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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Hits from Broadway musicals and beyond will be belted out by the Rising Stars in the Valley

By Ed Condran For The Spokesman-Review

Gunnar Rorholm and Mary Davidow are well aware how difficult it is to make the “Rising Stars” cut. Myriad local young men and women tried out for the Spokane Valley Summer Theatre showcase. However, only 17 vocalists were picked for the event, which is slated for Saturday and Sunday at Spokane Valley’s University High School Theatre.

“It has to be gut wrenching to make the selections,” Rorholm said. “There are so many immensely talented young people in this area. I don’t know if people realize that. I’m thrilled to be part of this showcase.”

Davidow, 18, echoes Rorholm. “It’s great to be part of this,” Davidow said. “I know how many gifted young entertainers there are in our area. I’m ecstatic about having such an opportunity.”

The “Rising Stars” showcase will feature songs from classic musicals such as “Oklahoma” and “Guys and Dolls,” modern productions such as “Wicked” and “Hadestown,” as well as popular songs.

The diverse selection of tunes is curated by co-directors Collin J. Pittman, who is directing SVST’s current production “Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville” and Amanda Guarisco, who is part of SVST and has been University High School Theatre director since 2020.

Rorholm, 21, who is a senior studying theater at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, will belt out “Caralee” from “35MM” for his solo and he’ll sing “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” from “Hello Dolly,” which is a duet with Nils Peterson

The Lewis and Clark alum gets a little more amped up than usual for gigs like “Rising Stars.”

“I make myself more stressed out for “Rising Stars” than I do for a regular production,” Rorholm said. “But it’ll be fun.”

Davidow, 18, will go solo with Bree Lowdermilk and Kait Kerrigan’s “How to Return Home.” Davidow will also sing “It’s Not a Good Idea” from Love’s Labour’s Lost with Stevie Astudillo, Jillian Selley, and Elly Sims.

“I’m really looking forward to “Rising Stars” not just because I’ll be performing but to see the other performers,” Davidow said, “Collin and Amanda have put together a nice combination of up tempo songs and ballads.”

Not long after “Rising Stars” ends, the Central Valley High School alum will pack up and leave for New York University, where she will major in acting.

“I’m really excited,” Davidow said. “I’ll be in the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, which is prestigious. It’ll be a great place to learn the craft of acting. I owe so much to SVST and to (SVST executive artistic director) Yvonne (A.K.) Johnson. Learning in this unique environment was a special and unique experience.”