Catch a rising star

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?


6 thoughts on “Catch a rising star

  1. His little project, Batman Begins, will generate plenty of its own buzz, but I think Christopher Nolan will develop a cult following after this film, especially if he sticks to the noirish material that’s already garnered him some attention (Memento, Insomnia).

  2. Agreed about Chris Nolan. I also think that in terms of performers, Kristen Bell and Brandon Routh will be big.

  3. I’m not too up on actors these days. I can tell you some bands that deserve to get big, but that’s no indication that they actually will.

    I was really lucky to catch Los Lonely Boys at a small venue before they took off, and I knew immediately they’d take off and that I was really fortunate to be seeing them in such a small place. But I’ve probably mentioned that before. I know I’ve mentioned that I’ve seen lots of bands at small places before they took off and got huge.

  4. Yeah, Susan, I know what you mean. I saw this Irish band called U2 in Seattle a couple years ago and I knew they’d be huge. Now look at them!!


  5. I saw Savion Glover in The Tap Dance Kid, in 1984, when he was 9. By the time of Jelly’s Last Jam, he was 19.

    Also, I went to school (NYU) with George Wolfe, the director/writer who directed Jelly’s Last Jam.

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