Jun 11, 2022
Jacksonville Judge Spotlight
The Hits! The Musical audition tour visited Jacksonville, Florida this Thursday, and we had the pleasure of welcoming two former Entertainment Revue members as guest judges for the day! Katherine Weck and Valaria Rigobon graduated from ER in 2017 and 2015, respectively, and both attended Florida State University for undergrad. Although both judges have largely moved away from the theatre and music industries in their careers, they fondly recall their time in Entertainment Revue, and they agreed to share with us what that experience means to them.
[Left to Right: Valaria Rigobon & Katherine Weck]
I: Tell us a little bit about your background in ER.
K: One of my best friends was in ER at the time [I auditioned], and I loved going to her shows. I only danced, but loved to sing. I auditioned in 5th grade and made it into Rave Revue, the beginner cast, and was completely full of stage fright. My first year, I never auditioned for any solos except one, because they made me. My second year was when I came out of my shell and tried to audition for as much as I could, and then I never looked back and gained confidence within myself and my abilities. I developed my performance skills, more than anything, throughout my seven years in the group. That was my favorite thing, and becoming close to all the girls in the cast and really blossoming socially as well.
V: I auditioned when I was 8 years old because one of Cynthia’s friends had a daughter that was in the group, and she babysat me. I was always singing, and she told me to audition. My mom thought it was just a random thing to please me, [but] I ended up getting in. I started [out] being more excited about dancing, but I very quickly started to enjoy singing more than anything else. I just got more confident in my performance skills with a couple years in the group, and I made a couple really close friends in the group, so I feel like I got a lot out of it. And then I stayed in it until I graduated high school in 2015.
I: What do you do now? In the arts and otherwise.
K: I recently graduated from FSU, and at FSU I was a part of a dance team pre-pandemic. Now I’m working full-time and planning on going to law school.
V: Im pursuing my PhD in developmental psychology, and I still get paid to do some commercial recordings. I [also] write music and have some original music on Spotify. After high school I was in an a cappella group, All-Night Yahtzee, for three years. That was the last musical group experience I had. We also competed, and it was a co-ed group too, so it was a little different from ER. My job now is research on dyslexia, kids who have reading difficulties, and bilingual students.
I: How has ER played a role in your growth as an artist? Overall?
K: Just being confident in [my]self and [my] abilities. ER taught me that even if you’re not the best, or not perfect, if you present yourself with confidence you’re gonna look better than most people who might otherwise be better than you. And I also learned the importance of having a sisterhood and having girls that you can rely on and be yourself around, shamelessly. We’re all so weird in our own ways.
V: I think ER helped me become a lot more disciplined and taught me the value of time management skills. It definitely boosted my confidence, too, and just trying new things.
I: Did you work with Cynthia? What was that experience like?
K: Oh my gosh, Cynthia is a genius, and she’s incredibly creative. It’s fascinating to see how her process works. She pushes you to be the best you can be, but she will bring out all the good qualities in you. She also has an eye for knowing what you’re good at and what you’ll excel at. She’s also hilarious and has made me die laughing a million times. Working with her is just a great time.
V: My last year I was an AD for Rave Revue, along with Hits! Assistant Director Courtney Lopez. [Cynthia] is very creative, so she was always inspiring to work with, and she’s very thoughtful as well.
I: Given that Hits! is inspired by ER, why do you think kids should audition to be a part of the show?
K: Kids should audition if they love music and performing. There’s nothing like being up on the stage with all the spotlights and singing and dancing for your loved ones and even an audience that you don’t know.
V: [Kids should audition] to get some good performing experience with really beautiful and timeless music. These are songs that have transcended time in terms of being really meaningful to people and fun to listen and dance to. Beyond that, the music [spans] a lot of different genres and voice types, so performing on a tour like this is going to expose you to a diverse range of music which is really important for an artist to develop. I think so much of my music taste expanded with ER, since I didn’t grow up listening to this kind of music.
I: What was your favorite part of judging today?
K: Seeing all the talent, especially the powerhouse vocals, and also just seeing people interact with each other and make friends and have fun. It reminds me of when I was younger and got to perform and meet people. It’s also really interesting to be on the other side of auditioning. I think I’m a pretty chill judge.
V: Listening to a couple of the kids who were super passionate and super talented, [and who] just absolutely killed the audition.
Thanks again to Katherine and Valaria for their contribution to our Hits! The Musical audition process. We wish you the best of luck in your continuing academic adventures, and we hope to see you again soon!
*The above interview has been slightly edited for length and clarity*
If you want to be a part of the Hits! The Musical family, register to audition at a casting call near you! Check out the Auditions page on our website and follow our social media for more information!
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