'Rising Star' wins audience; melts hearts with 'Frozen'

Posing with her 4-year-old fan from Westlake, Hannah-Jo Weisberg held her crown over the head of Beatrix Healey after performing at Porter Library on Feb. 24. Photo by Louise Seeholzer

The audience that braved February’s frigid temperatures to attend Hannah-Jo Weisberg’s performance at Westlake Porter Public Library was rewarded by her talented performance. They then had their hearts completely melted when this “Rising Star” from Baldwin Wallace University spontaneously ended her program with an unscheduled rendition of "Let It Go" for her youngest fan.

Upon completion of her lively program, followed by questions from the audience, Weisberg was asked to do an encore. Exchanging a quick look with Jake Turski, her skilled piano accompanist, she agreed. Weisberg then turned to 4-year-old Beatrix Healey, who had watched the program with rapt attention from a front row seat, and asked, “What is your favorite Disney movie?” The shy, but prompt, reply was "Frozen." The thoughtful act sealed the little Westlake girl’s awe for the lovely performer and won the hearts of all the adults.

After opening her program with Adelaide’s lament from "Guys and Dolls," Weisberg said she always identified with the brash, red-headed musical characters. “I am not the ingénue type,” she said was her response to her mother’s suggestions she sing more sentimental music. But she added, "Then along came 'How are Things in Glocca Morra?'" which she proceeded to sing. When the applause ended, she commented, “It proves mothers know best.”

Weisberg, who is the current Miss Northcoast Ohio, wore her sash and crown when she initially greeted her audience. But these were quickly set aside as she framed her vocals with expressive movements. Her training and extensive stage experience were apparent as Weisberg moved through her varied repertoire. Prior to singing "Cabaret," Weisberg told the audience it was her “absolute favorite.”

Before her graduation this spring from Baldwin Wallace with a major in music theater and a minor in theater, Weisberg will play Annette in "Saturday Night Fever" at Playhouse Square. And with other senior BW “Rising Stars” she will perform at BW and in New York. In June, as Miss Northcoast Ohio, she will compete for the Miss Ohio title.

The Westlake Westshore Arts Council sponsored Weisberg’s appearance, in conjunction with “Catch a Rising Star… Baldwin Wallace Music Theater in Recital” as part of its continuing mission of bringing art, in all forms, to the community.

Louise Seeholzer

Publicist for Westlake-Westshore Arts Council

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 9:42 AM, 03.03.2015