Years ago, I saw Jelly’s Last Jam, a musical about the life and times of Jelly Roll Morton, on Broadway. Gregory Hines originated the lead role, but by the time I saw the show, Brian Mitchell had taken over. He did a fine job, but the real star was a young Savion Glover, playing the role of Jelly Roll as a young lad. Each time he appeared on stage, the focus of attention immediately shifted to his feet, completely upstaging the putative stars of the show. I remarked to the friend I was with that Glover was sure to be a star someday, and sure enough, he is.
It’s fun to see rising stars before they are widely known, and to have the satisfaction of knowing that you were a good enough judge of talent to recognize it without being told by a marketing campaign that so-and-so is the next big thing. Of course, talent alone doesn’t guarantee success, but it sure helps.
I don’t get out much these days, but I have seen a few performances recently on DVD that have impressed me. I’ve already mentioned Chris Evans here on KB as one up-and-comer. Another is Rachel McAdams (Mean Girls, The Notebook), who seems to have “it”, whatever that is. Alison Lohman (Big Fish, Matchstick Men, White Oleander) was also on my radar at one point, although she hasn’t been seen lately.
How about you? Who should we be keeping an eye out for?