Sophia Cardone and Qasim Huzair advanced to second round of regional competition, also picked as ‘fan favorites’
Provided photo: Qasim Huzair, a Lyndonville senior, portrayed Professor Bhaer and Sophia Cardone, a Medina senior, starred as Jo in the musical Little Women, which was performed by Lyndonville and Medina students online in March.
Two stars from the Lyndonville-Medina musical program are among 32 picked as “fan favorites” in the Stars of Tomorrow, a regional competition that recognizes high school students in the Greater Rochester area by the Rochester Broadway Theatre League.
Qasim Huzair, a Lyndonville senior, and Sophia Cardone, a Medina senior, both are in the on-line voting competition. Click here to see the fan favorites.
They each have videos posted on the Stars of Tomorrow website. Click here to see Huzair and click here to see Cardone.
Huzair and Cardone also were picked among 57 performers by Stars of Tomorrow and they advanced into the second round of 30 semifinalists for their vocal and acting skills.
The Stars of Tomorrow in a normal year would send adjudicators to a performance of a musical to assess acting, singing, dancing, ensemble, tech and other parts of the show. But that isn’t happening this year with most of the musicals limited to performance shown online with no in-person crowd.
Last year’s spring musicals were cancelled when schools shut down for in-person learning in mid-March.
Huzair and Cardone have both been recognized for their theatrical skills in prior years by Stars. They have been part of the combined Lyndonville-Medina musical program for several years.
The Stars this year judged videos of the two performing and put them in the initial group of 57. They then advanced to the second round. They didn’t make it to the final 10. They are however among the 32 “fan favorites” and online voting continues until 10 a.m. on May 18. Click here to see the group of 32. The winning male and female in that competition advances to the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City this summer.
Jennifer Trupo, the Lyndonville-Medina musical director, said Huzair and Cardone are both powerhouse performers.
“They are just so wonderful, both of them,” Trupo said. “They are just both so talented and to see them both grow as singers and actors. They have blown me away. I am really, super-super proud of them.”
Photos by Tom Rivers: Sophia Cardone played Sister Mary Lazarus, a spunky nun in Sister Act, which was performed in March 2019.
Both have performed in comedic roles and more serious parts. This past March, Cardone was Jo in Little Women, and Huzair played opposite her as Professor Bhaer. Three years ago he played Uncle Fester in The Addams Family, singing about his love for the Moon. He won a “best supporting actor” award from the Stars for that role.
Cardone played a very zany nun in Sister Act two years ago. But she has shown she can do much more than the characters that get laughs, Trupo said.
“There is so much depth to her,” Trupo said. “She can do anything.
Trupo still regrets that last year’s show, Mama Mia, was cancelled due to Covid. Cardone had a lead role with the character of Donna, the mother of Sophie and owner of the hotel Villa Donna. Trupo said Cardone would have wowed the audience.
Qasim Huzair starred as Uncle Fester in the Medina-Lyndonville’s production of The Addams Family in March 2018. He sings about his love for the Moon. Huzair won a “best supporting actor” award from the Stars of Tomorrow.
Huzair has been transformed through the music program, starting with performances of Bruno Mars songs with karaoke at the Orleans County 4-H Fair, to chorus at Lyndonville and the musicals.
“He used to be so timid and shy,” Trupo said. “He has just blossomed. He has a high-tenor range and his voice is so beautiful. He is a super humble, kind, genuine kid.”