This is Paul’s second year with Top Billing and he is loving it!! He is super excited to be playing his first big  role as  the Wizard for Top Billing Entertainment!!! Other productions he has been are  Hairspray,  where he played Corny Collins and Wilbur Turnblad, Footloose where he played Ren McCormack, and also he has played Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka Jr. When he graduates he wants to go to cosmetology school where he wishes to learn how to do hair and makeup for Broadway. He would also like to thank his Mom and Dad for driving him to and from rehearsals and for supporting him. He would also like thank his GG and Papa and their friends for coming and supporting him in all his shows. Enjoy the show!!!

Alex Plumb (4 of 6)

Alex Plumb (Emerald Cast Wizard) is entering his senior year at Glendora High School this fall. He’s been involved with Top Billing Entertainment  the past  five  summers, starting with Disney’s High School Musical. He regards  Joseph  as his favorite  Top Billing Entertainment  production. In addition to acting, Alex is involved with both the GHS Tartan Marching Band and jazz band, playing the alto saxophone. This year, he will also serve as the assistant drum major  and student band board president. However, he’s not a stereotypical band geek as he loves many sports, especially basketball and football and even started a unicycle club at his school. He would like to thank his family, for their support in his many activities, especially his sister Nicole for introducing him the Top Billing family.

Noah Spaulding (4 of 6)Noah Spaulding (Ruby Cast Wizard) is 17 years old and an incoming  senior at Covina High School. He has been performing in Top Billing Entertainment productions since 2011. He is an active member of many clubs and activities and a member of the honor roll at Covina. His favorite role was playing the charismatic show host Corny
Collins in Covina High’s production of Hairspray. His hobbies include singing, writing, watching movies, and quoting famous lines from films. He would like to thank his family, friends, and teachers for all their support, and would especially like to thank the entire cast of the Wizard of Oz for all their hard work on the production.

Meet the Lions, Scarecrows, & Tin Men in Top Billing Entertainment’s production of “The Wizard of OZ”

lionThe Lions


Jesse Alvarado (5 of 6)

Jesse Alvarado (Gold Cast Lion) began his drama career as a stage crew member in high school working on shows such as “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat”, “The Odd Couple,” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” He had always loved to sing but never had the courage to do it in front of others. He finally decided to audition for choir and after being selected to perform with the choir, continued auditioning in high school. He traveled with the Bishop Amat Chamber Singers his junior and senior year along with playing Hannibal in “The Curious Savage”, Danny Zuko in “Grease”, and Paul in “You Can’t Take it with You“. Jesse was also selected to perform with the ACDA Western Division Honor Choir in Santa Barbara. He is currently a theatre major at Mt. SAC and one day hopes to be on Broadway. This is his first production with TBE and he has had a blast. He would like to thank his wonderful parents and beautiful sister for always supporting him in everything he does along with his amazing family and friends. He would also like to thank Mrs. K for the opportunity and the wonderful cast and crew for making this musical one to remember.

DeShawn Johnson (2 of 6)

De’shawn Johnson (Emerald Cast Lion)  is 17 years old and has been performing since he was 5 years old. His favorite shows to perform in are Wizard of Oz  as the Lion, Disney’s Little Mermaid as King Triton and playing Shrek in Shrek the Musical. He loves acting and one day he hopes to be on Broadway or in movies. Christian Sandoval (1 of 6)Christian Sandoval (Ruby Cast Lion) recently graduated High School and is looking forward to getting into the film business.  He has done a lot of shows with Top Billing Entertainment including being cast as Gaston in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr. where he was nominated for best supporting actor by the NYA. Other shows he has been in include The Music Man, The Wiz, Willie Wonka, and Godspell.  He was Jesus literally, and Shrek.  He would like to thank his Mom and Dad for the rides to rehearsal, pretty soon he can drive himself, look out other drivers HAHA!!  Thanks to his grandmas Ana and Imelda. (He got his dance moves from grandma Imelda.)  Also thanks to his brother Seth for getting him started in theater and thank you to all his friends and family.  Last and definitely not least his big brother Andrew. You are his rock. He doesn’t know where would he be without your guidance and wisdom, but he does know if e ever need anything he can count on you.


