It looks like Stasz Klinge-Loy will be throwing quite a barbecue.
In an , Stasz, one half of the brother and sister violin and piano duo that won the show’s $1,000 top prize, said he would use his share of the cash to buy some meat, invite some people over and have a barbecue.
Fire up the grill, because violinist Stasz and his sister, pianist Junia Klinge-Loy, gave a stunning performance of Vittorio Monti's “Czardas” to close the show at on Wednesday, Feb. 23, and were announced as the first place winners just minutes later.
The talent competition took place in front of a packed house; the show was sold out before the doors opened for the evening, and the lobby was filled with excited audience members half an hour before the show even started.
“I called this morning,” said Morristown Councilwoman Rebecca Feldman, “and there was one $40 ticket and one $75 ticket available. It’s definitely sold out.
“All the restaurants were full tonight,” she continued. “A lot of people are making a night of it.”
Mary D’Alessandro was looking forward to seeing how the 2011 show compared to last year’s competition; she attended Morristown’s Got Talent! last year and was blown away by the 2010 winner.
“The little boy who won played very well,” she said. “You could just tell how much time he had put into it. There was a lot of talent last year.”
Of course, some members of the audience had allegiances to certain performers.
Donna Rothweiler, in attendance to cheer on daughter Catherine, who sang “The Girl in 14G,” said that her daughter wasn’t experiencing any last-minute jitters.
“She’s not nervous at all,” Rothweiler said. “She had an audition in New York on Monday, so she’s thinking about that. She’s always thinking ahead to the next thing.”
Many of the audience’s younger members seemed equally excited about staying out late on a school night and cheering on their friends and classmates.
“We’re rooting for Joey Gatto,” said middle schooler Patrick Daly. “He’s a friend of my brother’s.”
Short videos on each of the 16 acts were shown before each performance, allowing the audience to learn about each contestant’s talent, as well as his or her connection to Morristown.
Accomplished pianist Jenny Shih, who would later be awarded third place, performed second, playing Frederic Chopin’s Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35. Before beatboxer Joey Gatto took the stage, emcee Bill Bromberg announced to the crowd, “You’re about to see something very different.”
Gatto, however, was quick to interact with the audience, educating those who had never heard of beatboxing, and his performance was interspersed with stories about how he developed his unique talent.
“Beatboxing is the repercussion of percussion, with your mouth,” Gatto told the crowd.
Guitarist Brad Marullo followed Gatto with a performance of U2’s “With or Without You,” and it was evident from the cheers in the crowd that many of his band students from and Sussex Avenue School had come out to support him.
“They’re going to have a tough decision,” said Jill Meerwarth, who was rooting for her daughter’s band teacher, Brad Marullo. “They’ve all been great.”
The second act started with a bang, as the youngest competitors of the evening, punk-rock band Imperfect Paradise performed Green Day’s “Holiday.” After a rollicking performance, several audience members leapt to their feet to give the Morris Plains Borough School students a standing ovation.
Vocalist and guitarist Robert Matarazzo began his performance of Roy Orbison’s “Crying,” with a story on how his song choice for the evening had been on a CD of sad songs that he had made for himself following a break-up, when he had left New Jersey for a fresh start; but because of Roy Orbison, he instead returned to New Jersey and proposed.
“This song showed me what my life would be like if I hadn’t turned around and come back,” Matarazzo told the audience.
Matarazzo, who later won the $500 second prize, said that he would put the prize money toward his wedding.
After Stasz and Junia Klinge-Loy executed their performance, the audience was expecting to wait several minutes for the judges, Guy Adami of CNBC’s Fast Money, opera singer Karen Notare, Jonathan Peirce, Production Director at the Mayo Arts Performing Center, and singer-songwriter Blaire Reinhard, to reveal the winners.
Instead, they got a surprise performance.
After Vincent Morreale, chair of the Morristown’s Got Talent Steering Committee, announced that the show had sold out for the second year in a row and that approximately $35,000 had been raised, he revealed that the show was not quite over.
“This group of folks has been backstage together for five hours,” he said. “They’ve become very close, and they’ve come up with something. They want to perform for you one more time.”
Then, with Robert Matarazzo and Brad Marullo on guitar, Imperfect Paradise’s Ryan Yobs on bass, Stasz Klinge-Loy on violin and Joey Gatto beatboxing, and the remaining contestants singing along, an impromptu performance of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” brought the show to an uplifting close, with the audience enthusiastically joining in on the second verse after an encouraging wave from Dermot McPeake.
“I love surprises,” Morreale said at the song’s conclusion.
After the show, the words “fabulous,” “unbelievable,” and “best show by far,” could be heard as the audience made their way out of the theater.
And the accolades continued at the after party, held at
“I was blown away,” said Zebu Forno of Morristown owner Bill Oliver. “This was like a Broadway show.”
Contestants and audience members mingled as coffee and desserts were served, and as the party drew to a close, contestant and Zebu Forno Manager Jasmin Serrano summed up the evening.
“I had a great time,” she said. “It’s all about the experience.”