Scene & Heard by Heidi Kurpiela

Scene & Heard 05.27.10

Posted May 26, 2010 at 7:00 am

by Heidi Kurpiela

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+ Budding songbird has ‘big’ plans for musical future
Calling all country-music junkies. Meet the next Carrie Underwood: 12-year-old Olivia Thorning Little, a seventh-grader at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School on a serious path to stardom.

Little sang her heart out Monday night at The Golden Apple Dinner Theatre, where she headlined her own concert, covering songs by some of her favorite country divas, including Jamie O’Neal, Martina McBride and LeAnn Rimes.

The show, billed as “The Dream Concert,” served as a fundraiser to help pay for Little’s trip to Nashville next month, where she’ll write and produce an original song with a famous singer/songwriter, whose identity remains a secret. (Hint: Little’s mom, Tina, did reveal that the celebrity in question is one of the three women mentioned above.)

Little, who was spotted by a Los Angeles talent scout in January, met with a high-profile music manager this spring in New York City. The meeting went so well it lasted more than three hours.
Little has been singing since she was 7 years old. Her family is reluctant to reveal too many details because she’s still in the process of artist development, although, by the looks of this trajectory, we’ll be humming Olivia Thorning Little songs soon.

+ Thespian adventurers will hobnob with Plummer
It’s that time of year again. Asolo Rep Adventures, the Asolo Rep’s Travel Club, is rounding up fellow theater buffs for yet another summer theater excursion. This time, the gang is headed to Ontario, Canada, for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.

Although it might seem early to be finalizing the guest list, reservations need to be made. According to club leader and Asolo Rep Board President Susan Buck, 24 people have already signed up for the trip, and Buck is hoping to snag six to eight more by June.

Scheduled for Aug. 31 to Sept. 5, the five-day trip will include a special reception with actor Christopher Plummer. The 80-year-old actor will be performing the lead in the Stratford Festival’s “The Tempest.”
Club members met Plummer two years ago when he was in George Bernard Shaw’s “Caesar and Cleopatra.” The Tony Award-winning actor is friends with Osprey resident and travel club member Nona Macdonald.

“We had a cocktail party with him and his wife, Elaine,” Buck says. “He was so charming and debonair. We were like a bunch of groupies.”

If anyone is interested in hitting the road with these adventurers this summer, call 351-9010, Ext. 4708.

+ Upcoming Art Center concert already a ‘Disaster’
What’s with the youth today in Sarasota? They’re so … talented.

First, Jazz Juvenocracy, a youth jazz band founded by middle-school trumpet player Bit Risner, earns a spot on the 2010 Montreaux Jazz Festival bill. Then, 12-year-old singer Chris Eisenberg, the breakout star of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s “Motown ’60s Revue,” lands an audition for “America’s Got Talent.” And, well, you already know country-music darling Olivia Thorning Little’s summer plans. And, now, 19-year-old singer/songwriter Reggie Williams will join a lineup of young musicians for Art Center Sarasota’s “Disaster Show-2,” the second live concert for teens organized by high-school senior Robert Patrick O’Neil.

Also performing is Sarasota rock/rap/pop/soul hybrid Traphik: 316 and Sarasota/Bradenton post-hardcore bands The Laws of Entropy and White Noise Reverie.

The show runs from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 29, at Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail. Tickets are $10. For more information, call 365-2032 or visit



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