scarecrow

The Scarecrows


Seth Johnson (6 of 6) Seth Johnson (Gold Cast Scarecrow) is one devilishly handsome son of a gun that is going  to be a  junior at Claremont High School. His hobbies include video games, music and, reading. When he is not at rehearsals he is at practice for the CHS drumline. Seth has been in a theatre production every year of his life except for kindergarten, which is a grand total of about 16 theatrical productions. He is very excited to be a part of the lead  cast this year with so many amazing performers. He would like to thank his Top Billing Entertainment family for everything that they have put into him and the cast! Joshua Mendoza (5 of 6)Joshua Mendoza (Emerald Cast Scarecrow) is an incoming senior at Bishop Amat High School. He is very devoted to the Chamber Singers, his school’s choir. Outside of Top Billing Entertainment, Joshua has been trained with 2 professional years of on-camera acting at Gary Spatz’s The Playground and 1 year of classical vocal performance at his school. Some of his past stage credits include “Ensemble/Soloist” in High School Musical & The Music Man, and lead characters such as “Jacob/Dan/Butler” in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, “Cogsworth” in Beauty and the Beast, “Tony” in You Can’t Take It With You, & “Narrator 3” in Aladdin Jr., as well as portraying “Santa,” “Elvis,” & “Aladdin” in separate TBE fundraising shows. This show, The Wizard of Oz, will be Joshua’s 12th production with Top Billing Entertainment and his 16th production overall. Josh was grateful when he found out he was to portray the role of “Scarecrow/Hunk” for the Emerald Cast (he is happy to be able to bounce off ideas with Matt Q. and Seth J.), and he is very thankful towards his family, friends, cast mates, and Mrs. K & her team for all of their help and support.

See Josh act with Gary Spatz’s The Playground A Young Actors Conservatory https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aiBKZaS9aqs

Matthew Quintana (4 of 6) Matthew Quintana (Ruby Cast Scarecrow)  starts his first year  ever singing and acting in a  Top Billing Entertainment production and has only been in one other musical which was Shrek the Musical where he  performed as Donkey. Matthew will be playing the scarecrow in this year’s Wizard of Oz  production believes it has been quite the adventure. He has learned some valuable skills for the future and  would like to thank Ms. Keener  and all of the other instructors and helpers at Top Billing Entertainment for this opportunity. This is his first year and he is so glad that he was able to realize how amazing musical theater is. He also wants to thank the rest of the cast for making this a great experience, as well as my fellow scarecrows for making the musical an easy and fun production. Matthew hopes to continue this career in the future.


tin man

The Tin Men


Everett Cabon (3 of 6)

Everett Cabon (Ruby Cast Tin Man) is a recent graduate from West Covina High School and is excited to play the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. He thinks there is nothing more beautiful a human can do than to sing and perform to the heart’s content. He has played other notable roles such as Farquaad in Shrek the Musical, Snoopy in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, and recently has won an NYA award for his favorite role as Lumiere in Top Billing Entertainment’s Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr. Everett would like to thank his parents for their unconditional love and support, his fellow leads for always willing to help, Miss K for doing literally everything ever, as well as the entire cast for being awesome! See Everett as Lumiere in “Be  Our Guest” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfrwM5E358Y Zorro Sengupta (6 of 6) Zorro Sengupta (Gold Cast Tin Man) is 16 years old and loves to sing, act, play music, and many other activities. He is currently playing the role of the Tinman, in Top Billing Entertainment’s The Wizard of Oz. His favorite role in Top Billing Entertainment was when he played Olin Britt, the Bass of the Barbershop Quartet, in The Music Man. He has been a singer for The San Gabriel Valley Pueri Cantores Choir for over ten years, and has been performing in Top Billing Entertainment’s shows for over five. Zorro would like to thank Kristina Keener Ivy for giving him the amazing opportunity of working with her.

Esteban Villegas (5 of 6)

Esteban Villegas (Emerald Cast Tin Man) had his first experience on stage was in a kindergarten Thanksgiving play in which he received the lead role of the “The Red Hen”. Besides displaying musical aptitude, singing in elementary choir, learning guitar basics, and learning the saxophone, Esteban’s musical and theatrical life remained dormant.  It was not until he watched the musical, “Fiddler on the Roof”, that his first interest for theater occurred. After seeing both the movie and the Broadway production, he fell in love with the musical. He began to imitate Topal, the actor who played the lead, Tevye in both the movie and Broadway. Esteban could be found dancing around the house like the Jews portrayed in the movie, or imitating the deep baritone voice of his favorite character, Tevye. In Spring 2012, he was cast as a supporting role in the production of “High School Musical Jr.”, which he enjoyed. The following year in Spring 2013, Esteban was fortunate enough to be cast in his dream role as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof”. In the Spring 2014, his freshman year, Esteban was cast as a lead in the school production of “Grease”. He noticed that his specialty on stage was being the comedic relief. It was no surprise, since off-stage Esteban constantly tries to create laughter around him in conversation, his magic shows, or terrible puns. Esteban truly had the time of his life playing Lumiere in last summer’s Top Billing production of “Beauty and The Beast” and making the role his own. Top Billing welcomed him as part of the family in an instant.  Since then, in Spring 2015, he also played in another high school production of “Aladdin Jr.”, in which he was the Genie. Esteban says, “The Genie role was one of my favorite experiences, because it was like being myself on stage and paying tribute to the great Robin Williams”. Being Lumiere and the Genie confirmed his love for the stage by entertaining people through his musical talent and making the audience laugh. He was recently nominated for the National Youth Arts Award for Best Supporting Role for his performance as Lumiere.  He is grateful for this nomination. He is also grateful to Ms. Kristina Keener Ivy who has given him the opportunity and pushed him to become a better performer. Without her, he wouldn’t have had such great memories on and off stage. Aside from theater, Esteban is currently in his second year in the Chamber Singers, his high school’s premiere vocal ensemble, and has traveled to San Francisco to perform with elite choral groups from across the country, such as the Grammy award-winning, Chanticleer. He will also be performing with the Chamber Singers in Rome, singing for Pope Francis in the Mass of the Epiphany on January 6, 2016. He cannot wait. His time as the Tin Man has been a great experience and he wants to continue to act and entertain for years to come. He would like to thank Ms. Keener Ivy, his family who comes to support the show, all who applaud during the show, and all who laugh at his jokes on stage.

See Esteban perform in “Once Upon A Dream” as Prince Phillip

See Esteban “Human Again” as Lumiere

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcvVCxL1Yv0

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

The Glindas

Riley Anne Mackie (4 of 6)

Riley Mackie (Emerald Cast)

Riley is delighted to play the role of Glinda and be a part of Wizard of Oz with such a wonderful cast! She is a junior in high school who loves singing, playing piano, and performing on stage. She began her love of performing on stage at age 4, appearing in countless shows, concerts, and recitals since. A few of her favorite performances include Curly in “Peter Pan! A New Musical”, Madame De La Grande Bouche in Beauty and the Beast (in which she received a National Youth Award Nomination for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical), Mrs. Mayor in Seussical, and Fruma Sarah in Fiddler on the Roof. She is a part of the Berrytones traveling girls choir and plays the role of Sleeping a Beauty in their “Princess at Heart” mix. She also teaches an elementary music theory class, assistant directs/choreographs musicals with the LIFE homeschool group, and leads worship on Wednesday nights at Arcadia Bible Church. She would like to thank Ms. K for putting on such a great show and letting her be a part of such a wonderful experience, her parents for driving her everywhere, training her in the ways of the Lord, and always trying to do what’s best for her, Eric, her wonderful voice and piano teacher for inspiring her and being her “Angel of Music, her amazing friends and family who support her and come see her perform in so many shows, Amanda for going through all these crazy journeys with her, everyone in the cast and crew for all their hard work and for being so great to work with, and, most importantly, her Savior, Jesus Christ for saving her and giving her a talent and love for the theatre.
Riley as Sleeping Beauty
Riley in Beauty and the Beast singing Human again as Madame

Bri Manuit     Bri Manuit (Gold Cast)

Bri (recently graduated with Walnut High School’s class of 2015 and plans to attend California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in the fall as an English major. She first joined Top Billing Entertainment in its Christmas production in 2013 and became a student of Kristina Keener-Ivy soon afterwards. Her first musical was Top Billing’s production of Beauty and the Beast, Jr., in which she played Mrs. Potts and doubled as an ensemble member. Though she’s new to musical theatre, Bri has come to appreciate and would like to acknowledge the endeavors of everyone involved in such productions, both onstage and offstage.

In addition to her experiences at Top Billing, Bri has also taken piano lessons under the examinations of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. She was part of the school choir from third to eighth grade but later decided to focus on her writing with her involvement in the school’s yearbook and newspaper. During her senior year, she performed in her second musical as Mrs. Sowerberry and an ensemble member in Walnut High School’s musical production of Oliver!. Her favorite experience onstage, however, is getting to share the stage with her sister, Reyna, in Top Billing’s Disney Showcase last year. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wnasl1-LJk0)
Bri is ecstatic and grateful for the wonderful opportunity to play Glinda in Wizard of Oz, and she would like to convey her thanks to everyone in Top Billing, especially Ms. K for being one of her biggest inspirations. She also wants to thank her family and friends for always being there for her and believing in her. Without all these people in her life, she would never be where she is today.
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Lindsay Moody (Emerald Cast)

Lindsay is a senior at Bishop Amat High School. She is a member of the Bishop Amat Pep Squad. She has been on the National Honors Society since Freshman year. Lindsay is also a member of the Community Leadership Council at Bishop Amat. Lindsay has been one of Kristina Keener Ivys students since she was ten. She has performed in four musicals at Sacred Heart School, High School Musical, Suessical, Cinderella (step sister), and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (narrator). This will be Lindsay’s third production with Top Billing Entertainment. She was in High School Musical (Kelsey), Beauty and the Beast (Silly Girl) and now Wizard of Oz (Glinda). Lindsay would like to thank the Top Billing Entertainment staff for this amazing opportunity and for all of the hard work they put into each and every production, Her mom for her endless love and support, and finally, Kristina Keener Ivy for helping a shy ten year old girl break out of her shell and become the confident young performer that she is today.

The Wicked Witches of the West

11054293_834672166612786_1329989770639811236_nMaddison Nall (Emerald Cast)

Maddison is 17 years old and just entered the 12th grade with Gorman High School.  She has always been a performer for as long as she can remember. Everyday was a new performance from the little clown herself.

Maddison has been involved with many sports, educational activities, and enjoyable hobbies, but acting, singing, and dancing stood out most to her liking. From 2nd to 6th grade she sang in her church’s choir and performed every summer and winter with a production put on by the church. Her favorite was when she played “Pretty Penny” in their showing of “Clowns” . Maddison has done several plays, musicals, talent shows, choir recitals and many more! With her school, she played the roles of Wendy Darling in Peter Pan, Puss in Puss in Boots, and Young Simba in The Lion King.
About a year and a half ago, Maddison took on the position of her church’s elementary Worship Leader. She enjoys waking up every Sunday morning and praising the Lord with kids. She creates her own motions and sings along with the kids to bring their hearts closer to God. Maddison signed with an acting agency in April of this year, and she hopes to pursue her life long dream of acting on camera.

Joining Top Billing has changed Maddison’s view on performing. She looks at performing as a gift more than a hobbie. She absorbs every minute of it. Maddy now enjoys performing more than ever. She is extremely excited to be playing the part of the Wicked Witch of the West in this year’s production of The Wizard of Oz and she is so jazzed to add this musical to her performance list. Maddison would like to thank the Lord for giving her the gift of performing. With this gift, she is able to provide enjoyable entertainment to others. Maddy would like to thank her family and friends for being so supportive and patient in what she loves to do. Maddy would like to thank her teachers, David Ivy, Eddie Garcia, Timothy Jackson, Andrew Cristin, and Melanie Rabajante for helping her along the way by teaching her acting, dancing, and singing skills that will last a lifetime.  Maddison would also like to thank Ms. K for giving her the opportunity of playing a lead. Ms. K does a lot to put on these amazing productions, and with that we thank you. Lastly, she would like to thank her Top Billing family for being so welcoming. Without her top billing family, every performance would be incomplete. Maddison can not wait to experience more and more adventures that the future has in store.

Priscilla Pimentel (1 of 6)

Priscilla Pimentel (Gold Cast)

Priscilla started her musical career with Star Entertainment Productions with musicals such as as Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, Oliver, and Annie Jr. She instantly fell in love with watching, listening, and being in musicals. After working with Star Entertainment, she began dancing a Mexican folk dance called Folklórico for three years and was also part of a group of student performers in the San Gabriel Valley that performed at the L.A. County Fair. This is her second year performing for Top Billing Entertainment; her first performance was in the production Beauty and the Beast Jr., where she played a Silly Girl. Now she is very excited to be playing her favorite role in The Wizard of Oz. This is a dream come true for her, especially that she can now show how good of a villain she can play. She dedicates her wickedly role to Margaret Hamilton who played the Wicked Witch in the classic movie.

Currently, Priscilla is a junior at Bishop Amat Memorial High School and participates in Women’s Choir and the Drama department. There she has been in musicals such as Grease, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Aladdin Jr. She is also really excited to have the opportunity to travel to Rome in December 2015 with the Bishop Amat’s Tour Choir to sing at the Epiphany Mass for Pope Francis. Priscilla would like to thank Miss Keener for giving this opportunity of her first real lead role.

Also she thanks her sister Jackie who introduced her to musicals and persuaded her to excel in her singing. Her mother for always being there by her side, being supportive in her interests, and showing her the classics of all that is entertainment. Lastly, she thanks her three best friends who have been there since the beginning, giving her positive attitude, and never giving up on her.

Amanda Soliven (6 of 6)

Amanda Soliven (Ruby Cast)

Amanda is an incoming junior at Glendora High School.  This is her 3rd production with Top Billing and 15th musical, her favorite role was Madame de la Grande Bouche from Beauty and the Beast.  She is involved in her school’s show choir and hopes to sing professionally.  Amanda would like to thank her family and everyone at Top Billing for making this production possible.

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